Established in 1996, the Master of Arts in Gerontology program at SFU offers concentrations in environment and aging, and health and aging, preparing students for professional or academic roles requiring specialization in aging. It provides focused, interdisciplinary training for people seeking high-level applied and basic research skills, and an understanding and critical analysis of emerging issues, policies and programs targeting older adults.
Students in the program will develop an appreciation of the complex ethical issues that are faced by persons working with older adults. The program begins in September or January and includes two semesters of courses followed by independent research under the direction of a supervisory committee, leading to the defense of a Capstone Project or Thesis.
Some students may also require an internship, depending on evaluation of their experience. Average completion time is 2.5 years based on full time study. A limited number of part time students are admitted. Classes are held at the SFU Vancouver campus at Harbour Centre.
A Master of Arts degree with two concentrations is offered: environment and aging; and health and aging. Each concentration deals with specific substantive topics, problems, and issues.
The environment and aging concentration covers research, planning, design, policy and evaluation of working, living and recreational environments for older persons. Students will have backgrounds in architecture, human factors, human geography, gerontology, interior design, kinesiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, recreation and leisure studies, social/human ecology, sociology, environmental studies or social psychology, and urban and regional planning.
The health and aging concentration provides knowledge applicable to the study of health status changes and use patterns over the life course including critical analysis of our healthcare system, and development and evaluation of specific health promotion strategies and programs. Students with degrees in demography, health sciences, medical geography, gerontology, nursing, physical education, psychology, physiotherapy or kinesiology, recreation, social work, and sociology are likely candidates for this concentration.
Students take a core applied statistics course and electives selected from the two concentrations. The program builds upon the expertise, research activities, clinical experience, and international reputation of the Department of Gerontology and the associated Gerontology Research Centre.
Graduates of the program have successfully established careers in the field of Gerontology including research, service, and policy work in various levels of government, and senior administrative positions. A number of alumni have been accepted into prestigious PhD programs. A list of occupations of graduates of the MA program is available at: http://www.sfu.ca/gerontology/program_info_more_info/macareers.html.
Curriculum and Program Description
There are four program components: a core methods course; electives; Thesis or Capstone Project; and internship. Students complete seven courses: one core; and six electives chosen from the two concentrations. Students who complete a thesis in lieu of the project will take two less electives.
Core Methods Course
GERO 803-4 Analytical Techniques for Gerontological Research
Students select remaining courses from the concentration courses, other electives, or from outside the program if approved by the student’s senior supervisor. The objective is to build a concentration in environment and aging or health and aging-at least two courses in one of the two areas.
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**
Gero 830-4 Human Factors, Technology and Safety
Health and Aging
Gero 801-4 Health Policy and Applied Issues in Gerontology
Gero 802-4 Development and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs for the Elderly
Gero 820-4 Principles and Practices of Health Promotion
Gero 823-4 Mental Health and Illness in Later Life
Gero 840-4 Special Topics in Gerontology ***
** may be used for either concentration
*** may be used for either concentration depending on the topic
Elective Courses Outside of Concentration
Gero 804-4 Advanced Qualitative Methods in Gerontology
Gero 805-4 Advanced Statistics for Behavioural Analysis in Gerontology
Gero 806-4 Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology
Capstone Project or Thesis Option
Students present a written Thesis/Capstone Project proposal to their supervisory committee. Examples include:
A list of completed theses and projects is available at: http://www.sfu.ca/gerontology/program_info_more_info/theses.html.
Students who wish to prepare for advanced graduate training may be permitted to select a thesis option. Those students will complete two less elective courses. Students will be encouraged to engage in original and innovative research to meet this requirement. A Capstone Project or Thesis will be defended orally and evaluated by the supervisory committee and a qualified external examiner. Both must meet the guidelines set out in the Graduate General Regulations in the University calendar.
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.
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) LINK TO SFU ONLINE APPICATION SYSTEM
Full or Part-time Studies
Full-time studies are recommended. Each year a limited number of students may be accepted for part-time studies. If a student is accepted on a part time basis they must be available to take classes in the daytime during the week. The Masters in Gerontology is not available via distance education.
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 Research Interest
A 500-600 word statement of research interest is required and is a critical component of the application package. It should be focused and detailed. Examples are available upon request.
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. Detailed requirements at: (http://students.sfu.ca/calendar/ see Graduate General Regulations 1.3.12)
AdmissionCandidates 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:
MA PREREQUISITESApplicants must have completed 3 – 4 courses in aging/gerontology, including a social science research methods course, before applying. If an applicant has not undertaken any aging-related courses as part of their 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. Details can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/gerontology/program_info_post_bacc/ If you are not sure whether or undergraduate courses quality, please contact the department office at firstname.lastname@example.org for an evaluation.
The Gerontology Research Centre (GRC) conducts research on topics relating to aging. Specific areas of research concentration are: aging and the built environment, health promotion/population health and aging, prevention of victimization and exploitation of older persons, changing demography and lifestyles, older adult education.
Jointly operated by the GRC and British Columbia Institute of Technology, the Dr. Tong Louie Living Laboratory is a full-scale construction of a residential dwelling equipped with sophisticated movement monitoring and data acquisition capabilities. It is used to research effective environmental design, intelligent home applications and product development for older persons and adults with disabilities.
Key publications are held in the Belzberg Library and the Gerontology Information Centre. The WAC Bennett Library located at the Burnaby campus also has an extensive collection of monographs and serials in the area of social gerontology.
The Harbour Centre Campus in downtown Vancouver, features a fully computerized library and computer laboratories and is easily accessible by public transit.
Graduate Entrance Scholarship Application (optional)