Area of Emphasis in Gero-Social Work (AEGSW)


To enhance the practice skills, theoretical knowledge, and leadership capacity in BSW students in the area of gerontological social work practice. To increase the visibility and understanding of aging issues across the School of Social Work community and beyond.

Program Overview

The Area of Emphasis in Gero-Social Work will guide Senior students through linking coursework, field practice, and leadership to gerontological social work. Approximately 4-6 BSW seniors will be selected for the program each year. The program will combine an aging specific course, course assignments, field practice, and leadership opportunities for the students. The School of Social Work Aging Services Coordinator selects students in consultation with BSW faculty. The Aging Services Coordinator will serve as the program advisor to selected students.

Each student will receive a tuition stipend upon successful completion of each semester including coursework and field practice.  *Students receiving tuition remission are ineligible for tuition stipend.

Program Requirements

Students accepted to the Area of Emphasis in Gero-Social Work (AEGSW) program will be expected to complete the following:

  • Course: SOWK 423 – Practice with Older Adults and their Families
  • Assignments:
    • SOWK 401 – Generalist Practice I: Small Client Systems
      • Complete at least one primary assignment focused on aging
    • SOWK 402 – Generalist Practice II: Large Client Systems
      • Complete at least one primary assignment focused on aging
  • Field Placement: Complete SR field placement in gero-social work setting
  • Leadership:
    • Participate in the Area of Emphasis in Aging Leadership Council (3 meetings/year)
    • Intentionally serve as a leader in representing gero-social work practice and issues in your social work classes
    • Participate in one or more of the following by bringing a specific gero-social work perspective to the project/event:
      • Beta Epsilon honor society activity
      • Room at the Table (SSW annual event)
      • Careers in Aging Week
      • Salon (SSW)
      • Social Work Day at the Capitol (SSW)
      • Social Work Club Activity (SSW)
      • Other – with approval  of Aging Services Coordinator

The BSW Area of Emphasis in Gero-Social Work grew out of the BEL program grant from the Council on Social Work Education Gero-EdCenter and is sustained through support from the School of Social Work.

Download an application: BSW Gero Social Work Initiative Application

What is gero-social work?

Gerontological social work is social work practice with older adults - primarily focused on maintaining and enhancing their quality of life.  Gero-social work includes attention to physical, social, familial, cultural, community, and societal factors that serve as barriers to well-being of older adults and their families.   

Why is gero-social work important?

"By 2020, one in six Americans are projected to be age 65 and older, with the most dramatic growth among those over age 85, elders of color, and women." (CSWE Gero-Ed Center, 2011). These demographic changes will, in turn, lead to a need for social workers with interest, education, and experience working with older adults and their families.