Older Adults and Aging Societies Specialization

This specialization provides students with expertise in working with older adults, their families and the service delivery system for aging societies. It also prepares students to develop policy and program strategies to address the challenges and opportunities of population aging.

Students in the Older Adults and Aging Societies (OAAS) specialization are guided by a multi-level perspective on aging. At the micro-level, they learn foundational skills in interpersonal and psychotherapeutic interventions with older adults and their families. At the mezzo and macro levels, they learn about contemporary perspectives and theories in gerontology and are exposed to work in advocacy, service provision, program development and evaluation. The specialization emphasizes diverse perspectives on aging and social justice throughout its courses and through mentorship with faculty.

Graduating students are employed in both the public and private sectors, nationally and internationally. Some directly serve older adults and their families in traditional settings such as care management programs, assisted living facilities, hospitals and home health agencies. Others work in public agencies at the local, state and federal levels, overseeing home- and community-based service programs and engaging in policy advocacy for older adults. Several graduates have taken positions in national nonprofit organizations, and many have gone on to doctoral work.


  • Contemporary Perspectives on Aging (3 credits)
  • Social Policies, Services and Programs in Aging (3 credits)
  • Interpersonal Work with Older Adults and Their Families (3 credits)


The OAAS specialization requires 120 hours of related tasks during the concentration practicum. Sample practicum sites include:

  • BJC Hospice Covenant Place
  • Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center
  • Memory Care Home Solutions
  • Voyce
  • National Council on Aging
  • Lutheran Senior Services
  • OASIS Institute
  • St. Louis Area Agency on Aging
  • St. Louis Chapter, Alzheimer’s Association


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 & Sojung Park

Specialization 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 former president of the Gerontological Society of America.

Associate 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.


Featured Graduate

“At the Brown School, I gained knowledge and skills for working with older adults and their families and that expertise was highly valued in the hospital emergency room. The training in aging and connections I made during my time at the Brown School prepared me for a career in health, where I am able to serve adults of all ages and bring particular expertise to my work with older adults.”