USC Online MA in Gerontology (MAG) and Master of Aging Services Management (MASM) Programs


The University of Southern California USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers an online master of arts in gerontology (MAG) and a master of aging services management (MASM) program. With the growing elderly population, healthcare professionals need to have the skills and knowledge to address their unique gerontological needs. The MA in gerontology is designed to help students understand the aging process and how better to serve older people. The MASM, by comparison, is designed to equip current and future managers in the aging services field to respond to the growing elderly population.

Applicants to the master of arts in gerontology (MAG) program are ideally professionals in the elderly care field who were previously trained in other areas such as public health, physical therapy, occupational therapy, social work, business, medicine, or law. Students in this program can learn to better understand the aging process and those they serve and distinguish themselves from their peers through their knowledge and skills concerning the aging.

Applicants to the master of aging service management (MASM) program learn skills to address the rapidly changing healthcare environment, meet the growing financial and care demands of the aging population with creative new approaches, and stay current on cutting-edge technology for elderly care. Agencies that employ professionals with a MASM degree include retirement communities, assisted living facilities, residential care facilities, home care and delivery services, and hospice care programs. New service areas being developed include lifelong creative therapy programs and home modification programs.

Notably, the USC Leonard David School of Gerontology has partnered with the Bank of America to create the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Longevity Training Program. This program is designed to drive current awareness and understanding of the needs of the aging population and their families by focusing on the latest in medical advances, research, and the psychological, physiological, and sociological aspects of aging, including how they impact the workforce as a whole. Overall, the program focuses on seven life priorities: work, home, family, health, leisure, giving, and finances.

The University of Southern California campuses are located in the heart of Los Angeles: the University Park Campus and the Health Sciences Campus.

What to Expect from the Online Master of Arts (MAG) in Gerontology and the Master of Aging Services Management (MASM)

Admission Requirements: Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0. No work experience is required but it is preferred. A GMAT/GRE score is no longer required for students who have a 3.0 or greater GPA. Otherwise, it is required. Additionally, candidates must submit an application, a current resume, a statement of interest, two letters of recommendation, and official transcripts. The statement of interest is an important consideration in the application and should tell USC staff why a student is applying, covering the candidate’s previous experiences in gerontology, strengths and weaknesses, and educational and career goals. Also, students whose native language is not English must submit an acceptable score on the TOEFL (80 internet-based or 570 paper-based) or IELTS tests (6.5).

Study Plan: Courses are offered in 15-week semesters. Students can expect to spend 15-20 hours studying each week. Class sizes are capped at 20 students. Students can graduate in 18 months or more. Start dates are offered in spring, summer, and fall.

Coursework: The MA in gerontology consists of 20 core credits and eight elective credits for a total of 28 credits. Core courses include perspectives on a changing society: an introduction to aging; life span developmental psychology; the mind and body connection through the lifespan; life span developmental sociology; and social policy and aging. Electives include counseling older adults and their families; administration and system management in programs for older adults; case studies in leadership and change management; the aging family; and micronutrients, health, and longevity.

The MASM consists of 12 core credits and 20 elective credits for a total of 32 credits. Core courses are perspectives on a changing society; applied legal and regulatory issues in aging; marketing and shifts in consumer decision making; current issues in aging services management; technological innovations in aging; and case studies in leadership and change management. Electives include courses such as the aging family; physiology of development and aging; social policy and aging; life span developmental psychology; and end of life care.

Online Experience: Courses are fully online and are asynchronous meaning students can watch lectures at any time within a given period. However, each week there is scheduled real-time discussion using Adobe Connect. This gives students the opportunity to interact with faculty and classmates. The same professors teach the online courses that teach on campus courses. USC online programs use Blackboard and offer 24/7 technical support for students encountering problems.

On-Site Requirements: There are no on-site requirements for the MAG or the MASM as the programs are 100 percent online. Students are welcome to visit campus and are encouraged to participate in graduation on campus, provided they have a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Paying for the Online Master of Arts in Gerontology (MAG) and the Master of Aging Services Management (MASM)

USC online tuition is $1,800 per credit for a total cost of $50,400 for the MAG and $57,600 for the MASM. With the frequency of changing tuition rates, online students should contact the admissions department of the specific program for exact costs.

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers financial aid in the form of merit-based scholarships, federal aid, and loans. They offer federal and private programs to assist in paying for a master’s degree. Applicants are also encouraged to seek outside resources for help paying for their MAG or MASM degree. Some companies may offer education support programs for employees seeking an advanced degree.