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Doctor of Philosophy in Gerontology

KU's Doctor of Philosophy in Gerontology is an interdisciplinary research degree emphasizing social and behavioral gerontology. The program prepares students for academic and research careers in gerontology, as well as for professional careers in private and public institutions and agencies providing services to older individuals.

Students seeking a terminal M.A. in Gerontology are not admitted; the M.A. in Gerontology is offered only to those pursuing a Ph.D. in Gerontology.

For the Ph.D. in Gerontology, the student must complete all requirements established by the Office of Graduate Studies and by the Graduate Division of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. These include: residency, research skills, comprehensive oral examination, preparation of a dissertation, and the final oral examination.

Each student will design his or her own curriculum with the assistance of a Support Committee of three gerontology faculty members. All students are expected to enroll in the Gerontology Proseminar for at least one semester and to acquire multidisciplinary training in gerontology by taking courses in the sociology, psychology, and biology of aging.

Students may enter the program with a Master's degree from the University of Kansas or another institution. Upon application, the Admissions Committee will review students' master's level preparation for doctoral-level research. An acceptable level of Master's preparation includes basic training in statistics, program assessment, or policy analysis and completion of an empirical, research study or thesis.

Students entering the program without an acceptable master's degree are required to complete the M.A. in Gerontology prior to the Ph.D. The requirements for the M.A. in Gerontology are: 
Enrollment in the Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Gerontology & Aging (3 hours) 
6 hours of core courses in Gerontology (selected from at least two of the following areas: biology of aging, psychology of aging, social gerontology) 
12 hours of supplemental courses in Gerontology and related fields 
6 hours of basic statistics courses 
3 hours of methodology 
6 hours of thesis credit

For students who enter the program with an acceptable master's degree or who complete the M.A. in Gerontology, the minimum requirements for the Ph.D. in Gerontology are: 
Enrollment Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Gerontology & Aging (3 hours) 
At least 6 hours of core courses in Gerontology (selected from at least two of the following areas: biology of aging, psychology of aging, social gerontology) 
At least 12 hours of additional supplemental courses in Gerontology and related fields 
6 hours of advanced statistics courses 
6 additional hours of methodology 
Completion of written and oral comprehensive examinations 
6 hours of dissertation credit, completion of dissertation, and final oral examination

All students enrolled in the Gerontology Program are expected to be continuously involved in research in gerontology under the supervision of their Graduate Advisor and Support Committee. Research involvement is expected to include the design, execution, and dissemination of research on aging.

Students will have the opportunity to pursue research experience in a broad range of settings including academic laboratories on the Lawrence campus, clinical settings at the Medical Center, and community settings in Lawrence and surrounding areas. Students in this program will particularly benefit from opportunities to work with practitioners and observe care practices in clinical settings at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

The gerontology core courses should be completed during the first two semesters of study. Students are normally expected to complete the M.A. degree in two years. A maximum time limit of three years will be imposed for completing all requirements for the M.A. degree. Students are normally expected to complete the Ph.D. within three years of entering the program or within three years of completing the M.A. degree in Gerontology. A maximum time limit of six years is imposed for completing all requirements for the doctoral degree following admission to the doctoral program with an acceptable Masters degree or following completion of the M.A. degree in Gerontology.

Application deadline: December 1. Any student who has completed at least a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree at an accredited institution of higher education may apply for admission to the Gerontology Ph.D. Program.

Admission Requirements:
Please review all of the information on the KU Office of Graduate Studies admissions webpage, especially information for domestic or international applicants and information about transcripts.  You will need the following materials for application to the Gerontology Ph.D. program:

  1. Resume / Curriculum Vitae
  2. Personal statement (2 to 4 pages in length) of professional and educational goals in gerontology; also include your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in Gerontology.
  3. List of all courses taken in relevant areas such as sociology, psychology, human development, social welfare, biology, and health services.
  4. One official copy of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  5. Names and e-mail addresses of three persons who will write letters of recommendation on your behalf.
  6. Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) taken within the last two years; to submit scores to us from the testing service, use university code 6871 and department code 2207.
  7. For international students and domestic non-native speakers of English, proof of proficiency in the English language is required.

Application Deadlines:

  • Fall: December 1

Online Application Form

Supplemental materials as listed above (the resume/curriculum vitae, the personal statement, the list of relevant courses) may be attached to the online application or e-mailed to the Gerontology Ph.D Program (gerontology@ku.edu).  Any mailed correspondence may be sent to:

Admissions Committee
University of Kansas - Gerontology Center
Dole Human Development Center
1000 Sunnyside Ave., Room 3090
Lawrence, KS 66045-7555

**Please remember the deadline for all application materials is December 1st**


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