Master of Science (M.S.) Major in Dementia and Aging Studies (Practitioner Concentration)

Major Program

This interdisciplinary, online degree offers cutting-edge knowledge about dementia and aging studies, including evolving issues related to the care of persons with dementia and other topics related to aging and the life course. 

Housed in the Department of Sociology, this program also includes course work from the Department of Communication Studies, the School of Health Administration, and the School of Social Work.

Application Requirements

The items listed below are required for admission consideration for applicable semesters of entry during the current academic year. Submission instructions, additional details, and changes to admission requirements for semesters other than the current academic year can be found on The Graduate College's website. International students should review the International Admission Documents webpage for additional requirements.

  • completed online ApplyTexas application
  • $40 nonrefundable application fee
  • $50 nonrefundable international evaluation fee (if applicable)
  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • official transcripts required 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*
  • GRE scores not required
  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose (two pages, double-spaced with the student’s full name and contact information) that describes personal and career goals. Include academic interests and the relationship of this graduate degree to life/personal goals. Also, the statement should discuss the student’s interest in this particular graduate program and the student’s career goals after earning the degree. The Graduate Admissions Committee will evaluate the following:
    • Did the student demonstrate a familiarity with the field?
    • Did the student indicate his/her strengths (background, experience, training, and education)?
    • Did the student express why the program will hone his/her skills?
    • Did the student statement show excellence or promise in writing skills? 
  • three letters of recommendation from professionals competent to assess the student’s interest in pursuing a career in this field of study

TOEFL or IELTS Scores

Non-native English speakers who do not qualify for an English proficiency waiver:

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 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.

*Additional Information 
You will be required to take leveling courses if you lack sufficient background course work. You can take these prerequisites at other universities prior to starting your studies or in the first semester of the graduate program.

Degree Requirements

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree major in Dementia and Aging Studies practitioner concentration requires 33 semester credit hours. The practitioner concentration offers an in-depth education involving courses from all participating departments and allowing students to work in any facility or organization whose concern is the health and well-being of the individuals affected by dementia.

Course Requirements

Required Courses
SOCI 5351Introduction to Dementia Studies3
SOCI 5352Dementia and Caregiving3
SOCI 5355The Social Psychology of Dementia3
SOCI 5383Seminar on Aging3
or SOCI 5354 Theoretical Perspectives in Aging and Dementia
Concentration
Choose 21 hours from the following:21
Communication and Aging
Environmental Management in Long Term Care
Governance Management in Long Term Care
Personnel Management in Long Term Care
Resident Care Management in Long Term Care
Financial Management in Long Term Care
Ethics and Dementia
Theoretical Perspectives in Aging and Dementia
End of Life Care
Gender and Aging in Society
Aging and Dementia: Racial and Ethnic Minorities
Rural Aging and Dementia
Seminar in Medical Sociology
Clinical Sociology: Counseling the Elderly
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Aging
Total Hours33

Comprehensive Examination Requirements

All candidates for graduate degrees must pass one or more comprehensive examinations.

Master's level courses in Sociology and related disciplines: LTCASOCI

Courses Offered

Long Term Care Administration

LTCA 5302. Elder Abuse and Mistreatment.

This course provides an introductory overview of key theories, concepts/principles, issues, practices and challenges in elder abuse and mistreatment (EA/M). Course content includes: definitions and theories, incidence and prevalence, risk/protective factors, assessment, prevention, intervention, factors affecting screening/reporting, and the impact of EA/M on victims, caregivers, family and society.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5305. Environmental Design for Dementia.

The potential of the physical environment to play an active role in supporting independence, stimulation, and life quality for individuals with dementia will be explored in this course. Emphasis will be placed on principles behind environmental design and the importance of utilizing the physical environment as a therapeutic tool.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5322. Environmental Management in Long Term Care.

Students will compare performance analyses of long-term care facilities with a focus on organizational culture, and internal and external customer satisfaction. Plans of managerial action to maximize customer satisfaction will be examined.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5323. Governance Management in Long Term Care.

Focuses on regulations for the operation of long term care facilities as promulgated by state and federal governments. Reviews the minimum requirements for licensure and the standards for Medicaid certification in Texas. Also examines specific activities and functions regarding accountability and enforcement procedures.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5324. Personnel Management in Long Term Care.

An examination of management issues in long-term care primarily in the critical areas of human resources, public relations, and marketing. Examples include staff recruitment and retention programs, training needs analysis, and marketing plan formulation.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5325. Resident Care Management in Long Term Care.

Administratively oriented content related to nursing care, quality indicator, and geriatric pharmacology utilized in long term care facilities. The course content reflects the relative legislative requirements mandated for nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5335. Financial Management in Long Term Care.

Students will examine the fiscal performance of selected facilities utilizing data from annual Medicaid cost reports with a focus on revenue enhancement and census development. Students will contrast various systems for determination of reimbursement and use reimbursement issues in a strategic planning sense.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

LTCA 5681. Internship in Long Term Care.

An internship in which the student works directly with a licensed nursing facility administrator in a licensed long-term care facility. Students will be exposed to all aspects of facility operation and management.

6 Credit Hours. 0 Lecture Contact Hours. 24 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

Sociology (SOCI)

SOCI 5105. Practicum in Teaching Sociology.

An introduction to key concepts and practices in the teaching of college course in Sociology. Provides regular in-service training and planned periodic evaluations of instructional responsibilities. Required for first-year teaching and instructional assistants in the Sociology Department. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable with different emphasis.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Graduate Assistantship|Exclude from Graduate GPA
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

SOCI 5110. Proseminar in Sociology.

This course will orient new graduate students to the department and the profession. Topics include presentations at professional meetings, academic writing and publishing, and putting together curriculum vitae.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5198B. Applied Research Practicum II.

This course represents a student’s continuing enrollment to complete the practicum project. The student continues to enroll in this course until the practicum project is approved by the practicum committee.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5199B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

1 Credit Hour. 1 Lecture Contact Hour. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5299B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

2 Credit Hours. 2 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5300. Foundation Studies in Sociology.

This course provides prerequisite knowledge required for success in graduate-level coursework in Sociology. Course content varies depending on academic preparation. This course does not earn graduate degree credit. Repeatable up to 12 hours with different emphasis. Prerequisite: Approval of graduate advisor in Sociology.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from Graduate GPA|Leveling
Grade Mode: Leveling/Assistantships

SOCI 5306. Sociological Theory Seminar.

This graduate theory course examines the role of social theory in the historical and contemporary quest for knowledge and understanding of society. The first half of the course emphasizes the European Classics. The second half of the course is devoted to contemporary theory. Emphasis throughout will be on using theory to better understand current events and everyday life experiences.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5307. Advanced Statistics for the Social Sciences.

Application of advanced statistical theory and methods to the analysis of social data. Prerequisites: Sociology 3307 or equivalent with grade of “B” or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5308. Seminar in Quantitative Research Methods.

The application of research methods to social science with emphasis on direct, practical experience in research. Departmental approval needed for non-majors. Prerequisite: SOCI 5307 with a grade of "C" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5309. Seminar in Qualitative Research Methods.

This course examines qualitative methods in Sociology. Topics include examples of classical and modern qualitative research, and issues related to qualitative research. Students critique qualitative studies and conduct and defend a qualitative project. Departmental approval needed for non-majors.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5316. Seminar in Deviation and Social Problems.

A systematic analysis of contemporary social problems and various types of social deviation. Emphasis is on the socialization process as it relates to social problems and human deviation. The sociological explanation of underlying factors will be stressed.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5318. Seminar in Advanced Data Applications.

This course will cover the application of various statistical techniques, such as chi-square, correlation, and regression while introducing statistical analysis to students using software such as SPSS. Prerequisite: SOCI 5307 with a grade of "C" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5319. Seminar in Social Psychology.

A critical appraisal of the major theories and theorists found in Social Psychology with emphasis on their application to contemporary social and psychological issues.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5320. Seminar in Demography.

A seminar in the study of population with emphasis on sources of demographic data, techniques of demographic analysis, and population composition and forecasts.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5322. Impact Analysis Research.

This course is designed to introduce students to the assessment of organizational impact. It addresses both the historical development and social functions of evaluation, as well as practical application of assessment research. Emphasis will be on appropriate research design, implementing the design, and analysis of data.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5323. Grant Writing for the Social Sciences.

This course offers an applied approach to developing grant-writing skills for the social scientist. It will cover all aspects of proposal development including idea generation, funding source identification, project description, project plan, project management, evaluation methods, and budget preparation strategies.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5350. Seminar on the Sociology of Gender.

This course is a graduate level seminar on the study of gender in sociology with a focus on issues of race, ethnicity, social class, and sexuality. We will examine the major contemporary scholarly debates about gender and explore how gender issues are embedded in different institutions and organizations.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5351. Introduction to Dementia Studies.

This course is an introduction to the social-scientific study of the causes and consequences of dementia, as well as to issues related to the care of persons with dementia.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5352. Dementia and Caregiving.

This course for the Dementia and Aging Studies degree covers current research on policy and support for caregivers of persons with dementia, with an emphasis on the applied sociological focus of caregiver training and education. The course also addresses broader public sociology issues of caregiving and healthcare.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5353. Seminar in the Community.

A study of contemporary urban society with emphasis on understanding the social structure as a prerequisite to planning and problem solving at the community level.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5354. Theoretical Perspectives in Aging and Dementia.

This course discusses theories of aging from biological, psychological, and social science perspectives. The course also demonstrates how these theories can be applied to analyzing various aging issues, particularly the social care of persons with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5355. The Social Psychology of Dementia.

This course analyzes the social construction of dementia and salient social psychological theories, concepts, and research in dementia studies. It investigates the social psychology of dementia in relation to mind, identity, stereotypes, prejudice, attributions, socialization, emotions, social interaction and the impact of institutions on the self.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5356. End of Life Care.

This course focuses on issues of dying and death. Topics covered include symptom management, palliative care, hospice, pain control, life-sustaining treatment and spiritual, legal and ethical issues related to dying and death. Also covered will be different religious views on euthanasia, dying, death, and funerals.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5357. Gender and Aging in Society.

This course is a seminar on the study of gender and aging. This seminar will examine issues of aging identities, the aging body, sexuality, health and medicine, and caregiving among older adults. This course emphasizes the aging experience in our culture as a fundamentally gendered phenomenon.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5359. Seminar in Drugs and Society.

A sociological examination of the use of legal and illegal drugs in society, with emphasis on topics such as the “war on drugs,” the pharmaceutical industry, and drugs as technologies of medicalization, as well as incentives to social change.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5361. Aging and Dementia: Racial and Ethnic Minorities.

This course provides an analysis of how race and ethnicity affect aging and dementia, with particular emphasis on the United States. The course examines health and quality of life of racial and ethnic minorities in later life, social factors that influence these differences, and means of intervention.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5362. Rural Aging and Dementia.

This graduate course examines aging and dementia issues in rural America. Demographic trends, cultural and economic changes, and intervention strategies will be examined.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5363. Seminar in Medical Sociology.

A seminar on selected topics of human health and health care organizations. Topics to be stressed include: social causes and consequences of morbidity and mortality, professionalization and socialization of health care practitioners, organization of health institutions, and demographic changes in health problems and needs.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5365. Seminar in Political Sociology.

This course applies sociological theory and research to explore the exercise of power in its social context. Particular topics may include but are not limited to civil society, power outside of government, the relationship of the state to other social institutions, and the nature of elites.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5367. Seminar in Sustainable Cities.

This course analyzes the complex relationship between urbanization and environmental change from a sociological perspective. Overarching themes include sustainabiilty and environmental justice.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5368. Seminar in Environmental Sociology.

This course situates societies within their ecological context and vice versa. Focusing upon social and environmental interactions, including the interactions of social organization, inequality, and policy, provides a comprehensive understanding of the physical and social milieu.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5370. Seminar in Multi-Cultural Relations.

Examines the dynamics of dominant subordinate social groups. Focuses on racial, ethnic, and class differences. (MULT).

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Multicultural Content
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5371. Directed Study.

Course of independent study open to individual students only at the invitation of the faculty member with the approval of the department chair and the graduate advisor. Repeatable for credit.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5383. Seminar on Aging.

This course provides graduate students with an opportunity to examine national and global issues involved with the aging process and population aging from a social scientific and multicultural perspective.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5388B. Social Inequality: Race, Class, and Gender in the United States.

This course will investigate the topic of social inequality. The intersections of class, race and gender as they produce inequality will be explored, along with theoretical perspectives and empirical evidence informing the study of social inequality.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5388F. Seminar in Poverty.

This course is a graduate seminar on the sociological study of US poverty and social mobility. We will examine poverty measurement and trends, poverty-related social policies, theories for explaining poverty and mobility, and the intersection of poverty and social mobility with issues of gender, race, family structure, and place.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5388G. Seminar in Food and Society.

This graduate course focuses on the sociological study of food. It examines the current food system and its interactions with macro-level social institutions, as well as individual identity and well-being.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5388H. Advanced Statistical Analysis II.

The focus of this course is advanced data analysis. This course will cover topics such as regression, limited dependent variables analysis, and time series analysis. A secondary aim is to demonstrate data analyses using popular software packages. Prerequisite: SOCI 5307 with a grade of "B" or better.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5388I. Clinical Sociology: Counseling the Elderly.

This course takes a clinical sociology perspective in studying the issues of the aged and persons with dementia. The approach is humanistic and multidisciplinary, seeking to improve the quality of older persons' lives by assessing situations and reducing problems using analysis and intervention.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Course Attribute(s): Exclude from 3-peat Processing|Topics
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5390. Seminar in Globalization and Development.

This seminar explores issues related to socioeconomic development and change, particularly in the “Global south.” The course will focus on factors affecting development and underdevelopment around the world.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5395. Global Insecurity.

This graduate seminar covers global, socially constructed risks perceived as threats to sustainable development. Topics include theories of globalization and insecurity; an assessment of threats to democracy and human rights, the environment, food security, public health and safety; as well as local, national and international responses to these threats.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Standard Letter

SOCI 5398A. Applied Research Practicum.

Directed impact analysis project in a government agency, business, or non-profit organization requiring the student to apply skills and demonstrate knowledge gained in course work. The project topic will be determined jointly by the faculty supervisor, the student, and the research site. Departmental approval required.

3 Credit Hours. 0 Lecture Contact Hours. 10 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5398B. Applied Research Practicum.

Directed impact analysis project in a government agency, business, or non-profit organization requiring the student to apply skills and demonstrate knowledge gained in course work. The project topic will be determined jointly by the faculty supervisor, the student, and the research site. Departmental approval required.

3 Credit Hours. 0 Lecture Contact Hours. 10 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5399A. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s initial thesis enrollment. No thesis credit is awarded until the student has completed the thesis in Sociology 5399B.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5399B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

3 Credit Hours. 3 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5599B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

5 Credit Hours. 5 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit

SOCI 5999B. Thesis.

This course represents a student’s continuing thesis enrollment. The student continues to enroll in this course until the thesis is submitted for binding.

9 Credit Hours. 9 Lecture Contact Hours. 0 Lab Contact Hours.
Grade Mode: Credit/No Credit