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Doctor of Philosophy (Gerontology)

Doctorate Degree Programme

A balance of content knowledge, research skills training, and intense supervision by experts who would hone the deep skills and knowledge of the student.

Doctor of Philosophy (Gerontology)


The rapidly ageing population in Singapore, and concomitant need for trained professionals in the health, social and psychological services have given rise to an imperative need for Graduate Certificate in Gerontology, Graduate Diploma in Gerontology, Master of Gerontology and PhD in Gerontology programmes. As the needs of elder people are specialised, dedicated attention within the training to address specific characteristics such as the ageing process, demands interdisciplinary courses in Gerontology.

Singapore University of Social Sciences's Master of Gerontology, with Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and PhD option is the first in Singapore to offer a holistic training for a rewarding career in the eldercare and silver sector. Graduates from the Programme will have acquired advanced knowledge and skills to be leaders and consultants in the field of gerontology. They will be prepared to perform challenging roles and functions in both government and private sectors.

The PhD programme will have a balance of content knowledge, research skills training, and intense supervision by experts who would hone the deep skills and knowledge of the student. Practice or applied research areas would be emphasised so that effective solutions may be distilled through scientific rigorous research. The issues related to ageing and ageing populations within the Asian context will be highlighted throughout the programme. This will distinguish the programme, and attract individuals in the region seeking to obtain a doctoral degree in gerontology.

There is recognition in the industry as well as in government ministries that gerontology has much to offer for policy, research and practice. There is a demand for highly competent professionals, who have the multidisciplinary training and approach, in industry, academia and research institutes, and the doctoral graduates of the proposed programme can help to fill the gap.

Unique Features of the Programme

  • It adopts a multidisciplinary perspective
  • Focus on Asian context
  • Blend of practical and theoretical emphasis highlighting applied research

Most importantly, what distinguishes the programme from others are that

  • There are frequent tie-ups with industry partners which can help students establish valuable networks;
  • Students are often informed of industry activities and even have a chance to be involved in them due to our amicable relationships with our partners;
  • Students are able to do various applied projects to solve the community issues together with our partners;
  • Students are able to attend international dialogues with scholars and practitioners who are passionate about ageing matters.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis; therefore applicants are encouraged to submit their applications early.

Subscribe to our SUSS Gerontology channel on Youtube to know more about our programme and gain more insight to the industry.

Admission Requirements

Refer to general admission criteria for graduate programmes.

In addition, applicants will need to meet these minimum requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree, preferably with a Second Class Honours and above in a relevant discipline from a reputable university or equivalent qualification; and
  • A master's degree or its equivalent; and
  • A minimum of two years of work experience

Applicants are also required to furnish the below documents when applying for the programme:

  • A latest CV;
  • A proposed topic or area of research stating the following – 4,000 words (exclude the references):
    • Proposed topic or area of research;
    • Identified potential supervisor (if any);
    • Motivation for the proposed topic or area of research, and
    • Relevance of the proposed topic or area of research in addressing contemporary issues/challenges in the profession/industry/society.

You may adopt the research proposal template, or design your own research proposal template for submission.

  • A personal statement stating your motivation for pursuing a PhD, reason for selecting SUSS and your post PhD career aspirations – 500 words;
  • Two academic reference letters. Referees are required to submit the reference letters directly to the Student Admissions department at
  • and any other relevant supplementary materials in the application for admissions (e.g educational qualifications)

This programme is open to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, as well as international students.

Financial Assistance

  • Alice Lim Memorial Fund Sponsorship

  • Lorong Koo Chye Sheng Hong Temple Award

  • Professional Development and Management Programme

  • SkillsFuture Study Award for Healthcare Sector
    You may apply for the study award for Healthcare Sector which is worth $5000. Please refer to this website for eligibility, terms and conditions.

  • SkillsFuture Fellowships
    The SkillsFuture Fellowships are for Singapore Citizens with at least 10 years of working experience in the same, or related, industries or job functions. The award is worth $10,000 and further details, eligibility, terms and conditions are available here.

    Applicants who are graduates (at master's or bachelor's level) of Singapore University of Social Sciences and Singapore Institute of Management will enjoy 20% course fee concession.

Programme Structure


The doctoral programme is research-based and caters to individuals who wish to develop their career in gerontology. As this is a fast growing field in Singapore, PhD graduates will be able to apply their skills and knowledge in the public, private and people sectors.

Opportunities for social workers, sociologists, counsellors, care managers, allied health professionals such as nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, architects and financial consultants to lead in the silver sector are expanding. The degree programme prepares these and other professionals to play a significant role in the academia, health and social services, urban planning and infrastructure, and silver industry.

  1. What is the minimum and maximum period of candidature?
    Minimum is 3 years and maximum is 7 years.

  2. What is the total number of cu required for graduation?
    120 cu (80 cu for dissertation, 40 cu for coursework).

  3. What is the graduation requirements?
    Students must attain a Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 3.0 for the 40 cu of courses and pass the Qualifying Examination and Oral Defense for the Thesis Examination.

  4. Will I be assigned a supervisor?
    Yes. The supervisor will be an expert in the topic of research.

  5. How often should I meet with my supervisor?
    You are advised to meet with your supervisor on a regular basis (e.g monthly). Progress report shall be submitted every semester to track your progress and to be approved by the supervisor.

    International students should schedule meetings with the dissertation supervisor and conduct the research work for the thesis in the day (i.e., during office hours).

  6. What is a Qualifying examination (QE)?
    The QE consists of a written proposal and an oral presentation of the research proposal.

  7. What is Viva?
    It is an oral defense of the dissertation after submission to the examiners.

  8. How much is the tuition fees?
    Please refer to this table.

  9. If I am an international student, do I need to apply for visa to come to Singapore?
    The university will provide the necessary information to facilitate the application of student pass. For more information, please click here.
Tan Tai Kia

“ I am grateful to SUSS for it has equipped me with the skill sets to understand gerontology as a science and art through practice, and an art and science through research. Its balanced approach on life course and bio-psychosocial understanding of ageing has enriched my caregiving journey. It was a natural choice to study in SUSS given its strong gerontology faculty, the learning environment and support that made my gerontological study ever so enjoyable and meaningful. ”

Chief Operating Officer
Singhealth Community Hospitals
Sng Hock Lin

“ The multidisciplinary approach in the curriculum has enriched my worldviews to look at issues with a more holistic perspective. I am applying what I have learnt in my current work at ActiveSG to promote healthy ageing and to encourage Singaporeans to lead an active lifestyle and transform our Singaporean Spirit together! ”

Chief, Silver Generation Office
Agency for Integrated Care (AIC)

AP Lee Kheng Hock

As a clinician leader and educator, I am delighted to extend my wholehearted support for the PhD in Gerontology program offered by SUSS. This advanced degree is not only pertinent but also pivotal to our ongoing national effort to cultivate an age-friendly society and implement Healthier SG policy.

The demographic shift towards an aging population is a significant challenge and an opportunity for Singapore. The PhD in Gerontology program equips professionals with the necessary expertise to address the complexities of aging, encompassing the physiological, psychological, and social aspects. This comprehensive understanding is critical in designing and implementing effective interventions that enhance the quality of life for our elderly population.

It prepares graduates to contribute meaningfully to the development of innovative healthcare solutions, policy-making, and community-based initiatives. These contributions are essential as we strive to create environments that support the well-being and active participation of older adults in society. I commend the program for its relevance and its significant contribution to our collective efforts in advancing the health and well-being of our aging community.

A/Prof Lee Kheng Hock
Deputy CEO (Education and Community Partnerships)
SingHealth Community Hospital

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