Excellence in Aging Graduate Micro-Credential

student intern with elderly client.
Program Update

Given the current environmental context and COVID-19 pandemic, the University at Buffalo School of Social Work will be suspending the Excellence in Aging Micro-Credential program for the 2020-2021 academic year. You are welcome to submit your application, and we will contact you once the program has been reinstated. Thank you.

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.

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.


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