Master's in Gerontology

Working together, the Great Plains IDEA (Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance) has developed an Internet-based gerontology curriculum. The inter-institutional master’s program draws on the expertise of graduate faculty and graduate courses from six universities. The program is taught entirely via the Internet. Upon completion of the curriculum, students receive a master’s degree. Students completing the program at Kansas State University will earn an M.S. in Gerontology. The program has been in place at Kansas State University since fall 2003.

Program content for this degree is based on core competencies identified by AGHE (Association for Gerontology in Higher Education). The program requires 36 credit hours, 24 of them in specific courses and the remainder in elective courses.

Most courses will use Internet classrooms. Some have supplemental materials on DVD or CD and others may require phone conferencing. Interactivity between students and professor is accomplished through email, phone conferencing and the Internet classroom. Students should be able to complete the 36-credit hour program in three years or less while employed full-time.

Required Courses

For information on when the required and elective courses are offered, please see the gerontology course matrix.

ARCH 725 Environments and Aging: Cr. 3.

Examination of attributes of physical environments that support special needs of older people and application of this knowledge to the design and management of housing, institutional settings, neighborhoods and communities.

GERON 775 Perspectives in Gerontology: Cr. 3.

An overview of current aging issues including the current focus of gerontology theory and research, critical social and political issues in aging, the interdisciplinary focus of gerontology, current career opportunities, and aging in the future.

FSHS 845 Adult Development and Aging: Cr. 3.

This course explores the biological, psychological, and social factors that are associated aging. Although the focus is on the later years, information is presented from a life-span developmental framework. Empirical studies are reviewed and their strengths, limitations and implications for normative and optimal functioning are discussed.

GERON 777 Public Policy:Economic & Social Impacts on Older Adults: Cr. 3.

Policy development in the context of the economic status of the elderly populations. Retirement planning and the retirement decision; Social Security and public transfer programs for the elderly; intra-family transfers to/from the elderly; private pensions; financing medical care for the elderly; prospects and issues for the future.

GERON 778 Aging in the Family: Cr. 3.

Theories and research related to personal, family, and societal adjustments in later life affecting older persons and their intergenerational relationships. Related issues including demographics also are examined through the use of current literature.

GERON 776 Program Evaluation and Research Methods in Gerontology: Cr. 3.

Overview of program evaluation, research methods, and grant writing in gerontology. Includes application of quantitative and qualitative methods in professional settings.

GERON 779 Professional Seminar in Gerontology: Cr. 3.

An integrative experience in which students will strengthen skills in ethical decision-making and behavior and apply those skills in related areas such as advocacy, professionalism, and family and workplace issues. Students from a variety of professions will apply unique perspectives to topics of common interest.

HN 718 Physical Health and Nutrition in Aging: Cr. 3.

Focus is on the physiological theories of aging, the relationship between normal aging processes, and the major chronic and acute diseases of the elderly, and community health promotion/maintenance programs for older adults.

Application Process

Kansas State University currently is accepting applications. The application packet includes all the required information including deadline dates, course schedules and descriptions, as well as the requirements for graduate study. The application process is competitive, and a limited number of slots are available to incoming students. In the event a student is not accepted to the program due to limited space, they may wish to contact one of our partnering institutions. The application form required by the Graduate School must be completed online.

Domestic Students

Fall or Summer term: February 1
Spring term: September 1

International Students

Fall term: February 1
Spring term: August 1
Summer term: December 1

Application Requirements

To apply to the program, please follow the appropriate link below.

If you need further information or have questions regarding the program please contact:

Pam Evans
Center on Aging
253 Justin Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506


Additional Information

  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


    The Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) is a consortium of Human Sciences Colleges at ten universities. Students who participate in inter-institutional programs matriculate at one institution, take courses at several, and meet graduation requirements at the institution at which they matriculated. Inter-institutional programs are developed and implemented by teams of graduate faculty representing all institutions.

  • K-State GPIDEA

    Great Plains IDEA at K-State connects you with Amanda Gnadt, the K-State Great Plains IDEA Campus Coordinator. This website is designed to provide you with information about your program, important program deadlines and resources to help you succeed.

  • Division of Continuing Education - Technology

    Most courses require the use of technology and media. Use this resource to review computer and technical requirements as well as taking an Online Readiness Test.