Skip to main contentSkip to main navigationSkip to footer content
Saint Xavier University Chicago Campus Residence Halls

Gerontology Courses

Prerequisite/Corequisite Key

P = Course must be taken previously C = Course must be taken concurrently E = Course can be taken previously or concurrently
(RQ) = Required (RM) = Recommended  


Introduction to Aging

3 credit hours

This course introduces the student to the inter-disciplinary field of gerontology and a constructive approach to the aging process. Relevant and contemporary topics are covered, which includes subject areas in the fields of biology, psychology, economics, health sciences, and the collective social issues that affect a growing number of older adults. Students are provided opportunities to investigate negative myths about aging, interact with an older adult in a positive manner to promote healthy aging, and to explore the complexity and diversity of those aging members of our society.


Elderhood Through Film

3 credit hours

The purpose of this course is to engage the student in reflecting on the later parts of the life cycle (elderhood) as represented in popular narrative films, as well as, documentary films and television programs. The emphasis in the course will be on deconstructing the many myths and stereotypes surrounding aging and elderhood, and then reconstructing a more holistic view of human life in later years. Film (and television) is both a reflection of, and an influencer on, popular perceptions, feelings and understandings of major cultural mores and beliefs. As such, it can serve as an engaging way for students to look reflectively and critically at our societal understandings of human life in its later years, including the diversity and individuality of the experience of growing older.


Physiology of Aging

3 credit hours

In this course the physiological changes that occur in the aging process are addressed with emphasis on learning for the student who is not previously trained in the physiological sciences; includes information on appropriate exercise, nutrition and ways to minimize problems for the elderly.


Lifespan Development

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: PSYCH-101

Lifespan Development is a survey of theory and research on development throughout the life span from conception to death. The course focuses on the physical, emotional, social and cognitive changes.


Care at the End of Life

3 credit hours

This course is an on-line course based on the ELNEC (End of Life Nursing Education Consortium) core curriculum, and addresses the special care and needs of patients, families and significant others at the end of life. Content will include an overview of hospice and palliative care, the role of the interdisciplinary team in hospice care, as well as the concepts of communication at the end of life, ethical, legal and cultural considerations, suffering, grief, loss and bereavement. Care of the dying child as well as the veteran at the end of life will also be addressed. Literature and film will enhance the student's awareness of end of life issues.


Narrative Gerontology

3 credit hours

The purpose of this interdisciplinary course is to introduce the student to narrative/story [Voices of Aging] as a way of knowing, a way of coming to connect with and communicate with the older adult in a variety of settings through interdisciplinary venues that include literature, gerontology, psychology, sociology, anthropology and nursing. The student will be introduced to interpretive phenomenology as a way of thinking and understanding the diversity and complexity of the older adult. Student interdisciplinary teams will discuss a variety of readings and studies and participate in developing a qualitative research study outline exploring the perspectives of older adults, leading to a multi-perspectival understanding of aging and how to come to understand what is meaningful to older adults.


Aging and Culture

3 credit hours

This course examines aging in cross-cultural perspective. Emphasized are the diverse and worldwide cultural contexts that mediate the experience of aging. Evaluated is the human response to aging as influenced through historical time periods. Theoretical perspectives and myth surrounding aging are explored. Challenges of growing old are considered in diverse life contexts and cultures. Explored are case studies of aging from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas and the contextual knowledge that illuminates life transition, health, well-being, and cultural adaptation for the aged. This course applies to academic disciplines including nursing and health sciences.


Introduction to Health Communication

3 credit hours

This course is a survey of health communication concepts and theories. The processes by which people, individually and collectively, understand shape and accommodate to health and illness issues are explored as well as the study and use of communication strategies to inform and influence individual and community decisions that enhance awareness, processes and procedures. Offered spring.


Adulthood and Aging

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: PSYCH-101

Adulthood and Aging considers physical changes with aging, psychological and sociological theory and research concerned with the changes and developmental tasks characteristic of mature adulthood, middle age and aging.


Suffering and Death

3 credit hours

This course is a study of central themes, resources and methods employed in Christian theological reflection upon human suffering and death.


Neuroscience of Communication

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: CSDI-204, CSDI-206

This course examines the neurological foundations of speech, language, and swallowing, and provides an introduction to the neurogenic communication disorders of aphasia, apraxia of speech, and dysarthria. Offered spring.


Sociology of Aging

3 credit hours

This course explores the sociological aspects and theories of aging. Using a cross-cultural perspective, the content focuses on issues in life-course, leisure and retirement, social ecology and structure, interpersonal and intergenerational relations, and the economics and politics of aging. Offered as needed.


The Art and Science of Reminiscing

3 credit hours

This course will examine the therapeutic intervention of reminiscing utilizing theories in nursing and sociology as well as research and critical thinking skills. With a focus on the older adult client, attention will be given to active communication and therapeutic listening. Reminiscing will be explored from sociocultural, developmental, and clinical contexts. Opportunities to learn and apply principles of qualitative research will be incorporated. Offered as needed.


Health Psychology

3 credit hours

Pre-requisite: PSYCH-101

Health Psychology is an interdisciplinary study of health and psychology. The primary emphasis of the course is a biopsychosocial one. Content includes the history and focus of health psychology, an examination of stress, its relation to illness, and methods for coping with and reducing it, physical and psychological pain, methods for managing and controlling it, and procedures to enhance health and prevent illness.


Geriatric Syndromes

3 credit hours

This 8 week on-line course utilizes relevant theory and findings from social, biological, and health sciences to explore the wholistic needs of those older adults experiencing common psychological and physiological issues that are specific to this age group. Issues related to assessment, intervention, risk reduction, and prevention are incorporated as well as explaining the impact these problems have on older adults and their families.


Elder Law/Justice in Aging

3 credit hours

This course is an introduction to the myriad of legal issues that are often grouped under various titles such as Elder Law and Aging and the Law. The course highlights the social and legal issues associated with an aging society, a critical understanding of the distinct legal problems of the elderly and a familiarity with governmental aging society, a critical understanding of the distinct legal problems of the elderly and a familiarity with governmental programs established for the benefit of older people.


Capstone Project

3 to 4 credit hours

Pre-requisite: GERON-101 or NURS-199 Completion of core and elective courses for either the Gerontology Major or Minor.

This Gerontology major course completion degree will culminate with an interdisciplinary Capstone Project in which the student(s) will develop a project integrating program learning outcomes. Foci in this project may include Communication, Community, Teamwork, Integrated literature review or a Presentation. Students, in teams or individually, may develop and present a community educational offering in collaboration with a specific agency or work with a faculty member on a particular project related to the field of gerontology. The capstone experience will be developed and individualized to meet the interests of the student in alignment with the learning outcomes of the Gerontology Studies Major/Minor.