Major Mondays: Gerontology 

Major(s): The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology houses two majors: the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Aging (B.S.) and the Bachelor of Science in Lifespan Health (B.S). Both of these majors are open to applying first-year and transfer students. To someone like me, these majors sound a bit similar but, in fact, they are quite different! 

The Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Aging has an interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on biological and social development across a human’s lifespan. If students wanted to delve even deeper into this major, they have two tracks to consider: the Social Science track or the Health Science track.   

The Bachelor of Science in Lifespan Health has a curriculum that covers the biological and medical aspects of health, including disease prevention, detection, and treatment.  This is a degree for students who plan to get a graduate degree and/or pursue career in medicine, pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology, or other related fields.  

Overview: Did you know that every 7 seconds a person turns 50? I didn’t. But these sorts of facts are the bread and butter of a gerontology student.  Gerontology is the study of aging across the lifespan. It allows you to discover new ways of seeing the world and also changing it.   

Founded in 1975, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is the oldest and largest school of gerontology in the world and is the nation’s first school of gerontology. They offer the most comprehensive selection of gerontology degree programs found anywhere, a variety of outstanding research opportunities and a supportive academic environment. Students within the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology get to explore all aspects of human development and aging. Coursework and rich research opportunities in biology, psychology, sociology, policy, and aging services offer a unique, multidisciplinary curriculum.  While here at USC, students have access to opportunities to transform the future of aging. 

Notable Research:  
USC Leonard Davis conducts groundbreaking multidisciplinary research in medical and social sciences. They are also home to more than a dozen institutes and centers, including the USC Longevity Institute and the Center for Global Aging.

The school holds numerous federal and private grants, enabling faculty to offer a range of research assistantships. These opportunities allow students to work side-by-side with experts and play a role in transforming the field.  Undergraduate students also have the ability to conduct their own original research with the available grants.  For example, former USC Gerontology student Christina Sisliyan’s research on cells’ responses and how their stress responses differ between male and female flies earned a Young Investigator award from the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine (SfRBM) at the 2018 poster presentations.  You can read Christina’s research highlight here and review other student research here.  

Unique Academic Opportunity
USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is a small, intimate school rooted in a world-class research university while also being located in one of themost vibrant cities in the world. Gerontology students come from around the country and globe and are united in a desire to make the world better for people of all ages.  

A unique academic opportunity, apart from research and world-class faculty, is the Progressive Degree Program (PDP).  For general knowledge, PDP enables USC undergraduate students to apply undergraduate coursework toward the completion of a USC master’s degree.  Pursuing a progressive degree can deepen a student’s education and further prepare them for future careers in as little as one additional year.  The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology participates in this program and there are four Master’s degrees USC student can apply for: M.S. in Gerontology, M.A. in Aging Services Management, M.A. in Medical Gerontology, and M.A. in Senior Living Hospitality.  For more information, visit the following website: Progressive Degree Program List | Undergraduate Education | USC 

Want to Learn More?  
If you wish to get into the real nitty-gritty of two majors, you can view each of their curriculum break downs here: Undergraduate Program Curriculum – USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Admissions.  

To see the full list of institutes and centers that USC Leonard Davis offers, please review the following: Institutes & Centers – USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology 

Finally, check out all the details surrounding our undergraduate programs at the following: Undergraduate Programs – USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Admissions 

Written by:  

Dylan Goodwill,  Assistant Director – USC Office of Undergraduate Admission