Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts in Sociology


The United States is undergoing a major increase in a segment of the population we socially define and understand as aged. By the year 2030 approximately one in every five Americans will be 65 years or older. Because the concept of age is encompassed in our everyday world of social reality, it is a subject matter for the discipline of sociology. Aging is also recognized as a subject matter for courses in social gerontology, which incorporates a multidisciplinary approach with material from social, psychological, and biological areas. This research endeavor constitutes a content analysis of course syllabi found in the 5th edition of Teaching Sociology of Aging and the Life Course, an instructional resource publication available through the American Sociology Association, to gain insight into the way sociology constructs and presents the study of aging in sociology of aging courses as opposed to courses in social gerontology. The presence of seven sociological concepts, as well as psychological and biological references, is examined and compared in syllabi from the two areas of aging study. Results show the main differences between the two types of syllabi are that social gerontology focuses on psychological issues and sociology of aging emphasizes social roles. Both areas of study are somewhat similar, for both contain concepts in areas referencing roles, norms, stratification, and population. Social gerontology syllabi appear to have a significantly higher presence of psychological references than does sociology of aging and slightly more reference to biological references than does sociology of aging.


Education | Sociology