University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

gerontology image
As part of USCís robust research community, the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers broad and integrated programs covering the many facets of aging including: multidisciplinary research on the biological, behavioral and societal processes of aging; degree programs in gerontology; and service programs for older adults and their families.

The USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, opened in 1975, is the first professional school of gerontology in the United States. The School of Gerontology is housed in the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center. The Andrus Center was established in 1964 as a major research and training facility for the study of aging. The school is able to draw upon the rich and supportive environment of the center to offer a wide range of professional and scientific courses.

The major purpose of the school is to prepare professionals at the undergraduate, masterís and doctoral levels for work in programs, organizations, agencies and businesses that address the needs of an aging population. This includes the education of administrators, program planners, policy analysts, researchers, instructors and direct service personnel for employment in government, human services, social services, health care, education, recreation and private enterprise.

The school functions as a multidisciplinary educational institution with faculty members representing the major professional and disciplinary fields related to gerontology.

The curriculum provides each student with a firm understanding of the basic concepts and research of gerontology in addition to developing professional skills in a particular area through field practice, course work and research.

Andrus Gerontology Center 102
(213) 740-5156
FAX: (213) 740-0792


Elizabeth M. Zelinski, Ph.D., Dean and Executive Director of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center

John P. Walsh, Ph.D., Director, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology


William and Sylvia Kugel Deanís Chair in Gerontology: Elizabeth M. Zelinski, Ph.D.*

AARP University Chair in Gerontology: Vern L. Bengtson, Ph.D.*

ARCO/William F. Kieschnick Chair in the Neurobiology of Aging: Caleb E. Finch, Ph.D.

James E. Birren Chair in Gerontology: Kelvin J.A. Davies, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Edna M. Jones Chair in Gerontology: Eileen Crimmins, Ph.D.*

UPS Foundation Chair in Gerontology: Jon Pynoos, Ph.D.*

The Golden Age Association/Frances Wu Chair in Chinese Elderly: Iris Chi, Ph.D. (Social Work)

Merle H. Bensinger Professorship in Gerontology: Bob G. Knight, Ph.D.

Albert L. and Madelyne G. Hanson Family Trust Assistant Professorship: Valter D. Longo, Ph.D.

Mary Pickford Foundation Professorship in Gerontology: Kathleen H. Wilber, Ph.D.*

Professors: William Bondareff, M.D., Ph.D. (Medicine); Margaret Gatz, Ph.D. (Psychology); Martin Levine, Ph.D. (Law, Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences); Roseann Mulligan, D.D.S. (Dentistry); Robert C. Myrtle, D.P.A. (Policy, Planning, and Development); Victor Regnier, M.Arch. (Architecture); Edward L. Schneider, M.D.; Lon Schneider, M.D. (Psychiatry and Neurology); Merril Silverstein, Ph.D.; John Tower, Ph.D. (Biological Sciences); Bradley R. Williams, Pharm.D. (Clinical Pharmacy)

Associate Professors: Phoebe Liebig, Ph.D.*; Loren G. Lipson, M.D. (Medicine); Jeffrey McCombs, Ph.D. (Pharmacy); Michal Mor-Barak, D.S.W. (Social Work); Mike Nichol, Ph.D. (Pharmacy); Christian Pike, Ph.D.; John P. Walsh, Ph.D.*

Assistant Professors: Maria Aranda, Ph.D. (Social Work); Valter D. Longo, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor: Roseann Giarrusso, Ph.D.

Research Assistant Professors: Donna Benton, Ph.D.; Gennady Ermak, Ph.D.; Todd Morgan, Ph.D.; Lisa Shugarman, Ph.D.; Ana Marie Yamada, Ph.D. (Social Work)

Adjunct Professors: Gerald A. Larue, Ph.D.*(Religion); Fernando Torres-Gil, Ph.D.*

Adjunct Associate Professors: Bryan Kemp, Ph.D.; Monika White, Ph.D.

Adjunct Assistant Professors: Debra Sheets, Ph.D.; Carl Renold, Ph.D.; Marlene Wagner, Ph.D. (Literature)

Clinical Associate Professors: Raquel D. Arias, M.D.; Michael Gilewski, Ph.D.; Anne Katz, Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor: Freddi Segal-Gidan, Ph.D.

Emeritus Professors: James E. Birren, Ph.D.; David A. Peterson, Ph.D.

Emeritus Research Associate Professor: Richard Davis, Ph.D.

*Recipient of university-wide or college teaching award.


The Leonard Davis School of Gerontology offers an undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Aging, undergraduate classes through the Health and Humanity major in the USC College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and two minors in aging open to all undergraduate students. The School of Gerontology offers several graduate degrees including: Master of Science in Gerontology; an online Master of Arts in Gerontology; an online Master of Long Term Care Administration (with the Marshall School of Business and the School of Policy, Planning, and Development), and a Ph.D. in Gerontology. Non-degree graduate students may complete 16 units of gerontology and be awarded a graduate level certificate in gerontology.

Masterís degree students may pursue one of several dual degrees which are jointly offered with other professional schools. These are the Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Business Administration (M.S./M.B.A.) with the Marshall School of Business; Master of Science in Gerontology/Doctor of Dental Surgery (M.S./D.D.S.) with the School of Dentistry; Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Public Administration (M.S./M.P.A.) with the School of Policy, Planning, and Development; Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Health Administration (M.S./M.H.A.) with the School of Policy, Planning, and Development; Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Social Work (M.S./M.S.W.) with the School of Social Work; Master of Science in Gerontology/Juris Doctor (M.S./J.D.) with the Gould School of Law; Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Planning (M.S./M.Pl.) with the School of Policy, Planning, and Development; Master of Science in Gerontology/Doctor of Pharmacy (M.S./Pharm.D.) with the School of Pharmacy; and Master of Science in Gerontology/Master of Arts in Jewish Communal Services (M.S./M.A.) with Hebrew Union College.

In addition to the degree, minor and certificate programs, overview courses in aging are offered for undergraduates enrolled in other units of the university. Many gerontology courses can be credited as elective units.

Honor Society

The student honor society is Sigma Phi Omega, the national honor society formed in 1980 to recognize the excellence of those who study gerontology. The organization seeks to promote scholarship and professionalism, and to recognize exemplary attainment in the field of aging. Undergraduates must have a GPA of at least 3.3 and graduate students a GPA of at least 3.5. Sigma Phi Omega is administered by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education, an educational unit of the Gerontological Society of America.

Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center

The Andrus Center initiates, designs and executes basic and applied research on the many phases of development and aging, and provides for graduate and post-graduate training in the biological, social, behavioral and policy sciences. Specific areas of study include neurobiology, cognitive science, histopathology, social organization behavior, human service delivery, biodemography and social policy.

The Andrus Center offers a multidisciplinary research training program in gerontology. It is directed toward graduate students pursuing the Ph.D. as well as a limited number of post-doctoral fellows who develop research and academic careers in specialized areas of gerontology. Research training is carried out within individual disciplines.