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Best Online Master’s in Gerontology

An online gerontology master’s degree prepares you to enter a career in aging services. You will offer critical support to older adults by helping them with housing, health services, and community programs. Earning your online master’s degree in gerontology opens a myriad of professional options to you. For example, you might pursue a career in social work, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), is an occupation expected to grow 15% by 2026. This rate is more than double the anticipated average growth of all occupations by that year (7%). Much of this growth is due to an increase in the aging population in the years to come.

What are the Best Online Master’s in Gerontology Programs?

1

Nova Southeastern UniversityFort Lauderdale, FL

Admissions Rate 59%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 80%
Graduation Rate 44%
Online Enrollment 39%

Nova Southeastern University's commitment to flexibility and career preparation make it one of the best online master's in gerontology programs in the country. The program is offered entirely online in a completely asynchronous format. In addition to core coursework in areas like the psychology and biology of aging, students can choose from four concentrations: public health, gerontology and the family, emergency preparedness, and professional geriatric care management. Graduates from the program are equipped to take on roles as home health care workers, hospital staff, and retirement center administrators. The program also includes a capstone project that focuses on gerontology research with an emphasis on qualitative methods.

2

Webster UniversitySaint Louis, MO

Admissions Rate 56%
Default Rate 8%
Retention Rate 78%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 25%

Available exclusively online, Webster University's master of arts in gerontology has a strong focus on management and leadership. The program requires 36 credit hours of coursework; core classes include the physiology of aging, economic issues for older adults, and management of programs for older adults. For an additional 18 credit hours, students can opt to pursue a master of business administration with an emphasis in gerontology. All students pursuing their online master's in gerontology are admitted to the program on a probationary status—students must complete 12 hours of graduate level courses with grades of B- or better to continue their work towards the degree.

3

Concordia University-NebraskaSeward, NE

Admissions Rate 78%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 59%
Online Enrollment 32%

Concordia University, Nebraska's master of human services with a concentration in gerontology is perfect for students eager to serve the country's growing elderly population. The program is 36 credit hours (12 courses) and is available completely online in an asynchronous format. Each course lasts eight weeks, meaning students who want to pursue an accelerated schedule can earn their degree in as little as a year. Topics include intercultural communication, mental health and aging, and managing volunteers. Students must complete a capstone project in which they conduct research and design a service intervention. Up to 25% of the credits required for this online gerontology master's degree can be transferred from an approved institution.

4

McDaniel CollegeWestminster, MD

Admissions Rate 80%
Default Rate 4%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 70%
Online Enrollment 9%

Priding itself on its interdisciplinary approach, McDaniel College's online master's degree in gerontology covers topics in sociology, physiology, psychology, and nutrition. The degree can be earned entirely online, at McDaniel's campus in Westminster, Maryland or in a blended format. The 36 credit program includes coursework in public policy, sexuality, and combating ageism. Students choose to complete either a thesis or a field-based capstone project. Prospective students will need to have earned an undergraduate degree with at least a 2.5 GPA. McDaniel also offers a graduate certificate in gerontology for those unsure if they want to complete a full master’s degree. Credits from the certificate may be applied toward the master’s degree.

5

Kansas State UniversityManhattan, KS

Admissions Rate 95%
Default Rate 6%
Retention Rate 83%
Graduation Rate 62%
Online Enrollment 8%

Students pursuing a master's in gerontology online at Kansas State University benefit from the university's membership in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA), a network of 19 public universities that have pooled resources in order to better offer high-quality online degrees. Through Great Plains IDEA, students can work with faculty and students from all member universities. This master's degree in family studies and human services with a specialization in gerontology requires 36 credits: 24 in foundational courses and 12 in electives. Applicants to the program must have earned a bachelor's degree and maintained a 3.0 GPA in their final two years. KSU offers a number of scholarships for distance learners, military service members, and women.

6

Brenau UniversityGainesville, GA

Admissions Rate 66%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 48%
Online Enrollment 33%

The master of science in applied gerontology at Brenau University requires 30 credit hours, of which 18 are core requirements. For the remaining 12 credit hours, students can design their own program, allowing them to take classes in management, nursing, or any other field at the university. As a result, graduates can pursue careers in diverse fields, including nursing, law, education, and occupational therapy. The program is 100% online and asynchronous, allowing students to schedule their education around the rest of their life. Classes at Brenau University begin year round and typically last seven weeks, making this an extremely flexible online master's degree in gerontology.

7

University of Nebraska at OmahaOmaha, NE

Admissions Rate 76%
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 47%
Online Enrollment 9%

The University of Nebraska at Omaha offers two tracks for students interested in earning an online master's degree in gerontology. The thesis option is ideal for students who ultimately would like to conduct gerontological research themselves. The non-thesis option is designed for practitioners whose focus is on designing and implementing programming for elderly individuals. Both tracks of the master of arts in social gerontology can be completed online or at the university's campus in Omaha, Nebraska. The program requires 30 credit hours. Interested students also have the option of pursuing a dual degree program in gerontology and the law (awarding either a master of legal studies or a juris doctorate).

8

University of IndianapolisIndianapolis, IN

Admissions Rate 73%
Default Rate 5%
Retention Rate 75%
Graduation Rate 57%
Online Enrollment 1%

Having been awarded a Program of Merit distinction from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, the University of Indianapolis offers one of the best online master's in gerontology programs currently available. The program consists of 36 credit hours, including core coursework, a concentration in aging in place or applied public policy, and a host of electives such as end of life issues, elder abuse, and spirituality and aging. The program also involves an applied work element: either a practicum for students without experience, or a capstone project/independent study for established gerontology professionals. All courses are available online, and students have up to five years to complete the program requirements. Students can begin the program in August, January, or May.

9

National UniversityLa Jolla, CA

Admissions Rate N/A
Default Rate 7%
Retention Rate 64%
Graduation Rate 33%
Online Enrollment 60%

National University's master of arts in gerontology targets mid-career professionals who are looking to deepen their knowledge or transition to a new specialization within the field. The program is available entirely online. Students interested in earning their master's in gerontology online will need to complete 54 quarter units, consisting of core coursework and five electives such as creative leadership, introduction to bereavement studies, and the dying patient and the family. Up to 13.5 quarter units of graduate level work may be transferred from another institution. Prospective students must have earned a bachelor's degree with a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or a GPA of 2.75 in the final two years of their undergraduate studies.

10

University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroe, LA

Admissions Rate 88%
Default Rate 13%
Retention Rate 76%
Graduation Rate 41%
Online Enrollment 13%

The master of arts in gerontology at the University of Louisiana at Monroe requires 36 credit hours of coursework in biology, social gerontology, and public policy. Students can choose from three specializations: program administrator (a practitioner-focused concentration), aging studies (for students interested in research and policy) and long-term care administration. Students in the long-term care specialization must be working full-time in a related field, or complete a state-mandated AIT. Applicants must have maintained a minimum GPA of 2.75 in their undergraduate studies or a 3.0 GPA in their last two years. Prospective students who do not meet this requirement may petition the admissions committee for reconsideration based on standardized test scores or non-academic merit.

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Gerontology Program

There are several things to consider when deciding which online gerontology master’s degree is the right choice for you. For example, some schools offer a fully online master’s in gerontology with no on-campus classes, while others blend online and on-campus studies. Consider where you live and other obligations you have, like work and family, when determining which format makes most sense for you. In addition, review the curriculum to make certain it aligns with your interests. You should also consider any available field work opportunities, where they are available, and if they advance your career goals. Moreover, think about your budget for school. If you choose a school that exceeds your budget, then explore what kinds of scholarships and financial aid may be available to subsidize expenses.

Careers for Graduates of Master’s in Gerontology Programs

Your online gerontology master’s degree enables you to work in several different environments, including government agencies, community centers, human services organizations, and nursing homes. Your ongoing interaction with individuals who rely on your expertise and ability to improve their lives make working in the field especially meaningful. Below is a list of some careers available to those who complete their master’s degree in gerontology online.

Job Outlook and Salary for Graduates of Gerontology Master’s Degrees

Advancements in healthcare mean people are leading more active, longer lives; as a result, there is increased demand for experts who understand how to support older adults. This is good news for those who earn their online gerontology master’s degree. The BLS projects that job opportunities for social workers will grow 15% by 2026. The best online master’s in gerontology programs prepare you to work in any number of related fields, including nursing, sociology, physical therapy, and facility management.

Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
4,109,200 5,483,915

Salary Growth by Experience for Graduates of Gerontology Master’s Programs

The salary you earn depends on your specific career and where in the country you work. While entry-level professionals with an online master’s in gerontology earn a rewarding salary, your compensation will grow the longer you are on the job. Below is a table of average salaries for those with an online master’s degree in gerontology.


To determine the best online master’s in gerontology programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in gerontology programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.