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

Short courses in gerontology (distance learning)

In addition to the standard mode of teaching over a semester, we offer stand-alone short courses which are taken over a period of 12 weeks. They are designed to meet the needs of busy mid-career professionals, new entrants to the University and the social sciences, or returners to education who wish to pursue the particular subject area. The short courses can also be taken as part of continuing professional development (CPD). If three of the four modules are completed successfully, a PG Cert Gerontology will be awarded; however, in this case, the tuition fees for the PG Cert apply.


Introducing your course

Training in the area of ageing and understanding its causes and consequences, is a critical skill which can benefit employees across a range of professional sectors. Short courses in Gerontology last for 12 weeks and are an effective way of introducing yourself to the study of ageing, or more specialised topics such as mental health, demographic change around the world or poverty and social protection.

The Distance Learning programme provides you with flexibility to access online materials according to your work and life obligations. We also offer a Short Course in the use of quantitative or qualitative research methods, using specialised software. Enrol now and enhance your set of skills in a range of professional sectors, such as health and social care, or policy-making.


The aims of the short courses are 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
  • preparation for, and professional development in, a career in the field of gerontology and applied health and social sciences
View the programme specification document for this course

Key Facts

Each course runs for 12 weeks.

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 will also be welcomed and considered.

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

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


Typical course content

If three of the four modules are completed successfully, a PG Cert Gerontology (DL) will be awarded; however, in this case, the tuition fees for the PG Cert (DL) apply.

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 stationery 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 electronically 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. Students on the DL programme receive key textbooks as part of their tuition fees at the beginning of the programme via post. 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- Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to access to a PC/ laptop. Students may also wish to purchase their own PC/laptop or tablet in order to access Blackboard. Headphones are sent to the Distance Learning students via post as part of their tuition fees at the beginning of their programme.
Printing and copyingFor all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays; projects; dissertations) is submitted on line. Distance Learning students are provided hard copies of the MSc Student Handbook, Module Outlines and other key learning materials (eg. Module Outlines) via the post at the beginning of their programme, as part of their tuition fees.
Conference expenses Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any accommodation cost associated (as well as any conference registration fees).
TravelWhere students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated.
OtherAnything else not covered elsewhere- Students on the MSc Gerontology (DL) or MSc Global Ageing and Policy (DL) programme who are in receipt of Commonwealth scholarships are invited to attend a 4-day Residential Course in Southampton, for which the travel, accommodation and basic subsistence costs are covered as part of their Scholarship.

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

Study locations

Distance learning offers flexible learning with high quality teaching

Distance learning

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