USC University of Southern California

DDS/MS Gerontology

Doctor of Dental Surgery/Master of Science in Gerontology (DDS/MS Gerontology)

Offered cooperatively by the Ostrow School of Dentistry and the USC Davis School of Gerontology, the dual Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Master of Science in Gerontology program addresses the challenges facing oral health care providers as the number of older persons needing dental care continues to grow. Graduating dentists will be better prepared to provide service to the aging population in community settings and health care facilities.

Admission Requirements

Applicants to the DDS/MS Gerontology program must:

  1. meet the regular admission requirements of both the USC Graduate School and the Ostrow School;
  2. hold a bachelor’s degree in any academic field;
  3. have a 3.0 cumulative GPA in the last two years of undergraduate school and be competitive with the incoming class;
  4. perform on the Graduate Record Exam to the satisfaction of the School of Gerontology and be competitive with the incoming class;
  5. display evidence of leadership and motivation; and
  6. complete the MS in Gerontology application, including a written statement regarding commitment to the field of geriatric dentistry, letters of reference, etc.

Course of Study

The student spends the first year taking required DDS courses in the Ostrow School. Gerontology course work is introduced in the second year and continues through the fifth year.

Gerontology Requirements

The Master of Science in Gerontology requires 38 units of course and fieldwork that includes the core content of the MS in Gerontology program.

Required Courses

GERO 475 Ethical Issues in Geriatric Health Care (4)
GERO 508 The Mind and Body Connection through the Lifespan (4)
GERO 520 Life Span Developmental Psychology (4)
GERO 530 Life Span Developmental Sociology (4)
GERO 540 Social Policy and Aging (4)
GERO 555 Integrating Gerontology: A Multidisciplinary Approach (4)
GERO 591 Field Practicum (6)
GERO 593 Research Methods (4)

Elective Courses

Four units to be selected from the following list in consultation with the advisor:
GERO 522 Counseling Older Adults and Their Families (4)
GERO 550 Administration and System Management in Programs for Older Adults (4)
GERO 554 Evaluation: Incorporating Evidence-Based Practices (4)

Dentistry Requirements

The DDS requires 185 units of credit. The Ostrow School will waive CMDT 501, CMDT 507abc, GSPD 562abc, HBHV 501, HBHV 504, INTP 503ab and electives totaling 10 units from the required curriculum. In its place, students are required to take INTP 651 Experience in Dental Teaching (4), INTP 502ab Human Relations in Dental Practice (2-2), GSPD 610 Clinical Gerontology (1), GSPD 612 Special Patient Care Clinic (1).

Program Adaptation

The Davis School of Gerontology will waive 14 units of credit: GERO 510 Physiology of Development and Aging (4); GERO 589 Case Studies in Leadership and Change Management (4); GERO 591 Field Practicum (2) and GERO electives (4). These requirements will be replaced by INTP 651 (4), INTP 502ab (2-2), GSPD 610 (1), GSPD 612 (1) and INTX 502e (1).