UG Certificate Description and Purpose

UH Undergraduate Certificate on Aging

UH Center on Aging

Goals of Certificate Program:

Few states are aging as rapidly as Hawaii. By 2020, approximately 25.8% of the State’s residents will be 60+ years old. In response to such radical demographic change, members of the workforce in Hawaii should receive basic gerontological training to better serve growing numbers of older patients, clients, and consumers. While Hawaii needs more geriatric health professionals and eldercare workers to address the medical and basic care needs of its aging population, it also needs workers in fields such as architecture, law, design, engineering, business, urban planning, fashion, the tourism and hospitality industry, and so on, who understand basic aging-related changes and know how to use that knowledge to accommodate and support older adults by making their products and services age-friendly.  The intent of the Undergraduate Certificate Program is not to produce professional gerontologists (although some students may choose this option), but to integrate gerontological knowledge with that of students’ respective majors, to better equip them for careers in the fields of their choice within a demographically transformed world.

Description of Certificate Program:

The UH Undergraduate Certificate on Aging is a 15-credit, interdisciplinary program for undergraduate students majoring in fields other than gerontology.  It is administered by the Center on Aging and draws upon approved gerontology courses offered across the Manoa campus. It is not a degree in gerontology, but more like a “minor” area of study.

The undergraduate certificate provides a foundational overview of aging: an introductory, interdisciplinary survey of gerontology; core courses on psychology, sociology, and biology/health aspects of aging; and a practicum/capstone course. The certificate provides the content and skills necessary for entry-level work with older adults.

Certificate Program Requirements:

  • The Undergraduate Certificate on Aging is a 15-credit program.
  • Students are required to take five approved aging-related courses in three different departments. One of the five courses should be a capstone course. (For the list of approved courses, see: Total List of Aging Courses.)  
  • At least 9 of the 15 credit hours must be at the 300 level or above.
  • With approval, a 499 (v) course and a relevant practicum may be applied toward the certificate.
  • With approval, undergraduate students may double count six credit hours with the major area of study.
  • Each student will have at least one Undergraduate Certificate Advisor, who will provide guidance in designing a program that best fits the interest of that student.

Student Performance Evaluation:

Students must maintain a 2.5 GPA overall and a 3.0 GPA in gerontology courses. Prior to graduation, the student participates in an Exit Interview with his/ her Undergraduate Certificate Advisor(s) to examine student mastery of five gerontology learning objectives: (1) Describe the factors that have led to an increasingly aged population and the impact of this phenomenon on individuals, families, communities, and countries. (2) Describe common biological, psychological, and social changes that accompany human aging. (3) Distinguish normal aging from disease. (4) Compare and contrast the various services available to older adults along a continuum from well elders to frail, ill, and dying elders. (5) Describe and discuss the impact of major policies pertaining to older adults in the U.S., e.g., Older Americans Act, the Social Security Act.

Quality Assurance:

The certificate program adheres to standards  defined by the Association of Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE)’s Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatrics In Higher Education (SIXTH EDITION) and Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education.