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Department of Gerontology Simon Fraser University Calendar | Spring 2018

Gerontology

Master of Arts

A master of arts (MA) degree with two concentrations is offered: environment and aging; health and aging. The program prepares students for professional roles with high level current knowledge, and substantial competence in research tasks necessary to undertake those roles. It also provides focused, interdisciplinary training for individuals in occupations offering services to older adults. Students will develop an appreciation of the complex ethical issues that are faced by persons working with older adults.

Each concentration covers specific problems and issues. The environment and aging concentration teaches planning, design, research and evaluation of working, living and recreational environments for older persons including families and community environments. Students will have backgrounds in architecture, interior design, urban and regional planning, social/human ecology, kinesiology, recreation and leisure studies, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, human factors, human geography, sociology, anthropology or environmental or social psychology.

The health and aging concentration provides knowledge applied to research, evaluation and critical analysis of health care systems and specific health promotion strategies. Students with degrees in psychology, sociology, anthropology, demography, health sciences, medical geography, social work, nursing, health education, physiotherapy, physical education or kinesiology would be probable candidates.

Students complete core methods courses and electives selected from the two concentrations. The program builds upon the expertise, research activities, clinical experience, and international reputation of the associated Gerontology Research Centre.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulation 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. 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. Check faculty research interests on the Gerontology website.

  • Qualified students will be accepted only if a suitable senior supervisor is available and willing to supervise the student.

Candidates who have not completed the post baccalaureate diploma in gerontology or have a minimum of four upper division courses with substantial aging content may be advised to complete courses from the diploma program prior to applying.

Program Requirements

This program consists of two core methods courses, electives, an internship, and either a thesis for a minimum of 30 units, or a project for a minimum of 38 units.

Project Option

Students must complete

GERO 803 - Analytical Techniques for Gerontological Research (4)

This course has been specifically designed to provide training in quantitative data analysis using SPSSx Programming Language with a focus on behavioral research problems in gerontology.

GERO 804 - Advanced Qualitative Methods in Gerontology (4)

Examines qualitative research methods used in social science research with special emphasis on gerontology. Specific focus will be placed on conducting interviews and participant-observations; field-notes, analyzing text-based data; and writing of qualitative studies.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Habib Chaudhury
We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 2290, Vancouver

and five elective courses chosen from the list below for a minimum 20 units*

and an internship

GERO 850 - MA Internship (4)

Students who do not have prior work experience in gerontology will secure placement in a public or private organization connected to gerontology. The work they undertake must be of sufficient depth and breadth to allow the student the opportunity to demonstrate his or her acquired knowledge and skills. Students will be required to produce a work report that will be an appraisal of the student's work experience. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: MA in Gerontology students in good academic standing who have successfully completed a Criminal Record Check.

and a project proposal

GERO 896 - Project Proposal (0)

Students will prepare a written research proposal prior to commencing research leading to the MA Project. The student will present their proposal to their supervisory committee only. The proposal will receive a grade of S or U. An unsatisfactory grade in the project proposal will trigger review by the Gerontology graduate committee as outlined in graduate general regulation 1.8.2. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

and a project

GERO 898 - MA Project (6)

A project must be written under committee supervision for formal examination as part of the program requirements for students in the project stream.

This project is examined as a thesis and must be submitted to the library upon completion.

Thesis Option

Students must complete

GERO 803 - Analytical Techniques for Gerontological Research (4)

This course has been specifically designed to provide training in quantitative data analysis using SPSSx Programming Language with a focus on behavioral research problems in gerontology.

GERO 804 - Advanced Qualitative Methods in Gerontology (4)

Examines qualitative research methods used in social science research with special emphasis on gerontology. Specific focus will be placed on conducting interviews and participant-observations; field-notes, analyzing text-based data; and writing of qualitative studies.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G100 Habib Chaudhury
We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 2290, Vancouver

and three elective courses chosen from the list below for a minimum of 12 units*

and an internship

GERO 850 - MA Internship (4)

Students who do not have prior work experience in gerontology will secure placement in a public or private organization connected to gerontology. The work they undertake must be of sufficient depth and breadth to allow the student the opportunity to demonstrate his or her acquired knowledge and skills. Students will be required to produce a work report that will be an appraisal of the student's work experience. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Prerequisite: MA in Gerontology students in good academic standing who have successfully completed a Criminal Record Check.

and a thesis proposal

GERO 897 - Thesis Proposal (0)

Students will prepare a written research proposal prior to commencing research leading to the MA Thesis. The student will present and orally defend their proposal to their supervisory committee and other members of the Gerontology community. The proposal will receive a grade of S or U. An unsatisfactory grade in the written proposal or oral defense will trigger review by the Gerontology graduate committee as outlined in graduate general regulation 1.8.2. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

and a thesis

GERO 899 - MA Thesis (6)

A thesis must be written under committee supervision for formal examination as part of the program requirements for students in the thesis stream.

Elective Courses*

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

Environment and Aging

GERO 806 - Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology (4)

Reviews major theories used in gerontology from diverse fields covering the individual and society, including environment and aging; health and aging; social and family relationships; social change; and behavioural change. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the fundamental assumptions of human aging experience underlying the theories; critical assessment of theoretical propositions; research evidence; and potential for synthesis.

GERO 810 - Community-based Housing, Health and Support Services for Older Adults (4)

This course presents an in-depth examination of theory, research and policy related to planning, designing, developing and managing housing for independent and semi-independent older adults.

Section Instructor Day/Time Location
G200 Atiya Mahmood
Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
HCC 1525, Vancouver
GERO 811 - Institutional Living Environments (4)

This course focuses on design issues, theory, research and policy relevant to planning, developing and managing institutional living environments for dependent adults.

GERO 822 - Families, Communities and Health (4)

Critically evaluates and synthesizes key theory, research and health promotion policy related to the intersection of aging families, communities and health. The principal theoretical perspectives will include: life course theory; social, human and cultural capital; ecological models; political economy; and community empowerment approaches. Equivalent Courses: GERO840.

GERO 830 - Aging in a Technological World (4)

Looks at the way information and communication technologies are transforming social and healthcare landscapes and explores how new technology impacts on the independence, social participation and quality of life of older people.

GERO 840 - Special Topics in Gerontology (4)

This course offers an opportunity to offer a specialized course in an area germane to the program but on a topic that is outside of the regular courses.

Health and Aging

GERO 802 - Development and Evaluation of Health Promotion Programs for the Elderly (4)

This course deals with the design, implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs and services for older persons. Students will participate in the development and critical analysis of a variety of health initiatives aimed at healthful aging.

GERO 806 - Interdisciplinary Theories in Gerontology (4)

Reviews major theories used in gerontology from diverse fields covering the individual and society, including environment and aging; health and aging; social and family relationships; social change; and behavioural change. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the fundamental assumptions of human aging experience underlying the theories; critical assessment of theoretical propositions; research evidence; and potential for synthesis.

GERO 820 - Principles and Practices of Health Promotion (4)

This course is designed to cover and critically evaluate concepts, models and theories of health promotion and wellness in the aging population. These methods of implementation will be discussed in relation to individual and structural health system issues facing the aged.

GERO 822 - Families, Communities and Health (4)

Critically evaluates and synthesizes key theory, research and health promotion policy related to the intersection of aging families, communities and health. The principal theoretical perspectives will include: life course theory; social, human and cultural capital; ecological models; political economy; and community empowerment approaches. Equivalent Courses: GERO840.

GERO 823 - Mental Health and Illness in Later Life (4)

Provides an overview of the range of mental illnesses affecting older adults, their respective diagnostic criteria, and empirically validated treatments (disorders with their onset in later life and those that extend into later years). Particular emphasis will be placed on the manner in which psychopathology presents differently among older adults, various theories of aetiology, barriers to diagnosis and treatment, and the social context in which mental illness is understood and treated across cultures.

GERO 840 - Special Topics in Gerontology (4)

This course offers an opportunity to offer a specialized course in an area germane to the program but on a topic that is outside of the regular courses.

*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

Program Length

Students are expected to complete the program requirements in 6 terms for a project and 9 terms for a thesis.

Other Information

Internship

Students will supplement their program with an internship by working for an agency or organization in a position of responsibility for a maximum of one term. This requirement can be fully or partially waived for students with prior relevant work experience in the professional field of gerontology after consultation with the student's senior supervisor and department chair.

Project Proposal

Students will prepare a written research proposal prior to commencing research leading to the MA Capstone Project The student will present their proposal to their supervisory committee only. The proposal will receive a grade of S or U. An unsatisfactory grade in the written proposal will trigger review by the Gerontology graduate committee as outlined in Graduate General Regulation 1.8.2.

Thesis Proposal

Students will prepare a written research proposal prior to commencing research leading to the MA Thesis. The student will present and orally defend their proposal to their supervisory committee and other members of the Gerontology community. The proposal will receive a grade of S or U. An unsatisfactory grade in the written proposal or oral defense will trigger review by the Gerontology graduate committee as outlined in Graduate General Regulation 1.8.2.

Capstone Project Option

Students will develop research-based capstone projects that will entail original work 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;

  • A critical analysis of a policy related to gerontology.

A capstone 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 1.10.1.

Thesis Option

Students preparing for advanced graduate training may be permitted to select a thesis option. The thesis provides high quality focused research. Original and innovative research is encouraged to meet this requirement. Students write and successfully defend a thesis proposal. The thesis requirement must meet the Graduate General Regulations 1.10.1.

Transferring to the PhD in Gerontology Program

Students in the MA program may apply to transfer to the PhD program. To do so, they must demonstrate their ability to carry out innovative, independent and original PhD level research in that field, have obtained high academic standing in previous university work, and have the support of their senior supervisor. All university regulations governing transfers must be met (Graduate General Regulation 1.3.4). Transfers will normally only be considered in the second through fifth terms after enrollment in the MA program. Transfer applications must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee, the Gerontology graduate studies committee, and the dean of graduate studies. Students transferring from the MA program will be eligible to earn only the PhD degree. Students will not be eligible to transfer to the PhD program beyond six terms of full-time equivalent course work in the MA program.

Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations

All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.