Master in Gerontology is a study programme that qualifies for planning, management, professional subject development, evaluation of and research on activities and programmes that target the elderly. The study programme meets with requirements that managers, researchers and others at all levels within the field have to comply with - in both public and private sectors.
The study programme consists of three components:
- Biological aging - i.e. aging processes that are manifest already from an early adult age on the level of cells and organism.
- Psychological aging - i.e. changes in behavioral patterns and mental processes through adult life and senior years.
- Social aging - i.e. changes in social roles in the same phase of life, and the reciprocal interplay between these roles and the structure of society.
Geriatrics (the science of old age diseases) is also closely connected to Gerontology. Many will state that Geriatrics is part of Gerontology, but most geriatricians regard their discipline as part of medicine and regard Gerontology as an additional perspective.
Gerontology is not an independent scientific/academic discipline. The subject is developed and develops by researchers from already established subjects showing an interest for aging. Biologists, doctors, psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, demographers etc. do research on aging processes by applying methods and theories from their own disciplines. Gerontology is an inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary activity and one of the few academic areas where inter-disciplinarity is cultivated. Even though most gerontologists work with limited, specialized issues/research questions, an interest for and competence in areas of Gerontology is typical for most researchers within this field.
In Gerontology aging is studies in a developmental perspective. In recent years Gerontology and life course research have become closely connected to each other. Important topics in life course research is the interplay between the development of society and that of the individual, how external forces contribute to shaping the life of generations, and how the course of lives change when the society changes. The life-course perspective has become important for all the more social science-related parts of Gerontology and has also been awarded a distinct part in the course programme. All the main areas of Gerontology are relevant for practical activity. Biological aging, along with insight from Geriatrics, Epidemiology and Demography is an important basis of knowledge for the planning and implementation of health- and care services. The same goes for knowledge about psychological aging, which is important for Psychogeriatrics, i.e. the science of psychiatric diseases of old age, including conditions of dementia. Knowledge about social aging is especially important for policies for the elderly.
The view of knowledge that underlies the course programme is the idea that knowledge is no constant and permanent feature, but something that is continually created and developed. The course material (theory) and practice meet in a process where the aim is more experience and development of knowledge for the student. Learning, or the development of knowledge, is seen as a process that can not be detached from social practice or the context where the knowledge is to be applied. A condition for learning is also that the learner participates actively in association with others. Learning is made visible by the change that takes place in the learner. Since learning is considered to be a process that involves the whole human being, the result of learning will be both an altered understanding of knowledge, a change of behaviour and a change of attitudes.
The experience-based character of the course programme is to be withheld by emphasing that theoretical knowledge, practical skills and clinical competence are important. Applied work methods in the course programme are to secure diversity, a personal form of expression and a professional understanding of promoting the individual student's competence of profession and cooperative competence within the field of Gerontology. Student-active methods and knowledge about adult education will imply planning for a learning process with a high degree of independence on the part of the student. The programme will alternate between sessions at the University College and computer-assisted student activities. The students' competence in finding relevant and reliable sources of knowledge will be given a high priority (library- and database- search).
120 ECTS are awarded for the study programme. The course is organized as a part-time study over 4 years. According to the Regulations for Requirements for the Master's Degree, Section 5, the study programme is classified as a Master's degree. The rationale for adapting the study programme as an experience-based Master's programme (Section 5), is the need for and the emphasis on the students' relevant work experience as a significant contribution to the formation of knowledge during the course.
Expected learning outcomes
In 2009 The Ministry of Knowledge laid down a National Qualifications Framework for Higher Education. This consists of the categories knowledge, skills and general competence. The Framework is also divided into three cycles, the Master's level being placed in the second cycle. With a Master's degree in Gerontology, the candidate shall have achieved the following learning outcomes:
- has a thorough knowledge of biological, psychological and social aging
- can discuss the causes behind and consequences of the aging society and aging processes on an individual level
- can apply knowledge about factors the influence the health, living conditions and quality of life for the elderly, and about services for treatment and care that are especially important for elderly people
- can assess the most important acute and chronic diseases that affect the elderly
- can initiate, plan and implement projects of development within care of the elderly and within policies for the elderly and be able to evaluate this kind of work
- can assess and make use of research-based knowledge in planning, revision and development
- can apply the most common research methods that are used in the research of Age and Aging
- can perform mapping and documentation on the level of the individual, the group and the society in a professional and ethically responsible way
- can supervise and advise the elderly and their next-of-kin, health- and social-personnel on the executive level, and to management and politicians on the funding and legislative level.
- can contribute to innovative thinking and participate in processes of innovation
Gjøvik University College has started collaboration with the University in Lund and the University College in Jönköping, both in Sweden, and Iceland's University about the NORDIC MASTER'S PROGRAMME IN GERONTOLOGY (NordMag) from the student admission of 2013. This means that the students at these Higher education institutions can take a Nordic Master's degree (NordMag) either as an independent course of study or as a supplement to a local Master's. The programme can take up to five students from each of the participating institutions. The students are enrolled at the participating University/University College in their own country.
The Course Programme requirement in NordMag is first a 5 ECTS computernetwork-based Introduction to Gerontology, followed by 10 ECTS's at minimum two of the Higher education institutions. Each institution will offer Intensive Courses of 10 ECTS. Finally, a Master's thesis of 30 ECTS will be written locally within a topic from Gerontology. Relevant contributions to NordMag at the various abovementioned institutions will probably be
- Introduction course (5ECTS) and the module “Environmental Gerontology (10ECTS) at the University of Lund
- "Policymaking and Services" at the University of Iceland
- Aging in the Nordic Countries" (10ECTS) or "Aging and Health" (10ECTS) at the University College in Jönköping
- "Psychology of Aging" at the University College in Gjøvik
Those students who follow the course programme NordMag must be in residence at least two of the mentioned places of study abroad. The stay shall be of at least one week of five days from 9AM - 4/5PM at each location during the period of two years (full-time study) or four years (part-time study). The language of instruction will be English if students who do not speak "Scandinavian" are present.
The University College is connected to the Nordplus Gerontology Network. This Network of academic institutions in the Nordic countries also offers courses within the field of Gerontology for Modules 2, 3 or 4 that can be approved as equal to the course programmes here.
The target group for this programme is professionals within the field of care for the elderly holding a Bachelor's degree or equivalent.
Guidelines for admission are based on Regulations on the Requirements for the Master's Degree Paragraph 5, corresponding to 120 ECTS. The requirements are:
- Bachelor degree (all approved health- and social care professional Bachelors of education)
- Cand. Mag. degree with a relevant prior professional background
- An education according to paragraphs 3-4 of the Act on Universities and University Colleges approved as equal to the abovementioned degrees or courses of education
- At least two year's relevant work experience after a completed Bachelor education
GUC can in special cases approve other documented qualifications that are fully or partly assessed as equal to the abovementioned courses of education. Exemption may also be given for parts of the study programme if the student can document competence equal to course requirements within one or more modules, for example from the further education programme of Aging and Care for the Elderly.
Applicants are ranked according to competitive points based on the final grade in their Bachelor course programme, and on possible work experience. Competitive points are calculated in this way:
|Points.||Grades (letter- / numeric grades)|
|6p||C / 2,6-2.7|
Additional points for practice/work experience will be awarded according to the following scale:
- one year's work experience in a full-time position = 0,50 points;
- one year's work experience in a half-time position = 0,25 points.
Maximum 3 points are awarded for work experience.
Additional points for an education beyond the admissions criteria of 180 ECTS according to the following rule:
- 0, 5 points for 30 ECTS.
A maximum of 2, 0 points for additional education.
The requirements will be adjusted according to National requirements for admission to Master's Degree studies.
The course programme consists of altogether 6 modules
1. MGE4001 Introduction to Gerontology (15 ECTS)
2. MGE4011 The Psychology of Aging and Psychogeriatrics (15 ECTS)
3. MGE4021 Social Aging and Policymaking for the Elderly (15ECTS)
4. MGE4031 Bodily Aging and Health Gerontology (15ECTS)
5. MGE4041 Research Methods, Research Ethics and Theory of Science (15ECTS)
6. MGE4901 Thesis for the Master's Degree (45 ECTS)
All the modules 1-5 can also be taken as separate, individual parts of further education. A precondition for this, however, is participation in the course programme introduction outlined in MGE4001 Introduction to Gerontology. The modules "MGE4011 Psychological Aging and Psychogeriatrics" and "MGE4031 Bodily Aging and Health Gerontology" correspond to the Modules 2 and 3 in the Framework plan of the current "Further Education in Aging and Care for the Elderly".
Pedagogical methods, forms of work and assessment
One plans for two joint meetings for all students at the University College for each module, each lasting four days. Furthermore, one plans for groupwork cooperation and individual studies. Because computer-supported methods are an important part of the study programme, thorough training in through the work on the Master's Degree thesis.
Organization of the learning activities
The course programme is structured as a combination of elements from the teaching locally in Gjøvik, distance learning and computer-based teaching. At the start of the course, students will receive thorough training in ICT as a learning tool, with a focus on "Fronter" (an electronic learning platform). They also receive training in searching for literature. During the first session permanent basic units with tutors will be formed.
Regular study sessions are a form of teaching that is given high priority. During these sessions, students as a group get the opportunity to focus intensively on the studies. These sessions will to a large degree be used to give resource lectures that mark the introduction to the individual disciplines to all the students. Focus will be given to the theoretical basis of the module. Students will then start work on the subject-specific area of specialization and obligatory study requirements for the Module. Emphasis will be given so that the sessions give the opportunity for dialogue between the different levels of the health service and the special areas of competence that the students represent, for example through oral presentations in plenary sessions.
Regularly course study requirements in the form of handing in assignments to portfolios will be used to motivate and stimulate for a regular and steady work load and progression. Participation in set basic units is mandatory. The basic units are student-led, but a regular tutorial resource will be offered so as to secure the students' experience of continuity throughout the study programme.
Students must have access to a PC with an internet connection and the possibility for transmitting sound and image in order to be able to participate in computer-based lectures/computer sessions used as pedagogical methods.