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. 

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: 

  • A cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.33 scale (B), OR a grade point average of 3.33 on a 4.33 scale (B+) based on the last 60 credits of undergraduate courses. All graduate work is also considered.
  • 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 Studies

Admission requires an undergraduate degree in a health-related discipline such as health sciences, psychology, sociology, nursing or social work in which at least one social sciences research methods course was completed. Applicants from other disciplines, who have work experience with older adults, will also be considered. Typically, a student will have completed some aging-related coursework or papers. All applications will be evaluated on an individual basis and pre-requisite coursework may be required.  

Application Process

Application Deadlines

  • Fall 2024 (September Admission): January 1st to February 28th 
  • Spring 2025 (January Admission): July 2nd to August 31st

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 unofficial copies (e.g. scanned copy, photocopy etc.) of all their post-secondary transcripts as part of the online process. Only if you are offered admission, will you be required to send official transcripts directly from the institution to Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.


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

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 1.3.3 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
  • CV including scholarly work
  • Statement of Research Interest
  • Unofficial transcripts from all post secondary institutions (see note above)
  • Writing Sample (optional but recommended)

Apply Online

In order to use the online application system, you will need to pay an application fee of $110 CAN (students with Canadian transcripts) or $150 CAN (students with international transcripts) by credit card (MasterCard or Visa).

Start Application

Program Requirements

There are four program components: two required courses; electives; internship 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:

  • 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 Aging in a Technological World
  • GERO 840-4 Special Topics in Gerontology
  • 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 Practicum 

Students lacking relevant work experience will be required to supplement their program of study with a practicum. 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 practicum.

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


Financial Support

The Department of Gerontology provides funding to its graduate students through a combination of teaching positions (Teaching Assistant/Tutor Marker), Research Assistantships (available through individual faculty members), scholarships, Graduate Fellowships and private awards. Students must maintain full time enrollment and a minimum CGPA of 3.5 in their graduate work, to be eligible for funding. Support may be reduced or eliminated if the student has secured external financial support.

External funding is available to Gerontology graduate students of high caliber through the Government agencies SSHRC and CIHR. Application to these agencies is made in October and information can be found directly on the Graduate Studies website:

Graduate students must pay tuition every semester from the funding they receive. International students pay the same rate as domestic students ( The cost of tuition decreases after six semesters for MA students.


All Graduate Fellowships, President's Scholarships, Private Awards, and Travel/Research Awards are now handled by the Graduate Award, Application, and Adjudication System (GA3)

Below are brief descriptions of the main SFU merit-based scholarships/awards that are applicable only to Gerontology graduate students. For further details and the most up to date information, refer to the Terms of Reference which, as well as the application forms themselves, are available on the Graduate Award, Applicaiton, and Adjuciation System (GA3).

All scholarships/awards are contingent on the availability of funding, and the Terms of Reference may change without notice. In addition to these scholarships and awards, there are also a large number of internal and external funded awards, ranging up to approximately $10,000 in value. Please consult the graduate awards website for information on awards relevant to particular graduate programs.

Entrance Awards

Donor Awards

Financial Aid Awards

TA/TM Positions

Three to four teaching assistant/ tutor marker positions are available each year and Gerontology students get priority. Visit SFU's Human Resources page. 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.


All master's students are charged a 'per term fee' each term (fall, spring, and summer) of their enrollment. SFU admission and funding offers do not include a tuition waiver. 

Tuition and Fees

Graduate Advisor 

Sasha Gill

HC 2800

Drop-In Advising Hours: Mon-Wed 8AM-3PM

Please email Sasha to set up an advising appointment to discuss program planning and any questions or issues you have regarding your Gerontology classes.

Download the Gerontology MA One Pager for an overview of the admission requirements, program requirements, and financial support opportunities.

* Gerontology MA One Pager.pdf
Last updated: April 29, 2024