Gerontology Undergraduate

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Gerontology Undergraduate Practicum Courses (Gero 400A and Gero 400B)

All Gerontology Undergraduate 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:  For “Certificate in Applied Gerontology” students, only one Gero 400 course for one semester is required.

Overview – Gerontology Practicum Course(s)

Field Education is an integral part of the curriculum and a core requirement for the SDSU Gerontology Undergraduate Program.  The Undergraduate Field/Practicum learning experiences consist of two courses, three units each (Gero 400A and Gero 400B), 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.

Planning One Semester Ahead for Gero 400 A or B

Planning ahead for the Gero 400 A or B Field Practicum Course requires finding and confirming a field placement one semester before you register for the course.

Deadlines for Gero 400 A or B

  • If you plan to register for Gero 400 A or B in the Spring semester, your field placement must be confirmed by the last day of classes in the Fall semester of the previous year. For example, if you plan to register for Gero 400 A in Spring 2018, your field placement must be confirmed by the last day of classes in the Fall 2017 semester. 
  • If you plan to register for Gero 400 A or B in the Fall semester, your field placement must be confirmed by the last day of classes in the Spring semester of the same calendar year. For example, if you plan to register for Gero 400 B in Fall 2018, your field placement must be confirmed by the last day of classes in Spring 2018.  
  • Summer semester internships are only authorized for students who wish to complete Gero 400 B as an elective.

When you have confirmed your field placement you need to turn in a completed Gero 400 A or B Practicum Confirmation Form (doc) to the Director of Field Education by the deadlines listed above. A hard copy of the form should be turned in to the School of Social Work/Gerontology Office at HH-119. 

A list of authorized gerontology field agencies is available from the Director of Field Education.

Questions:  Please contact Amanda Lee, Director of Field Education, by email: or  

Objectives and Competencies for Practicum Course(s)

  1. Describe the processes of physical (biological), psychological, and social aging and related theories of aging.
  2. Know about the diverse needs of the older population in terms of age, gender, race and ethnicity, and/or diverse abilities.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the aging network consisting of programs and policies for the aging population.
  4. Describe and understand own attitudes toward and beliefs about old age and older adults, and reflect and analyze stereotypes or attitudes towards old adults in the portrayal of aging by society.
  5. Understand basic concepts of research methods necessary to describe and discuss efficacy and effectiveness of the services and program for older adults as guided and informed by empirical evidence
  6. Develop effective written, oral and interpersonal communication skills with individuals, caregivers, families, and community thru professional field experiences.
  7. Demonstrate case management skills such as interviewing, assessment, and reporting writing.
  8. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding necessary to describe, assess, and critique various programs, intervention and services to meet the needs of the growing aging population.
  9. Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to advocate for the needs of older adults and their families by engaging in policy formation, implementation, and analysis.
  10. Understand the ethical complexities which surround issues with respect to aging.

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

  1. Describe practicum agency’s goals, philosophy, values, ethical codes, functions, roles, clientele, and services offered and how the agency addresses the needs of elders in that community.
  2. Demonstrate case management skills such as interviewing, assessment, and reporting writing.    Also will be able to co-facilitate various groups with an elderly population.
  3. Identify client and family’s needs; formulate a basic treatment plan and identify interventions that could be provided by case management and referrals, e.g., identifies need for a higher level of care; respite care for care-giver, increased recreational or socialization opportunities for older adult clients.
  4. Awareness and recognition of the diverse needs of the older population in terms of age, gender, race and ethnicity, and/or diverse abilities. Be able to identify and combat negative stereo-types through providing accurate information and education.
  5. Identify age related changes in the body and mental functioning typical of the elderly as observed when working with clients in the agency.
  6. Describe the connection and relationship between research and practice and be able to describe assess and critique various programs, intervention and services designed for older adults.

Student Eligibility for the Gerontology Practicum Course(s)

In order to qualify for the Gerontology Undergraduate Practicum / Field Experience Courses, students shall meet the follow criteria prior to enrolling in Gero 400A or Gero 400B:

  1.  Must have Major Status (all pre-major courses have been completed before declaring Gerontology Major).
  2. Completed and passed the Gerontology 300 level courses.
  3. Must have Senior Status, class level 4 (at least 90 earned units).
  4. Must have a Major GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  5. Must have a minimum SDSU campus overall of 2.0 GPA and be in good academic standing.
  6. Must pass Agency Interview and receive Agency Confirmation (including passing additional agency screening and clearances processes).


Course Requirements for Gero 400 A or 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 semesterof Gero 400A or B course enrollment.Recommending the student:

  • Begin Practicum Process in Jan./Feb. for Gero 400 in Summer Semester
  • Begin Practicum Process in Feb./March for Gero 400 in Fall Semester
  • Begin Practicum Process in Sept. for Gero 400  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.

* For “Certificate in Applied Gerontology” students, only one Gero 400 course for one semester, 3 units total, is required.

If Gero 400A 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 400 A or 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 400A (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,
  • 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 undergraduate 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:

Complete the Gero 400 A or B Practicum Confirmation Form (doc) when the details of your Gero 400 A or B field practicum are confirmed and turn it in to Director of Field Education PRIOR to the beginning of the semester.  The form may be returned in-person or by email (


Step 6:

    Enroll in Gero 400 A or B (whichever is applicable) and remember to schedule the first class-seminar Gero 400A/B meeting (listed as a footnote in the SDSU Class Schedule). Note: This is a mandatory class meeting.



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