Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Secondary Major in Gerontology
Question: What is gerontology?
It is the study of the social, psychological and physical aspects of aging and the effects of our aging population on society.
Why should I add this to my major? What are the advantages? How will this benefit my career?
Many former students have stated that their careers and job opportunities were enhanced by their gerontology training. A secondary major provides extra credentials for employment by supplementing your knowledge base within your chosen career path. Americans are now living longer due to technological advances. They are also a diverse group with a wide range of needs and interests. There are almost unlimited possibilities for individuals to work not only in the field of healthcare and retirement planning, but also in the delivery of new products and services. Having a background in gerontology may provide job opportunities in the areas of financial/legal services, leisure/travel/hospitality, fitness/wellness, advocacy, marketing and product development, counseling, program planning and evaluation, architectural/environmental services, and more. People working in the field of gerontology report great job satisfaction and feel that they are truly making a difference in the lives of older Americans.
What is a secondary major?
A secondary major requires more hours than a minor, but less hours than a double major. It allows you to get an area of specialization within your preferred area of study and is typically more interdisciplinary than a minor. Most students find it enhances their job opportunities after college. If a student is applying for medical school or additional degrees after their Bachelors degree, they find it gives them an edge in the application process. The Secondary Major in Gerontology at Kansas State University requires a total of 24 credit hours which may overlap with courses taken for the students’ primary major. The secondary major may not be completed as a stand-alone program.
Is the program offered online?
Some of the elective and required courses are offered online. With careful planning of courses students might be able to complete the program online.
How does the program work?
Students take two required courses: GERON 315 Intro to Gerontology and GERON 600 Seminar in Gerontology plus 18 hours of electives taken from a list of approved courses. Electives must be completed in at least 3 separate departments. Other courses may be approved if they include significant aging-related content.
What is the procedure for adding the Secondary Major in Gerontology?
Students should contact Stephanie Gfeller firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-826-2692 to make arrangements to complete the Minors and Secondary Majors form. Once completed, it is sent to the Registrar’s office to be added to the student record.
Do I need to take the required courses first or in any specific order?
Students should take the Intro to Gerontology in one of their first few semesters at Kansas State University, because it provides background information for the other gerontology courses. It does not need to be the very first class that a student takes in the program. The Seminar in Gerontology should be one of the last classes to be taken.
Can a course count for both my major requirements and my secondary major requirements?
Students may use a course to count for both the major and the secondary major. Some majors at Kansas State University will allow students to use some of their gerontology courses as professional or unrestricted electives.
Who will be my advisor for the Secondary Major?
Stephanie Gfeller serves as the Salina Gerontology Program Coordinator and advisor for the program. She certifies completion of the requirements when a student is ready to graduate. She can be contacted by telephone at 785-826-2692 or by email at email@example.com. She will communicate with a student's major advisor as needed to ensure the student is meeting all necessary requirements.
Do I have to be a student in the College of Human Ecology?
No, this is an interdisciplinary program. Students may be in any college and any degree program at Kansas State University. Some majors will naturally have more overlap of elective courses than others. However there are no restrictions on who can declare the Secondary Major as an undergraduate student.
Can I complete the Secondary Major without completing a bachelor's degree?
No. Students must complete an undergraduate degree at Kansas State University to receive official recognition of the Secondary Major on their records. It should be completed concurrently with a Bachelors degree. It is not a stand-alone program. K-State allows minors to be completed after the Bachelors degree has been issued, but that is not possible with Secondary Majors.
Is it possible to simply do the coursework and then declare this option when I’m getting ready to graduate?
You could do this, but it’s best to declare this option as early as you can so that the gerontology advisor can oversee your coursework. This will ensure you get everything completed by your graduation date without any errors. In addition, once you declare the secondary major you’ll start receiving the electronic gerontology student news which includes career information as well as announcements of upcoming events on campus and new classes that may be offered.
Can I earn graduate credit with this program?
Can I transfer credits from another program or university?
Yes. Up to six credit hours can be transferred into the Secondary Major in Gerontology with the approval of the gerontology advisor. More information is available in the course catalog.
I found a course in the schedule that is not approved as an elective for this program, but I think it should count. Who do I contact about this?
The gerontology advisor and the Center on Aging director will review course information to determine whether it may be used in the program. The Center on Aging will usually require a copy of the course syllabus as well as information on textbooks used, and may also contact the course instructor in order to assess the gerontology content of the class.
I’m planning to complete an internship for my primary major in an organization that serves older adults. Can that course be used as an elective for gerontology?
It may be possible to use an internship to count toward gerontology studies requirements. Students must talk to the gerontology advisorin advance of an internship to see what can be arranged.
I’d like to do a gerontology internship in the Salina area or in my hometown during the summer. Is there some benefit to doing an internship? What is the procedure and/or the requirements?
Many students find it is helpful to have an internship experience specific to gerontology on their transcript when they begin to apply for jobs after graduation. Their comments indicate that employers like to see this type of experience, and students feel that they gained a lot of knowledge about the older population during the internship. For more information on course requirements, credit hours and possible placement sites, please contact the gerontology advisor. Gerontology internships must be arranged before the start of the semester in which the student is enrolled in the course. Enrollment in GERON 605 is by permission only. Students will be required to keep a daily log of their internship activities as well as complete a project during their internship.
I’m trying to complete my schedule for enrollment. Where can I find a list of all the classes offered next semester?
The Salina Gerontology Program Coordinator posts a list of all the Gerontology Courses for a given semester on the website. This schedule is usually posted within a few days of the posting of the official university course schedule (prior to enrollment). Any course posted on this page will be accepted toward the Secondary Major in Gerontology. Questions about specific courses can be directed to the Salina Gerontology Program Coordinator
Who teaches the gerontology classes at Kansas State University?
The required courses (Intro to Gerontology and Seminar in Gerontology) as well as any course with a GERON prefix are taught by Center on Aging staff. Elective courses are taught by faculty in departments across the university who have an interest in aging-related issues within their areas of expertise.
Will this be listed on my diploma when I graduate? How does K-State know that I’ve completed this program?
Minors and Secondary Majors are not listed on the student diploma. It will be listed on the student transcript, and the Center on Aging will provide a certificate upon completion of the program and the undergraduate degree. Students must apply for graduation for both their primary and their secondary major in KSIS during their last semester at K-State. The gerontology advisor will then review the applications for graduation and approve them in KSIS so that they become a part of the student's academic records.
Whom do I contact for more information?
Questions about the Gerontology program at Kansas State University Salina should be directed to:
Stephanie Gfeller, MS
K-State Salina Gerontology Program Coordinator
Kansas State University
Salina, KS 67401