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PhD in Social Gerontology

Take a critical social science perspective and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aging.

Social Gerontology

The PhD in Social Gerontology allows students to take a critical social science perspective and an interdisciplinary approach to the study of aging. Students who complete the PhD in Social Gerontology will acquire theoretical and methodological expertise in social gerontology with a specific emphasis on an interdisciplinary social science perspective on aging and the condition of later age.

The PhD program in Social Gerontology will apply this perspective to analysing and understanding aging as a social and cultural process, construct, and outcome. It is the combination of these three perspectives, the ways that they interact with and build on one another, and a focus on both the social structural and cultural dimensions of aging that makes the program distinctive in its area. The PhD program in Social Gerontology differs from many doctoral programs in this area in that it allows students to develop and pursue broader research interests that may be outside the typical focus on functional health, demography and service management.

Program Details

The Program

The PhD in Social Gerontology takes 4 years to complete. Students are required to complete course work (six courses) in their first year of study. All doctoral students will be required to participate in a non-credit research and professional development seminar.

Students will take a comprehensive exam in their area of concentration in Social Gerontology. The purpose of the exam is to ensure that the student has a sufficient grasp of the relevant scholarly literature in her/his area of research interest and that she/he is able to synthesize and communicate this literature in a critically insightful way. The comprehensive exam will also have an oral component (defence of the written answers) and will be assessed by the supervisory committee.

Candidates for the PhD degree will present a thesis which shows competence in original research and will be required to defend it during a final oral examination.

Program Details

Application Deadline: January 15 for September entry


Applications will be accepted starting in November. Admission to the PhD program requires an average of B+ or better, in a Master’s degree in a related aging and/or social sciences discipline. Applicants normally have demonstrated interest and experience in critical approaches to aging. Admission to the Ph.D. program in Social Gerontology will normally be on a full-time basis only.

Applicants are encouraged to contact faculty members in the Department regarding potential PhD supervision as well as the PhD program. 

All applications will be submitted to the Department’s Graduate Admissions Committee. You will be expected to include:

  1. all academic transcripts sent directly from the issuing institution;
  2. two confidential letters of recommendation from instructors most familiar with your academic work;
  3. statement of interest (3-4 pages maximum);
  4. a sample of writing;
  5. resumé/CV. If English is not your native language, an official copy of your TOEFL score or other evidence of competency in English must also be submitted.

More About Admissions & Applications

Contact Us

For additional information regarding the PhD program, please contact Kristine Espiritu (Graduate Administrative Assistant): or 905-525-9140 x27035.