PhD, Leadership, specialization in


Explore our 100% online gerontology programs from Concordia University Chicago

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Application Deadline: June 26, 2024
Classes Start: July 1, 2024

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Online PhD in Leadership, Specialization in Gerontology

The PhD in Leadership with a specialization in Gerontology provides a multidisciplinary framework from which to respond to existing age-related questions, and intensive, in-depth training for those who want unique preparation for leadership roles for addressing issues related to aging. The doctoral candidate’s knowledge base of research methods and theoretical perspectives encompasses various social and basic science disciplines rather than relying on a single disciplinary approach to aging and leadership.

This PhD program in leadership and gerontology produces highly qualified and trained social scientists that have training in research methodology and its application in an aging society. (Source: AGHE Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatric Programs, 2008)

The longevity revolution and growing numbers of people associated with an aging population is creating the need for advanced multidisciplinary study in gerontology. This doctoral program in gerontology reflects the need for expanding the knowledge base in the field and training in the profession.

Graduates of our program will be armed with specialized training and will be well-positioned to assume leadership roles as a gerontologist in government, healthcare or academic settings.


Doctoral Program Core

This course prepares students to be consumers of research in order to make leadership decisions based on qualitative and quantitative research studies. Investigation of primary source research studies includes the analysis of the research problem, research question, literature review, methodology and results to understand the structure of research studies that can be applied to authentic problems in various fields of study.

This course is designed to address the importance of organizational change. The need for change, planning for change, implementing change, and evaluating change will be discussed from a variety of theoretical and practical perspectives.

This course is intended to provide an overview of policy issues, policy development, policy analysis and policy implementation processes through an examination of the theoretical and practical applications related to policy considerations in organizations and institutions for non-K12 candidates.

Study of the philosophical and theoretical foundations of education and leadership, including analysis of the aims and goals of education, processes of attainment, content and curriculum, and the socialization function of education, schooling and complex organizations. Develop an understanding of the intersections between theory/philosophy, ethical perspectives, and the development of policy, practice and institutions.


An introduction to the quantitative analysis of data; including data coding and entry of data. SPSS will be used to explore descriptive and inferential statistics: using both non‐parametric and initial parametric techniques.

An examination of qualitative research approaches with a focus on research design, the role of the researcher, data collection and analysis, and writing from a qualitative perspective.

Principles of research theory, methods, inquiry, problem formulation, data collection, literature searches and ethical considerations. Emphasis on how to design a doctoral-level research study.

Principles of research theory, methods, inquiry, problem formulation, data collection, literature searches and ethical considerations. Emphasis on how to design a doctoral-level research study.

An introduction to advanced statistical concepts including multivariate analysis, linear models, hierarchical linear models, factor analysis and data management will be covered in this course. Students will use published software packages and will learn to write basic syntax for custom analysis. Prerequisite: B or higher in RES-7605.


This course provides advanced introductions to a representative range of qualitative methods. It is designed to familiarize doctoral and advanced master’s students with the commonly used qualitative research methods. The course will prepare them to further understand philosophies and concepts of qualitative methods, to utilize these methods in their own research, or to evaluate the qualitative work that others have done. This course also teaches how to use qualitative software as an analytic tool to analyze qualitative data. Prerequisite: B or higher in RES-7700.

Comprehensive Exam and Dissertation

The comprehensive exam is a written exam in two parts that is administered in Blackboard. The purpose of the exam is to evaluate a) the content knowledge and students’ ability to apply that knowledge to address a problem in the field, and b) students’ ability to formulate a scholarly argument based on a literature review on a topic of students’ choice. Successful completion of the comprehensive exam is a major step that leads to admission to doctoral candidacy in the Concordia University Chicago doctoral programs. Prerequisite: B or higher in RES-7900. Pass/Fail only.

Principles of research theory, methods, inquiry, problem formulation, data collection, literature searches and ethical considerations. Emphasis on how to design a doctoral-level research study.

Scholarly work on a dissertation as approved by the dissertation committee. Prerequisite: P in COMP-7000 or COMP-7100, and DISS-7010. Pass/Fail only.

Scholarly work on a dissertation as approved by the dissertation committee. Prerequisite: P in DISS-7020. Pass/Fail only.

Gerontology Specialization Courses

Reviews major types of gerontological theory within the context of theoretical paradigms. This course explores the differences and commonalities within the various theoretical strands of knowledge construction within gerontology.

Presents an in-depth analysis of the biology of aging, building up from changes occurring at the molecular and cellular level and analyzing the consequences at the organism level. Examines the influence of these age-related changes in what are commonly considered a disease of aging.

Examines psychological development and change across the adult lifespan. Using frameworks of developmental psychology, this course reviews and explores adult development in the broad domains of cognition, personality and socio-emotional functioning. Issues related to normative and optimal adult development and aging are considered.

Presents a socio-cultural perspective on the aging process. This course examines social and cultural factors that influence aging and the nature of the integration of older adults into society, as well as the way in which population aging affects the larger society.

Explores fertility, mortality and global aging; distribution of health and illness within a population; age-based migration and its impact on locations of origin and destination; variations in health and mortality by gender, race, ethnicity and social class; impact of health and mortality patterns for individuals, society and public policy.

Explores the development, implementation and analysis of social policy in the United States on major issues affecting older people. Considers the determinants of aging policy. The policymaking process and development of legislation are analyzed as factors related to the making of policy for older adults.

Exploration and application of teaching and learning strategies for communicating gerontological knowledge. This course addresses teaching gerontology in classroom settings as well as in public settings to a variety of audiences in applied and policy settings.

Examines the ethical dilemmas of leadership, the foundations and context of moral choice, and the moral implications of decision-making as they relate to gerontological leadership. Considers the ethical challenges and decision criteria facing leaders, the role of politics and power in organizations and the leader’s ability to promote and infuse organizational ethics and integrity in an aging and globalized world.

Explores how ethnicity, race and gender structure the lives of individuals throughout the life course and how other factors such as age, cohort and class intersect with these realities. This course considers how the lives of people differ across diverse strata and how social policies shape individuals’ lives.

Applies and integrates knowledge gained in earlier courses and strengthens skills necessary to claim identity as a gerontologist. Through applications in gerontology-related areas such as advocacy, professionalism, and/or family and workplace issues, candidates will hone skills needed in the profession (i.e., CV/ Resumé development, job acquisition tools, communication skills, etc.).

Admission Requirements

  • Objective statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • Free online application
  • Writing sample
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts from each institution attended

Marcus Wolfe, Sr.

PhD, Leadership, Gerontology

“When I started the program, I thought I had an idea of what gerontology was about. After taking classes and interacting with my instructors and classmates, I learned that there was a great deal more to know about the field. I have been working and interacting with various colleagues at other universities and I am confident when I speak to them and have been able to inform them with regards to theories, practices, and policies, thanks to Concordia University Chicago.”

Deadline to Apply

May 1, 2024

Start Date

May 6, 2024

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