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The University of Southampton

GERO6010 Perspectives in Gerontology (DL)

Module Overview

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 ageing at the level of individuals and populations. This involves investigating the social, physical and mental 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. The module combines insights from Social Policy, Demography, Sociology, Biology, Psychology and Economics.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The module is aimed at providing an introduction to the study of Gerontology, investigating the social physical and mental changes humans experience as they age.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand key disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives in the study of ageing and the life course.
  • Summarise major trends in the speed and nature of population ageing and their determinants.
  • Demonstrate awareness of key changes in the life course over the past 100 years and their implications for family relations, paid work and economic and social resources in later life.
  • Develop skills in summarising and critically discussing literature.
  • Use written communication skills through the preparation of assessed coursework.


The module will include online lectures on: an introduction to the study of Gerontology; the demography of ageing (UK & Europe); the epidemiology of ageing; the psychology of ageing and adjustment in later life; key theoretical perspectives on ageing and the life course; life course transitions, experiences and identity; ethinic diversity in later life; the history of the British welfare state and key issues in the development of welfare provision; work and retirement; material resources in later life; inter-generational relations and family support; and policy initiatives and ageing.

Special Features

Outside experts are invited to give a couple of online guest lectures on particular topics; for example, an academic from other universities researching a particular topic, an international author, a policy analyst, or a senior manager in local government or in the third sector.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The module involves lectures and guest lectures from different disciplines. Learning activities include lectures, informal group discussions and independent study. Students are expected to carry out some reading in advance of each session, in order to be able to participate in discussions.

Independent Study176
Total study time200

Resources & Reading list

Dannefer, D. and Phillipson, C. (2010). The Sage Handbook of Social Gerontology. 

Vincent, J. et al (eds.) (2006). The Futures of Old Age. 

Phillips, J. et al (2010). Key Concepts in Social Gerontology. 

Module resources will be available on Blackboard, such as lecture PowerPoint slides, audiorecordings of lectures, key readings, coursework details, discussion boards and wikis, references and module updates. Students will be provided with guidance to use . 

Victor, C. (2005). The Social Context of Ageing: A Textbook of Gerontology. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (3000 words) 60%
Literature review  (2000 words) 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Essay 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

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.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Stationery: You 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. Textbooks: Where 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. Software 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. Hardware: Participating in the Distance Learning programme requires the student to already have 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 in receipt of a Commonwealth Scholarship via post as part of their tuition fees at the beginning of their programme. Distance Learning students are also expected to have access to the internet, and to bear the cost of this themselves. Printing and Photocopying Costs: For 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. If students wish to print out copies of the lecture slides or electronic readings, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. 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). Travel: Where students wish to attend a scientific conference during their studies, they are liable for any travel cost associated. If students incur any travel costs associated with conducting their dissertation research, they are expected to bear the cost of this themselves. All students on the MSc Gerontology (DL) or MSc Global Ageing and Policy (DL) programme are invited to attend a 4-day Residential Course in Southampton, however for those students who are in receipt of Commonwealth scholarships, this Course is obligatory, and the travel, accommodation and basic subsistence costs are covered as part of their Scholarship.

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

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