Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing

MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate

The University of Stirling is ranked 1st in Scotland and top 15 in the UK for Health Sciences (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study within six months of graduating (Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16).


How can over a billion people age well across the world? How does this impact on individuals, families and communities? Globally, the number of older persons is growing faster than the number of people in any other age group, putting pressure on all sectors of society. This course cuts across two key scientific areas. Firstly, studying the process of ageing challenges you to consider how this happens across an individual’s lifespan, not just in later years. Secondly, gerontology takes a multidisciplinary approach that brings in cultural, psychosocial, cognitive, and biomedical aspects to consider the impact of getting older. 

Core modules have been developed for students who would like to specialise in this fast-growing sector. This enables critical awareness of strategies, supports and interventions that facilitate ageing with complex multi-morbidities, frailty and dementia. Throughout the programme, the intersectionality of ageing with disability, gender, ethnicity, race and sexual identity are recurring themes with students engaging in contemporary discussion around the lives of older people and their families in a range of contexts.

Our mission is to strive for excellence in online teaching that will equip the current and future generation of professionals with expertise in supporting ageing populations. As a student, you will bring your experience of working with older people at a local or national level. You will be supported to reflect on positive change in your area of expertise based on current research and evidence. To achieve this, the course incorporates the experience of the older person and their families, clinical and social care/social work staff who provide support, and researchers in the field of ageing and gerontology.

Welcome to new students - 2017


Key information

EU Applicants
EU students enrolling for a postgraduate taught degree in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 academic year will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and will be eligible for the same tuition support as Scottish domiciled students.

  • Qualification: MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Study methods: Distance learning, Online, Part-time, Stand-alone modules
  • Duration: 3 years
  • Start date:

    17 September 2018


  • Course Director: Dr Karen Watchman
Download course leaflet
Download postgraduate prospectus

Dr Karen Watchman

Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport
University of Stirling

Course objectives

  • To develop an advanced understanding of theory and multidisciplinary perspectives in gerontology and approaches to ageing.
  • To critically analyse research and policy on key gerontological and ageing issues.
  • To demonstrate critical awareness of international best practice and interventions that facilitate positive ageing with complex co-morbidities, frailty or dementia.
  • To become a critical thinker who can reflect on the experiences of older persons globally and apply to a local context.
  • To develop knowledge and skills in digital learning and collaboration.

What makes us different?

World-class library and teaching facilities

Studying for a degree means learning in different ways; managing your own time; conducting research; mastering new computer skills. We have the facilities and advice on hand to help you do all this - and do it well.

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Life at Stirling

Of the many reasons students come to Stirling, such as academic reputation and research standards, one factor is always cited: the outstanding beauty of the University's Stirling campus. View our online films to get a picture of what it's like to live and study on our beautiful campus.

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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

A minimum of a second class Honours degree (2.1 preferred) or equivalent in a relevant subject. Applicants without these formal qualifications but with significant appropriate/relevant work/life experience are encouraged to contact the Course Director before making an application.

Experience of supporting older people in a health, social care, social work or third sector/Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) is recommended.

Please note: this course is entirely online. Students from overseas opting to study online do not need to apply for a Tier 4 visa.

English language requirements

Evidence of English language proficiency will also be required if English is not your first language. The minimum English language requirements for the MSc Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing are as follows:

  • IELTS: 6.5 with 6.0 minimum in each skill
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): Grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): Grade B
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): 60 with 56 in each component
  • IBT TOEFL: 90 with no subtest less than 20
  • Acceptable international equivalent

 The University of Stirling can accept a wide variety of international qualifications as sufficient evidence of English proficiency to begin Master's-level study.

A full list of acceptable English qualifications for postgraduate study is available on the English Language requirements page.

If you don’t meet the required score you may be able to register for one of our pre-sessional English courses. To register you must hold a conditional offer for your course and have an IELTS score 0.5 or 1.0 below the required standard. View our range of pre-sessional courses.

Flexible Learning

If you are interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email to discuss your course of study.

Fees and costs


2018/19 Overseas MSc - £13,650
2018/19 Home/EU MSc - £4,700

Fees for all new applicants to postgraduate taught courses are held at the level set upon entry.

Please note there is an additional charge should you choose to attend a graduation ceremony. View more information

Cost of Living

Find out about the cost of living for students at Stirling

Payment options

Find information on paying fees by instalments

Scholarships & funding

Scholarships & funding

There are different funding options available depending on your location and route of entry into the course:

  • Self-funded or some competitive funding options are available, including postgraduate scholarship places which offer a flexible route of study – scholarship information
  • The Scottish Funding Council is funding Home/EU tuition fees for a number of places on the MSc Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing. Funded places are open to applicants domiciled in Scotland and the EU.
  • Individual modules are available as part of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Funding support for these may be available in Scotland, for example, through National Health Service (NHS) Boards.

See further information about tuition fees within the University and paying fees by instalments.

Scholarship finder

Structure and teaching

Structure and content

The course is international and online. You can study from the comfort of your own home and interact with students from all over the world.

To achieve the MSc Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing you will complete:

This completes your preparation for the dissertation in year 3.

  • A dissertation module in year 3. Your dissertation spans two semesters: autumn and spring in year 3 of the MSc course. You do not conduct empirical research. Instead, you are required to write a systematic literature review on an topic related to ageing.

*Available as a stand-alone CPD module


The table below explains the structure of the MSc Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing.





Postgraduate certificate

Global Issues in Ageing Societies (NURP011)

Health and Wellbeing of People with Dementia (NURP012)

                                      Skills for Knowledge Enquiry (Bridging module) (NURP002)

Year 2

Postgraduate diploma

Multi-morbidity in the Older Adult (NURP013)

An Integrated Approach to Frailty (NURP014)

                              Qualitative Research and Analysis (bridging module) (NURP004) OR
                                Quantitative Research and Analysis (bridging module) (NURP006)

Year 3


                               Dissertation 60 credits (part time) (NURP052)

Delivery and assessment

The MSc Global Issues in Gerontology and Ageing teaching team have national and international profiles in research and education related to gerontology and ageing. Their research activities will be incorporated into your teaching and learning. All teaching is online and uses web-based distance-learning and interactive materials.

There are no exams as all modules are assessed through coursework.

Students will require access to a computer with an internet connection; broadband or a link to a powerful local area network (such as in a college or University) is the preferred option.

Why Stirling?


In REF2014 Stirling was placed 6th in Scotland and 45th in the UK with almost three quarters of research activity rated either world-leading or internationally excellent.

  • In the most recent Research Excellence Framework, the Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport came first for health research in Scotland and was ranked 12th in the UK showcasing out commitment to produce world-leading or internationally excellent research that improves health and reduces health inequalities.
  • Stirling is one of only two UK universities ranked in the top 50 by the QS World University Rankings, for Universities under the age of 50 years. This recognises universities who have established a strong position in international ranking tables in an impressively short period of time.


The University of Stirling holds the UK Student Nursing Times Award for Pre-Registration Nurse Education Provider (2016).


International Students

The University of Stirling welcomes students from around the world. Find out what studying here could be like for you .

Careers and employability

Career opportunities

This course facilitates the development of expert knowledge in care of the older person and helps prepare health and social care professionals to deliver the specialist knowledge and skills required to support their practice.


98% of our postgraduate leavers are in employment or further study withing six months of graduating - Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2015/16

Students will develop an  in-depth knowledge of critical and emerging health and social care needs of older people with strategies to enhance care and support. This course equips students with knowledge and skills that can be utilised within practice and provides the opportunity to gain a range of transferable skills in order to enhance professional development.

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