Academic Division of Professional Programs

The broad field of Human Services involves the art and science of working with people and helping others. Within the subspecialty of social work, the essential aim of the professional is to enhance social functioning of people within social can cultural frameworks. This certificate program prepares graduates to engage in the helping professions at entry levels in their communities, with a focus on working effectively with elders in a variety of community settings

Download the Gerontology Certificate overview sheet.


The broad field of Human Services involves the art and science of working with people and helping others. Within the subspecialty of social work, the essential aim of the professional is to enhance social functioning of people within social can cultural frameworks. This certificate program prepares graduates to engage in the helping professions at entry levels in their communities, with a focus on working effectively with elders in a variety of community settings

Program Outcomes
At the completion of the program the student should be able to:

  • Assesses the needs of older adults and their families while working as a member of a team of helping professionals
  • Apply appropriate practices and procedures when interviewing applicants for services to obtain data and to provide information on available resources for older adults
  • Demonstrate familiarity with services that assist older adults and their families that are available in the community
  • Demonstrates proficiency in assisting older adults as individuals or groups with difficult day to day problems such as family relationships, locating sources of assistance, and addressing other specific problems
  • Provide assistance in helping older adults utilize specific resources and agencies

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Gerontology Courses
    • Code
    • Course
    • Credits
    • HSV 112
    • Introduction to Gerontology
    • 3
    This course studies human aging from a developmental and multidisciplinary perspective. The bio-social-psychological factors involved in changes throughout the aging process, including retirement, family, leisure, aloneness, death, and bereavement are considered together with additional distinct concerns of older adults such as widowhood, finances, religion, sexuality, and health problems.
    • HSV 114
    • Substance Addiction and Older Adults
    • 3
    This course provides students with an overall view of Substance Addiction among older adults. Instructors will outline best practices for identifying, screening, assessing, and treating the abuse of alcohol, prescription and illicit drugs in the older adult population. Emphasis will be on addressing the greater toll of the misuse and addiction of alcohol and other drugs and the psychosocial issues that are unique to the older adult.
    • SOC 140
    • Aging in America
    • 3
    Students will explore the process of aging in America from a sociological perspective. Explore roles of the aged today as they compare to other societies and times, the status of elderly in America, the effects of elderly boomers on commercial and cultural images, and the ethical dilemmas raised by the new elders in our society. Prerequisite: SOC 101 or permission of the instructor.
    • HSV 103
    • Introduction to Social Work
    • 3
    The student will explore, in depth, the concepts of social work, in terms of knowledge, values and skills that are required for an effective introduction to the profession of social work. Special populations such as women, homeless, gays, the elderly, AIDS patients, and minorities of color in the US are presented in case materials. Emerging issues in society will also be included, such as urban gang violence, domestic violence, child abuse, poverty and the social worker’s role. This course will assist the student preparing for the state licensure examination at the LSWA level.
    • HSV 200
    • Human Behavior and the Social Environment
    • 3
    This course provides a conceptual framework for organizing and analyzing knowledge of human behavior and the social environment with a focus on individuals and families. Social systems, life course, and assets and resiliency-based perspectives and theories are presented. Special attention is given to the impact of poverty, discrimination, and oppression on the ability to reach or maintain optimal health and wellbeing. Prerequisite: HSV 103.
    • HSV 201
    • Helping Skills in Human Services
    • 3
    An examination of the helping relationship in individual and group work with emphasis on techniques such as listening skills, questioning, and interviewing. Topics covered include assessment, treatment planning, and techniques of intervention including behavior modification, psychodynamic, existential-humanistic, and cognitive therapies.
    • BIO 106
    • Nutrition
    • 4
    This course focuses on nutrition across the life span. Students will gain an understanding of nutritional principles in both health and illness. Nutrition throughout the life span at all stages of development is emphasized. Nutritional bio-chemistry of all macronutrients will be covered. Lecture topics: Health promotion, nutritional guidelines, macro-nutrient chemistry, micro-nutrient chemistry, menu planning, food labeling, safety, obesity, clinical eating disorders, RDA requirements, and age related guidelines. Lab topics: Understanding of laboratory safety, keeping food consumption record, measuring carbohydrate, lipid, and protein content of food, fermenting, evaluating food oxidation, measuring vitamin solubility and stability, assessing enzymatic activity under pH and temperature change and its effect on food, evaluating artificial sweeteners and energy drinks, practicing safe food handling, understanding and generating food labels, and preparing balanced plates. Safety protocols must be observed in all lab classes. These include: no food, no drink, and no open-toe shoes, appropriate clothing. Only registered students may enter labs.
    • PSY 216
    • Growth & Development
    • 3
    This course explores human growth and development across the lifespan, from how the fetus develops a preference for familiar voices, to the adolescent identity crisis, to the development of wisdom in late adulthood. The course is organized around major developmental periods in the lifespan. Contributions of significant developmental theorists are highlighted. Placement at ENG 101 level strongly advised.
    • HSV 205
    • Substance Abuse Counseling
    • 3
    This course covers a variety of techniques and strategies in the successful understanding, treatment, and assessment of chemical addictions. Students will be taught causation including physiological and behavioral consequences, as well as prevention, intervention, and treatment methods from a systems approach. Students will use social work theories to evaluate programs and treatment models. Additional topics include substance abuse in: society, multiple life span stages and diverse population groups.
    • HSV 297
    • Human Services Internship
    • 3
    An in depth, supervised field experience for a minimum of 120 hours over the duration of a single semester. Opportunities are sought with human service agencies, including those providing social services and substance abuse services. The participating student will meet regularly with the coordinating Dean or faculty member. A final project or paper is required. Prerequisites: 30 credits completed and a GPA of 3.1 or higher.
    • HSV 260
    • Diverse Populations
    • 3
    An overview of the role of human diversity in social work practice. An examination of the differences as well as the similarities of the various populations in American Society. Topics to be addressed are race, gender, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status. Barriers to cultural understanding and valuing diversity will also be explored.
    • PSY 205
    • Psychology of Change
    • 3
    This course examines major issues influencing adjustment and requires the student to explore these issues in relation to his/her own life. Some of the issues discussed include: Values clarification, racial/ethnic identity development, aggression, intimacy, depression, anxiety, and stress. Prerequisite: PSY101 or PSY216.
    • PSY 212
    • Group Dynamics
    • 3
    A course designed to enable students to understand common group interactions and the individual’s attitudes and reactions to those situations. It aids students in understanding the socialization process, group theory, the characteristics of effective leadership in a variety of group structures, and the skills required to work effectively within teams. Prerequisite: PSY 101.
    • PSY 221
    • Health Psychology
    • 3
    This course is intended to introduce the student to the tenets of health psychology, including, but not necessarily limited to, a history of health psychology; models of health psychology; an examination of the basic principles and theories pertinent to this field including the prevention and modification of health compromising behaviors; as well as the influences of psychosocial factors on mental health (e.g. stress, depression), physical health (e.g. heart disease, chronic illness, pain) and health-related behaviors (e.g. substance use and abuse, aggression, sexual behavior). Prerequisites: PSY 101 or permission of the instructor.
    • PSY 231
    • Psychology of Gender and Culture
    • 3
    The first part of this course will provide a critical examination of the theories and interesting debates that exist within the psychology of gender. The second part of the course will provide an introduction to the field of cultural psychology, including discussion of the psychology of race and ethnicity. As we discuss psychology’s tradition of focusing on differences between people, we’ll keep our similarities in mind.
    • SOC 101
    • General Sociology
    • 3
    An examination of the behavior of humans in social groups. Emphasis will be placed on concepts including culture, society, socialization, role, personality, institutions and social change. Placement at ENG 101 level strongly advised.
    • SOC 102
    • Contemporary Social Problems
    • 3
    An analysis of the chief areas of social mal-adjustment. Consideration is given to selected critical problems including race relations, ethic discrimination, changing sex role patterns, family dislocation, and an aging population, mental illness, crime, alcoholism and drug addiction.
    • SOC 116
    • Intercultural Communication
    • 3
    This course will develop awareness of how human culture affects individual perception and interpersonal communication. Through literature and journalism, film and music, communicative activities and research projects, students will expand their capacity to understand themselves and communicate with other members of the human family. Particular attention will be paid to other cultural groups represented by class members.
    • SOC 150
    • Women in Society
    • 3
    An examination of the roles of women in American society, both past and present. Students will build an understanding of the issues impacting women’s roles. Topics covered include: women’s work and economic status, sex roles, gender expectations, the socialization of women, women and children, women’s roles in other societies, and the results of the women’s movements.
    • SOC 203
    • Sociology of the Family
    • 3
    This course will focus on the family as a primary social institution. Emphasis will be placed on theoretical perspectives, variations, and alternatives, as well as the changing family over the life span. Special topics include cross-cultural influences, issues related to courtship, marriage and family development, and the effects of changes in the American family. Prerequisite: SOC 101 or permission of the instructor.
    • CJS 113
    • Drugs and Society
    • 3
    This course discusses the major social health issues involving drugs. Topics covered include the psychological aspects of drug involvement, the pharmacology of drugs, alcoholism, current rehabilitation practices, review of state and federal drug laws, and drug education programs at the national, state, and local levels. Placement at ENG 101 level strongly advised.
    • CJS 221
    • Domestic Violence, Abuse & Neglect
    • 3
    A survey of domestic violence including spousal or partner battering, child abuse and child neglect, causes, effects, and consequences of domestic violence; judicial, law enforcement and other interventions to protect victims; practical applications of the law; assisting victims/clients with resource and referral assessment; and study of public policy, criminal justice, and legal issues and problems. Placement at ENG 101 level strongly advised.


Contact Info:

Quincy Campus

1250 Hancock Street
Quincy, MA 02169

Tel:  (617) 984-1700

Plymouth Campus

36 Cordage Park Circle
Plymouth, MA 02360

Tel:  (508) 747-0400


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