Excellence in Aging Graduate Micro-Credential

student intern with elderly client.

The Excellence in Aging micro-credential consists of two-courses and a non-credit seminar series that are designed to provide the knowledge and skills needed to improve the care and well-being of older adults, their families and caregivers, and to prepare current and future professionals to successfully work with and on behalf of the older population. 

On this page:

Program Overview

Skills you need. Proof you have them.

This program provides a well-rounded, holistic experience in relation to the field of aging through exposure to multiple topics and a range of content areas. It is intended to strengthen and increase the availability of providers, and to enhance direct practice and leadership skills in gerontology. 

These courses are open to all current graduate students from any major and social work non-degree (non-matriculated) students*. This program can be taken fully online or as a hybrid.

Upon completion of the courses, seminars and reflection paper, students will earn a micro-credential on their academic transcript as well as a digital badge that may be used on their digital resume or social media sites.

*Community members wishing to become a social work non-degree (non-matriculated) student need to first apply and be approved for non-degree (non-matriculated) status in order to register for the two credit bearing courses.

Courses and Descriptions

SW 706 The Aging Population and Their Families (3 credits)

This course will focus on problems and issues that most directly affect older persons and their families. Guided by current theories of aging and human development in later life, the course will address the unique health, mental health and social service needs of older adults. The course will focus on how federal and state policies such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid direct the development of home and community-based care, long term care, the relationship between informal and formal caregiving and how they influence the lived experiences of older people and their families. Course sessions will be dedicated to the examination of the unique and distinct needs, issues and concerns of diverse older populations. The course will introduce assessment tools and evidence-based interventions for application with older adults in a variety of practice settings. This course will incorporate a trauma-informed and human rights perspective to social work practice with older adults and their families.

SW 721 Social Policy and Programs for the Aging Population (3 credits)

This course is designed to familiarize students with social policies and programs for meeting the rapidly growing needs of the older population. Policies, programs and services for older adults will be examined, with an emphasis on similarities and differences related to diversity and human rights. This course is intended to increase the student's awareness and knowledge of programs and services provided through the Older Americans Act, the Social Security Act (including Medicare and Medicaid), Affordable Care Act and other policies and community initiatives for the aging population. It will focus on the history, features, strengths, and limitations of these existing policies, and provide the skills needed to advocate for change at the legislative, agency and/or community level. Students will be exposed to content areas that will enable them to understand aging programs that deal with social services, health care, housing, and other elements of community and institutional long-term care systems. This course will incorporate a trauma-informed and human rights perspective when considering policies that target the older adult population.

Emerging Topics in Aging Seminar Series

The seminars cover a range of aging-related topics, and are presented by local, regional, and national experts. Attendence (either in-person or online) at all eight of the following seminars is required to complete the micro-credential.

Fall 2019 Schedule - to be announced

Spring 2020 Schedule - to be announced

If you are not in the HHPAE program, please contact Louanne Bakk to register for the seminars.

Final Reflection Paper Instructions

After completing the two-course sequence and seminar series, you should submit (electronically) to the director a reflection paper, 3-5 pages long (double spaced, in APA 6th edition formatting) that should address the following components:

  1. What have you learned through the series of courses and the seminars? Did the content meet your expectations? Why or why not?
  2. What you view as the primary needs to the aging population? Has your perception of these needs changed as the result of participation in this program? Why or why not?
  3. How were the courses and seminars related to one another, and/or your current internship and/or employment?
  4. How has the content provided through the coursework and seminars prepared you to work with and on behalf of the aging population? If you are currently employed in the field of aging, how has content impacted your current work?
  5. How do you foresee using knowledge and skills have you developed through this program in the future?

How to Enroll

Non-degree (non-matriculated) students

Must first apply and be approved for non-degree status by completing the Non-Degree Admissions Form in addition to the micro-credential one.

Receive NY Contact Hours for SW 706 and SW 721

SW 706 and SW 721 courses are approved for NYSED social work contact hours to renew your license registration. If you have a license in another state, check with your state regulatory board to determine if NY hours will be accepted in your state.

Use this form upon completion of a course request an NYSED social work contact hours certificate.

What is a Micro-Credential?

Smaller that a minor, a certificate or a degree program, micro-credentials allow you to meet your personalized learning needs by gaining knowledge and skills in areas that are relevant to your academic or professional goals. Micro-credentials equip you with digital badges that showcase your achievements and all it took to get there.

What is a Digital Badge?

When you complete a micro-credential program you will earn a digital badge, or a series of digital badges. A digital badge is an icon, (but it is not a static image in that is is click-able), that houses information including the issuing institution, the date earned, the criteria required to earn the badge and the evidence that shows that you have met the required criteria. Digital badges are dynamic credentials that you own, so you can decide how you want to use them. Digital badges can be put on social media sites, added as a link on your digital résumé, embedded in your e-portfolio and more!

UB digital badges are issued through the platform Acclaim. With Acclaim, you will be able to display your skills and accomplishments to employers, colleagues and peers. With questions about using Acclaim, please contact the Office of MicroCredentials: micro@buffalo.edu or (716) 645-1357

To learn more about micro-credentials and digital badges please visit https://www.buffalo.edu/micro-credentials/about.html.


Questions about the Excellence in Aging micro-credential? Please contact Clinical Associate Professor Louanne Bakk at (716) 645-1861 or louanneb@buffalo.edu.