PhD in Gerontology

The PhD in Gerontology program at Simon Fraser University provides advanced research training in gerontology grounded in an interdisciplinary theoretical foundation, current and prospective substantive issues, a range of research methods and statistical techniques, and knowledge to translate research into practice and policy.

Find course list and schedule here ~

The Department of Gerontology has a synergistic relationship with the Gerontology Research Centre that provides students with an enriched educational and training experience, as well as opportunities to apply their skills in an intellectually stimulating research environment.

Admission Requirements

Admission requires a Masters degree in Gerontology or other discipline in which a significant amount of coursework and/or thesis/project research deals with aging or the aged.  Students will be evaluated on an individual basis. Those not meeting these requirements need to take preparatory coursework equivalent to a Masters in Gerontology or Aging Studies.

Candidates must have a minimum 3.5 GPA. There must be supervisory capacity in the department to support the candidate’s research. Students must also meet University requirements for a doctoral level program, as per Graduate General Regulations 1.3.4.

Program Requirements

This program consists of three core courses, two electives, comprehensive examinations and a thesis. Students may be required to complete up to two additional courses if deemed necessary by the admissions committee. Students may substitute up to three courses from other programs with departmental approval. Students may also complete one directed studies (GERO 889).

Required Courses

  • GERO 803-4 Analytical Techniques for Gerontological Research
  • GERO 804-4 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Gerontology
  • GERO 806-4 Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology

Students who have completed equivalent courses in their graduate degree, may be permitted to substitute these courses with electives.

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

Elective Courses

Environment and Aging 

  • GERO 810-4: Community Based Housing for Older People 
  • GERO 811-4: Institutional Living Environments 
  • GERO 822-4: Families, Communities, and Health (can be used for either concentration) 
  • 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 820-4: Principles and Practices of Health Promotion/Population Health
  • GERO 822-4: Families, Communities and Health 
  • GERO 823-4: Mental Health and Illness in Later Life 
  • GERO 840-4: Special Topics

 

Comprehensive Examinations

After completion of all coursework, students will write two comprehensive examinations based on reading lists developed with their supervisory committee. 

Thesis Proposal // Thesis Defense

When both comprehensive examinations are satisfactorily completed, the student must develop and successfully defend a thesis prospectus before being officially admitted to candidacy for the PhD degree.


For a full description of the program requirements please visit the SFU Academic Calendar.

 

Application Process

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 gero@sfu.ca. Please provide your current SFU student ID or GA#, if you are new to SFU, and your reason for requesting the extension.

Transcripts

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. 

References

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 Research Interest

All applicants are required to submit a Statement of Research Interest. It is important for applicants to write a clear and detailed research statement in order for proper assessment by the admissions committee. A research statement should provide a clear articulation of the PhD dissertation’s substantive focus, justification and possible research methods. It is important to contextualize and ground the above in relevant literature. The Statement should be approximately 1200 words in length. Please contact the department for a sample at (778) 782-5047 or via e-mail at gero@sfu.ca.

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.

Writing Samples

Copies of up to three published articles may be submitted for consideration by the Admissions Committee. Writing samples should be submitted directly to the Department of Gerontology office.

Supervisor Pre-Selection

Applicants MUST identify a senior supervisor from within the Department of Gerontology based on compatability of research interests. Applicants are expected to contact their selected supervisor/s in order to discuss their research interest prior to submission of the application. The list of faculty members and their research areas can be found here

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.  

Graduate Entrance Scholarships

Graduate 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 Samples (up to three)

 

Funding

There are a variety of funding opportunities for students in the Gerontology PhD program - some are department specific and some are available to all students. Though our department is small relative to others in the university, most of our PhD students have received prestigious awards such as the SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship.

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 fellowshipsFull Terms of Reference

Application for ALL awards (unless noted otherwise) is made via the online graduate awards application system (GA3).

Scholarships

* 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
gero@sfu.ca

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.