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The University of Southampton
Ageing & GerontologyPart of Economic, Social & Political SciencePostgraduate study

MSc Gerontology (Distance Learning)

The MSc Gerontology (Distance Learning), which is recognised by the ESRC Doctoral Training Centre, offers the MSc Gerontology qualification from a distance and is designed for people who wish to study without travelling to Southampton.

The programme is delivered through Blackboard, the University's virtual learning environment (VLE), where all learning resources are available and accessible at all times by students. As for the face-to-face programme, students on the MSc Gerontology (DL) take six modules plus the dissertation. The modules include research methods training.


Introducing your degree

The MSc Gerontology (Distance Learning) programme offers you the opportunity to study gerontology from a distance, allowing you to access learning resources online in a flexible manner.  Understanding the process of population ageing brings critical advantages to employees in a range of professional sectors, such as the health and social care, research, and the local and national policy sectors.

The programme will equip you with academic knowledge in Gerontology, focusing on evidence related to the wellbeing of older people, and with policy knowledge relating to social policies aimed at preparing societies for ageing populations. In addition, the programme will offer you a range of training opportunities in research methods, both quantitative and qualitative.

The aims of the programme 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
  • 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

View the programme specification for this course for 2018/19 entrants

View the programme specification for this course for 2019/20 entrants

Key Facts

Full-time: one year
Full-time students take three modules per semester, six in total by the end of the second semester. The dissertation is submitted by the end of September of that year.

Part-time: 27 months
Part-time students take three modules in year one and three in year two. The dissertation is conducted in the second year and normally submitted submitted in January of the following calendar year.

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

  • ‘You can’t hug Facebook.’ How is internet use associated with loneliness and social isolation among community dwelling older adults in England?
  • A Home Away: The long-term residential care transition and adjustment experiences of older persons in Trinidad.
  • Knowledge and practice of physiotherapists in Nigeria on falls prevention among older people.
  • The attitudes of older persons, their carers and community leaders towards residential care for older persons in Uganda: A qualitative study.

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

We welcome applications from students holding, or expecting to hold, a British bachelors (honours) upper second-class degree or higher, or the 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 visit the International students section of our website.

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

Full-time students take three modules per semester, six in total by the end of the second semester. The dissertation is submitted by the end of September of that year.

Students on the part-time programme take three compulsory modules in year one, and two compulsory and one optional module in year two. The dissertation is conducted in the second year and normally submitted by the end of December in year two.

Year 1

The dissertation is 15,000 words long. The dissertation offers the student an opportunity to research a subject of their choice. A member of staff will provide supervision and guidance throughout the period of preparation and writing. On successful completion of the taught component of the programme and a 15,000 word dissertation, students are conferred the award of MSc Gerontology (Distance Learning). Those not undertaking, or failing to successfully complete, the dissertation are eligible for the award of PG Diploma in Gerontology (Distance Learning).

Semester One
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Semester Two
Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

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).

Tuition fees

List of tuition fees for this course and it's variations
Course TitleAwardYear of entryMode of studyUK/EUInternational
Gerontology (Distance Learning)MSc 2020Full-time£9,250£18,812
Gerontology (Distance Learning)MSc 2020Part-time£4,625£9,406
Gerontology Flexible (Distance Learning)MSc2020Full-time£3,100£6,276
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 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.
EquipmentIT: Software licences - 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.
EquipmentIT: Hardware - 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. Distance Learning: 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 and dissertations) is submitted online. 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 at: Distance Learning: For all GERO modules, coursework (such as essays, projects and dissertations) is submitted online. Distance Learning students are provided hard copies of the MSc Student Handbook, Module Outlines and other key learning materials (eg. How to Guides) 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 associated accommodation and travel costs (as well as any conference registration fees).
OtherStudents on the MSc Gerontology (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.
OtherParking: For students not residing in Southampton, paid parking is available on the University campus. Maps of the campuses can be downloaded from at:

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

  • Students are expected to prepare oral presentations and to lead discussions, thereby developing their skills in written and oral presentation. Distance learning students develop these skills through a variety of interactive online resources and software programmes.
  • A variety of assessment methods are employed, which include essays, oral presentations, group work, exercises, research reports and the dissertation.
  • All programme modules have their own page on Blackboard.
  • An enhanced version of Blackboard is central to their learning experience, providing comprehensive support and guidance on how to use online resources that are key to the programme. All coursework is submitted through Blackboard.

Facilities provided to students

  • Distance learning students will be given their own university email account and access to a range of software packages and computing support via iSolutions.
  • All students (on all programmes) are provided with a personal tutor who can advise on academic and other University issues, and a dissertation tutor who provides advice and support during independent research. Distance learning students will be able to access specially prepared materials covering these areas on Blackboard.

Technical specification for the distance learning programmes

  • modern computer/laptop with Microsoft Office software package and ability to play Flash media files
  • high-speed internet connection
  • PC headset with microphone

Students will have the opportunity to comment on the quality of the programme in the following ways:

  • anonymous student evaluation questionnaires for each module of the programme which are emailed to the designated student representative from each cohort, who then passes them on to the programme coordinator
  • input into quinquennial PG Cert/PG Dip/MSc programme and module reviews by emailing your comments and suggestions to the designated student representative of the cohort
  • acting as a student representative of your cohort, collecting the views and suggestions of fellow students through email and passing them on to the coordinators of the Gerontology Staff–Student Liaison Committee, the Social Sciences Staff–Student Liaison Committee, the MSc Gerontology Board of Studies and the Social Sciences Board

Study locations

Distance learning offers flexible learning with high quality teaching

Distance learning

Distance Learning programmes offer you the opportunity to study the su...Find out more

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