Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Studies


Students who wish to declare a gerontology major or minor should notify the Office of Records and Advising (A-203).

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Studies Major (B.S.)

The Interdisciplinary Gerontology Major/Degree Completion studies program is designed to prepare individuals with an understanding of the foundations of gerontology, thus positioning students in various disciplines for specialized career opportunities. The diversity and complexity of older adults and their needs and preferences will be explored from multiple perspectives. Foundational courses will include students from various disciplines and prepare students for careers that benefit from team work, mutual respect, and comprehensive knowledge of the older adult regardless of setting. Students will acquire knowledge of the impact of culture, ethnicity, financial capacity, gender, spirituality, health and level of wellness and quality of life of older adults. The Interdisciplinary Gerontology Major requirement is 30 SH including the Nursing and Health Science Track. Please note that the B.S. degree in Gerontology requires a total of 120 SH including general education and the major.

Gerontology Major Foundational Core Required (15 SH)

  • GERON 101/NURS 199: Introduction to Aging and Aging Wisely
  • BIO 124: Physiology of Aging
  • SOC 318: Sociology of Aging
  • PSYCH 199: Lifespan Development
  • NURS 205/GERON 205: Narrative Gerontology

*Note: Students are expected to meet any pre-requisites related to course below.

Nursing and Health Science Track: (12 SH)

  • COMM 216: Introduction to Health Communication
  • NURS 347: Nursing Care of the Older Adult (Nursing major only)
  • PSYCH 224: Adulthood and Aging
  • PSYCH 341: Health Psychology
  • RELST 266: Suffering and Death
  • NURS 383: Nursing Care at End of Life -- (Nursing major only)
  • CSDI 309: Neural Bases of Speech, Language, and Swallowing
  • GERON 348/NURS 348: Geriatric Syndromes
  • NURS 383/GERON 204: 3 D's of Geriatric Psych (Dementia, Delirium, Depression)
  • SOC 335: Art and Science of Reminiscing
  • ACCT 390: Elder Law: Justice in Aging
  • GERON 395: Capstone Project

Note: Students may be required to submit to a background check, health requirements, and urine drug screening as required for the final capstone course.

Following are the student learning outcomes of the overall Interdisciplinary Gerontology Major studies program, all of which are in alignment with those of the Interdisciplinary Gerontology Minor.

Student Learning Outcomes for the Gerontology Major and Minor

  1. Acquire basic physiological, sociological, and psychological scientific knowledge and multi-perspectival understanding of aging both in the United States and globally.
  2. Acquire knowledge and understanding of the impact of culture, ethnicity, financial capacity, gender, spirituality, health and level of wellness on quality of life and life satisfaction of older adults.
  3. Cultivate critical awareness as well as ethical and political astuteness in multiple areas and a variety of settings that affect older adults.
  4. Cultivate critical inquiry and acquire knowledge of qualitative and quantitative research in the field of aging.
  5. Participate as members of interdisciplinary teams encountering diverse cohorts of older adults in various settings.

In addition to the Gerontology major, students will be exposed to additional learning outcomes from the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.

Students should consult with their department advisor and the coordinator of the gerontology studies program, Dr. Diane Heliker (heliker@sxu.edu), when planning their Interdisciplinary Gerontology Major or Minor.

Interdisciplinary Gerontology Minor

The Interdisciplinary Gerontology/Aging Studies Program offers a minor that examines the diversity and complexity of the older adult using a venue of varied disciplines and perspectives, including biology, psychology, sociology, spirituality, communication and nursing. Optional courses are drawn from across the University. The minor will meet the educational and experiential needs of a variety of students who are already working with older adults, contemplating a career change, and those wishing to advocate for this growing segment of the population. There are no tracks inherent in the minor. Students will acquire a general understanding of the impact of culture, ethnicity, spirituality and health and level of wellness and quality of life of older adults.

To fulfill the requirements of the minor, students must complete a minimum of 18 credit hours in approved courses, including GERON 101/NURS 199, Introduction to Aging (3) and GERON 395, Capstone Project (3 or 4) plus 4 gerontology options. Courses in the minor must have a focus on aging, will be drawn from across the SXU curriculum, and may include periodic special topics courses. At least one-half of the credit hours used to fulfill the minor must be completed at Saint Xavier University.

Students enrolled in the minor who wish to complete the major may apply completed optional minor courses to meet the criteria of the degree completion/Major.

Faculty and Administration

The Gerontology Studies Programs are sponsored by the School of Nursing and Health Sciences. It is an interdisciplinary program that draws upon the expertise of faculty in many academic departments and schools within the University. Faculty members offer perspectives and courses appropriate to the multidimensional study of older adults and contribute to the development of the program's curriculum.

Contact: Coordinator: Dr. Diane Heliker (heliker@sxu.edu)