Gerontology Graduate

See also…

Gerontology Graduate Practicum Courses (Gero 700A and Gero 700B)

All Gerontology Graduate Practicum Students: 

Please review field practicum documents listed below as soon as possible to assist you in your future planning for your two-semester field experience internship and coursework. 

Note: Depending on your program of study there are two options for Gerontology field requirements. Students can choose to either take two semesters of field practicum, Gero 700 A and B or opt for the Thesis Option, which entails only one semester of Field Practicum (Gero A) and completion of a thesis.

Schedule an appointment with the Gerontology Graduate Student Advisor, Dr. Lucinda Rasmussen, or Dr. Jon Won Min  if  you want to discuss the two options.

Overview – Gerontology Practicum Course(s)

Field Education is an integral part of the curriculum and a core requirement for the SDSU Gerontology Graduate Program.  The Graduate Field/Practicum learning experiences consist of two courses, three units each (Gero 700A and Gero 700B), scheduled over two semesters.  The practicum placements are in different agencies with different field instructors, each of which must be eligible and meet the School approved gerontology criteria, curriculum, and standards.  During both courses, gerontology students conduct their internships under the professional supervision of qualified field instructors.

The field practicum experience supports the primary goal of the gerontology graduate program, which is to offer high-quality education and training by providing students with critical knowledge and understanding that focuses on the core areas of theory of gerontology, aging policy, long-term care, research methodology and health service administration and social services. This goal is accomplished by offering course work and field experience aimed at providing the necessary knowledge and skills to encourage and promote gerontology competencies and evidenced based administration and policies related to older adults.

Gero 700A/B allows each student to integrate classroom theory and knowledge and begin to practice skills while developing professional competence and identity in the field of gerontology.  The course content includes the use of gerontology theory in actual practice situations, skill building, and professional standards in ethics, values, and diversity when working with varied older adult populations.

During the last twenty years, partnerships have been formed with older adult serving agencies and programs throughout the San Diego County area.  The select group of gerontology practicum agencies have involved public and private, non-profit and for profit, multidisciplinary inpatient and outpatient settings, including government entities, senior care networks, skilled nursing facilities, residential care, adult protective services and senior teams, hospitals, hospices, community  mental health clinics, etc.


Objectives and Competencies for Practicum Course(s)

 By the end of the field practicum courses, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of advanced interdisciplinary evidence based knowledge, skills values and current trends as a basis for competent gerontological practice.
    For example:

    • Involvement in assessment of a community/organizational problem for older adults using needs assessment methodologies.
    • Involvement in a model of macro practice (e.g. organizational management, community development, planning & evaluation, social action, social reform, evaluative research, collective capacity building, partisan model, etc.).
    • Social Administration – Leadership.  Involvement in visioning; change management; strategy and planning; organization and design; culture management; community collaboration; and ethics and values in programs for older adults.
    • Social Administration – Management.  Involvement in program design; financial management; information systems; human resource management; program evaluation; project management; and diversity in programs for older adults.
    • Involvement in development & management of core administrative functions including: planning; budgeting; staffing; data systems; personnel; resource development; program  design; and leadership in programs for older adults.
  2. Be able to apply knowledge and skills to encourage and promote gerontology competencies and evidenced based administration and policies related to older adults.
  3. Develop critical thinking when analyzing diverse and complex aging issues and outcomes for elders, families and society from an interdisciplinary perspective that is grounded in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.
  4. Synthesize and apply a variety of learned interdisciplinary theories and research in applied settings.
  5. Demonstrate social and cultural awareness, sensitivity, respect and support of multiple perspectives when interacting with others.
  6. Exhibit personal and social responsibility and ethical and professional behavior in all settings.
  7. Exhibit effective use of communication (written, oral and interpersonal) skills and information-technology needed in a global information society.


Student Eligibility for the Gerontology Practicum Course(s)

In order to qualify for the Gerontology Graduate Practicum / Field Experience Courses, students shall meet the follow criteria prior to enrolling in Gero 700A or Gero 700B

  1. Completed and passed the Gerontology first year graduate courses: Gero 501; 605; 690; 632; 520; 610.
  2. Must have a minimum SDSU campus overall of 3.0 GPA and be in good academic standing.
  3. Must pass Agency Interview and receive Agency Confirmation (including passing additional agency screening and clearances process.


Course Requirements for Gero 700A/B

The following is a brief overview of course requirements.  Please refer to the current course syllabus for further detailed information.

Identifying Practicum Experience and Confirmation

Students shall identify, select, interview, and obtain Agency Practicum Confirmation during the preceding semester of Gero 700A or B course enrollment. Recommending the student:

  • Begin Practicum Process in Feb./March for Gero 700 in Fall Semester
  • Begin Practicum Process in Sept. for Gero 700  in Spring Semester

Refer to Steps in PowerPoint Presentation posted as part of these materials.  For additional assistance, please contact the Director of Field Education.

Practicum Hours/Units

  • 400 hours total for two academic semesters;
  • 200 hours per semester (15 weeks for an average of 13-14 hours per week).
  • Students receive 3 units for each practicum course, for a required total of six units.

If Gero 700A or B summer session is held, then 200 hours will be required for a 12-week semester, for an average of 16-17 hours per week.

Refer to course syllabus and University calendar for attendance policies, University break periods, and holidays.


45-60 minutes of weekly formalized, individual face-to-face supervision by school approved, agency field instructor.

Seminar/Class Meetings

1-2 seminar class meetings will be held each semester. First meeting will meet for two hours and is held within the first three weeks of the semester. Please refer to SDSU class schedule upon enrollment and current course syllabus for first class/seminar meeting date, time, and location.


Practicum Course Assignments will include completion of the following:

  • Student Information Data Form;
  • Student-Agency Orientation Checklist;
  • Mid-semester Evaluation of Student (by field instructor);
  • Student Self-Assessment and Evaluation;
  • End of semester Evaluation (by field instructor);
  • Attendance and participation in seminars.

Please refer to current course syllabus for grading policies and additional course requirements.


Steps to: Select, Identify, Interview, and Confirm Your Field Practicum Experience

Step 1:

  • Review thoroughly all Gero 700A/B practicum documents listed on these web pages, including the FAQs and Planning PowerPoint slides.
  • Reminder: Begin “Selecting your Practicum Process” in the preceding semester before enrolling in Gero 700A (refer to Course Requirements and Planning/Orientation sections).

Step 2:

  • Obtain School-approved Gerontology Agency List from the Social Work Main Office  (HH 119) or by contacting the field administration staff at (619) 594-5197 or
  • Begin your selection process by consulting with fellow peers regarding their practicum experiences; gerontology faculty; review agency web sites, etc.
  • Attend School Agency Fair, held annually in Jan. /Feb. each year.

Step 3:

  • After selecting your Practicum Agency – contact the Agency Person via phone, email. Be sure to identify yourself as a “gerontology Graduate student” and that you are requesting an interview for your professional practicum experience, to begin in the ____________ semester. Do they have internship slots available for you and when can you schedule an interview? (Remember to be flexible in scheduling your interview.)
  • Are there documents that the Agency is requesting for you to bring for your interview process? (Begin preparing a professional resume and references.)
  • Identify questions you may have for agency during the interview; etc.
  • Note when you may be contacted by the agency to inform you of their decision (accepting you or not for internship). Are there additional screenings, clearances that the Agency requires?

Step 4:

  • If you have been approved and accepted by the Agency for your practicum experience, make sure you complete all additional Agency requirements on time and by agency deadlines for final confirmation.
  • Review your class schedule with your prospective field instructor for the upcoming semester to arrange and finalize your practicum schedule (days, hours, supervision time, etc.).

Note: Ensure that the Agency, Program, and field instructor that you have confirmed is listed on the School Practicum List. If not listed, please immediately consult with the Director of Field Education for approval and consultation.
Step 5:

    Enroll in Gero 700A or B (whichever is applicable) and remember to schedule the first class-seminar Gero 700A/B meeting (listed as a footnote in the SDSU Class Schedule). Note: This is a mandatory class meeting.

 Contact Information

  • Graduate Gerontology Course Sequence and Practicum Eligibility Contact:  Dr. Lucinda Rasmussen, Graduate Advisor,
  • Gero 700 Practicum Course Questions Contact:  Candy Elson, LCSW, Director of Field Education, HH 114C /
  • Gerontology Curriculum Chair: Contact:  Dr. J. Min, HH 208