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We are Gerontologists,
and Life is Our Work

Gerontology is the study of the biological, psychological and sociological aspects of human development and the intricacies of aging across the lifespan. The processes of aging are both unique and universal, relevant to every person, company, industry and community.

By investigating aging-related issues and pursuing innovation, gerontologists at the USC Leonard Davis School help people live healthier, happier lives within more inclusive, equitable communities.

Gerontologists have never been in greater demand, and our work has never been more important.

Calling All Leaders

People around the globe are living longer than ever before, creating an unprecedented demographic shift toward an older population. By 2040, 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65. In 2050, about 1.6 billion people worldwide will fall in that age bracket.

As global life expectancy increases, so does our awareness of its consequences and the social, economic and political challenges of aging. Every industry, workplace and community needs leaders who understand the intricacies of aging processes and can navigate the path forward.

At USC Leonard Davis, you gain the knowledge and experience to inspire, serve and lead wherever your career takes you.

1 in 5

Americans will be over age 65 by 2040.

What Do Gerontologists Do?

Aging impacts every sector of our economy, from healthcare and housing, to social services and transportation…and many more. That’s why you’ll find gerontologists serving in a wide variety of industries, organizations and roles.

Our alumni excel in dozens of diverse fields, such as business, law, government, academia, nonprofits and social services. Learn more about their unique paths and gerontology careers.

How Do Gerontologists Change the World?

Gerontologists embrace a multidisciplinary approach to the study of aging, seeing issues and opportunities through many lenses. Here are a few ways that gerontologists impact the world:


  • Tackling the biological mysteries of development and aging
  • Unlocking the secrets of the cellular aging process
  • Discovering genetic and physiological roots of disease
  • Investigating potential solutions to delay processes of aging


  • Discovering new therapies for treatment and potential cures
  • Delivering scientific and health solutions to aging populations
  • Expanding access to health services for those in need
  • Creating cutting-edge technology to heal age-related illnesses, including Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease


  • Exploring the creativity and humanity unique to every mind at every age
  • Supporting older adults in fostering a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives
  • Understanding how emotion and cognition change across the lifespan
  • Researching and developing therapies to treat memory-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s
  • Finding ways to preserve the stories of those who struggle to remember
  • Honoring the whole person with individualized attention and care


  • Focusing on older adults’ strengths and wisdom rather than losses and frailties
  • Recognizing the sacrifices and struggles of caregivers and working to ease their burden
  • Delivering dignity and facilitating difficult transitions
  • Combating ageism to underscore the contributions and diversity that older adults bring to society


  • Crusading for equality through advocacy
  • Creating policy and legislation that improves health and well-being
  • Evaluating the efficacy of programs and policies
  • Speaking for those who may not always be heard

Gerontology vs. Geriatrics: What’s the Difference? 

People sometimes use the terms gerontology and geriatrics interchangeably, but they mean different things. Gerontology is a broad, multidisciplinary field that investigates a variety of issues around aging throughout the human lifespan. Geriatrics is a medical specialty focusing on caring for the unique health needs of older adults.

What Does a Geriatrician Do?

Physicians, nurses and other health professionals can specialize in geriatrics. Geriatricians are doctors with a deep understanding of the aging process, including preventing, diagnosing and treating illness in older adults.

They practice in many different settings, from visiting patients in their homes to working in long-term care environments, hospitals and private practice clinics. Geriatricians often collaborate with other doctors, bringing their unique training and skillset to deliver the best care for patients.

Should I Study Gerontology to Become a Geriatrician?

Studying gerontology provides a solid foundation for a career in geriatrics. For instance, aspiring geriatricians might earn a gerontology degree before attending medical school.

A specialized education at USC Leonard Davis introduces you to many facets of aging, providing a holistic perspective on patients’ needs. That background gives you a competitive edge in the next phase of your career.

Promoting Healthy Aging

Aging is more than a progression on a timeline — it’s a lifelong pursuit of mental, physical and social growth. Your training at USC Leonard Davis prepares you to help an aging population thrive as active, involved members of the community. Become an expert on the human lifespan and be a leader in the aging revolution with a gerontology degree from USC Leonard Davis.

The USC Leonard Davis School is the best of both worlds: an intimate school in a world-class research university. With such a rapidly aging population, this field is exploding!

Cameron ChalfantAlumnus, Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Aging Program Vice President, CBRE

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

You can always treat pneumonia with a simple antibiotic regimen, but the important questions are how will patients afford the medication, whether they are able to take it by themselves or remember to take it at all, and how will they make it to follow up appointments. My studies in gerontology made me aware of these issues before I even started medical school.

Karlton WongMSG graduate, MD at Providence Roy and Patricia Disney Family Cancer Center and Adjunct Lecturer at the USC Leonard Davis School

Discover our Gerontology Programs

Explore our gerontology programs, or contact us to learn more about the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

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