Gerontology - Minor Degree Program | Briar Cliff University

Gerontology (Minor)

Degree Type: Interdisciplinary Minor — Program Overview

Prepare to work with a rapidly changing population, in any discipline, with this interdisciplinary minor.


According to the U.S. census, Iowa has an increasing proporation of people who are 60 years and over. The number of Iowans who are 80 years and older is increasing more rapidly than any other age group. Iowa's proportion of older adults in the population exceeds that of the U.S. as a whole. 

Interdisciplinary gerontology emerges naturally from Briar Cliff's mission and vision, where students are passionate about social justice and are learning about issues of social justice for older people. The BCU community's ability to respond to an aging population can and will be driven by the Franciscan values of the university.

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Gerontology (Minor) Courses

BIOL 102 - Human Biology

An introduction to human structure and function. Topics include the scientific method, cell structure and function, and human inheritance, as well as other selected systems. Three lectures. Read more »

BIOL 102L - Human Biology Laboratory

An optional laboratory for those students desiring some practical exercises dealing with the topics in lecture. One laboratory per week. Read more »

NURS 356 - Biological and Health Aspects of Aging (RN-BSN only)

This course surveys healthy behaviors in aging people, reviews biological aspects of aging, identifies economics of long-term care and provides pharmacological information for an aging population. Read more »

PSYC 110 - Introduction to Psychology

This course is an introduction to fundamental psychological concepts which are derived from applying the scientific method to the study of behavior. Examples of selected topics include: personality development, abnormal behavior and therapy, physiology, motivation and emotions, human development, learning and memory, and social behavior. This course emphasizes theories and theorists as well as relevant applications to everyday living. An introduction to APA style of writing is included. Read more »

PSYC 355 - Adulthood and Aging

This course provides a foundation for understanding psychological development of older people with focus on geriatric assessment and psychological disorders in the aging population. Prerequisite: PSYC 110 Read more »

SOCY 124 - Principles of Sociology

Introduction to the field of sociology and its theories, concepts and research methods. Main topics are culture, the family, socialization, deviance, social stratification, race relations, gender, and economic and political globalization. Read more »

SWRK 465 - Gerontology

Focuses on the multiple social aspects of aging: gender, sexuality, isolation and loneliness, roles, employment and retirement, dying, death and bereavement, living environments, political aspects, legal aspects, community resources and supports, critical issues in aging, social service delivery systems, social inequalities, cultural aspects and ethical considerations. Read more »

Additional Program Requirements

A 50-hour gerontology internship is required for the gerontology minor. The internship may also be used for other departmental internship requirements. Internships are supervised by faculty in the student's major department.