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Dementia and Aging Studies

three women, one elder and two younger

In response to the critical need for a competent workforce for the aging population, Texas State created the master of science program in dementia and aging studies. The curriculum emphasizes knowledge of dementia, aging, and the person-centered model of care in long-term care, research, or advanced practitioner plans of study.

Students learn about dementia, aging, and caregiving to empower caregivers and foster autonomy for elders and persons with dementia.

 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you to contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Kyong H. Chee
Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC), Room 468

Advisor Support
Lindy Warner
Undergraduate Academic Center (UAC), Room 449B

“Having a better understanding of aging, and issues associated with it, allows me to be a friend of time. The MSDA degree provides me with skills to appreciate the many elders who are otherwise not given the attention needed. We need to know individuals beyond their labels and diagnoses.”

— Marcus Mercer, M.S. ’17, Community Director, Marbridge Foundation

Course Work

The dementia and aging studies graduate program offers three concentrations that emphasize different course work and provide distinct career outcomes.

  • the dementia and long-term care concentration combine long-term care and sociology courses to provide a social model of care approach to students aiming to work in extended living environments upon graduation.
  • the practitioner concentration offers a wider variety of elective courses related to dementia and aging issues for students interested in dementia-related careers, like health educators or patient advocates.
  • the research concentration focuses on advanced research knowledge to accompany the cutting-edge information offered in the core dementia and aging courses, preparing students for doctoral programs.
Degree Concentration Hours Thesis Option Minor Option
M.S. Dementia and Long-Term Care 36 Non-Thesis No minor
M.S. Practitioner 33 Non-Thesis No minor
M.S. Research 33 Thesis No minor
Undergraduate Academic Center

  Online Availability
The entirety of this program is offered online. If you are not a Texas resident and will not relocate, please visit the Office of Distance and Extended Learning. International students, please visit the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) regarding additional considerations in taking online courses.

The first of its kind in the United States, this online program will prepare students to work with elders and caregivers and conduct scholarly research about aging and the aged.

Program Mission

The mission of the M.S. in dementia and aging studies program is to educate from a global, interdisciplinary, and human rights perspective, in order to create compassion and understanding for persons with dementia and for elders. The department accomplishes this mission by preparing students for dementia- and aging-related careers in teaching, advocacy, research, and leadership, so as to empower caregivers and foster autonomy for persons with dementia and for elders.

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

Faculty conduct research on topics including, but not limited to, dementia, cognitive impairment, long-term care workers, caregiving, aging-in-place, and dementia-friendly environments. They present their research at national and international conferences, including the Gerontological Society of America, the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics World Congress, and the Association for Gerontology and Higher Education. Faculty have published books, book chapters, and peer-reviewed journal articles in top venues in their field, such as The Gerontologist, Social Science and Medicine, and the Journal of Gerontology.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduates will make an immediate impact in their profession or be able to pursue further graduate studies leading toward research-related careers. Most will pursue advanced management and leadership opportunities in professional settings related to long-term care, hospices, and hospitals, while others will develop new approaches to dealing with persons with dementia and dementia-like disorders.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall - Priority February 1 February 1
Fall - Standard July 15 June 1
Spring October 15 October 1
Summer I April 15 March 15
Summer II June 1 No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a flexible deadline, which means applications received after the posted deadline may be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no guarantees for admission consideration.

Funding Information
Applications must be complete by the priority deadline to be considered for certain types of funding.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a rolling basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.0 GPA in your last 60 hours of undergraduate course work (plus any completed graduate courses)
  • background course work: at least six hours of undergraduate sociology/social science courses related to aging or gerontology. (Two years of documented experience in the field of gerontology may be substituted for three or six hours of social science prerequisites). Read additional information below.

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted.

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required


  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose (two pages, double-spaced with your full name and contact information) describing your personal and career goals. Include your academic interests and the relationship of this graduate degree to your life/personal goals. Also, discuss why you are interested in this particular graduate program and explain your career goals after earning the degree.The Graduate Admissions Committee will evaluate the following:
    • Did you demonstrate a familiarity with the field?
    • Did you indicate your strengths (background, experience, training, and education)?
    • Did you express how the program will hone your skills?
    • Did your statement show excellence or promise in writing skills? 
  • three letters of recommendation from professionals competent to assess the applicant’s interest in pursuing a career in this field of study

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.

Additional Information

  Background Course Work
If you do not have sufficient background courses or work experience in social science or areas related to aging or gerontology, you must take leveling courses prior to beginning graduate studies in the program. Courses may be completed as a non-degree seeking student (with approval from the Director of Graduate Programs in Sociology) at Texas State University or other universities.