Are you interested in earning a master’s in gerontology online? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article is dedicated to sharing information about the top affordable graduate programs in gerontology available to distance learners in the United States.
As the American population ages, medical professionals who understand the issues and concerns specific to aging populations will find themselves in high demand. Baby Boomers, in particular, are gearing up to put a massive strain on the U.S. healthcare system. That makes now a perfect time to earn your degree in gerontology. In doing so, you’ll gain knowledge of the health, social, psychological, and other wellness-related issues facing seniors today.
Note: This article may contain sponsored links. These are intended to help you connect with programs easily.
The 20 Best Online Gerontology Master’s Programs Ranking Methodology
For this ranking, we focused on public and private (non-profit) colleges and universities that offer online master’s degrees in gerontology. Because the focus of this list is on affordability, we only considered programs with average* tuition rates of $25,000/year or less.
*For public schools, we calculated the average value of their in-state and out-of-state rates.
Note that for the purposes of this ranking, we did not consider MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degrees with gerontology specializations. The reason is that these programs are very different academically from traditional gerontology master’s degrees. That is, MSNs emphasize clinical/medical topics, whereas most gerontology programs focus on the social science aspects of the field.
Unfortunately, there are a limited number of online master’s in gerontology degree programs available. Therefore, we could not compile a pool of options large enough to justify a multifactorial ranking system in which we’d score programs based on a list of specific considerations.
So instead, we ranked the programs solely according to their affordability. See below for the best cheap master’s in gerontology online programs, ranked from most to least expensive.
Cheap Online Master’s Degrees in Gerontology Ranked
With an average annual tuition of less than $7,500, it's hard to find a better value than Fort Hays State University. Indeed, this is exactly why the school tops our cheap online master's in gerontology degrees ranking. But low costs aren't all you'll get out of an FHSU education. Organized as a Master of Liberal Studies (MLS) degree, this program has a slightly philosophical bent. For example, core classes include "Origins and Implications of the Knowledge Society," and "Ways of Knowing in Comparative Perspective." And yet, the gerontology concentration actually comprises a majority of the coursework, exploring topics ranging from neuropsychology and nutrition to exercise testing and communication in aging. Average Tuition & Fees: $7,394/yr
A small school (and one of the only private colleges on this list of cheap online master's degrees in gerontology), McDaniel College offers a unique experience to distance learners. For example, while the program is available 100% online, students who live near the Westminster, Maryland campus can easily take traditional classes as well (just make sure to notify your advisor). And while the curriculum's core requirement features relatively standard fare, McDaniel's small and independent status has allowed it to create some unusual elective courses. You could take "Understanding and Combating Ageism," "Exercise and Aging," or even "Geriatric Pharmacology"- all options that are hard to find in the majority of programs. Average Tuition & Fees: $8,820/yr
Concordia University-Nebraska is the place to go if you want to get a comprehensive education in healthcare administration. In fact, it's the only school on this online gerontology master's programs ranking to offer its degree in the form of a Master of Healthcare Administration. Not only is an MHA a highly desirable credential in the current job market, but it also ensures that you'll be well-versed on a wide range of practical topics, like healthcare policy, health law, and healthcare finance. The gerontology concentration itself is relatively small (nine credits in social gerontology, long-term care, and aging issues), yet still provides a compact survey of the field's essential elements. Average Tuition & Fees: $9,395/yr
An M.A. in Social Gerontology, the University of Nebraska at Omaha's program focuses specifically on social issues related to aging, rather than clinical ones. For example, required courses cover human behavior, elder care services, and research, but not physiology or nutrition. That being said, most of UNO's master's in gerontology online curriculum is comprised of electives. Some of these classes are medically-minded (e.g., "Health Aspects of Aging") but the majority explore social science topics, including politics, economics, education, housing, and more. Another noteworthy feature: this program provides both thesis and non-thesis options (for mid-career professionals/aspiring researchers and experienced practitioners, respectively). Average Tuition & Fees: $10,895/yr
Most programs on this list prepare degree candidates for a career in either administration or research. And to be sure, Wichita State's program does have a concentration in Administration. But it also goes beyond other schools on our online master's degrees in gerontology ranking by offering concentrations in Public Health and Social Sciences as well. The former emphasizes epidemiology, environmental health, and statistics, and it comes with a graduate certificate in Public Health. In contrast, the latter option delivers a relatively broad lesson plan to help students with different backgrounds (e.g., psychology, sociology, or social work) integrate their knowledge into the field of gerontology. Average Tuition & Fees: $10,947/yr
Like its fellow participants in the Great Plains IDEA, Texas Tech University offers a comprehensive, affordable master's in gerontology online. The program is designed to accommodate applicants with a wide range of backgrounds and career aspirations, whether you want to work directly in medicine or would prefer a job in counseling, education, or public policy. Of course, TTU's 24-credit core curriculum matches those of other GPIDEA members, with classes in physical health and nutrition, adult development, program evaluation, and everything in between. Note, however, that Texas Tech leaves the remaining 12 credits completely open to electives, with no specific requirement that you complete an internship or final project. Average Tuition & Fees: $11,521/yr
If you like seminar (aka discussion-based) courses, consider attending North Dakota State University. On top of a 27-credit core sequence - including a six-credit practicum - this affordable online master's in gerontology degree offers a long list of graduate seminar electives. You'll have to take two or three of these seminars in total, but your biggest challenge might be deciding which ones to take! Currently, seminars are available in "Global Perspectives in Elder Care," "Creativity and Aging,""Cognitive Health," "Gerontechnology," "Sexuality and Aging," and about a dozen other topics. Or if you'd prefer a more hands-on activity, you can earn elective credit for completing a master's paper or thesis. Average Tuition & Fees: $11,639/yr
With its unusually narrow focus, Texas State University's MS in Dementia and Aging Studies (MDAS) isn't for everyone. But if you have a specific interest in dementia and aspire to a career in research or long-term care, you'll likely rate this program as one of the top master's in gerontology online. For example, the curriculum offers a Research Track with courses in statistics, quantitative research, and social psychology, plus a six-credit thesis requirement. A separate track provides a robust yet stringent (no electives!) curriculum on governance, personnel, finance, and clinical practices of long-term care administration. Or if you want optimal flexibility, go for the Practitioner Track; it includes just four required classes, leaving the rest open to electives. Average Tuition & Fees: $12,379/yr
Southeastern University differs somewhat from other schools on this online gerontology master's programs ranking. Instead of a full gerontology degree, Southeastern offers an MA in Human Services with five specialization options. That means that most of your core coursework will address general human services topics, such as program planning, community relations, and the law/ethics. However, you'll also have a chance to learn about the aging process through the Gerontology specialization. This track includes four targeted courses in the social issues and sociology of aging, as well as clinical concerns like disability and long-term care. Average Tuition & Fees: $12,960/yr
Because gerontology is a relatively new discipline, providers in this industry must have a wide range of skills that can adapt to different positions and environments as the field evolves. That's why Webster University has created its cheap online master's in gerontology degree - to give students a "broad educational base" and the confidence to be pioneers in the workplace. Indeed, required classes cover an expansive range of topics, from physiology and psychology to economics, social issues, and management. And if you really want to beef up your business acumen, you can opt to earn an MBA with an emphasis in gerontology instead. Average Tuition & Fees: $13,140/yr
Are you looking for a truly top-notch degree? Only four schools in the country have earned a "National Program of Merit" distinction from The Association of Gerontology in Higher Education, and Eastern Illinois University is one of them. Its M.A. in Aging Studies has achieved this honor due to its multidisciplinary, flexible curriculum. Six different academic units across the university have banded together to provide classes in education ("Educational Response to Third Age Learning"), psychology ("Psychological Processes in the Aged"), sociology ("Societal Theories of Aging") and more. In addition, you'll get to choose whether to cap this high-quality yet cheap online gerontology master's program with an internship, thesis, or independent study project. Average Tuition & Fees: $14,678/yr
When it comes to experiential learning, few schools can rival UNCG's hands-on approach. Although this program is available 100% online, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro nonetheless finds plenty of ways to emphasize applied practice. For example, immediately after enrolling in this master's in gerontology online, you'll take seminar, proseminar, and applied research/professional practice courses. After that, you'll take a statistics class and complete two internships and/or research experiences. Finally, you'll round out your studies with nine credits of electives and an integrative seminar/capstone course. In this capstone, you'll hone your professional skills in gerontological writing, presenting, and networking. Average Tuition & Fees: $14,906/yr
ULM has one of the top online master's in gerontology degrees for students who are either interested in healthcare administration or want to go on to earn their Ph.D. Why? Because the University of Louisiana Monroe's gerontology program offers specializations that cater specifically to these two groups. The first is a specialization in Aging Studies. This track includes classes in social statistics, research, and public policy, making it perfect for individuals who aspire to be career-long researchers. Alternatively, you could choose a specialization in either Program Administration or Long-Term Care Administration. The former focuses on public policy, case management, and service delivery, while the latter emphasizes community-based care and includes a required internship. Average Tuition & Fees: $15,034/yr
The University of Utah's interdisciplinary gerontology program caters to students with a strong interest in nursing. Although you don't need a nursing degree to apply, the school does operate an exchange program that allows nursing grad students at other colleges to enroll in its gerontology courses. Even students who enroll directly through "The U" will get a clear medical understanding of geriatric development. Coursework covers topics like advanced physiology, health and optimal aging, and research methods. It also includes a required practicum. Lastly, you'll finish off this top cheap online master's degree in gerontology with clinically-focused electives like "Geriatric Care Management" and/or "Caregiving and Aging Families." Average Tuition & Fees: $16,297/yr
Another member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, Iowa State's program attracts applicants from diverse backgrounds. Whether you're a recent undergrad, starting a second career, or have years of experience in the field, you'll fit right in to Iowa's affordable master's in gerontology online program. Like other GPIDEA members, this program's core provides a full survey of the aging process, from economics and public policy to nutrition and development. After completing the eight required courses, you'll finish off this 36-credit curriculum with four electives. Alternatively, you can take three electives alongside a hands-on practicum experience. Average Tuition & Fees: $16,934/yr
Drawing on recommendations from the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, Kansas State has created a comprehensive, career-oriented graduate program. Core classes cover both the scientific and social aspects of elder care, from "Adult Development and Aging" to "Public Policy: Economic and Social Impacts on Older Adults." Another possible perk? The curriculum includes a hefty elective component. To earn these credits, you can complete an independent study/practicum or explore unique topics like "Gerontechnology" and "Spirituality and Aging." Note: this affordable online master's degree in gerontology is part of the Great Plains IDEA program. Average Tuition & Fees: $17,083/yr
The University of Missouri-Columbia offers its online master's degree in gerontology through a joint effort with several other Midwest colleges. Through this initiative, known as the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (IDEA), participating schools pooled their coursework and faculty expertise to create one comprehensive gerontology program. You'll enroll and register through UMC (or another GPIDEA college) but have access to classes throughout the region. As a result, your classes may have varying start and end dates depending on which university is delivering them. But scheduling quirks are a small obstacle when you consider the quality of the curriculum, which includes a professional seminar and optional research project or internship. Average Tuition & Fees: $17,337/yr
At the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the study of gerontology goes hand in hand with management training. Through the school's M.A. in Management of Aging Services, you'll learn how to be a leader in the field of long-term care and to design effective care programs for seniors. Classes like "Strategy, Marketing, and Service Delivery in Aging" and "Policy Foundations of Aging Services" will help you understand gerontology in the context of the broader economic marketplace. Plus, you'll take coursework that directly builds your skills in leadership, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Due to this unique dual focus, UMBC's program is one of the top master's in gerontology online for management-focused individuals. Average Tuition & Fees: $17,388/yr
If you're looking for a program that's more conceptual than clinical, check out Nova Southeastern University. Here, your primary mission will be to consider how geriatric adults can find meaning, purpose, and well-being as they age. You'll explore this question, and others like it, in core classes like "Concepts and Controversies in Aging" and "Sociology of Aging for Future Leaders." This is also one of the top online master's degrees in gerontology if you're interested in concentrations. Students have four choices: Public Health, Emergency Preparedness, Gerontology and the Family, and Professional Geriatric Care Management. Average Tuition & Fees: $20,419/yr
The University of Florida is so dedicated to the study of gerontology that it has created an entire Department of Aging and Geriatric Research. Within this department, students will find a comprehensive yet affordable online master's in gerontology degree. Classes offer a thorough survey of geriatric issues, including age-related disease, the neuroscience of aging, and the law and ethics of elder care. Even better, you can choose to customize your program with one of three specialty tracks. The Geriatric Care Management track focuses on caregiver practice, while the Geropsychology track explores elderly cognition and mental health. Lastly, the Medical Physiology track emphasizes "the clinical complexities of geriatric care." Average Tuition & Fees: $21,019/yr
Thanks for reading our ranking of the 20 top cheap online gerontology master’s programs!
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