About this course
Gerontology looks at ageing and its impact on individuals and society. On our full-time PGDip Gerontology (Distance Learning) course at the University of Southampton you'll learn about the changes people experience as they age and the effects of ageing populations on society. This course is ideal if you need the flexibility to combine work and postgraduate study.
Understanding the process of population ageing can benefit areas such as health and social care, research, and local and national policy.
On this UK distance learning postgraduate diploma in gerontology, you’ll look at the subject from a range of perspectives, including policy, demography, sociology, biology, healthcare sciences, psychology and economics.
- understanding of key theories in gerontology and their application
- knowledge of modern global debates around the lives of older people, their families and societies
- the ability to evaluate policies and initiatives concerning issues like population ageing, welfare provision and quality of life
- qualitative and quantitative research skills
- skills for a career in gerontology, applied health or social sciences
If you prefer, you can apply to study this course as:
a part-time distance learning postgraduate diploma (PGDip) - you'll usually study over 2 years
If you’re not ready to take on a full course, as part of continuing professional development (CPD) you can choose to study a module on its own. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to the subject and you can build up to higher level study. Choose campus based study or distance learning.
Your modules and fees may vary if you choose a different study option.
Your course leader is Athina Vlachantoni, Professor of Gerontology and Social Policy at the University of Southampton. Her research interests combine the areas of ageing, gender and social policy. Read Professor Vlachantoni’s profile to find out more about her research interests and publication.
This qualification is awarded by the University of Southampton.
Download the Course Description Document
The Course Description Document details your course overview, your course structure and how your course is taught and assessed.
Changes due to COVID-19
Although the COVID-19 situation is improving, any future restrictions could mean we might have to change the way parts of our teaching and learning take place in 2022 to 2023. This means that some of the information on this course page may be subject to change.
Find out more on our COVID advice page.
You’ll need a 2:1 degree in social science or a subject related to ageing.
Find the equivalent international qualifications for your country.
English language requirements
If English isn't your first language, you'll need to complete an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to demonstrate your competence in English. You'll need all of the following scores as a minimum:
IELTS score requirements
- overall score
We accept other English language tests. Find out which English language tests we accept.
Recognition of professional experience
If you don't have the exact entry requirements, but you have significant work experience in this sector we’ll assess your relevant professional experience, your subject knowledge and your aptitude for learning.
Your application will be considered on individual merit and you may be asked to attend an interview.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
Whether you choose to study full-time or part-time, the course is made of modules that everyone on the course takes, and modules we’ll ask you to choose from a list of options. You’ll study 6 modules in total.
If you choose to study full-time, you’ll study for 1 year. You'll take 3 modules in semester 1 and 3 modules in semester 2.
If you choose to study part-time, you’ll study for 2 years. You'll take 3 modules in year 1 and 3 modules in year 2.
Want more detail? See all the modules in the course.
For entry in Academic Year 2022-23
Year 1 modules
You must study the following modules:
Ageing, Health & Well-Being (DL)
This module aims to provide you with a foundation of knowledge in the areas of health and well-being in later life and the impact of social policy. You will be introduced to key issues and literature concerning the nature of ageing and how it is defined, ...
Demographic Change, Ageing & Globalisation (DL)
This module provides you with a foundation of knowledge on demographic change and population ageing in a cross-cultural, global perspective. The module focuses on less economically developed countries (LEDCs), and on linkages between different regions of ...
Perspectives in Gerontology (DL)
This module introduces you to the study of Gerontology as an interdisciplinary subject. You will be familiarised with main theoretical perspectives and approaches to the study of ageing and the life course. You will examine the causes and consequences of ...
Qualitative Research Methods (DL)
The module is aimed at enabling you to understand the principles of qualitative methods and analysis, and equipping you to apply qualitative research methods in practice. The module assumes no previous knowledge of either NVivo or qualitative analysis so...
You must also choose from the following modules:
Mental Health and Ageing (DL)
The module will provide a critical assessment of evidence relevant to mental health and ageing, with a concentration on dementia, one of the most common and serious disorders in later life. The module will take an international perspective, providing an u...
Poverty and Social Protection Around The World (DL)
The module involves lectures and guest lectures from different disciplines. Learning activities include audio-lectures, which include trigger questions, and independent study. Students are expected to carry out some reading in advance of listening to each...
Quantitative Research Methods (DL)
This module introduces you to quantitative research methods within the social sciences. The module is aimed at providing a firm understanding of the fundamental principles of quantitative analysis, and a good foundation of knowledge of quantitative method...
Researching Ageing Societies (DL)
Students will gain an understanding of the individual, social, economic and political implications of population ageing by examining substantive and research methods issues around end-of-life care; changing family forms and diverse lifestyles; they will i...
Learning and assessment
The course is delivered using the University's virtual learning environment. You'll be able to access all the learning resources at any time. You’ll learn through a range of teaching and learning methods, including:
- recordings of live lectures
- lecture slides
- supervised independent research
- independent study
- online exercises and quizzes
- discussion boards
We'll assess you using:
- literature reviews
- oral presentations
- research reports
We'll assign you a personal academic tutor. You'll also have access to a distance learning tutor who can help with your induction and advise about any aspect of the course.
You’ll graduate with the knowledge and practical skills to work with older people in a wide range of settings. You will also be able to progress onto the MSc Gerontology (DL) if you complete the MSc dissertation.
Careers services at Southampton
We're a top 20 UK university for employability (QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022). Our Careers and Employability Service will support you throughout your time as a student and for up to 5 years after graduation. This support includes:
- work experience schemes
- CV/resume and interview skills workshops
- networking events
- careers fairs attended by top employers
- a wealth of volunteering opportunities
- study abroad and summer school opportunities
We have a thriving entrepreneurship culture. You'll be able to take advantage of:
- our dedicated start-up incubator, Futureworlds
- a wide variety of enterprise events run throughout the year
- our partnership in the world’s number 1 business incubator, SETsquared
Fees, costs and funding
Fees for a year's study:
- UK students pay £7,380.
- EU and international students pay £14,760.
What your fees pay for
Your tuition fee covers the full cost of tuition and any exams.
Find out how to pay your tuition fees.
Accommodation and living costs, such as travel and food, are not included in your tuition fees. Explore:
10% alumni discount
If you’re a graduate of the University of Southampton you get a 10% discount on your postgraduate tuition fees.
Postgraduate Master’s Loans (UK nationals only)
This can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate master's course. Find out if you're eligible.
Funding your postgraduate studies
A variety of additional funding options may be available to help you pay for your master’s study. Both from the University and other organisations.
Funding for EU and international students
Find out about funding you could get as an international student.
How to apply
- Use the 'apply for this course' button on this page to take you to our online application form.
- Search for the course you want to apply for.
- Complete the application form and upload any supporting documents.
- Submit your application.
Places are limited and we allocate them on a continuous basis from 21 September 2022, until all places are filled. We advise you to apply early to avoid disappointment.
We expect to close applications for this course on Friday 15 September 2023 (11:59pm UK time).
This course may stay open after this date if places are still available.
Application assessment fee
We’ll ask you to pay a £50 application assessment fee if you’re applying for a postgraduate taught course.
This is an extra one-off charge which is separate to your tuition fees and is payable per application. It covers the work and time it takes us to assess your application. You’ll be prompted to pay when you submit your application which won’t progress until you've paid.
If you're a current or former University of Southampton student, or if you’re applying for certain scholarships, you will not need to pay the fee. PGCE applications through GOV.UK and Master of Research (MRes) degree applications are also exempt. Find out if you’re exempt on our terms and conditions page.
When you apply you’ll need to submit a personal statement explaining why you want to take the course.
You’ll need to include information about:
- your knowledge of the subject area
- why you want to study a postgraduate qualification in this course
- how you intend to use your qualification
You'll also need to send 2 academic references.
Please include the required paperwork showing your first degree and your IELTS English language test score (if you are a non-native English speaker) with your application. Without these, your application may be delayed.
What happens after you apply
You'll be able to track your application through our online Applicant Record System.
We'll assess your application on the strength of your:
- academic achievements
- relevant professional experience
- personal statement
- academic references
We will aim to send you a decision 6-8 weeks after you have submitted your application.
If we offer you a place, you will need to accept the offer within 30 working days. If you do not meet this deadline, we will offer your place to another applicant.
Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications we receive, we may not be able to give you specific feedback on your application if you are unsuccessful.
Equality and diversity
We treat and select everyone in line with our Equality and Diversity Statement.
Got a question?
Please contact us if you're not sure you have the right experience or qualifications to get onto this course.
Tel: +44(0)23 8059 5000
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