Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

Gero-Ed Sub-specialization

The Gero-Ed sub-specialization prepares students to work with adults that are of the ages 55 - 105+ and their families through life transitions, and health, and illness. We focus on strengths and challenges of aging, giving consideration to clinical interventions and policy implications. This one year sub-specialization is associated with internships that provides opportunity for work with older adults and their families and results in a certificate of completion given by the SSW​.

Application for this sub-specialization is required, deadline to apply is December 1st. This sub-specialization is only compatible with Health and Mental Health and LDSS specializations.

Students need to fill out the application and submit it to Program Director Dr. Marcia Spira at mspira@luc.edu to apply for this sub-specialization. The application process is competitive —not all students will be accepted into this sub-specialization.

Required Courses: 3 courses and internship are required.

  • Internship: Senior Internship (SOWK 330 & 340) or 2nd level for MSW students (SWFI 630 & 631) that allows the student to spend 75 - 80% of their time providing direct service to the aging population.
  • SOWK 632: Social Work Practice with Older Adults (Fall & Spring only)
  • *SOWK 734: Social Work Policy with Older Adults (Spring only)

SOWK Elective: Students can choose one of the following course options:

  • SOWK 612: Family Assessment & Intervention (Fall, Spring, Summer)
  • SOWK 616: Psychotherapy w/Adults (Fall & Spring only)
  • SOWK 634: Special Topics Course-Summer Institute on Aging (1 week summer course usually taught in the 3rd week of August; typically Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.– 4 p.m.)
  • SOWK 690: Independent Study. Topic must be conducted with a full-time faculty member in the SSW and be approved by Dr. Marcia Spira and the MSW Program Director. Sample topics include: Aging in the LGBT Community or Grandparents raising Grandchildren
  • SOWK 73: Loss, Grief and Dying Well (Fall & Spring only)
  • SOWK 740: Religion, Spirituality, and Older Adults: Theory and Methods for Social Work (Spring only)

*SOWK 734 is a substitute for SOWK for SOWK 602 or SOWK 610H for students who complete the gerontology sub-specialization.