Sociology of Health & Aging

Course Number: SOC 231
Transcript Title: Sociology of Health & Aging
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: June 7, 2017
Total Credits: 4
Lecture Hours: 40
Lecture / Lab Hours: 0
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: Yes
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit
Repeats available for credit: 0


MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121.

Course Description

Introduces age-related health issues in social and cultural context. Includes the social structuring of age, health and illness; demographics and patterns of health and illness of diverse older adults; issues related to medical and healthcare services; health and long-term care policy and programs. Prerequisites: MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Utilize sociological theories and multi-disciplinary perspectives to provide an in depth understanding of health and aging. 
  2. Identify and evaluate the impacts of social phenomena that influence outlooks and actions concerning health and aging within societies.
  3. Participate within societies as informed members on areas of social phenomena that impact health and aging.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

In-depth 1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)


2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)


4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)


5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

Outcome Assessment Strategies

The department assumes that instructors will assess student learning through the term by using various formative assessment tools, like worksheets, quizzes, and exams. In addition, the department encourages instructors to integrate the following kinds of tasks into the course to assess student achievement of course outcomes in a more comprehensive and holistic manner:

  1. Short analytical or application papers on specific concepts, themes, and issues.
  2. Term or research papers, using a variety of research strategies.
  3. Oral presentations.
  4. Group research, analysis, and presentation projects.
  5. Class participation in full-class discussions and small groups or teams.
  6. Response papers or journals reflecting on life experiences, events, and social phenomena.
  7. Service-learning tasks, involving service to community, reflection, and application of sociological perspective.
  8. Student-instructor conferences.
  9. Portfolios.
  10. Video projects.
  11. Oral histories and interviews.

Course Activities and Design

Recommended activities and design:


Lecture format tailored around a standard resource instrument (i.e. book) in order for standardization of grading. Discussion during lecture is encouraged, as well as videos in order to enhance visualization of course material.


Assignments should be tailored around standardization of grading according to course objectives. Recommended assignments: multiple choice exams, true/false exams, short essay questions, take home long essay questions, mid/end term examinations, group projects, political letters, and/or insight based journals.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Basic concepts in gerontology which apply to the course study.
  2. Definition of terms relevant to the course content.
  3. An historical review of health care services for the elderly emographics describing the aging of society with specific relevance for the study of health and aging.
  4. Identifiable trends affecting the planning of appropriate responses to the emerging health needs of an aging society.
  5. The course of acute vs. chronic illness.
  6. The continuum of care representing integrated service systems.
  7. Underlying social values and issues, which influence the delivery of health services to the elderly.
  8. Formal and informal systems of support for the elderly.
  9. Methods for linking the formal and informal systems of support.
  10. Public and private policies and funding sources, which influence the delivery of services.

Competencies and Skills:

The student will:

  1. Use knowledge to make informed decisions regarding appropriate methods of service delivery.
  2. Use analytical and evaluative methods for researching community resources.
  3. Practice self-analysis to identify personal values and belief systems.
  4. Use critical thinking to understand the role of social policy in contemporary society.
  5. Integrate data to develop increased understanding of complex social systems.