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Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2014;35(3):264-76. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2013.844694. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Survey of master's gerontology students spanning over 40 years.

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a School of Aging Studies , University of South Florida , Tampa , Florida , USA.


The University of South Florida's master's degree in gerontology is a long-established program that focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to population aging. This study identifies graduate students' needs in preparation for a professional career in gerontology. An online survey was distributed to graduates and those currently enrolled (N = 56) in order to better understand expectations for the program, identify outcomes of graduation, and obtain program recommendations for future students. The program's 40 year history was well represented with participants ranging from the first graduating class to current students. Results indicated high satisfaction in students' expectations of the program, educational experience, and assessment of faculty. Further, 68% of graduates reported success in gaining age-related employment shortly after graduation. However, students echoed well-known barriers in gerontology, reporting tough competition for jobs versus those with licensure, and challenges in promoting their nonclinical gerontology degree to employers. Respondents recommended more applied coursework and assistance with career planning to enhance employment opportunities upon graduation. Implications of these findings are discussed in further detail.


MA programs; gerontology degree programs; program evaluation; survey

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