Choose the doctoral program that’s right for you

We offer the most comprehensive selection of doctoral degree programs found anywhere.

Course Catalogue

PhD Degree Programs

Doctor of Philosophy in Gerontology (PhD)

Students learn about the physiology of human development and aging, examining social policies related to aging as well as the psychological, behavioral, and sociological impact on lifespan development. Working closely with a faculty mentor, they concentrate on a specific area of interest and begin the process of discovering and shaping their own academic specialization. They work closely with faculty on research and publications, participate in colloquia, attend and present at national organization meetings, acquire teaching experience, and develop a rich academic, personal, and professional network.

Please view the complete list of requirements and courses in the PhD Student Handbook.

PhD Handbook

60 Units Total

Required Base Scientific Core Courses

GERO 610 – The Aging Society
GERO 613 – Health and Aging
GERO 620 – Psychology and Aging
GERO 640 – Data Analysis Strategies
GERO 645 – Politics and Policy in an Aging Society
GERO 593 – Research Methods

Required Research Core Courses

GERO 593 – Research Methods
GERO 640 – Data Analysis Strategies
GERO 592 – Multidisciplinary Research Seminar in Aging (4 seminars total)
Statistics Course

Gerontology Courses that can be used as electives

GERO 592 – Multidisciplinary Research Seminar in Aging
GERO 626 – Current Research In Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias
GERO 655 – Research Training Grant Proposal Development in Gerontology
GERO 790 – Directed Research

Dissertation Courses

GERO 794abcd – Dissertation

Suggested Electives / Research Courses from other departments

SOCI 523 – Advanced Methods – Quantitative Research
SOCI 620 – Advanced Methods – Quantitative Research
SOCI 621 – Advanced Social Statistics II
PM 511abcL – Data Analysis
PM 512 – Principles of Epidemiology
PMEP 539 – Economic Assessment of Medical Care
POSC 540 – Law and Public Policy
POSC 556 – Seminar in Disability and Rehabilitation Policy

POSC 560 – Feminist Theory
POSC 622 – Seminar in Political Attitudes and Behavior
PSYC 524 – Research Design in Developmental Psychology
PSYC 578 – Workshop in Quantitative Methods
PPD 558 – Quantitative Analysis
SOWK 760 – Introductory Social Work Statistics
SOWK 761 – Multiple Regression for Social Work Research
SOWK 764 – Advanced multivariate Statistics
SOWK 770 – Introduction to Qualitative and Mixed Research Methods

Doctor of Philosophy in Biology of Aging (PhD)

This degree is designed for students who want to become leaders in biogerontology. The focus is on molecular, cellular, and regenerative medicine as well as the integrative biology of aging. This unique doctoral program, the first of its kind in the field, brings together two world-renowned institutions: the USC Leonard Davis School and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Northern Calfornia. Students can choose a mentor and PhD faculty committee from either the Buck Institute or USC. Students’ academic and research activities take place on both the Southern and Northern California campuses. PhD candidates take core courses on the molecular and cellular biology of aging and age-related diseases and then select a track from among neuroscience, molecular and cellular biology, stem cell and regenerative sciences, and biomedical sciences.

Please view the complete list of requirements and courses in the PhD Student Handbook.

PhD Handbook

60 Units Total

Required Core Courses

GERO 600 – Geroscience: Molecular and Cellular Biology
GERO 601 – Molecular Genetics of Aging
GERO 602a – Seminar in Discoveries in Biogerentology
GERO 602b – Seminar in Discoveries in Biogerentology
GERO 603 – Research Integrity
GERO 614L – Laboratory Rotations in the Biology Aging
GERO 614L – Laboratory Rotations in the Biology of Aging
GERO 592 – Multidisciplinary Research Seminar in Aging
GERO 790 – Directed Research (2 courses total)

Suggested Elective Courses

GERO 500 – Perspective on a Changing Society: An Introduction to Aging
GERO 666 – Free Radical Chemistry, Biology, and Medicine in Aging