It was a special year for UNO in 2014 with countless events, achievements, special guest visits and national recognitions for students, faculty, staff and alumni.
For the first time in its 40-plus-year history, the UNO Department of Gerontology will provide a full degree program for students.
"UNO Gerontology to Offer Bachelor’s Degree"
The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Department of Gerontology has announced that UNO students can now apply for a bachelor’s degree in gerontology beginning with the Spring 2015 semester.
UNO’s Department of Gerontology has existed since the early 1970s, but up until this point has only been able to offer three non-degree options, including a minor, certificate and a concentration as part of the Bachelor of General Studies degree.
Now, students will be able to declare gerontology as a stand-alone major and receive a Bachelor of Science in Gerontology.
According to the last Census report, data projects that adults over the age of 65 will make up more than 20 percent of Nebraska’s overall population compared to 13.8 percent in 2012.
With the demand for more jobs requiring a familiarity with the needs of older adults, a degree in gerontology can provide a benefit to students competing in the job market.
“Many might think healthcare is the only career option available for a degree like this, but if a significant portion of the U.S. population is going to be older, any career field will be touched by older adults,” explained Julie Masters, chair of the Department of Gerontology at UNO. “There are so many careers available now that weren’t available five years ago, who knows what it will look like in the next five, or longer.”
Masters explains that the push for a degree for the first time in the department’s more than 40-year history came because of student demand.
“Students would come to us wanting a degree option, but because we didn’t have one, we had to be more creative with course options,” she said. “Now, that is no longer a problem for us or our students.”
As part of the degree, students will take eight core courses dealing with how aging affects physical and mental health; programs and services available to the elderly; and the sociological issues of death and dying. Students will also have the chance to take relevant electives to round out their coursework.
Students will also be required to take at least one practicum experience in the field at local businesses such as assisted living facilities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and human service agencies, just to name a few.
“Requiring a practical experience in the field will allow students to network and make connections that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to make,” Masters said. “This will only help them after they graduate and are looking for employment.”
For more information on the new degree program, please contact the UNO Department of Gerontology at 402.554.2272 or visit the department website at www.unomaha.edu/gero.