Undergraduate minor: aging and longevity studies
Undergraduate certificate: aging and longevity studies
Graduate certificate: aging and longevity studies
Faculty: https://socialwork.uiowa.edu/people
Website: https://socialwork.uiowa.edu/

Aging and Longevity Studies offers undergraduate and graduate programs and a selection of courses open to students in all majors.

Undergraduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences who would like to focus on aging and longevity studies as their major or as a second major should consider the individualized plan of study track offered by the Interdepartmental Studies Program; see Interdepartmental Studies in the Catalog. Entry into the program requires approval of a plan of study.

Undergraduate students working on a Bachelor of Arts degree in the School of Social Work have the option to use some aging-related coursework as an area of focus in their major. Graduate students earning a Master of Social Work degree can declare gerontology/aging as an area of focus by completing coursework in aging. For more information, contact the School of Social Work.

Three students discussing class topics.

Aging and Longevity Studies is administered by the School of Social Work.

Undergraduate Programs of Study



Graduate Program of Study


The Aging and Longevity Studies Program minor or undergraduate or graduate certificate is an important asset for employment in any field. Working with an aging population and the issues affecting them will be increasingly important as the population of older adults also rises.

Among the organizations that have hired University of Iowa students and alumni are assisted living centers, retirement communities, senior centers, long-term care organizations, hospice centers, elder services, state government, businesses, advocacy organizations, and athletic clubs.

Areas of employment for individuals with specializations in aging and longevity studies include the following.

  • State and local government agencies: State Department on Aging; Area Agency on Aging; all departments will be affected by population aging, even if they do not specialize in working with older adults, such as transportation, energy, housing, human services, small business supports, veterans services, among others.
  • Nonprofit organizations: senior centers; the American Association of Retired Persons (national, regional, and state offices); Exploritas/Elderhostels (travel options for older adults).
  • Social service organizations: Meals on Wheels, congregate meal sites, heating assistance programs, and transportation.
  • Private corporations: human resources departments.

Aging and Longevity Studies Courses

ASP:1000 First-Year Seminar 1 s.h.

Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.

ASP:1800 Aging Matters: Introduction to Gerontology 3 s.h.

Overview of the field of gerontology from a bio-psycho-social framework; how the human body and brain age, effects of these biological changes on physical and cognitive functions, and interaction of these individual factors with societal contexts; broad perspective to give students a foundation in gerontology, paving the way for more advanced courses in biology of aging, psychology of aging, and global aging; for students from a wide range of disciplines and levels, no prior knowledge of aging required. GE: Social Sciences. Same as CSD:1800, NURS:1800, SSW:1800, TR:1800.

ASP:2000 Big Ideas: Creativity for a Lifetime 3 s.h.

Exploration of what senior artists can teach about creativity and aging; interdisciplinary project-based collaborative learning opportunities that consider role of arts and creativity across a lifespan; essential skills necessary to be professionals in numerous careers including health, social work, education, humanities, and the arts; identification of ways for students to be more creative in their own lives and work. GE: Values and Culture. Same as ARTS:2000, EDTL:2000, RHET:2000.

ASP:2181 The Anthropology of Aging 3 s.h.

Comparative anthropological perspective on aging; ethnographies from diverse contexts used to examine intersections of kinship, religion, health, and medicine in later life. Same as ANTH:2181, GHS:2181.

ASP:2265 Hard Cases in Healthcare at the End of Life 3 s.h.

Preparation for future healthcare providers to make difficult ethical decisions regarding the end of life; interactive course. Same as GHS:2265, RELS:2265.

ASP:3135 Global Aging 3 s.h.

Demographic factors that contribute to the worldwide phenomena of population aging in context of WHO Active Aging and the United Nation's Principles for Older Persons frameworks. Same as GHS:3050, SSW:3135.

ASP:3150 Psychology of Aging 3 s.h.

The later years of human life viewed from perspectives of developmental psychology, biology, sociology.

ASP:3151 The Anthropology of the Beginnings and Ends of Life 3 s.h.

Examination of diverse understandings of birth and death, drawing on anthropological analysis of personhood, kinship, ritual, and medicine; how social inequality and new technologies shape human experience at life's margins. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101 or ANTH:2100. Same as ANTH:3151, GHS:3151.

ASP:3152 Anthropology of Caregiving and Health 3 s.h.

Diverse understandings and practices of care around the world; focus on relationships between caregiving practices and health across the life course. Same as ANTH:3152, GHS:3152.

ASP:3160 Biology of Aging 3 s.h.

Biogerontology; definition of aging and senescence, biological theories of aging, demographics, model systems foraging, premature aging syndromes, aging of organ systems in humans.

ASP:3170 Health and Aging 3 s.h.

Lifespan approach to understanding human biological development with emphasis on the experience of older adulthood and health; key concepts and how they are measured, including health promotion, wellness, and optimal aging. Recommendations: ASP:1800.

ASP:3300 Mapping the Creative Legacy 3 s.h.

Reviewing a lifetime of creative work offers a unique window into the influences and perspectives that shape an artist's development over decades; understanding creativity throughout the lifespan; fieldwork with senior artists to document the evolution of their original output; generating oral histories, documenting a substantial number of artistic works, and helping to produce a creative legacy; course culminates with a gallery exhibition of senior artists' work, curated by the students.

ASP:3400 Film, Media, and Aging 3 s.h.

Examination of trends in the way that aging and older adulthood are portrayed in film and other media.

ASP:3519 Politics of Aging 3 s.h.

Core concepts and methods related to aging and policies that address the needs of older persons; demographic measures of population health and aging, including incidence and distribution of specific conditions relevant in older age; theories of public policy and involvement of older persons in the political process; key historical and current policies, at both the federal and state/local levels, that influence service provision and the well-being of older persons in the United States. Same as POLI:3519.

ASP:3740 End-of-Life Care for Adults and Families 3 s.h.

End-of-life issues in care of adults, older adults, and their families. Same as MED:3740, NURS:3740.

ASP:3786 Death/Dying: Issues Across the Life Span 3-4 s.h.

Introduction to the field of end-of-life care; examination of student concerns about death, dying, and grieving process; historical, cultural, societal, and personal perspectives of death and dying in modern society. Same as SSW:3786.

ASP:3900 Independent Study in Gerontology arr.

Individual projects and/or research.

ASP:3920 Service Learning in Aging Studies 1-3 s.h.

Experiential learning in settings with older adults. Corequisites: ASP:1800, if not taken as a prerequisite.

ASP:4000 Senior Living and Support Services for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities 3 s.h.

Overview of continuum of care and services designed to meet needs of older adults and persons with disabilities; services for functionally independent persons; focus on older adults with mild to moderate functional limitations; how services are financed; basic screening and assessment tools and techniques; exploration of services available in individual and group settings (i.e., senior centers, home health, rehab, assisted living, nursing homes, hospice).

ASP:4165 Communication Disorders and Aging 1-2 s.h.

Introduction to speech, language, and hearing processes and disorders among older adults; survey of characteristics of communication and communication breakdown, remediation, and strategies for improving communication with older adults with communication disorders; primarily for majors and other health care service providers. Same as CSD:4165.

ASP:4190 Aging Studies Internship and Seminar 3 s.h.

Opportunities for students in various disciplines to relate their areas of study to older adults and aging; interdisciplinary relationships, approaches to meeting needs of older adults; an online seminar that meets regularly is included in this experience. Same as SSW:4190.

ASP:4470 Physiology of Aging 3 s.h.

Aging's effects on cells, tissues, and organs; how aging influences function of major body organ systems and the whole organism; physiological mechanisms that underlie age‑related changes in body function and performance; integrative approach with focus on human aging. Prerequisites: HHP:3500 or HHP:3550. Same as HHP:4470.

ASP:5401 The Care of the Frail Elderly 3 s.h.

Clinical management of the elderly; emphasis on economic considerations, principles of gerontological care, common syndromes, ethical issues; clinical application experience in a long-term care setting. Prerequisites: NURS:5035. Corequisites: NURS:6200 and NURS:6701. Same as NURS:5401.

ASP:5750 Medicare and Medicaid Policy 3 s.h.

Health policies most pertinent to Americans over age of 65. Same as HMP:5750.

ASP:6000 Graduate Gerontology Capstone 3 s.h.

Review of core concepts as identified by the Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) in the form of core competencies; students engage in discussions related to gerontological ethical issues at individual, family, and societal levels; receive guidance in developing and writing a major research paper relevant to their field; and engage in discussions related to uses of their gerontological knowledge in terms of looking for a job or pursuing further education.

ASP:8355 Introduction to Geriatric Dentistry 2 s.h.

Biological, psychological, and social aspects of aging; normal aging and disease processes associated with aging; pathological changes that affect oral health treatment of dental diseases and patient management. Requirements: D.D.S. enrollment or completion of dental hygiene program. Same as PCD:8355.