Gerontology - Interprofessional Practice

The Gerontology program is a one-year graduate certificate for students to gain the knowledge and skills needed to care for aging adults. Students will learn geriatic mental health, cultural diversity, thanatology and therapeutic recreation. Graduates will find employment in retirement homes, long term care homes, group homes and day programs.


For the first time in Canadian history, there are more people over the age of 65, than under the age of 15*, which means careers working with seniors are in demand. Gerontology is the study of issues that are associating with aging. 

This graduate certificate program is designed to offer students the knowledge and skills needed while working with elderly clients in their professional practice. Students with previous experience in social work, recreation and leisure, occupational therapy, developmental disabilities and allied health, will develop expertise in the collaborative person-centred care of the aging person through advanced concepts such as geriatric mental health, cultural diversity, thanatology, therapeutic recreation and inclusive practice. Graduates often return to their original field of practice as essential assets within community organizations as they incorporate these new skills to better meet the needs of their clients.

Students will also be provided a 200-hour, interprofessional field placement within a community organization, which includes the completion of a capstone project research paper and poster at the end of the year. This valuable experience prepares graduates for employment in a range of settings including senior centres, day and leisure programs, research and education services, retirement homes, long term care facilities, group homes and home support services. 

* Statistics Canada, 2016.

Program Overview

This graduate certificate program is designed to offer students the relevant knowledge and skills needed to enhance their professional practice in the care of the specialized population of aging adults.  Students will have the opportunity to develop skills in recreation and leadership, developmental disabilities, mental health, thanatology, and social interventions that support quality of life and person-centred care.  Participation in an interprofessional field placement and research with community organizations will further prepare graduates for employment in settings that support the aging person.


Career Information

Gerontology – Interprofessional Practice

Fanshawe’s Gerontology – Interprofessional Practice program provides graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with older adults in community services and health care settings, including:

  • retirement homes
  • long term care
  • group homes
  • day programs
  • case management 
  • home support services

Did you know Fanshawe consistently ranks high in graduation employment rates among large colleges in Ontario? 

Here are some examples of career opportunities for graduates of Fanshawe’s Gerontology – Interprofessional Practice program:

Wellness Coordinator
Develop programs that meet client’s health and wellness needs.

Fitness Facilitator
Develop and implement motivating and engaging programs that will assist seniors in having healthy and active lives.

Residential Support Assistant

Provide day-to-day support and services in all departments caring for residents.


This program is very effective because the first level is theoretical while the second level is practical which allows students to apply knowledge to skills on placement. My overall experience in this course was very positive. And as a newcomer to Canada, the program provided an opportunity to explore senior care.

Kalapijt Kaur
GIP student
Learning Outcomes
  1. Comply with legislation and regulations governing professional practice within the Canadian health care system.
  2. Apply research in current issues and trends in gerontology to inform senior care plans and services.
  3. Consider the availability and effectiveness of community resources and referrals to plan, navigate and advocate for senior care.
  4. Analyze the strengths and needs of seniors independently or with an interprofessional team to plan, implement and evaluate programs.
  5. Assess the communicative, mental, physical, emotional and social health of older adults to promote healthy aging.
  6. Communicate effectively to promote person and family centered care and strengthen interprofessional collaborative practice.


Program Availability

Canadian Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2022 September
2023 January

International Students

Start Dates

Full Time Offerings

2023 January
2023 January
Toronto Campus
2023 May
Toronto Campus

Program Details

Program Code

Program Coordinator:

Connie Smith

Day Time
Ontario College Graduate Certificate

Admission Requirements

A Two- or Three-Year College Diploma, or a Degree
Acceptable combination of related work experience and post-secondary education as judged by the College*
Five years of work experience in the health or human services industry as judged by the College to be equivalent*

-*Applicants may be required to submit a resume and cover letter that includes details of work experience.

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to demonstrate proficiency in English by one of the following methods:

  • A Grade 12 College Stream or University Stream English credit from an Ontario Secondary School, or equivalent, depending on the program's Admission Requirements
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a minimum score of 88 for the Internet-based test (iBT), with test results within the last two years
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test with an overall score of 6.5 with no score less than 6.0 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years.  SDS Program Requirements.  
  • Canadian Academic English Language (CAEL) test with an overall score of 70 with no score less than 60 in any of the four bands, with test results within the last two years
  • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) with a minimum score of 59, with test results within the last two years
  • A Cambridge English Test (FCE/CAE/CPE) with an overall score on the Cambridge English Scale of 176 with no language skill less than 169, with test results within the last two years
  • An English Language Evaluation (ELE) at Fanshawe College with a minimum score of 75% in all sections of the test, with test results within the last two years
  • Fanshawe College ESL4/GAP5 students: Minimum grade of 80% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 9 or 75% in ESL4/GAP5 Level 10
Recommended Academic Preparation

Recommended Academic Preparation

  • Diploma, advanced diploma, or degree studies in social or health care fields or an allied diploma or degree.
Applicant Selection Criteria

Applicant Selection Criteria

Where the number of eligible applicants exceeds the available spaces in the program, the Applicant Selection Criteria will be:
  1. Preference for Permanent Residents of Ontario
  2. Receipt of Application by February 1st (After this date, Fanshawe College will consider applicants on a first-come, first-served basis until the program is full)
  3. Achievement in the Admission Requirements
Post-Admission Requirements

Post-Admission Requirements

See Post-Admission Requirements

Tuition Summary


Canadian Costs
Total Cost of Program
International Costs
Total Cost of Program


International Costs
Total Cost of Program

*Total program costs are approximate, subject to change and do not include the health and dental plan fee, bus pass fee or program general expenses.



Level 1
Take all of the following Mandatory Courses:
GERI-6016The Aging Population3
This course reviews the natural process of aging including typical patterns and trends associated with the geriatric population. Students explore the physical, mental, and social aspects of the aging process within the social and health care systems. Given the impact of known geriatric syndromes (i.e. falls, delirium, frailty, polypharmacy) on successful aging, early detection and prevention of these "Geriatric Giants" is emphasized. From an interprofessional approach, students examine pharmacological and naturalistic approaches to common disease treatment and prevention strategies using current research findings.
GERI-6017Mental Health in Gerontology3
This course provides an overview of mental health issues in gerontology with a focus on initiatives and prevention strategies that help to improve quality of life and remove barriers to community mental health services. Students will investigate common psychiatric and cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer's, dementia, and depression through the lens of professional practice. Students will explore ethical and legal issues associated with a variety of mental health issues, including elder abuse.
GERI-6018Interprofessional Practice3
This course introduces students to key concepts of interprofessional collaboration, with a focus in gerontology. Learners gain an understanding of various health and social service professions in terms of roles, responsibilities, and competencies. Through self-reflection, students develop an awareness of professional diversity and principles of effective team functioning as key components for interprofessional and ethical behavior. Students participate in activities that incorporate principles of effective communication, collaborative leadership and conflict resolution that foster a coordinated approach to shared decision making and outcomes.
RECN-6003Therapeutic Recreation Intervention3
This course explores the history, philosophies, and emerging trends in the provision of recreation and leisure services for the aging population. Students review a range of issues related to integrated and inclusionary community-based recreation. The nature and scope of leisure, leisure behaviour, and recreation activities are examined through a variety of therapeutic strategies and common treatment modalities that ensure health, safety, wellness, and quality of life.
HLTH-6044Person, Family & Community Practice3
With a focus on person-, family-, and community-centered care, students examine their role as practitioners in delivering care that is tailored to meet the strengths and needs of seniors and their support network. Communication skills that foster respect and client autonomy are enhanced through the study of interviewing skills, communication styles, relationship building, and cultural sensitivity. An understanding of the service system delivery and the value of community connections allows students to explore community resources and initiatives that empower and advocate for the older adult.
This course provides an overview of the field of thanatology, which is the scientific study of dying, death, and bereavement. Students will examine their role in therapeutic relationships within the context of learning to support those who may be actively dying, suffering from chronic illness, experiencing bereavement, and grieving any type of death-related or non-death related loss. Additionally, students will learn about the context in which the inevitable experience of death will occur, and analyze the philosophical foundations that underpin systems of care pertaining to hospice/palliative care and the broader Canadian healthcare system. Practitioner self-care is central to the content explored in this course, and students will learn fundamental strategies for supporting clients, families, and themselves in many of these situations which are categorized by change, adversity, uncertainty, and transition.
RSCH-6008Research Literacy2
Introduction to Research Literacy (RSCH 6008) provides the foundational knowledge and skills for students to enhance their research literacy proficiency. Not only does this 2 hour, blended course prepare students with the theory and skills required for direct application toward successful completion of Capstone Research Projects associated with Field Placement in Level 2, it encourages a culture of evidence informed decision making to be used throughout their professional career. Key course components include an introduction to research ethics and design, practical methods to search for and evaluate credible literary sources, as well as promote basic skills for critiquing and reviewing the literature. Students will also be introduced to Field Placement Practice; this includes expectations of student roles and responsibilities as well as preparing for a potential pre-placement interview with a community partner organization. In preparation for Capstone Research Projects in Level 2, students will have an opportunity to develop a timely and realistic research project proposal related to a relevant issue in the field of gerontology.
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