Undergraduate Course on Longevity

Faculty Panel on Intergenerational Issues

Faculty Panel on Intergenerational Issues

Center on Longevity Director Laura Carstensen and Deputy Director Tom Rando co-teach the Longevity course at Stanford. In this course, more than 140 students learn about the personal and societal implications of people living longer. The course explores myths and misconceptions surrounding
the aging process and provides students with an informed grasp of the conceptual issues, empirical findings and current controversies in the field.

The course has three central aims:

  • Help students understand why, from a biological/biomedical perspective, the population is aging and what to expect in the coming decades. Will current trends continue? How long can future generations expect to live? How are lifestyles, families and work likely to change?
  • Provide students with a more realistic vision of their own futures so they can make informed life choices and plans.
  • Educate future generations of citizens, who will live out their lives in societies where older people outnumber children and who will have a central hand in shaping the consequences of these unprecedented changes.

The course’s multidisciplinary approach helps students understand new challenges to health care, financial markets, families, work and politics as they relate to aging and longevity. It includes lectures by Carstensen, a psychologist and life-span developmentalist, Rando, a neurologist and biogerontologist, and a range of faculty affiliates of the Center on Longevity.