Gerontology Degrees



In the next half century, the older adult population in the United States is projected to more than double in size — from 31 million to over 72 million. Older adults have very complex healthcare needs, however the majority of clinicians are not trained specifically to care for an aging population. Increased numbers of advanced practice nurses who are able to provide leadership and high-quality care to this growing and potentially vulnerable population are urgently needed. 

Check out the Administration on Aging website for more information about Figure 1 and the profile of older Americans.



The School of Nursing is nationally known for its strength in practice-relevant gerontological nursing education and research in a number of areas, including healthy aging, dementia care, family care giving, and end-of-life care. During the past two decades, gerontological nursing faculty at OHSU have developed pioneering education, practice, and research projects that benefit older adults and those who care for them. The OHSU School of Nursing and Hartford Center of Gerontological Excellence (HCGE) are pleased to offer the following innovative educational programs that enhance capacity to serve older adults.




The OHSU Master of Nursing Education program with specialization in gerontological nursing began accepting students in 2007. This program is designed for the bachelor’s prepared nurse who is interested in pursuing a career in teaching nursing, either as a faculty member in a school of nursing or in staff development positions. All coursework taken during the MNE program will apply to the PhD in nursing degree.

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As part of the mission to grow the population of PhD prepared gerontological nursing faculty, OHSU offers two distinct pathways to a doctoral degree, the traditional post-master’s pathway and a post-baccalaureate to PhD. The gerontological expertise of OHSU faculty makes it possible for strong specialty courses and mentorship for PhD students committed to improving care to older persons through advanced practice, education, and research.

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Acuity in hospitals has been rising rapidly due to the declining average length of stay and to new technology that allows rapid assessment, treatment, and discharge. The skills gained from the AGACNP program will allow graduates to provide a spectrum of care ranging from disease prevention to acute and critical care management. This includes: stabilizing critically ill patients, preventing complications, restoring maximum health, providing palliation, and end-of-life care.

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The Gerontological Nursing Honors Program (GNHP) is designed for outstanding undergraduate nursing students to receive focused education, mentorship, and credits related to working with older adults. This unique honors program helps undergraduate students to better understand the needs of the aging population and prepares students for taking the next step in their education with an in-depth focus in gerontological nursing. GNHP students graduate with gerontology honors recognition on their transcripts and are recognized as honors graduates at commencement.

About the program

Each student in the program will be assigned a faculty advisor. Gerontological nursing honors students complete specialized online content in pathophysiology, pharmacology, chronic illness, and acute care nursing to prepare them to practice gerontological nursing in a variety of settings. In addition, gerontological honors students take the GNHP Honors Seminar (three, one-credit terms) to help them prepare their final project, the Gerontological Nursing Honors Thesis, a formal paper on a gerontological nursing topic of the student's choice.


All students, statewide, who have at least 5 terms remaining in their programs of study and who are accepted into one of the following OHSU School of Nursing undergraduate programs: RN-BS, 3 year BS in Nursing, and the Accelerated BS are eligible to apply.

Students must maintain good academic standing, complete all program requirements, and maintain a GPA of at least 3.5 to remain in the program. Student conduct issues, should they arise, may make a student ineligible to continue in the program. Students must be continuously enrolled in the undergraduate program to qualify for the GNHP.

Students accepted into the GNHP must demonstrate a strong commitment to care of the older adult, a population that is rapidly increasing worldwide. Participating in the GNHP requires an additional time commitment beyond that required in the already-rigorous nursing program. Students applying for the program should be prepared to meet the additional intellectual and personal demands of the program.

Application Process

Eligible students are invited to apply and must submit their application by May 15, 2016. Students cannot be considered for this award without submitting: (1) a completed application form, (2) unofficial transcripts, (3) a letter of support from a nursing faculty member or nurse manager indicating an interest in the care of older adults, and (4) the required essay (see application on the SoN website). Admission to the GNHP will be determined by the information provided in the application including factors related to academic merit, interest in and commitment to GNHP nursing, and the candidate's background. Space is limited in the GNHP and admission is competitively based on application criteria.

Scholarship Support

Up to $1000 is available in scholarship assistance in the final 3 terms of the program. The scholarship assists with payment for the additional credits required as part of the honors curriculum. For more information, contact Program Director, Juliana Cartwright at or Hartford Center Project Administrator, Marilyn Sanguinetti at


Other Programs of Study

Learn more about other programs of study offered by the OHSU School of Nursing