Gerontology Specialization

Earning a Master's of Science in Social Work degree with a specialization in gerontology is your passport to a fast growing field of practice. The gero specialization will empower you to be-come a leader in the dynamic field of aging and social work.

The burgeoning aging population in the United States is increasing the demand for well-trained and competent social workers to respond to the needs of older adults and their families. A recent study by the U.S. Department of Labor found that geriatric social work is one of the nation's fastest growing occupations, with high demand for specialists and the promise of job security.

Start-up funding for this specialization was provided by the John A. Hartford Foundation, the New York Academy of Medicine and the Social Work Leadership Institute. Kent School was part of a handful of programs nationwide selected to be part of this exciting initiative. Students in this program will benefit from field practice in a variety of gerontology programs, excellent supervision, opportunities to network with gerontology community professionals, advocacy in our State Legislature, and, most of all, to build meaningful relationships with older adults that enable their growth and change.

This specialization offers:

  • Stipends assisting with partial tuition for your advanced year of study.
  • A practicum in the field of aging in advanced year of study.
  • Extra supervision from an expert in the field of aging.
  • Participation in Fall/Spring conferences.
  • Assistance in securing a job after graduation.
  • National recognition as a developing leader in the field of gerontology through our partners.
  • Opportunity to present a culminating project at our annual Spring Gerontology Fair.

Program requirements:

The specialization requires you to complete:

  • 16 hrs/wk of field education (SW672 & SW673-3 credit hrs each) in approved geriatric settings as part of a rotation practicum during your advanced year.
  • SW681 (Social Gerontology), SW682 (SW Practice with Older Persons) and one of the following: SW 615 Mental Health, SW 636 Death & Grief, SW 642 Psychopathology, SW 662 Substance Abuse, or SW 684 Spirituality & SW.
  • One credit hour each semester of gerontology supervision (SW686 and SW687) that includes community seminars.


Applications to the Gerontology Specialization for accepted students in the 30-hour program must be submitted by Jan. 30, prior to beginning the advanced year.
  • Submit a 3-page professional development paper discussing your interests, past experience in the gerontology field, need for professional development, potential contribution and plans after graduation.
  • Submit updated resume.
  • 60-hr current students:  Complete the Application for Specializations during the January before your Advanced year
  • 30-hr students:  submit specialization essay to graduate admissions email service account when applying to the program

Scholarship applications for the Gerontology scholarship must be submitted by Jan. 30th during the time you are applying for your advanced practicum for your final year.  (30-hr students: must apply for the Gerontology scholarship at the time of application; 60-hr students will apply the January before their advanced year).

For more information contact:

Dr. Lesley Harris

Specialization Faculty Coordinator

502.852.8316 / Email Dr. Harris

Dr. Anna Faul
502-852-1981 / EMAIL Dr. Faul