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About USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

The University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology was established in 1975 and is the longest-running and largest school of its kind. It offers a complete collection of gerontology degree programs, a variety of exceptional research opportunities and an academic environment which students will find challenging yet supportive.

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology is a unique school rooted in research and is based in the unique city of Los Angeles, California. Its research and services division, the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center-- is home to not only today's leaders in the field, but also tomorrow's.

USC's programs study the human lifespan by exploring the biological, psychological, sociological, political, medical and business dimensions of adult life. The curriculum is aimed at preparing future professionals in the field of aging with the specific skills and knowledge necessary to effectively handle the needs of an aging population.

The school is able to offer students a wide range of scientific and professional gerontology courses with its outstanding faculty from a variety of disciplines.

Degrees at USC

USC offers many distance learning programs. All of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Master's programs and graduate certificate program are available in their entirety online. The Leonard Davis School also awards $500,000 to graduate students in scholarships annually.

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers:

Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Aging (HMDA)

Students in the Human Development and Aging major can choose either the Health Science or the Social Science track.

The Health Science track is designed for students who wish to pursue careers in medicine, so the core curriculum meets the general education and medical school entrance requirements.

Students who pursue the Social Science track can develop a deeper understanding of the human condition across the spectrum of age. Graduates of this degree have gone on to promote the rights, quality of life and dignity of older adults on the local, national and international levels.

Bachelor of Science in Lifespan Health (LSPH)

The curriculum for the Bachelor of Science in Lifespan Health degree emphasizes the biological aspects of health, including disease prevention, detection, and treatment. This program is made for students who wish to pursue careers in pharmacy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychology and related fields.

Master of Science in Gerontology (MSG)

The MS in Gerontology degree program prepares graduates to take on major leadership roles in the private and public sectors, working in planning, evaluating, and administering programs. It is also designed for graduate students who want to assume executive positions that deliver direct services to older people and their families or teach older adults and service providers.

In conjunction with the MSG degree, USC offers dual-degree programs. Among them are business administration, health administration, planning, public administration, law, pharmacy, and social work. This program is also available online.

Master of Arts in Gerontology (MAG)

The MA in Gerontology degree offers current professionals in the field a chance to acquire skills and formal training in gerontology. The MAG degree complements real-world experience, offers executive preperation, and helps graduates boost their career potential. This program can be completed online.

Master of Aging Services Management (MASM)

The Master of Aging Services Management degree is designed to give current and future aging services managers the knowledge and skill set to offer services, programs, and products to older adults. Students will be prepared to utilize their skills and respond effectively to changes in the economic, legal and regulatory environments in which they are employed. Courses in the degree program are available online.

Master of Long-Term Care Administration (MLTCA)

The Master of Long-Term Care Administration degree is a multi-USC school program. It combines the multi-faceted aspects of aging with training in the administration and management of long-term care organizations. Students will take classes offered by the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, the USC Marshall School of Business, and the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Students have the option of taking these courses online.

Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity (MSNHL)

The Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan, and Longevity degree is for those who want to pursue a career in nutrition and dietetics. The program promotes health and longevity based on scientific evidence and integrating academic study with professional practice experience. The program includes 46 units of coursework and 1200 hours of supervised practice in hospital, community, and food service settings.

Before applying, prerequisite courses are required. Students must also complete 40 hours of paid or volunteer work experience with a Registered Dietitian. The program is a candidate for accreditation by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND).

Students are eligible to take the Commission of Dietetics Registration's national registration examination once they receive the Master's degree diploma. Upon successful completion, students receive the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) credential. This degree program may be completed online.

Graduate Certificate in Gerontology

The graduate certificate in gerontology gives students the opportunity to obtain a greater understanding of gerontological theory and research, even if they completed a bachelor's degree in another field. The program consists of 16 units of study in gerontology designed to offer a broad range of knowledge, which relate to professional practice. This program is also available to students online.

PhD in Gerontology

Students working towards a PhD in gerontology will learn about the physiology of human development and aging, examining social policies related to aging as well as the psychological, behavioral, and sociological impact on lifespan development.

Working closely with a faculty mentor, students focus on a specific area of interest and begin the process of discovering and shaping their own academic specialization. Activities include: working on research and publications, participating in colloquia, attending and presenting at national organization meetings, and acquiring teaching experience. Students can develop a rich academic, personal, and professional network.

PhD in Biology of Aging

The Biology of Aging doctoral program, brings together the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Northern California. Student academic research activities take place on both campuses.

Students work closely with a faculty mentor to concentrate on molecular, cellular, and regenerative medicine in addition to the integrative biology of aging. Students can take core courses on the molecular and cellular biology of aging as well as age-related diseases. They then can choose a specialty of neuroscience, molecular, and cellular biology, stem cell and regenerative sciences, or biomedical sciences.

Degrees & Awards

Degrees Offered

Degree Concentration Sub-concentration
Master of Health Administration/Master of Science (MHA/MS)
Master of Public Administration/Master of Science (MPA/MS)
Juris Doctor/Master of Science (JD/MS)
Master of Planning/Master of Science (M Pl/MS)
Master of Business Administration/Master of Science (MBA/MS)
Doctor of Pharmacy/Master of Science (Pharm D/MS)
Master of Science/Master of Social Work (MS/MSW)
Master of Long Term Care Administration (MLTCA) Long term care administration
Master of Aging Services Management (MASM) Aging services management
(Graduate Certificate) Gerontology
Master of Arts (MA) Gerontology
Master of Science (MS) Gerontology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Gerontology
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Biology of aging

Earning Your Degree

Part-time study available? Yes
Evening/weekend programs available? No
Distance learning programs available? Yes
Terminal master's degree available? Yes

Degree Requirements

Master's Degrees Thesis Alternate accepted
Doctoral Degrees Entrance Exam GRE
Comp Exam Required
Thesis Required



Application Fee - Domestic
applications accepted?
Applications processed
on a rolling basis?

Application Deadlines

Type Domestic International Priority date
Fall deadline March 15th February 1st Yes
Spring deadline October 15th October 1st Yes

Entrance Requirements

Doctoral Degree Exam GRE

Tuition & Fees

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Financial Support

Application deadlines for financial awards March 15
Types of financial support available Fellowships
Research Assistantships
Scholarship and/or loans


Total faculty
Full-time (18)
Part-time (7)
Male (15)
Female (10)


Focus of faculty research: Sex steroids and Alzheimer's disease, memory, cognition and brain plasticity, environment and injury prevention, antioxidants, stress and aging, inflammation and aging, euthanasia, caloric restriction and chemotherapy, biodemographic of aging, health outcomes research, families and intergenerational relatives, care-giving of elderly, biology, psychology, sociology, policy
Externally sponsored research expenditures last year: 0

Location & Contact

Address University Park Campus
Los Angeles, CA  90089
United States
Contact Email: ldsgero@usc.edu
Phone: 213-740-5156