Master of Science in Gerontology - USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Admissions Skip to main content

The flagship degree of USC Leonard Davis

The Master of Science in Gerontology positions you at the forefront of policy and research. You’ll build your analytical skills while studying the mechanics and mysteries of longevity, aging and population health.

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Program Information

Delivery format

100% online or on-site

Typical Program Length

44 Units
Full-time: 18 months
Part-time: 18-36 months


Fall 2024: Rolling basis
Spring 2025: October 15, 2024
Fall 2025: March 15, 2025
Post priority deadline: Rolling basis

Is the Master of Science in Gerontology Right for Me?

The broad expertise and quantitative skills you build through an MSG degree prepare you for a career in the field. Many of our alumni hold leadership roles in federal social services programs, prestigious universities and leading research institutions. Others go on to medical schools and doctoral programs.

The MSG degree provides a strong career foundation for many areas of gerontology, including:

  • Planning, administrating, and evaluating programs in the private and public sectors
  • Executive positions in the delivery of direct services to older adults and their families
  • Consulting for older adults and service providers
  • Policy and advocacy work
  • Scientific research and study

Changing the World with Your MSG

Many of our MSG students draw inspiration from older family members or friends. These students dream of creating more inclusive societies that protect the rights and value the contributions of elders.

They choose the MSG program to build skills to improve the world on a systemic level, through initiatives like:

  • Conducting groundbreaking research on memory-related diseases
  • Expanding healthcare access for elders with long-term chronic diseases
  • Advocating for policies that improve affordable housing options for low-income seniors
  • Spearheading local, state and federal legislation to protect the rights of older adults

These are just a few ways that your MSG degree can translate into a career with broad-ranging impact. At USC Leonard Davis, you’ll find your own path. We’ll be with you every step, with mentorship and professional connections to help you define the next phase of your career.

How Do I Earn My MSG at USC Leonard Davis?

The MSG degree is a 44-unit program. Our students typically complete the degree in two years of full-time study, or 12 credits per semester. You can complete your studies either on campus or through our convenient online education program.

What Will I Study in My Classes?

The MSG program at USC Leonard Davis explores gerontology through a sophisticated, multidisciplinary approach. Your classes integrate research and concepts from different fields, providing connections and context as you pursue academic and career goals.

You’ll explore these subjects through the program’s required and elective courses:

  • Physiology of Development and Aging
  • Life Span Developmental Psychology
  • Counseling Older Adults and Their Families
  • Continuum of Care: A Systems Perspective
  • Applied Policy Skills in Aging
  • Integrating Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Approach
View the full curriculum

What Are the Program Requirements?

In addition to the curriculum outlined above, you’ll complete these courses:

  • Research methods: You’ll master analytical and investigative skills that provide a stepping-stone to doctoral-level research or immediately marketable skills for your career.
  • Practicum: This class invites you and your classmates to translate academic theories into everyday practice while gaining real-life experience with internships.
  • Capstone: You’ll integrate concepts from several academic disciplines to break new ground, making a serious contribution to the field of gerontology.

Research Opportunities

The MSG heavily emphasizes research throughout the program, but some of our students want additional research experience. We offer:

  • A directed research course: This elective program offers you the chance for more in-depth, focused inquiry on a subject of interest.
  • Student-faculty research collaboration: We offer a wide range of opportunities to participate in meaningful research. In fact, all our tenured faculty employ students in their labs. Past students have presented research across the United States and Europe before moving to the National Institutes of Health.

Admission Requirements

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA
  • Complete supplemental application included as part of university application
  • In your university application, you must upload your resume and statement of interest
  • 2 letters of recommendation, either uploaded in your university application or mailed separately by your recommenders
  • Official transcripts should be mailed directly to our office, or submitted electronically. Students must declare all schools on the application and submit transcripts from all institutions attended (even if it was for just one semester) after high school:

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Office of Admission and Student Services
3715 McClintock Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191

On your university application, include your scholarship application—merit-based scholarships are available to qualified applicants. The GRE may be waived by having strong academics. If the GRE is required, you will be notified during the review process.


Your statement of interest plays an important role in helping our faculty consider your application for graduate study. The following prompt is designed to help you but is not an exhaustive list of information you should include in your statement. We recommend that your statement is within three to five double-spaced pages. The statement should be uploaded as part of the university application.

  • Tell us why you chose to apply to the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
  • Tell us about your experiences in gerontology
  • Describe your educational and career goals
  • Please describe your strengths and weaknesses
View specializations Program objectives How to apply

Learning that Fits Your Life

Whether you live halfway across the world or have a busy career, we make this program work for you. You can earn the MSG degree online, through our robust digital course platform.

All your classes are streamed online, allowing you to interact with your classmates and professors in real-time. Learn more about our online education program.

“Gerontology is the new hybrid career... If you walk out your front door and look around, you will see older people everywhere. There is such a need for people educated in aging that the career opportunities are endless.”

Jolene FassbinderMSG graduate and program officer for the Archstone Foundation, which provides grants for innovative projects addressing the needs of older adults

The MAG program at USC Leonard Davis explores gerontology through a sophisticated, multidisciplinary approach. Your classes integrate research and concepts from different fields, providing connections and context as you pursue academic and career goals.

Cynthia HutchinsMAG graduate and director of financial gerontology for wealth management company Merrill Lynch

“The MASM program not only solidified my career opportunities, it also expanded my horizons in terms of personal well-being, appreciation of life’s stages and understanding of older adults. I thoroughly enjoyed the many walks of life my classmates brought to the program.”

Erik DoanMAASM graduate and program director of Family Adult Day Health Care in Lomita, California

This program is accredited by the Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council.

AGEC, Accreditation of Gerontology Education Council Logo

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Stories and Spotlights

Educating generations of leaders in aging

Corrine Jones, MAG ’18

After retiring early from a career with AT&T, Corinne Jones went back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science. She remembers it was a class on elder law where she got her first taste of gerontology.

Sarah Lamontagne, MAASM ’19

Sarah Lamontagne had a busy job at a Rhode Island nonprofit that helps adults age in place, remaining in their homes and communities as they grow older. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing a master’s degree from the USC Leonard Davis School in Gerontology.

Sahar Edalati, MS ’13

Today’s senior living market is marked by two extremes, says Sahar Edalati MS ’13, executive director of Watermark Retirement Communities in Brooklyn Heights, New York.

Learn more and apply

Our community of ambitious students, eminent faculty and renowned alumni is waiting for you to join us. Our advisory team is ready to answer all your questions. Let’s continue the conversation.

Contact us Learn how to apply