Undergraduate Certificate

older adults painting

NEW Undergraduate Certificate
Insights Into Healthy Aging: Promoting Healthy Minds, Brains & Lives

About Our Certificate
Our Undergraduate Certificate: Insights Into Healthy Aging: Promoting Healthy Minds, Brains and Lives is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of multiple dimensions of the aging process (e.g., biological, psychological, and social) in the context of the individual and society. Students will receive a certificate after the successful completion of only four courses!

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Our Certificate is:

  • Career-centered. Prepares students for a variety of careers related to the field of aging.
  • Individualized. Students select courses to complement their career goals/objectives.
  • Comprehensive. Focuses on healthy aging through a multidisciplinary and sociocultural lens.
  • Research-based. Emphasizes research-based principles in the field of aging.

You’ll gain a deeper understanding of how aging impacts the health, well-being, and quality of life of older adults. You'll learn to identify myths that perpetuate erroneous stereotypes of older adults, engage with older adults, and identify practical solutions aimed at enhancing quality of life for older adults and their caregivers. The diversity of course options means this is a truly multidisciplinary educational experience for students.

Courses & Certificate Completion
Students will receive a certificate after the successful completion of only four courses! Explore course options: 

  • PSY 324 - Fundamentals of Aging: A Multidisciplinary Perspective: This mandatory course is an introduction to the scientific study of aging. Students will learn about the intricacies of aging from a biological, psychological, and sociological perspective and will consider the social impact of increasingly older population demographics.
  • PSY 342 - Dementias and Chronic Conditions in Older Adults: This course focuses on dementias and other conditions that commonly compromise cognition and memory in older adults, how these disorders impact daily functioning, and the warning signs that an individual may need additional care. Emphasis will be given that normal cognitive aging does NOT result in cognitive impairment, but that these conditions are the result of acquired disorders. Students will learn the differences between degenerative, stable, and reversible forms of memory and cognitive impairment, as well as signs/symptoms that differentiate underlying conditions. Students will also learn about the most recent advances in the assessment and treatment of cognitive and mental health disorders among older adults.
  • PSY 367 - Relationships and Aging in a Sociocultural Context: In this course, students will discuss social and cultural influences on aging through various relationships including social supports, sexuality, and family as well as the impact of an increasingly older population on society.
  • PSY 385 - Ethical Issues in the Care of Older Adults: Psychology, Policy, and Law: This course will serve as a broad introduction to the many ethical issues present in the care of older persons. We will examine the topic from a psychological perspective, raising questions about autonomy, rights, obligations, and standards of care. Students will be challenged to critically examine the ethical challenges presented in a diverse array of topics, from financial planning to maltreatment and institutionalization to end-of-life care. Throughout the course we will integrate law, policy, and research to develop the tools needed for ethical decision-making in complex situations involving advance directives, maltreatment, institutionalization, end-of-life care, and more.
  • PSY 386 - Caring for Older Adults and Self-Care for Caregivers: This course, designed for upper-level undergraduates, covers basic concepts in the therapeutic care of aging adults, with an emphasis on self-care and stress-management for older adults, professional caregivers, and family caregivers. Topics include family communication, managing depression and stress, and coping with death and loss
  • PSY 449 - Cognitive & Psychological Aspects of Healthy Aging:  This course is designed for upper-level undergraduates, covering theories of aging, the assessment of normal and pathological brain aging, and age-related cognitive and psychological changes.  The course focuses on clinical assessments of healthy and pathological aging and prevention measures to reduce the risk of disease and disorders to improve lifestyle and psychological well being to promote aging well.  Students will have the opportunity to apply course-related material to real-world experiences. 
  • PSY 450 - Diversity in Aging: A Multidisciplinary Approach:  This upper-division course provides an overview related to the diversity of older adults in the United States.  The course introduces complex issues affecting older adults' well-being, independence, and inequities amongst diverse groups.  Emphasis is on the resilience and the intersection of aging, culture, and heterogeneity, while challenging students to explore personal and societal assumptions.  Through experiential learning, students will understand the unique experiences of older individuals, across various sociocultural groups.
  • PSY 459 - Adult Development and Aging: This course explores the change and continuity in the biological, psychological, and social processes associated with adulthood, with an emphasis on late life. Approximately half of the course time will be spent in the “classroom learning” the fundamentals of adult development and aging, and half the time will be spent in community-based facilities Students will have the opportunity to engage older adults in conversation, and experience first-hand the broad range of individual differences that occur with aging. 
  • PSY 482 - Mental Health & Mental Wellness in Aging: Through a Culturally Competent Lens:  This course will provide students with an overview of the trends in mental health and aging, mental health issues, mental wellness, and resilience as it relates to older adults. Looking through a culturally competent lens, this course focuses on common mental health conditions, substance use, suicide, and promoting mental wellness and resilience among older adults. Students will have the opportunity to review evidence-based strategies, therapies and services, and relate the literature to real-world experiences.


  • FSHD 413 – Issues in Aging: This course addresses major issues facing older adults and their families, society, and how earlier life experiences influence our older adult years. This class will tackle questions such as: What opportunities and challenges do adults face as they age?  What resources and barriers shape their lives?  How do physiological, psychological, interpersonal/family, economic, and socio-historical factors affect the experience of aging? How do gender, social class, and ethnicity influence the experience of aging?  How do government policies, community services, the healthcare system, and health interventions affect the lives and well-being of older adults?
  • PHP 312 – Health Promotion and Well-Being in Later Life: The goal of this course is to increase knowledge about how to promote overall health and enhance wellbeing in later life. Students will learn about health behavior and health belief theories, and tools and practices that can optimize and enrich the lived experiences of older adults. Students will have the opportunity for intergenerational collaboration and learning through activities with seniors delivered through a service-learning component. Topics covered include physical and mental health, complementary and alternative therapies, selected health education topics, health promotion, social well-being and engagement, mindfulness and resilience.
  • PHP 436 – Aging Environment and Well-Being: What does environment have to do with aging and well-being? In this course we explore the relationship between older people and their environment. In doing so we look at environment through a variety of lens, such as physical space (i.e. location), and place (location imbued with individual meaning), private versus public, as contributor versus constraint to a sense of belonging and empowerment for older persons. We will consider how factors such as models of social care, human service practices, public policy, societal attitudes, and environmental design positively or negatively impact the environmental experience of diverse older persons as they age in place. Our goal is to expand our knowledge and sensitivity to the subtleties of environmental experience for older persons, and challenge us to consider how development of environmental design, social interventions, and public policy can support wellbeing and optimize the lived experience of the aging and aged.
  • CHS 460 – Self-Care in the Helping Professions: The emotional, physical and spiritual demands of the caring and health professions are significant. Students are introduced to the importance of wellness and self-care practices as they consider careers in the helping professions. This course will explore the impact of cultivating compassion vs. empathy in working with clients/patients, as well as offer students an opportunity to cultivate a wellness/self-care practice in their own lives. The course culminates in a research paper on the student's selected wellness/self-care practice.
Student volunteer and older adult

Career Readiness Skills »
Students develop transferrable skills that are highly valued by employers which includes:

  • Critical Thinking/Problem Solving
  • Ethical and Social Responsibility
  • Inclusivity
  • Teamwork and Collaboration
  • Leadership
  • Global/Intercultural Fluency

More Information

If I’ve already completed courses, can they be applied towards the certificate?

Yes, you can use two courses you’ve already taken (6 units total) towards both your certificate and your Psychology major/minor.  You’ll want to check with your academic advisor about how best to use the courses you’ve taken.   

Do I need to take the fundamentals course?

Yes, this is a required course, and you must take it to complete the certificate. We recommend you take this course first, if possible.

Can I transfer courses?

Transfer credits are not allowed to be applied toward the certificate.

Can I “double-dip courses?”

You can use up to 6 units (two classes) towards both your major and the certificate.   

What is the cost of the certificate program?

There is no added cost to complete the certificate program, only the costs associated with the courses you register to take.

How many courses do I need to take to complete the certificate?

A minimum of 12 units are required to complete the certificate (e.g., 4 classes)

How long will it take me to complete the certificate?

We recommend students take one course at a time for the last 1-2 years of their undergraduate program. It can be completed faster than that if students choose to take multiple courses at a time.

Is this fully-online?

The certificate can be completed fully online, though classes from some of our partner departments may be offered face-to-face for those who prefer an in-person compliment.


Ready to take the next step in preparing for your career? Talk to a Psychology Advisor about completing the certificate today: psychology-advising@email.arizona.edu



Looking for graduate education in aging? Check out the University of Arizona Health Sciences' graduate certificate.

Updated: 08/15/23