Policy Studies in Aging

The Ph.D. in Public Policy with a specialization in Policy Studies in Aging will provide professionals from diverse disciplines with the knowledge and research tools needed to assume a leadership role in shaping public policies that will address the profound challenges of an aging society. More specifically, the specialization objectives are:

  1. To provide knowledge of changes experienced by individuals as they age, and the role of public policy in addressing the needs of aging individuals and their cohorts as they move across the lifespan.
  2. To provide information about both the nature and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration across disciplines and agencies and the tools available to support effective functioning in public and private collaborations.
  3. To convey the impact of public policy decisions on all aspects of the lives of aging individuals within our society.
  4. To provide future leaders with experience working with community, state-wide, and federal agencies and key personnel that play a role in shaping aging policy.

Specialization Faculty

Specialization Coordinator: Dr. Timothy Killian

  • Ro Di Brezzo CV, Ph.D. (Texas Women's University), Professor, Health, Human Performance, and Recreation
  • Leah Jean Henry CV, Ph.D. (Texas Woman's University), Associate Professor, Public Health
  • Tim Killian, Ph.D. CV, (University of Missouri), Associate Professor, Human Environmental Science
  • Barbara Shadden CV, Ph.D. (University of Tennessee), Professor, Rehabilitation Education and Research
  • Brent T. Williams, Ph.D., C.R.C. (University of Illinois, Urbana - Champaign), Associate Professor, Rehabilitation Education and Research

Course of Study

This specialization requires twelve (12) hours of post master’s studies. Among the course possibilities are six (6) hours of the following required courses:

  • GERO 5023 Critical Issues in Aging (Irregular) Consideration of current issues of aging not covered in depth in other courses. Prerequisite: graduate standing. May be repeated for 6 hours.
  • CDIS 699V Seminar in Communication Sciences and Disorders (Irregular) (1-6) Discussion of pertinent topics and issues in the discipline of communication sciences and disorders. Prerequisite: advanced graduate standing. May be repeated for 18 hours.

and six (6) hours to be selected from the following with the approval of the Advisory Committee:
(Note:  With the approval of the Advisory Committee, other courses may be selected, depending on the student's area of interest.)

  • HESC 5403 Advanced Family Relations (Fa) Subtle elements in marriage, parent- child, and other relations among family members and between the family and the larger community. Recent cultural change as it affects the family. Recent research and literature. Prerequisite: graduate standing.
  • HLSC 5633 Health Services Administration (Irregular) Emphasis is on an examination of administrative factors related to health services. Administrative and professional authority, boards, consumers, delivery of services, federal role, and cost containment will also be addressed.
  • HLSC 5623 Health Planning (Even Years, Sp) Emphasis is on examination of health planning processes, principles, and concepts. Methods for health planning agencies, issues in comprehensive health planning, and analysis of decision making steps for program implementation will be addressed.
  • HLSC 6733 Health and the Aging Process (Odd Years, Sp) An overview of the health-related issues facing elderly populations with in-depth study of biological and behavioral changes associated with aging.
  • RHAB 6203 Disability Policy in the U.S. (Fa) An analysis of public policy approaches to disability in the U.S. Examines the political and philosophical origins of disability policy; reviews major disability legislation and its effects on policy stakeholders; describes recent initiatives; and analyzes evolution of disability policy within context of changing societal, economic, and political conditions.
  • SCWK 5193 Advanced Practice and Policy in Aging (Fa) This course focuses on social work practice with, and policies for, older persons. Current, past, and future practices and policies for older persons across systems and the life course are explored. Emphasis is placed on the influences of personal, social, economic, and cultural diversity on the well-being of older persons. Prerequisite: SCWK 5003 or SCWK 5013.
  • SCWK 5223 Advanced Practice and Policy in Health Care (Fa) This course examines the delivery of health care in the United States in the context of social, political, economic, ethical, and legal factors. Students gain skills for collaboration on an interdisciplinary team. Prerequisite: SCWK 5003 or SCWK 5013.
  • SCWK 5213 Advanced Practice and Policy in Mental Health (Sp) This advanced course prepares students to identify mental disorders, plan intervention strategies with clients from a strengths perspective, and understand mental health programs and policies through which services are delivered. Differential diagnosis and the impact of socioeconomic status, gender, race, and sexual orientation on diagnosis and treatment decisions are addressed. Prerequisite: SCWK 5003 or SCWK 5013.

NOTE: GERO 4443, Gerontology, may be required for graduate credit as prerequisite for doctoral students having limited background in gerontology.