Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Aging Studies Tulane University
Our program focuses on the processes of aging at the individual and societal levels. It examines how people change over the adult life course, the interrelationships between older people and social institutions, and the societal impact of the changing age composition of the population. We emphasize the dynamic interplay between the aging of individuals and their changing biomedical, social, and physical environments and multi-level interactions among psychological, physiological, genetic, social, and cultural domains. Our goal is integration and synthesis within and across these domains. Our faculty's teaching and research emphasize both animal and human studies and take place in a wide range of disciplinary and departmental settings across all of the schools at the university. Our students and faculty provide the foundation for this enterprise, working to create a new generation of leaders in this interdisciplinary field who will assume key positions in academia and the public and private sectors. The program facilitates both basic and translational research allowing program participants to design and develop working models or implement a process that will initiate viable products or services for older adults in the expanding global community.
The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Aging Studies is comprised of graduate students and faculty from eight schools at Tulane University and includes the Schools of Science and Engineering, Medicine, Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Liberal Arts, Social Work, Business, Law, and Architecture. The curriculum is designed to prepare students for successful careers in existing and emerging fields related to aging. Core courses include a two-semester Introductory Seminar on Aging, Topics in Aging Research, a biomedical course, a psychosocial course, and two semesters of research methods. Students also take specialized elective courses, while performing research, beginning in the first year of the Program. All course work is completed in two years, allowing the students to concentrate full time on research from their third year on.
Each student is guided closely by an academic advisor and co-advisor to facilitate integration across disciplinary domains, and by a dissertation committee. To obtain the Ph.D., each student passes a written preliminary examination following completion of course work at which time the student advances to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Students prepare a dissertation research proposal, under guidance of the dissertation committee, then submit and defend orally a dissertation based on their own original research contribution to the field.
All students accepted into the Aging Studies Ph.D. Program are supported by a research assistantship, which includes a stipend set currently at $24,000 per year, and a full tuition waiver. The current stipend level increases to $26,000 per year with advancement to candidacy. Students are expected to devote full-time to the Program.
There are several research foci at the Tulane Center for Aging that students can tap into Research Programs, as they develop their dissertation projects. However, they may develop other areas in consultation with their dissertation committee and the program committee. In fact, students will identify novel interdisciplinary aspects of their research that span domains and disciplines in preparing their dissertation. The breadth of the subject areas that encompass this Ph.D. program is further highlighted by some of the topics covered by the Introductory Seminar on Aging.