Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work

The Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work at the University of Missouri is designed to expand the pool of professionals who are qualified to work in settings with older adults and their families. The certificate focuses on practice strategies of social work intervention from micro, mezzo, and macro perspectives.

This certificate will be available to students enrolled in the MU School of Social Work master’s program as part of their graduate training as well as a stand-alone certificate to graduate level clinical social work practitioners and graduate level policy and administration social work practitioners who wish to augment their knowledge and skills in this area. Approval of the MSW Program Director and Committee, and Director of the Graduate certificate in Gerontological Social Work is required for admission to the certificate program.

Participants in the Gerontological Social Work Certificate program build awareness and expertise for work in settings that serve older adults and their families. Participants are trained in micro, mezzo, macro and clinical strategies known to be effective in work with older adults and their families. An interdisciplinary, multi-level emphasis will be provided in the program since a large component of elder care is the coordination and management of services provided by various disciplines. Course work will utilize a bio-psycho-social-cultural perspective emphasizing the ecological perspective, Lawton’s theory of environmental press, resiliency, and the functional age model of family work. In addition, students will build awareness of aging policies and services, and policies that impact persons with disabilities and women.

As a result of earning the Gerontological Social Work Graduate Certificate, practicing MSW’s or Post-MSW degree practitioners can expect enhanced employability due to the development of new skills that respond to growing societal need. Current MSW students benefit from the graduate certificate by completing a concentrated course of study on a population group and obtaining specialty training with population/services needing graduate level social workers.

Because all of the Gerontological Social Work Graduate Certificate courses fulfill other requirements of our MSW program, a current MSW student can conveniently earn the Gerontological Social Work Graduate Certificate while completing their MSW. No additional coursework is required.

The Gerontological SW Grad Certificate consists of 12 credit hours.

Required Courses6
Helping Strategies with Older Persons
Social Policy for Older Adults
Choose one:3
Clinical Selective
Family Treatment
Resiliency and Solution-Focused Practice
Client Case Management, Networking, and Advocacy
Narrative Approaches to Social Work Practice
Policy, Planning & Administrative students choose:
Disability Rights Advocacy
Students will choose from a variety of acceptable interdisciplinary courses for fourth class3

During the final semester of the MSW Program, the full-time block practicum experience 40 hours/week (680 total hours) is arranged at a setting where students will gain skills practicing with older adults. The Director of Field in conjunction with the Director of the Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work works with students to choose a practicum setting that fits SSW requirements and student interests. Practicing MSWs only complete 12 hours of coursework and are not required to complete an additional practicum experience.

For additional information about the Graduate Certificate in Gerontological Social Work, please contact Dr. Colleen Galambos at

Federal Gainful Employment disclosure information for this Graduate Certificate is available at

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