PhD-Psy in Gerontology
As the world’s population continues to age, the demand will continue for individuals trained in gerontology, the study of the social, psychological, and biological aspects of aging. Gerontology examines the aging process from the biological, economic, psychological, social, and health/fitness aspects. A doctoral degree in psychology with a specialization in gerontology also covers the field of geropsychology, a specialty area within psychology that focuses on the mental health and well-being of older adults, and their families and caretakers.
Why Earn Your PhD in Gerontology with National University?
The Gerontology specialization is designed to train you in supporting, informing, researching, and solving problems working with older adults and their families and caretakers. Coursework in this program prepares you for career opportunities in educational institutions, health facilities (such as VA hospitals/organizations, hospice, or nursing homes), mental health clinics, research institutions, government agencies (such as state and federal health departments), and community organizations.
Note on Licensure: The Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology program is not a licensure program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed psychology or counseling professional.
NU offers weekly course starts, no scheduled lecture hours, no group assignments, weekly assignments, and the ability to schedule courses around your personal and professional obligations.
100% Doctoral Faculty
No matter the degree level you pursue, you can rest assured that you will be mentored by doctors in your field of study.
One to One Engagement
You won’t have to fight for facetime as one of many within a classroom. At NU, you’ll have the opportunity to interact one to one with your professor, receiving personalized mentoring.
Credit Hours : 60
Estimated Time to Complete: 48 months
Students in this course will be prepared for success in the psychology doctoral program at the University. Students are introduced to relevant academic communities, professional standards, and doctoral-level expectations. Essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in psychology are emphasized, including critical thinking, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and effective written communications. Students will identify and begin to explore potential research topics for use in their doctoral studies and complete the course with a roadmap to navigate their way to degree completion.
This course focuses on scholarly and academic writing with an overarching goal of critically analyzing and thoughtfully synthesizing research findings while adhering to APA style and the principles of Academic Integrity. The emphases in this course are on how to (a) conduct effective literature searches; (b) critically review and summarize research studies; (c) write comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature; (d) formulate ideas and convey them in an ethical fashion; and (e) use feedback to revise and improve one’s work.
This doctoral-level course focuses on the fundamentals of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods approaches to psychological research. Students gain an understanding of the strengths and limitations of each approach, and how these methods apply to a research topic. The concepts of critical evaluating, published research, research ethics, and developing a research proposal will also be explored and practiced. In addition, it provides a foundation for subsequent research courses in preparation for successfully completing a dissertation at the University.
This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate student. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the student understand statistical methodology used in psychology, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.
This doctoral course in tests and measurements provides the student conceptual as well as practical guidelines in test and scale construction. This course will expose the students to concepts and theories including: the nature of psychological constructs and concepts, measurements and measurement error, item construction and analysis, Classical Test Theory, and the different approaches to establishing instrument reliability and validity. Students will have the opportunity to apply the skills and concepts to a construct relevant to their own research interests.
This doctoral-level course will introduce the student to psychological test construction, administration and interpretation as well as current research in the area. Commonly used tests to assess cognition and personality will be studied.
This course will provide a foundation for knowledge of quantitative and qualitative research methods used in the social sciences, including psychology. Knowledge of research methods is essential both for successful completion of the dissertation and for being a skilled consumer and creator of scholarly knowledge in your field. Topics explored will include the purposes of the two basic research methods (quantitative and qualitative), the nature of multiple research designs within each method, analytic strategies used within each method, factors in quality research within each method, and ethical issues in research methods. Scholarly writing and appropriate use of the scholarly literature will also be reinforced through all topics. This course is intended to provide a broad understanding of research methods to support deeper exploration and application using more refined resources in future courses.
The purpose of this course is to acquire deeper knowledge of the quantitative and qualitative designs. The focus is on active learning to develop applied research skills that will help you in design development, data collection, and data analysis reporting phases. During the course, you will also examine how your research reflections and analysis are grounded in the empirical literature.
This course focuses on how to conduct effective literature searches, specifically in preparation for the dissertation, develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and critically review and write about underlying theoretical frameworks that lay the foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for students to conduct an extensive search of the peer-reviewed empirical and theoretical literature in their topic area and identify potential areas of inquiry for their dissertation.
The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is intended to ensure students have mastered knowledge of their discipline prior to candidacy status and demonstrated the ability to design empirical research as an investigator before moving on to the dissertation research coursework. Students will demonstrate the ability to synthesize empirical, peer-reviewed research to support all assignments in this course. The Pre-Candidacy Prospectus is completed only after all foundation, specialization, and research courses have been completed.
Students in this course will be required to complete Chapter 1 of their dissertation proposal including a review of literature with substantiating evidence of the problem, the research purpose and questions, the intended methodological design and approach, and the significance of the study. A completed, committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Chapter 1 is required to pass this course successfully. Students who do not receive approval of Chapter 1 to minimum standards will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of Chapter 1.
Students in this course will be required to work on completing Chapters 1-3 of their dissertation proposal and receive committee approval for the Dissertation Proposal (DP) in order to pass the class. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter 3 covers the research methodology method and design and to includes population, sample, measurement instruments, data collection and analysis, limitations, and ethical considerations. In this course, a completed, committee-approved Chapters 2 and 3 are required and, by the end of the course, a final approved dissertation proposal (against the minimum rubric standards). Students who do not receive approval of the dissertation proposal will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of these requirements.
Students in this course will be required to prepare, submit, and obtain approval of their IRB application, collect data, and submit a final study closure form to the IRB. Students still in data collection at the end of the 12-week course will be able to take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to complete data collection and file an IRB study closure form.
In this dissertation course students work on completing Chapters 4 and 5 and the final Dissertation Manuscript. Specifically, students will complete their data analysis, prepare their study results, and present their findings in an Oral Defense and a completed manuscript. A completed, Committee approved (against the minimum rubric standards) Dissertation Manuscript and successful Oral Defense are required to complete the course and graduate. Students who do not receive approval for either or both their Dissertation Manuscript or defense can take up to three supplementary 8-week courses to finalize and gain approval of either or both items as needed.
*The Elective course in the PhD in Psychology degree can be satisfied by any 8000-level course in the Department of Psychology.
The Gerontology specialization is designed to assist in training individuals interested in working with older adults and their families. As the world’s population continues to age, the demand will continue for individuals trained in gerontology. Coursework in this certificate prepares individuals for career opportunities in health facilities, mental health clinics, numerous government agencies, and community organizations.
Select 6 courses from the following:
In this doctor-level course you will explore the biological and psychological changes that occur within adults over time (intra-individual changes) and the extent to which these changes occur at different rates among different individuals (inter-individual differences). Theory and current research will be examined.
In this course you will review the psychology of aging and related mental health considerations, areas often misunderstood by older adults, family, caregivers, and medical professionals. Common mental health issues such as depression, addiction, and anxiety faced by older adults will be addressed. Neurological changes, including Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and dementia spectrum disorders, will be examined. Symptoms, assessment and treatment options for mental health issues in this population are complicated by the presence by the physical problems and associated medications and treatment. Other topics to discuss include risk factors for non-medication compliance, neglect, and abuse of older adults in residential homes, loneliness, and cross-cultural differences in coping strategies and social support.
In this course, you will examine the gamut of helping services known as elder care. These services include basic assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), rehabilitation care, aging in place, familial caregiving, long-term care and hospice. This course focuses on the concepts, theories and strategies related to the care of older adults. Common concerns related to elder care needs will be discussed including the emotional strains families and older adults may face. A key component of the course will be identification of caregiver strategies, including support groups, respite care and other community resources.
In this course, you will examine multicultural influences on the aging process on individuals. Topics to be covered include attitudes toward aging and well-being, social support, elder care, and end of life issues. Gender and cultural differences in aging experiences will be discussed. Concerns related to special populations also will be addressed.
In this course, you will examine the psychologist’s role in assisting older adults and their families to address psychological, emotional, and other challenges during later life. Topics to be covered include an overview of psychological assessment and evaluation as applied to older adults as well as therapeutic techniques and interventions related to older adults on individual, group and family levels. Ethical considerations in geropsychology practice also will be discussed. Areas of practice such as clinical settings, government and nonprofit agencies, and long term care facilities will also be reviewed.
In this course, students will consider the psychological aspects of death and dying in modern society. Students will also explore attitudes toward death and theories related to the stages of death and dying, along with coping strategies for dealing with impending death, the aftermath of suicide, and end of life decisions. This course will also address assisted dying, grief, and survivor’s guilt.
Positive aging examines older adulthood as a stage in lifespan development with unique opportunities for growth and fulfillment. In this course you will focus on healthy aging practices and interventions, explore practical applications of research and ethics, and emphasize the role of diversity in evidence-based interventions for older adults. You will explore issues related to advocacy and accessibility through a culturally-sensitive lens. You will also examine factors fostering healthy aging including mental health and sexuality.