The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Ageing/GerontologyPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc Gerontology (Research)

Gerontology is the study of ageing at the individual and societal levels. It examines the changes humans undergo as they age, as well as the impact of growing proportions of older people on social institutions, labour markets, welfare systems and families. It investigates the relationships between generations and the interconnections between our older and younger selves. Insights are taken from social policy, demography, sociology, biology, healthcare sciences, psychology and economics. Gerontology is thus a fundamentally interdisciplinary subject which leads to a fascinating variety of careers.

Introducing your degree

How can societies harness the potential created by an ageing population for the benefit of families and individuals alike? The MSc Gerontology (Research) introduces you to the study of ageing combined with a strong emphasis on qualitative and quantitative research methods.

This programme, which is eligible for funding through the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, will equip you with critical skills in evidence production and analysis, which can contribute to a career in local or national government, or to further postgraduate studies.


In addition to the standard PG Cert/PG Dip/MSc Gerontology, a specialised research pathway is offered, leading to the award MSc Gerontology (Research). This incorporates a more substantial compulsory research methods training element (amounting to 60 CATS or 30 ECTS). The MSc Gerontology (Research) specialist research pathway has received research training (RT) recognition by the ESRC, which fits well for students wishing to progress to MPhil/PhD postgraduate training.

View the programme specification document for this course

Programme Structure

The programme aims to provide you with:

  • critical appreciation of key theoretical perspectives in gerontology and their application to the analysis of issues concerning ageing and the life course
  • understanding of contemporary debates in gerontology surrounding the lives of older people, their families and societies in developed and developing countries
  • the ability to evaluate policies and initiatives concerning population ageing, welfare provision and quality of life of older people, their families and carers
  • competence in qualitative and quantitative research methods and their application to key research questions
  • the ability to design and conduct independent research in gerontology using appropriate research methods
  • preparation for a career in the field of gerontology and applied health and social sciences

Key Facts

Examples of dissertation topics undertaken by students on this programme in the past:

  • The Active Ageing concept and Turkish older people in London: A qualitative study.
  • Do we really need to stay in paid work to protect cognitive function in older age? An investigation of multiple activities of older age and associations with cognitive function.
  • Baby Boom and Bust? Challenges to future health and social care provision in England.
  • Are Social Pensions Effective? A Critical Review of the Literature.

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

We welcome applications from students holding, or expecting to hold, an upper second-class honours degree or higher, or equivalent.

Students without the usual entry qualifications may be admitted, with the requisite approval, on the basis of relevant work experience or professional qualifications. Mature applicants without formal qualifications but with relevant experience are also welcomed and will be considered.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

English language requirements

If your first language or language of education is not English, we will ask you to show evidence of fluency in the use of English. For all of our postgraduate programmes we require a level of IELTS 6.5. For details of other English language tests which we accept, please see the International students section of our website where you will find a list of approved tests.

If you require further English language tuition before commencing your programme with us, you may apply for one of our pre-sessional English language courses which are run by the Centre for Language Study.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The six modules taken on this research pathway are compulsory; there are no optional modules.

Students on the part-time programme take three compulsory modules in year one, and three in year two. Please contact us for more information.

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Fees for postgraduate taught courses vary across the University. All fees are listed for UK, EU and international full-time and part-time students alphabetically by course name.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries, sponsorships or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationary items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Please note that the vast majority of readings in Gerontology are available electronically through e-journals, as digitised text in the Online Course Collection or as e-books. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentSoftware Licenses- Licenses relating to software used in the programme (eg. SPSS, NVivo) are purchased by the University, and students can download them from the iSolutions website using their username and password.
EquipmentHardware-Students have access to workstations in the Hartley Library and in Computer rooms around the campus. Students may wish to purchase their own laptop/PC/tablet.
Printing and copyingFor all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. However, for some modules outside Gerontology, there are some items where students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:
Conference expenses Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as conference registration fees).
TravelWhere students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated.
OtherParking Costs- For students not residing in Southampton, paid parking is available on the University campus. Maps of the campuses can be downloaded from here:

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

Hartley Library

Highfield campus

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