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Explore our MS in Human Services Gerontology specialization

Aging populations with special needs are creating a greater demand for professionals who can facilitate the integration of services for the older adult, including health and home care, financial and lifestyle, and issues of daily living. The Gerontology specialization prepares you to meet this growing need. In this program, you will explore the impact of societal expectations on the elderly and demographic trends, including global cross-cultural issues in aging. You will develop a broad understanding of factors that affect the quality of life for the geriatric population, from the physiological changes of aging, to the effects of chronic disease, to the challenges of independent living.

With this specialization, you could pursue a number of roles, including elder residence administrator, activities and activation coordinator, housing placement advisor, community care coordinator, capacity assessor, policy advisor, financial advisor, elder program developer, manager for elderly and elder mediation, elder care case manager, hoarding specialist, or an Elder Services Coordinator designation under Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR).

Program Savings

Receive a $2,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our enrollment specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now


Completion Requirements

  • 48 total quarter credits
    • Foundation course (3 cr.)
    • Core courses (25 cr.)
    • Elective/specialization courses (15 cr.)
      (Includes Grant Writing course with final project targeted to specialization)
    • Capstone (5 cr.)

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.


Course Code Title Credits
HUMN 6000

Foundation of Graduate Study in Human Services

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Walden University and to the requirements for successful participation in an online curriculum. It provides a foundation for academic and professional success as a scholar-practitioner and as a social change agent. Topics include the relation of the mission and vision to professional goals; development of the program of study and Professional Development Plan; strategies for online success; introduction to the online library; and introduction to critical thinking, professional writing, and academic integrity. Course assignments focus on practical application of writing and critical-thinking skills and the promotion of academic excellence.

(3 cr.)
HUMN 6160

The Advanced Human Services Professional Practitioner in a Changing World

As leaders, advanced human services professional practitioners can inhabit many roles: generalist, planner, advanced case manager, advocate, humanitarian, and outreach worker. Throughout this course, students try on these roles in response to authentic human services scenarios in settings within a fictional community. In each scenario, they observe advanced human services professional practitioners applying role-specific strategies, approaches, and theories to help service users. Students also assess their current knowledge, skills, and abilities in relation to each role, as well as the values and experiences they bring to the profession. By the end of the course, students develop and refine a professional identity statement as a leader in the human services profession and examine self-care strategies relevant to the work of an advanced human services professional practitioner.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6161

Assessment and Motivational Interviewing

Advanced human services professional practitioners frequently work with service users who are experiencing crisis and are in need of assessment to determine their level of care and to assist them with establishing and achieving goals. In this course, students develop motivational interviewing skills to help service users identify and self-motivate to achieve the goals they desire. Students apply motivational interviewing skills, such as open-ended questioning, affirming, reflective listening, and summarizing, to authentic human services case studies in the context of assessment. Students also have an opportunity to develop supervisory skills by providing constructive feedback on their peers' motivational interviewing and assessment skills.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6162

Cultural Humility and Diversity

Students in this course examine the theory, philosophy, and practice of working with diverse populations, with a focus on the interplay between individual and unique cultures within societies and organizations attempting to move toward equality and cultural humility. They explore cultural issues and ethics related to economic disparity, power, privilege, and social justice. Students also explore the complex social, political, and related ethical challenges advanced human services professional practitioners face as they seek to meet the needs of diverse populations. Applying concepts presented in the course, students engage in in-depth assessments of emerging or persistent ethical or social justice issues, through which they demonstrate their ability to empower, support, and connect service users with community resources. Throughout the course, students engage in readings, case studies, and practical assignments to build skills to work in multicultural environments and participate in an immersive experience with a specific culture to further develop their cultural humility.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6480

Applied Research and Evaluation Methods

Organizational credibility, community trust, and fund-raising are increasingly dependent upon demonstration of program effectiveness and success. Students in this course are introduced to research and evaluation methods in the public and nonprofit sectors. They examine the strengths, limitations, and threats to validity; models, quantitative metrics, and tools used to evaluate programs and policies; and legal and ethical issues associated with research and evaluation methods. Students are asked to critically evaluate sample research using these parameters.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6815

Introduction to Dimensions of Contemporary Aging

Great improvements in medicine, public health, science, and technology enable today's older adults to live healthier, longer lives. In this course, students explore theories and practices for providing services to older adults who remain independent and vibrant members of their families and communities. Students delve into models of aging in place, including ways of assessing health, social and economic needs, and identifying and prioritizing options in physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual health promotion activities and programs.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6242

Changing Health Behavior: Theory and Practice

Students in this course will review past and current models of health behavior change, disease prevention, disease management, and relapse prevention. Coverage of health-related issues includes dietary needs, tobacco and drug use, safer sexual practices, and stress management. In addition, students will examine the analysis of behavior change within specific populations (young, elderly, cognitively impaired, etc.) and factors that predict or serve as obstacles to lifestyle change and adherence.

(5 cr.)
HUMN 6207

Grant Writing

Grant writing is a highly marketable skill that requires many nonprofit, educational, and community organizations to secure external funding to provide needed services to the community. In this course, students will explore the basic skills needed for non-research grant writing, including identifying potential funding sources, creating objectives and a need statement, preparing and justifying a budget, identifying appropriate assessment plans, and writing an executive summary. Through course assignments, students directly apply what they are reading and discussing by writing a full grant proposal based on an actual Request for Proposal (RFP).

(5 cr.)

Elective Course

HUMN 6660

Social Change, Leadership, and Advocacy for Human Services Professionals

This course is designed to enhance students’ understanding of the responsibility of human service professionals to foster social change; provide leadership and service to the human services professions; and advocate for their community, clients, colleagues, and professions. Students use research to examine the current trends and issues of the profession and identify how community, national, and international issues affect human services professions. Students also gain an understanding of the processes of advocacy and social change. Students continue to enhance their professional development plans by identifying specific goals for professional involvement and service. 

(5 cr.)

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost Total *
Tuition 48 total quarter credit hours $495 per quarter hour $23,760
Technology Fee Per quarter $160 $800

TOTAL $24,560

Transfer up to 20 credits $10,220

Total with Maximum Transfer Credits† $14,340

The tuition reflects the minimum credits to completion. Program completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of your time to completion, call an Enrollment Specialist at 855-646-5286.

*Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

Maximum transfer credit total includes reduction in technology fee as related to reduced number of courses over time


Many Walden degree-seeking students—67%—receive some form of financial aid.* Create a customized plan that makes sense for you.

*Source: Walden University’s Office of Financial Aid. Data reports as of 2018.

Find Ways to Save

Program Savings

Receive a $2,000 grant if you reside in the U.S. and start this program on November 30, 2020. Contact one of our enrollment specialists to learn more.

Get Started Now

Admission Requirements

To be considered for this master’s program, you must have a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, from an accredited school and meet the general admission requirements. All applicants must submit a completed online application and transcripts. More information for international applicants.



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