The MA/Postgraduate Diploma in Gerontology presents students with a unique opportunity to broaden their knowledge about ageing and older people, their needs and the services provided for them, and skills necessary for effective health, social and voluntary work. It aims to integrate advances in knowledge about social, psychological and biological aspects of ageing, with an update and review of developments in policy and service delivery. The course provides a critical perspective on growing older and develops students’ skills and awareness of the importance of research and evaluation.
Since 2006, the MA in Gerontology has been taught in conjunction with the MSc in Geriatric Medicine for four of the six course modules. This interdisciplinarity is a key strength of the programme, with students finding the interchange of ideas and perspectives stimulating and educationally rewarding.
Course Structure and Content
The course is modular and includes an independent research-based dissertation. It can be taken full time over one year or part time over two years. It is based on six modules. Each module is conducted over the period of a week.
The Masters degree carries 180 credits; 20 credits are attached to each module. The dissertation has 60 credits.
•SPA 40010: Introduction to Gerontology
•SPA 40013: Critical Perspectives in Health
•SPA 40012: Research Skills
• SPA 40014: Contemporary Perspectives 1
• SPA 40011: Policies and Practices for an Ageing Population
• SPA 40015:Contemporary Perspectives 2
Teaching and Assessment
Participants come from a range of backgrounds, often with considerable experience of working with older people. This mix reflects the multidisciplinary perspective adopted throughout the course. The programme attempts to apply the principles of adult learning to the teaching timetable, learning methods and forms of assessment. Students are encouraged to draw on their experience, to take responsibility for their own learning and to actively participate in all aspects of the course.
A range of different learning and teaching methods are used, including lectures, tutor-led seminars, self-directed study, student self-support groups, workshops, computer aided learning, and individual tutorials and supervision meetings.
There are no formal examinations and evaluation of student progress on the MA/Diploma is by continuous assessment. The purpose of assessment is to evaluate the academic performance of students and to aid their learning.
Assessment consists of some/all of the following:
• Assessed essays of 4,000 words linked to all modules.
• A 12-15,000-word dissertation, assessing a student’s information retrieval and managements skills as well as independent learning and research skills.
• Project work; oral presentations; posters etc.
Assessed work is important in terms of the personal development of students, as well as in publicly demonstrating the achievements of students both within and beyond the University community. Each module is assessed by means of course assignments as detailed in the Module Outlines. The External Examiner approves all assignment titles. Work is read and assessed by one or more tutors.
The research-based dissertation is to be submitted by September 1st, following completion of the taught course in Year Two (for full-time students following completion of the taught course in Year One). The University has a Research Ethics Committee and all dissertation fieldwork is subject to ethics approval both from the School and the University.