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Social Gerontology

Alma Mater Europaea - ECM offers an innovative doctoral program for preparing students to address issues facing an aging population.

The emphasis of the graduate program in Social Gerontology is on helping students understand the process of aging from an intergenerational symbiosis perspective. The program positions graduates to pursue their passion for policy and research while studying the mechanics and mysteries of longevity, aging and population health. The social gerontology program prepares graduates to become leaders who effect policy changes at the local and national levels alike. It also prepares graduates for careers in gerontology research.

Academic excellence. Innovative programs. Real-world connections. First-class educational experience. Impact your career. Study in the heart of Europe.



  Course ECTS
Total 1. year 60
Total per study program 180
Mandatory courses
1 Social Gerontology 10
2 Qualitative methodology 10
3 Social construction of aging 10
4 Guidance of diversity and competency research modelling 10
5 Impact of modifications on organization in Social Gerontology 10
6 Doctoral seminar: Preparation of doctoral thesis application 10


  Course ECTS
Total 2. year 60
Total per study program 180
Mandatory courses
7 Gerontological and anthropological anlyses interpretations 10
8 Elderly person, family and social network 10
9 Gerontological questions development strategies 10
Elective courses (student chooses 3)
1 Demographic and gerontological perspectives 10
2 Sociology of aging 10
3 Gerontological processes and gender 10
4 Philosophy and ethics in old age 10
5 Old age quality of life 10
6 Social management 10
7 Creative types of team work 10
8 Medical aspects of aging 10
9 Medicalization of aging 10
10 Economic aspects of elderly care 10
11 Nonprofit sector management 10
12 Social Gerontology crisis management 10
13 Urban and architectural integration of the elderly 10
14 Volunteering for intergenerational symbiosis 10
15 Types of palliative assistance 10
16 Scientific writing 10
17 Leisure time organization 10


  Course ECTS
Total 3. year 60
Total per study program 180
10 Preparation and production of doctoral thesis seminar 15
11 Preparation and production of doctoral thesis 45 45




Graduate: Social Gerontology, Strategic Communication Management


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Jurij Toplak, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of the Alma Mater Europaea ISH, the oldest Slovenian private higher education institution, and the Chairman of the European Administrative Academy, the Alma Mater's parent nonprofit organization. He is the Chair of the It's About People conference of Europe's sciences and arts leaders and scholars, held annually by the European Academy of Sciences and Arts and Alma Mater Europaea. He is the Alma Mater's Management Board member and former founding dean of the European Business Studies master's program.

Between 2016 and 2022, he served as the Provost/Executive Vice-President of Alma Mater Europaea, and since 2022, he has been chairing the internationalization activities aiming at expanding the university's activities globally. For over fifteen years, he has managed higher education institutions, served as a dean, supervised doctoral programs and dissertations, built global academic partnerships and led the development of in-person and online social studies, humanities, health and business education. 

A distinguished legal and human rights scholar, Professor Toplak has advised governments worldwide and international organizations Council of Europe, OSCE, ODIHR, European Union and UNDP. He spent three months working for the EU in Uganda and observed elections on expert missions in Finland, Canada, Latvia, France, Malta, Monaco, the US and elsewhere. 

He is among the leading European election law authorities with experience lecturing worldwide, including at Harvard, Fordham, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, and Washington & Lee. He served as a Fulbright scholar at the UCLA School of Law and researched at Georgetown, Oxford, Central European University, and others. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The Guardian and The Boston Globe published Professor Toplak's legal views. 

With Daniel Smilov, he co-edited Political Finance and Corruption in Eastern Europe (Ashgate, 2008). With David Schultz, he co-edited the Routledge Handbook of Election Law (2022), the most thorough comparative book on the law of democracy on six continents, launched at Keble College, Oxford University, in August 2022. 

Jure Toplak has led impact litigation projects and was involved in a fair trial, election law, free speech, government transparency, equality, disability, discrimination and torture cases before the highest national courts and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. In 2017, he wrote a challenge to the referendum results that led to the first-ever public hearing by the Supreme Court of Slovenia and the annulment of referendum results. In Toplak and Mrak v. Slovenia, one of the leading disability voting judgments, the ECtHR found a violation of his uncle's rights. 

At the University of Maribor Faculty of Law, he has taught since 2000 and chaired the Public Law Department between 2016 and 2022. Since 2019, he has taught at the Fordham Law School in New York.

He has served as the board member or the CEO of several profit and non-profit academic institutions and served on three corporate boards. He was a member of the Central Election Commission of Slovenia for twelve years.

Professor Toplak is a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. In 2000, the Slovenian Lawyers’ Association awarded Jure Toplak with the 'Young Lawyer of the Year' award for his book on electoral redistricting, and in 2022, with the title 'Lawyer of the Year'.


Alma Mater Europaea is committed to providing students with a broad theoretical understanding of lifespan development. Ph.D. students will take a wide variety of courses, work closely with a faculty mentor, and have the opportunity to focus on a specific area of interest.

All our lectures are filmed and e-learning supported. You can watch them in live stream and re-run them at home as many times as you like.

Grants & Partnerships


Ph.D. graduates will enter the workforce armed with the highest-level training available in gerontology and will be prepared to enter careers in research, education, or service, with opportunities available in:

  • Leadership positions in the planning, administration and evaluation of programs in the private and public sectors
  • Executive positions in the delivery of direct services to older adults and their families
  • Policy and advocacy work
  • Scientific research and study


  • DURATION: 6 semesters / 3 years
  • TITLE: Doctor of Philosophy in Social Gerontology
  • LOCATION: Austria, Slovenia
  • START DATES: October

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