Master's in Gerontology

The MA in Gerontology prepares students for professional or academic roles requiring specialization in aging. It is for those with an undergraduate degree in a related discipline and who have completed coursework in aging. Two concentrations are offered: Environment & Aging and Health & Aging

Find course list and schedule here ~

Admission Requirements 

Candidates for admission must satisfy the general admission requirements for graduate studies as shown in Graduate General Regulations 1.3.1 and 1.3.3

Applications will be considered according to the following criteria: 

  • cumulative grade point average from the most recently completed program of study. 
  • academic course work in the subject area. 
  • the quality of the statement of research interest submitted 
  • compatibility of the stated research interests and the teaching and research interests of the program’s faculty
Prerequisite Courses
Applicants must have completed 3 – 4 courses in aging/gerontology, including a social science research methods course, before applying.

If you have not taken any aging-related courses as part of an undergraduate degree, then it is possible to complete pre-requisite courses online or in class through the Department of Gerontology’s Post Baccalaureate Diploma in Gerontology program.

If you are not sure whether your undergraduate courses qualify, please contact the department office at for an evaluation.

Program Requirements

There are four program components: two required courses; electivesinternship and Thesis or Capstone Project. Students complete seven courses: two core; and five electives chosen from the two concentrations. Students who complete a thesis in lieu of the project will take two less electives.

Required Courses

  • GERO 803-4 Analytical Techniques for Gerontological Research
  • GERO 804-4 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Gerontology


The following elective courses are organized into two categories with a few courses applying to both categories:

Environment and Aging

  • GERO 806-4 Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology
  • GERO 810-4 Community Based Housing, Health and Support Services for Older Adults
  • GERO 811-4 Institutional Living Environments
  • GERO 822-4 Families, Communities and Health
  • GERO 830-4 Human Factors, Technology and Safety
  • GERO 840-4 Special Topics

Health and Aging

  • GERO 802-4 Development and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs for the Elderly
  • GERO 806-4 Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology
  • GERO 820-4 Principles and Practices of Health Promotion
  • GERO 822-4 Families, Communities and Health
  • GERO 823-4 Mental Health and Illness in Later Life
  • GERO 840-4 Special Topics in Gerontology 

Students are strongly encouraged to take elective courses from within the Department of Gerontology. However, students may be permitted to take one Directed Studies (GERO 889) and one course outside of Gerontology or SFU towards their elective courses.


  • GERO 850-4 Internship 


Students lacking relevant work experience will be required to supplement their program of study with an internship. The student will work for an agency or organization in a position of responsibility normally for a minimum of 300-350 hours. Some organizations may require students to be cleared through a criminal record search prior to starting the internship.

Capstone Project or Thesis Option

Students present a written thesis/project proposal to their supervisory committee. Students will complete individual research-based projects that will entail original work and will fall under one of the following types.

  • A critical synthesis of theoretical and/or research literature on a focused topic related to aging
  • An original grant proposal including an extended literature review, methodology, and design sections
  • Development of a new program intervention and/or an evaluation of framework proposal of a program related to the field of aging
  • Or a critical analysis of a policy related to gerontology.

A project will be evaluated by the supervisory committee and a qualified external reader. The project requirement must meet the guidelines set out in the graduate general regulations.


Students preparing for advanced graduate training may be permitted to select a thesis option and will complete two fewer elective courses. The thesis provides high quality focused research. Original and innovative research is encouraged to meet this requirement. Committee selection and thesis proposal approval will follow the same steps as the project. The thesis requirement must meet the graduate general regulations.

Full program requirements may be found on the Academic Calendar.

Application Process

In order to use the online application system, you will need to pay an application fee of $90 CAN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $125 CAN (students with international transcripts) by credit card (MasterCard or Visa)

Application Deadlines

  • January 1st to February 28th for September admission
  • September 1st to 30th for January admission

NOTE: Within reason, an extension to these deadlines may be requested by emailing Please provide your current SFU student ID or GA#, if you are new to SFU, and the reason for requesting an extension.


Applicants will upload all their post-secondary transcripts as part of the online process. However, "Official" transcripts must also be received by the Department of Gerontology Graduate Program Assistant directly from each issuing institution. 


Three academic references are required. Referees should address the applicant’s ability to undertake advanced work in the area of interest. Non-academic references should address the candidate’s academic potential. Referees should be told that the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act allows an applicant access to the information in the letters.

Statement of Work / Volunteer

This is a required document. However, if you have not had any formal work or volunteer experience with the aging population, you have probably spent time with elderly family members or those in your neighbourhood at large. Be creative! Someone has given you the reason to study Gerontology.

Statement of Research Interest

A three to four page statement of research interest is required and is a critical component of the application package. The statement should include a critical synthesis of the body of literature related to the proposed research topic. This synthesis should adopt a well recognized citation style (e.g., APA, Chicago). There should be a clear articulation of the substantive focus area. For MA thesis option: A brief discussion of possible research methods is expected. For MA capstone project option: A brief discussion of one of the four possible options within the capstone stream needs to be included. For capstone project options, please contact the Department's Graduate Program Assistant at  Examples of research statements are available upon request. Please indicate if you are interested in the thesis or capstone project option.

English Language Competence

An applicant whose primary language is not English or whose previous education has been conducted in another language must demonstrate command of English sufficient to pursue graduate studies in the chosen field. See Graduate General Regulations 1.13.12 for detailed requirements.  

Note: Entrance Scholarships are available by Departmental nomination only. No application is required.

List of Documents to be Uploaded

  • Three Letters of Reference
  • Statement of Work / Volunteer Experience in Gerontology
  • CV including scholarly work
  • Statement of Research Interest
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post secondary institutions (see above)
  • Writing Sample (optional but recommended)


There are a variety of funding opportunities for students in the Gerontology MA program - some are department specific and some are available to all students. Though our department is small relative to others in the university, our students have received numerous prestigious awards including the CIHR Master’s Award;  CD Nelson Entrance Scholarship; Prov. of BC Graduate Research Fellowship and SSHRC Master’s Fellowships.

If you are a Gerontology graduate student you must maintain full-time graduate registration (i.e., registration in a minimum of 2 courses or registration in GERO 898 or 899). Candidates must have a minimum CGPA of 3.0 to be considered for awards or bursaries and a minimum GPA of 3.5 to be considered for scholarships and fellowships. Full Terms of Reference

Application for ALL awards (other than those noted) is made via the online graduate awards application system (GA3).


* Awards_With_A_MAY_30_Deadline.pdf
Please find all funding/ scholarship information here ~
* Awards_With_A_SEPTEMBER_30TH_Deadline.pdf
Please find all funding/ scholarship information here ~

TA/TM Positions

Three to four teaching assistant/ tutor marker positions are available each year and Gerontology students get priority. See Teaching Assistant and Tutor Marker positions . These positions are also circulated via email to the student list.

Research Assistant Positions

Gerontology faculty have a number of ongoing research grants and regularly hire graduate students as Research Assistants.  Students enrolled in the program should speak directly to their senior supervisors and other faculty for details.

Graduate Advisor 

Roslyn McKoen

HC 2800

Drop-In Advising Hours: Mon-Wed 8AM-4PM

Talk to Ros about course selection, program planning and any questions or issues you have regarding your Gerontology classes.