Older Adults and Aging Societies Concentration | Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis
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Older Adults and Aging Societies Concentration

This concentration prepares students to address challenges and opportunities of population aging through policy, programming, and direct practice.

Students in the Older Adults and Aging Societies (OAAS) concentration develop the skills to work on the mezzo and macro levels, in areas such as advocacy, program development and evaluation. They also learn clinical skills such as biopsychosocial assessment and case management, which inform direct practice with older adults and their families. Coursework emphasizes culturally competent approaches to aging.

Our graduates work in a variety of settings, nationally and internationally, in the public and private sector. Alumni work in traditional settings such as care management programs, assisted living facilities, hospitals and home health agencies. Others have pursued careers in public agencies at the local, state and federal level, overseeing home- and community-based service programs and engaging in policy advocacy. Many have pursued doctoral work.

Concentration Requirements: 21 Credits

  • Theories and Issues in Aging (3 credits)
  • Social Policy and Aging (3 credits)
  • Developing Programs in Health and Social Services (3 credits)
  • Aging Network Services (3 credits)
  • Direct Social Work Practice with Older Adults (3 credits)
  • Three credits of leadership- and management-focused coursework
  • Social Policy Analysis and Evaluation (3 credits) or Evaluation of Programs and Services (3 credits)

You will also have 9 elective credits, which can be used to broaden your expertise in other areas or to pursue additional OAAS-related electives, such as:

  • Geriatric Interdisciplinary Teams (3 credits)
  • Social Entrepreneurship (3 credits)
  • Death and Dying (3 credits)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (3 credits)


Concentration Practicum

The MSW program requires 600 hours of concentration practicum (in addition to 360 hours of foundation practicum). The concentration practicum must take place in an agency that serves older adults or pursues relevant management or advocacy work. Sample OAAS practicum sites include:

  • BJC Hospice
  • Covenant Place
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Housing Options Provided for the Elderly (HOPE)
  • National Council on Aging
  • Parc Provence
  • St. Louis Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association
  • Wells Fargo Advisors

Additional Resources

Washington University’s Harvey A. Friedman Center for Aging is a great resource for engaging in interdisciplinary educational and research efforts related to aging.

Nancy Morrow-Howell and Sojunh Park

Concentration Co-Chairs

Nancy Morrow-Howell is the Betty Bofinger Brown Distinguished Professor of Social Policy, director of the Harvey A. Friedman Center on Aging, and president of the Gerontological Society of America.

Assistant Professor Sojung Park is an environmental gerontologist who aims to expand knowledge of the person-environment dynamics in old age that can reduce disparities in health and well-being.

Cal Halvorsen

Featured Graduate

“With a rapidly aging population, there are tremendous opportunities to improve how we live in later life. Addressing issues from long-term care to longer working lives, this concentration provided me with the expert knowledge, actionable research skills and practical experience needed to make a meaningful difference in this world.”



—Cal J. Halvorsen, MSW ’08, Doctoral Student in Social Work and William E. Gordon Research Fellow, Brown School
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