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Gerontology Ph.D. and Applied Sociology M.A.

Gerontology doctoral students may simultaneously earn an M.A. in Applied Sociology. This program is only available to students who are accepted into the Gerontology Ph.D. Program and remain in the program in good standing. While primarily intended for students in the track in social, cultural and behavioral sciences (SCB), any Gerontology graduate student is eligible to apply for admission to this program. There is no change in application or admission procedures for students applying to the Gerontology Doctoral Program.


Those wishing to apply to the Combined Ph.D.-M.A. Program upon admission should indicate so in their application letter. For those currently enrolled in the program please fill out the application form and return to Mary or Jean at UMBC. Once you indicate you want to be considered for the combined degree your original application to the gerontology program will be submitted to sociology. It will be reviewed by the M.A. admissions committee who makes the final determination about your admittance into the M.A. in Applied Sociology.


There is significant overlap in coursework. The overlap includes 9 credits of research methods/statistics requirements, as well as other courses taken to meet the SCB track requirements that are courses in the M.A in Applied Sociology. In addition, students taking the SCB track would be required to take an additional 3 credits, selected with input of their advisor, from the graduate level offerings of Applied Sociology to satisfy the credit hour requirements of that program. Students are strongly encouraged to select the non-thesis (analytic paper) option in the M.A. in Applied Sociology, since Gerontology students receive substantial study design and research training and experience in Theory/Methods I and II, while working as research assistants, and via the dissertation. Each degree will be noted on a single transcript. This combined degree program allows students to apply courses toward both degrees.

Analytic Paper 

Students completing the combined degree will be in the non-thesis option of the M.A. in Applied Sociology, and hence will complete the required analytic paper, in accordance with the existing guidelines in that program and with approval of two faculty in Sociology and Anthropology.


Only one (Ph.D.-level) dissertation is required. To meet the training goals of the combined-degree program the dissertation must have significant sociological content and/or methods. At least one dissertation committee member must be a sociologist and graduate faculty member with a primary appointment in Sociology & Anthropology, in addition to the existing requirements of the Gerontology Doctoral Program for composition of the dissertation committee (that it be interdisciplinary and bi-campus, and include members affiliated with the Gerontology program).


Both the Ph.D. and M.A. degree are to be awarded together at the completion of all degree requirements. Students must remain in good standing in the Ph.D. program to continue in the combined-degree program. If a student withdraws from the Gerontology program, he or she would need to complete any remaining M.A. requirements in order to obtain that degree.

Course Requirements for the combined-degree program (64 Credits) 

Students in this program who are interested in taking courses to meet these requirements other than those specifically listed here should get advance approval by faculty advisors in both programs.

Methods/Statistics (18 credits) 

  • SOCY 600-Grad Research Methods (3)
  • SOCY 604-Grad Statistics (3)
  • Advanced Methods/Analytic Course (6)
  • At least one from SOCY605, SOCY607, SOCY610,SOCY619, PSYC 711, ECON 611
  • GERO 750—Theory/Methods I (3)
  • GERO 751—Theory/Methods 2 (3)

Methods/Statistics (9 credits) 

  • SOCY 600 (3)
  • SOCY 604 (3)
  • Additional Analytic Course (3), Select one from SOCY605, SOCY607, SOCY610,SOCY619, PSYC 711, ECON 611

GERO Core Courses (15 Credits) 

  • GERO 614-Biology of Aging (3)
  • PREV/GERO 681-Epi. of Aging (3)
  • GERO 700-Sociocultural Gero (3)
  • GERO472 – Public Policy & Aging (3)
  • PSYC/GERO 786-Psych of Aging (3)

Applied SOCY Content (21 credits) 

  • GERO 700 – Sociocultural Gero (3)
  • Select 3 SCB Track Courses (9), below
  • Select 3 SOCY/ANTH courses (9), below

GERO SCB Track Requirements (9 credits) 

  • SOCY629 – Aging in Cultural Context (3)
  • SOCY 634 – Gender & the Life Course (3)
  • SOCY 632 – Work & Retirement (3)
  • SOCY 631 – Family & Aging in Society (3)
  • SOCY 630 – Sociology of Aging (3)
  • Other advisor-approved SOCY/ANTH GERO courses with a focus on aging. 

Elective Credits (6 credits) 

  • From SOCY/ANTH graduate courses with approval of advisor. 

Other Requirements 

  • Dissertation (12 credits)
  • CIPP909 Responsible conduct of research (1) Other Requirements
  • Analytical Paper

Click here for dual degrees