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The College of St. Scholastica

St. Scholastica’s gerontology minor is built on a solid 30-year foundation. As the needs of 72 million Baby Boomers evolve, the study of aging is becoming more vital than ever before. This makes a background in gerontology an excellent asset for a wide range of careers, from social work to nursing to occupational therapy and much more.

Professors from several different departments teach courses in the gerontology program, providing a unique, diverse perspective on the field. You’ll gain hands-on learning experience through the Gerontology Directed Applied Project. Coursework will include engaging topics like spirituality and aging, the U.S. healthcare system, and mental health and aging.

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Benedictine Scholarship

All new first-year applicants to St. Scholastica will be awarded either the Benedictine Scholarship or the Access Award, upon admission to the College.

Financial Aid

100% of traditional incoming undergraduates receive some type of financial aid. The average for scholarships, grants and/or loans is $31,841.

Degree Details


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St. Scholastica’s longstanding commitment to inclusivity and generous financial aid packages make our world-class educational programs accessible to students from any background.


Program Requirements

Minor: 20 Credits
Certificate: available to students who are not seeking a degree.

Here are some classes you could take as part of this minor. Be sure to create your course plan in consultation with your advisor.


EXP 3334 – Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation

Studies multi-disciplinary risk factors considered responsible for heart and vascular disease along with commonly associated diseases (obesity, diabetes) and behaviors (smoking, physical inactivity). Changes in cardiac structure, function and coronary circulation that occur in heart and vascular disease. Behavioral, surgical and pharmacological treatments used in primary and secondary prevention of heart disease. Use of diagnostic techniques to determine safe and effective exercise prescription for cardiac and pulmonary patients. Recognition of, and response to, common psychosocial issues as they relate to the post-myocardial infarction and pulmonary patients.

GER 2203 –

GER 3310 –

GER 3315 –

GER 3316 – Health and Functioning in Late Life

Overview of the basic principles and concepts of the normal aging process, including the realities of physical aging and common health deviations. Theories of aging, physiological changes in the older adult, and common chronic diseases are explored. Health promotion, preventive action and the healthcare system for the older adult are components of the course content.

GER 3318 –

GER 3325 –

GER 3341 –

GER 3424 –

GER 3777 – Topics in Gerontology

Courses not a part of the regular gerontology curriculum but taught at upper-division level because of special need, interest or opportunity.

GER 4125 –

GER 4444 – Research in Gerontology

Students either (a) initiate and implement empirical research in an area of special interest or (b) participate in an ongoing empirical research project developed by a faculty member. For student-initiated projects, the student develops the research proposal, conducts the research and reports the research in standard APA format. For faculty-initiated research, students work one-on-one with the faculty member or as part of his/her research team of students. Activities may include doing library research, developing measures, collecting data, analyzing data and writing portions of research reports using APA style. Prerequisite: consent of supervising faculty member and gerontology program director.

GER 4555 – Gerontology Fieldwork Project

Provides first-hand experience in the field of aging services. Students engage in fieldwork with or advocating for older adults in a community setting. Students must work with a faculty advisor, typically the gerontology program director, to: (a) write a proposal including objectives and strategies for meeting objectives, (b) write a paper in which gerontological concepts are applied to fieldwork experience, and (c) participate in an oral presentation. Evaluation is by the faculty advisor, a faculty reader, and the on-site supervisor. Prerequisites: 3 gerontology courses and consent of gerontology program director.

HSC 2215 – Nutrition for Health and Wellness

Focuses on how the basic principles of nutrition affect the individual. The role of nutrition in heath promotion and disease prevention is explored.

SWK 4440 – Social Work Intervention with Groups

This course is the third sequenced course of four practice courses required for all Social Work majors. The course incorporates knowledge and skill content developed in SWK 3370 and SWK 3383. Students examine the nature and development of social work group practice within task and treatment groups. Specific attention is given to group dynamics theory, leadership and group facilitation skills, stages of group development, theories and techniques adapted to a variety of treatment and task group settings, ethical standards for group practice, and cultural and ethnic consideration in social work group intervention. Students have the opportunity to demonstrate group facilitation and memberships skills in group labs. In addition, students receive instruction in implementing empirically based interventions in evaluating practice effectiveness. Prerequisites SWK 2240 and SWK 3370.

Research and Internships

Through the Gerontology Directed Applied Project (GERO-DAP), students take their textbook knowledge and put it to work in a variety of appropriate settings. Students in the GERO-DAP have completed projects at several various agencies, including the Benedictine Living Community of Duluth, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, the Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, Edgewood Vista Senior Living and Retirement and the Essentia Health – Polinsky Medical Rehabilitation Center.

Career Outlook

The number of adults 65 years and older is growing faster than any other segment of the population. Since aging brings with it specific challenges and opportunities that warrant specialized services and care, those with a gerontology background are essential in every profession: medical, social, financial, administrative, residential and hospitality services. Recent graduates with a gerontology minor have pursued graduate study in gerontology or careers in Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, Nursing, Exercise Physiology, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy.

Meet Our Faculty

Experienced, Dedicated and Distinguished Educators

Expect to be heard, to be challenged and to be involved. St. Scholastica faculty are world-class scholars and experts in their field who bring their deep experience to online and on-campus classrooms. Our values of community, respect, stewardship and love of learning reflect our faculty’s commitment to lifting up others and celebrating our common humanity.