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Ageing Studies MSc/PGDiploma/PGCert

Subject area: Occupational Therapy Subject area: Social Work

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Apply MSc part-time

Mode of study

MSc: 3-years part-time; PGDiploma: 2-years part-time

PG Code



1-evening a week

Start date


Ageing Studies MSc/PGDiploma/PGCert


Please note the application deadline for this course is Friday 25th August 2017. Any applications after this date will be considered on an individual basis, subject to course vacancies.

About the course

The Master's in Ageing Studies benefits from world-class research conducted in the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies

The programme in Ageing Studies was developed in response to meeting the emerging needs amongst health care professionals to build skills, knowledge and expertise within gerontology which would enable those dealing with elderly people to operate more effectively.

The Master's in Ageing Studies is suitable for professionals working in health and social care, the voluntary sector, care homes, and education, as well as graduates from other disciplines such as social sciences contemplating a career that involves working with older adults. The programme is also suitable of those looking to undertake further study in the field of gerontology. 


The programme in Ageing Studies aims to:

  • Develop a comprehensive understanding of the complexities involved in ageing both biologically, psychologically and socially
  • Build your skills to appreciate and resolve ethical dilemmas involved in working with an elderly person
  • Help you to understand and critically evaluate the efficacy of therapies and services provided for elderly people with cognitive and physical impairments
  • Develop awareness of social policy and ways in which policies and politics affect and change the lives of elderly people
  • Acquire skills necessary to analyse and critically evaluate gerontology related research
  • Develop skills necessary to conduct research in social gerontology


Postgraduate Administrator:
College of Health and Life Sciences
Brunel University London
Middlesex, UB8 3PH

Course Director: Prof Mary Gilhooly
Tel: +44 (0)1895 268756
Web: Community Health Nursing and Health Studies subject pages

Course Content

Year 1 – PG Certificate in Ageing Studies

Introduction to Ageing Studies
This module will provide you with a general introduction to social gerontology, and to the sensory and physiological changes that occur with ageing.

Psychological and Sociological Aspects of Ageing
You will analyse major findings from studies of the psychology of human ageing, e.g. intelligence and personality changes. In addition, you will explore socialisation, role changes, social class, race and ethnicity, interpersonal relations, dependency and interdependency in relation to ageing.

Year 2 – PG Diploma in Ageing Studies

Legal and Ethical Issues in Treatment and Care
You will examine legal and ethical issues associated with treatment and care of elderly people. These include methods of handling the personal and financial affairs of incapacitated elderly people, and withholding and withdrawing medical treatment. The efficacy of various interventions will also be examined in relation to resource allocation.

Politics and Policy in an Ageing Society
You will study the politics of ageing and the development of age-based policies in the United Kingdom. Topics to be considered include pensions, housing policies, community care and the role of values in policy making.

Year 3 – Masters in Ageing Studies

A dissertation of 20,000-26,000 words is required to obtain the MSc in Ageing Studies. We will provide workshops in research methods to support your dissertation project.

Read more about the structure of postgraduate degrees at Brunel

Typical Dissertations

To be awarded an MSc, students must conduct an independent research project. You may choose from pre-defined projects or devise a study in consultation with a supervisor.

  • Terminal sedation: Perceptions of nurses and doctors
  • Barriers to the use of public transport by elderly people
  • Decision-making in relation to the detection and prevention of financial elder abuse
  • Giving up driving: Conflict between older drivers and their adult children
  • The role of alcohol in the lives of older women
  • Intergenerational transfer of wealth
  • Changes in Memory, Learning and Intelligence with Age
  • Am I My Father's Keeper?: Intergeneration Equity in the 21st Century
  • Rationing Health Services by Age: Legal, Ethical and Policy Perspectives
  • Family Care of People with Dementia: An in-depth exploration of the views of daughters caring for fathers
  • Biological Mechanisms Linking Psycho-Social Factors and Successful Ageing
  • The Role of Services in Delaying and Preventing Institutionalisation of Elderly People
  • Pensions and Poverty: A Comparison of the United Kingdom and the United States
  • Ageism amongst Health and Social Care Professionals

Special Features

  • MSc Ageing Studies benefits from world-class research conducted in the Institute of Environment, Health and Societies.
  • The Ageing Studies programme is offered as a PG Certificate, PG Diploma or Master's, allowing you to choose level of study and flexible payment options.
  • The Ageing Studies programme is taught one evening per week. You will also be required to attend one weekend per year.
  • The programme will build on interpersonal skills as well as strengthen analytical skills using quantitative research methods and data analysis.

Teaching and Assessment


The Master’s in Ageing Studies has adopted learning and teaching strategies that encourage students to become independent learners by identifying their learning needs and accessing appropriate learning resources.

The programme utilises a variety of learning and teaching methods including lectures, seminars, mini-projects, problem-based learning, case study presentation, critique of research papers, directed reading, independent research and web-based learning.

Master's in Ageing studies learning outcomes will be achieved via

  • A weekly evening session in which students are expected to come prepared for group discussion. In advance of the session students will be provided with study/research questions which will be answered during the class. The class tutor may provide a mini-lecture where there are gaps in the student's answers. There are 12 teaching sessions per study block and two study blocks per year.
  • Mini-projects in between classes will provide an opportunity for students to learn about research methods, the nature of data and how to interpret data.
  • A weekend meeting will provide an opportunity for students to discuss a topic in detail.
  • An essay will enable the students to study a topic of their choosing for in-depth study.

An examination will provide students with an opportunity to bring their study block learning together to demonstrate breadth of learning.


These four modules are assessed via an essay and an examination

  1. Introduction to Ageing Studies
  2. Psychological and Sociological Aspects of Ageing
  3. Legal and Ethical Issues in Treatment and Care
  4. Politics and Policy in an Ageing Society


Students can pursue a wide range of careers focussing on older people including:

  • Working with older people as specialist health and social care practitioners
  • Influencing policy in local, national government and voluntary organisations
  • Research and academic posts in Higher Education


Students can pursue a wide range of careers focussing on older people including:

  • Working with older people as specialist health and social care practitioners
  • Influencing policy in local, national government and voluntary organisations
  • Research and academic posts in Higher Education

At Brunel we provide many opportunities and experiences within your degree programme and beyond – work-based learning, professional support services, volunteering, mentoring, sports, arts, clubs, societies, and much, much more – and we encourage you to make the most of them, so that you can make the most of yourself.

» More about Employability

Fees for 2017/18 entry

UK/EU students

Masters (MSc): £3,500 part-time

Postgraduate Diploma (PGDip): £3,000 part-time

Postgraduate Certificate (PGCert): £2,500 part-time

Additional course related costs

UK/EU students can opt to pay in six equal monthly instalments: the first instalment is payable on enrolment and the remaining five by Direct Debit or credit/debit card.

Overseas students can opt to pay in two instalments: 60% on enrolment, and 40% in January for students who commence their course in September (or the remaining 40% in March for selected courses that start in January).

Fees quoted are per annum and are subject to an annual increase.

Entry Criteria 2017/18

2:1 degree in a relevant subject or international equivalent (eg nursing, social work, medicine, social science, allied health, law). Non-standard degrees/qualifications may be considered in special circumstances. Applications from health professionals and mature students welcome.

Entry criteria are subject to review and change each academic year.

International and EU Entry Requirements

If your country or institution is not listed or if you are not sure whether your institution is eligible, please contact Admissions

This information is for guidance only by Brunel University London and by meeting the academic requirements does not guarantee entry for our courses as applications are assessed on case-by-case basis.

English Language Requirements

  • IELTS: 7 (min 6.5W, 6.5L, 6.5R, 6.5S)
  • Pearson: 64 (58 in all subscores)
  • BrunELT: 70% (65% in all areas)

Brunel University London strongly recommends that if you will require a Tier 4 visa, you sit your IELTS test at a test centre that has been approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) as being a provider of a Secure English Language Test (SELT). Not all test centres have this status. The University can accept IELTS (with the required scores) taken at any official test centre or other English Language qualifications we accept as meeting our main award entry requirements.

However, if you wish to undertake a Pre-sessional English course to further improve your English prior to the start of your degree course, you must sit the test at an approved SELT provider. This is because you will only be able to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to undertake a Pre-sessional English course if you hold a SELT from a UKVI approved test centre. Find out more information about it.

Brunel also offers our own BrunELT English Test and accepts a range of other language courses. We also have Pre-sessional English language courses for students who do not meet these requirements, or who wish to improve their English. Find out more information about English course and test options.