About the Aging & Health Portfolio



The portfolio program in Aging & Health prepares students for academic research or practical careers. Increasingly, prospective employers nationwide are demanding a specialization in adult development or gerontology. There are growing and diverse needs for professionals with core knowledge and understanding of aging research and best practice approaches. The portfolio in Aging & Health is the graduate training component of the Aging Network.

This program requires 12 credit hours distributed between foundation courses and elective seminars. In addition, students may engage in aging research (basic or applied) or practicum with both well and frail older adults, and will receive credit for this course work as part of existing requirements in their major program of study (home department).

The program’s diverse faculty draws on the scholarship of faculty affiliates across graduate programs, including School of Human Ecology, College of Liberal Arts, College of Communication, College of Pharmacy, School of Social Work, School of Nursing, College of Education, College of Natural Sciences, College of Business, and College of Fine Arts, subsuming 22 academic departments. The wide array of graduate courses offered by this outstanding faculty provides exposure to cutting edge scholarship from multiple perspectives and offers students an unusual opportunity for cross-disciplinary inquiry at the graduate level.

Objectives of the Portfolio in Aging and Health

  • to promote dialogue among the many faculty and graduate students throughout the university who have research interests in adult development and aging;
  • to provide a forum for the exchange and interaction among the multiple and diverse perspectives on aging issues within the university;
  • to promote interdisciplinary collaboration among the many faculty and graduate students interested in meeting the increased demand for research and instruction that crosses traditional disciplines; and
  • to provide an organized curriculum of courses related to topics addressing adult development and health.
  • The Portfolio in Aging & Health conveys an understanding of:
    • the nature and scope of social, economic, physical, educational, and behavioral issues of aging;
    • conceptual, theoretical and institutional bases for the analysis of issues facing an aging population;
    • key methodological issues in the study of age related processes.

Master’s Portfolio Program Course Requirements

  • Completion of three (9 semester hours) courses in the list of approved graduate level Aging & Health courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in the course.
  • Of the three courses, two electives (six credit hours) chosen by the student for the master’s portfolio must be in an approved graduate-level course syllabi or approved by petition to the Aging & Health adviser. In addition, at least one of the electives must be offered in the department outside of the student’s home department. See approved graduate level course list for the portfolio.
  • Electives cannot be taken as a conference course.
  • Completion of a course in the critical evaluation of research methods is also strongly recommended, but not required.
  • Candidates for the master’s portfolio will be encouraged to engage in an aging-related practicum or scientific research as part of their regular degree program course work.
  • If a student is enrolled in a master’s program that requires a thesis or report, s/he must conduct a supervised research project on a topic in the field of aging and health.
  • In addition to the course requirements, students must attend 2 semesters of the Aging Network meetings while they are enrolled in the program. Participation in the Aging Network means attending at least 2 meetings per semester.
  • Students also must keep the Aging & Health office updated annually on their progress and obtain approval from the Aging & Health adviser for their completed portfolio.
  • The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in the master’s portfolio courses.

Doctoral Portfolio Program Course Requirements

  • Completion of four (12 semester hours) courses in the list of approved graduate level Aging & Health courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or better in the course.
  • Of the four courses, no more than one course may be taken as an independent study, except in unusual circumstances. Taking more than one independent study course requires permission of an Aging & Health adviser.
  • Students interested in developing a Portfolio in Aging & Health must complete an application form which will be reviewed by an Aging & Health adviser. The application must also include the signature of the student’s graduate adviser. An integral part of the application process is the submission of a one-page essay describing the importance of the work in aging and health to the student’s doctoral program and career goals.
  • Students can enter the portfolio program at any point in their doctoral work.
  • Students in the portfolio program in Aging & Health must participate in 3 semesters of the Aging Network during the course of their doctoral program. Participation in the Aging Network means attending at least 3 meetings per semester.
  • A written scholarly report must be presented to the Aging & Health adviser, and be approved by the Aging & Health faculty, before the program is complete.
  • Students accepted into the Aging & Health Portfolio program must keep the Aging & Health office updated each semester on their progress through approved courses by submitting an updated progress report.

Application Forms

All files are in PDF format.

For a list of courses in the Portfolio of Aging & Health, click here
For information on UT’s Aging Network events, click here

Contact Information

If you have any questions about the portfolio programs please contact:

Karen L. Fingerman, PhD

Human Development and Family Sciences

Affiliate, Psychology Department and Population Research Center

The University of Texas at Austin

108 E Dean Keeton St, Stop A2702

Austin, TX 78712-1248

Email: kfingerman@austin.utexas.edu


The Portfolio in Aging & Health is one of many programs provided by the Graduate School. To learn more about other Graduate School programs, visit UT Austin Graduate Portfolio Programs web site.

at University of Texas in Austin