Management of Aging Services (MAGS)

Erickson School
Professor Joseph A. Gribbin, Ph.D., Graduate Program Director
Galina Madjaroff, Undergraduate Program Director

Jeffrey Ash, Ed.D., MS
Joseph DeMattos, M.A.
Joseph A. Gribbin, Ph.D.
William Holman, MA, CPA
Jonathan May, MA, LLM, MA, JD
Judah L. Ronch, Ph.D.
Scott Townsley, JD

Degree Offered

M.A. in Management of Aging Services

Program Description

The M.A. in Management of Aging Services at the Erickson School provides integrated, interdisciplinary professional training for leaders in the growing aging services sector. Graduates of the program will meet a growing workforce need for leaders with professional education to serve in management positions in public, private and non-profit/advocacy organizations providing services to older adults. This program prepares students for these professional careers through integrating knowledge and skills from three well-established graduate education/training areas: aging, management and public policy. Graduates will enter careers uniquely equipped to lead organizations innovatively and address problems in this critical area. The program goal is to prepare graduates to apply this integrated perspective in leadership positions in a broad array of aging services organizations from government agencies/organizations and advocacy/non-profit groups to a variety of positions in the for-profit business arena.

Targeted toward early- to mid-career professionals interested in progressing in or entering the aging services arena, this program adopts an accelerated, cohort model of instruction. The program, scheduled primarily during weekends, with a few, multi-day instructional periods, offers the full professional program in a 16-month timetable. Taught by individuals or faculty teams from differing disciplinary backgrounds, the cohort of students will encounter the critical skills relating to understanding varying perspectives on addressing the challenges in service delivery.

Degree Requirements

Completion of the M.A. degree requires a maximum of 36 credits.

Program Admission

General admission requirements are those of the UMBC Graduate School. The GRE or GMAT is not required. The admission process places emphasis on assessing the combination of academic and professional achievements and experience. Three letters of recommendation, a professional resume, and essays are required (For more specific details – visit Applications will be reviewed by a committee of faculty appointed in the Erickson School, with interviews prior to recommendation to the Graduate School for final admission decision.

Learning Objectives

The curriculum consists of a blend of core courses which draw from and integrate our three focal areas, inclusive of their history, theory, current knowledge base and fundamental analytic/practice skills. Upon completion of the requirements for the proposed degree, the student will be able to:

  • Exercise a holistic set of skills and knowledge that integrates management, policy, and aging.
  • Apply core management fundamentals of strategy, marketing, operations, finance and accounting to aging services organizations across the private, public and non-profit sectors
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of normal human aging on the individual level, including social, psychological and physical aspects
  • More effectively provide leadership to their organizations and manage other individuals
  • Understand the societal implications of an aging population for public policy, the economy and major social institutions
  • Evaluate a broad range of organizational outcomes utilizing research, policy and business criteria for performance
  • Effectively apply critical thinking, effective communication and creative problem solving to their organizations
  • Describe in detail the existing array of public sector aging services programs, the role of policy in shaping their future roles and impacts, and the emergent private sector organizations developing desired services for this population.

Program of Study

The following courses are required for the degree:


AGNG 600: Social & Economic Context of Aging (3 credits)      Ronch
This course presents an overview of the many changes at all levels, from individual to societal, driven by the aging of the population in the United States. An interdisciplinary synthesis is the basis for understanding normal human aging in a cultural and community context and examining the harmful effects of stereotypes and ageism.

AGNG 604 Policy Foundations of Aging Services (3 credits)      Gribbin
The course operates on two parallel tracks. First, it examines fundamental and theoretical underpinnings of public policy goals, the strategic construct of problem identification and definition, processes of policy initiation, development and advocacy and specifically, how to construct and implement a strategic plan to successfully advance policy initiatives. Secondly, and in the process, significant emphasis is placed on discussions of current policy issues affecting older adults and the organizations that provide services to them.

AGNG 605 Managerial & Policy Economics (3 credits)      Gribbin
This course provides the student with a broad understanding of substantial demographic and macroeconomic forces that are shaping the economic security of older adults and of aging service industries. Specifically, students will consider how increases in longevity and issues related to retirement trends, personal and employer-based savings, entitlement programs and the mounting intergenerational transfer of debt will impact seniors and the economy as a whole through mid-century. The final portion of the course introduces the student to basic Microeconomic theory to aging service-related issues.

AGNG 610: Leadership, Management & Organizations I (3 credits)      DeMattos
The first of a two-course sequence that focuses on advancing the understanding and development of individual and organizational leadership models that result in building dynamic enterprise in government, business, and in non-profits with a special focus on aging service organizations. AGNG 610 focuses on leadership and the “Self.” Measurements and tools are introduced to enable individuals to better understand their individual strengths and weaknesses around issues of leadership. Students will actively apply their individual leadership styles to working in small groups. The course contains three segments around leadership: negotiation, innovation, and value of integration.

AGNG 611: Leadership, Management & Organizations II (3 credits)      DeMattos
Students who have successfully completed AGNG 610 may apply what they learned and begin to explore, acquire and apply the skills needed to drive larger organizational change. AGNG 611 focuses on effective tools and resources necessary for developing strategy and tactics to manage change in aging service organizations. The course divides into three segments around leadership: organizational assessment, strategy development and managing change.

AGNG 612, Finance & Accounting (3 credits)      Holman
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of financial accounting and its use in managerial control systems to enhance organizational performance, with a particular focus on the aging services industry. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the students’ ability to interpret and apply financial information as opposed to an in-depth study and application of accounting theory and practice.

AGNG 624 Strategy, Marketing & Service Delivery (3 credits)      Townsley
This course examines the role of strategy in successful organizations. Insights into how to identify and develop an organization’s strategy and to understand its implications for execution and marketing are explored. The need for in-depth analysis of broad environmental forces and the anticipation of future developments are stressed. It considers how government, technology and other environmental factors can impact organizational performance and how leaders can strengthen their organization’s abilities to deal with such factors.

AGNG 625, Research & Evaluation, (3 credits)      Ash
This course helps students become informed consumers of research. Key components of this course include understanding what information is required, how it can best be obtained, alternative ways of interpreting relevant data, and how to best incorporate knowledge into practice. Fundamentals of research and evaluation will be introduced including qualitative (e.g., focus groups, interviews), quantitative (e.g., surveys, measures of change over time), using archival data, and others. Case studies related to aging service organizations will be used for review and discussion of applicable subject areas.

AGNG 632 Diversity in Management of Aging Services(2 credits)      Ash
This course provides a fundamental understanding of the concepts and complexities of diversity in management of aging services. “Diversity” is examined beginning with self-evaluation, awareness and group beginnings, and expands to current workforce concepts such as generational diversity, managing and leading from diverse places, handling conflict and the social issues involving diversity in aging. A variety of techniques are deployed to understand commonalities and differences while effectively facing the core issues of management in aging services. Students will learn to engage in dialogue versus debate and to manage social scenarios commonly encountered in aging services organizations.

AGNG 638 Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Design I (2 credits)      Townsley
The course is the first in a two course sequence intending to empower students to lead change and innovation within their existing organizations and in pursuit of new opportunities. The concepts of having an idea, passion, a plan, capital, people, structure and a relentless commitment are interactively considered in AGNG 638 both within the context of aging services as well as business generally. The course challenges students to think entrepreneurially about both the issues facing aging service providers as well as opportunities that are unfolding exponentially.

AGNG 639 Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Design II (2 credits)      Townsley
Entrepreneurship II expands upon Entrepreneurship I, with particular emphasis on leadership roles in creating and managing sustainable growth in an innovative and entrepreneurial organization. This course focuses on entrepreneurship leadership and management within the context of non-profit companies, and explores the comparisons with for-profit corporations.

AGNG 643 Law, Ethics and Longevity (1 credit)      May
This course explores concepts in the fields of law and ethics. Various approaches to legal and ethical issues will be discussed. An emphasis is placed on understanding how issues related to human longevity and the delivery of aging services are approached and decided from a legal and ethical perspective.

AGNG 645 Mental Health & Wellness (1 credit)      Ronch
Students are introduced to an integrated analysis of the aging, policy and management issues that influence mental wellness approaches with elders. Traditional illness and deficit-based models of assessment, intervention and service provision are contrasted with wellness and strength-based approaches from the perspectives of social and illness narratives, the social and organizational policy environment and the management demands and leadership challenges each presents. Issues such as problem identification, engaging elders and assuring compliance/collaboration, impact on the family, assessment and intervention, provider-consumer relationships, service eligibility, and program evaluation and outcomes are addressed.

AGNG 661 Introduction to Integrative Thinking (1 credit)      Gribbin, Ronch
Using case studies from aging service industries, strategies for interdisciplinary thinking and entrepreneurial solutions are explored. Student teams are tasked to address complex problems in aging services using integrative thinking and an interdisciplinary perspective that draws from the areas of management, policy, and aging studies. Upon completion of AGNG 661, students will be able to describe interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and why such approaches matter, be familiar with several strategies of interdisciplinary integration and be able to apply integrative thinking to an identified gap or entrepreneurial opportunity.

AGNG 662 Correlation & Review (3 credits)      Townsley & Faculty
This course serves as the capstone of the curriculum and requires that the student submit an independently researched paper on an issue of significant importance to older adults and/or to their aging service organization. The intent is for students to structure a proposed solution to the issue selected while bringing to bear an interdisciplinary approach using the knowledge, skills and abilities they have learned in the fields of aging, management and policy. Students will present their research to the advising faculty.