GRACE Program

Logo for The GRACE Program

Gerontology Resources and the Aging Community in Education (GRACE) Program

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the GRACE Program?  It is a field-based learning program designed to increase social work students’ knowledge of and experience with older adults.  The GRACE program is coordinated by clinical assistant professor Sarah Swords, and is implemented by a group of Field Instructors dedicated to increasing the number of social workers working with the older adults.  Field Instructors are employed at various community agencies in the Austin area that provide services to older adults and collaborate closely with the School of Social Work to create field internships for students. The students’ field experience is complemented by GRACE program educational enrichment events, which are held six times each academic year. These events provide specialized knowledge in areas important to social work practice in gerontology. Read about GRACE students’ experiences here.

What is a GRACE placement?  A field agency earns  designation as a GRACE placement if the agency serves older adults and the field instructor serves on the GRACE Committee and/or supports the educational goals of the GRACE Program through working with School of Social Work students.

How do I become a GRACE candidate? GRACE candidates are graduate students who, through their actions in the School of Social Work, have expressed an interest and/or commitment to working with older adults.If you are currently in a GRACE placement, or have completed a GRACE placement, then you are considered a GRACE candidate.

How do I become a GRACE Scholar? In order to earn a GRACE Scholar designation, students must:

  • Successfully complete at least one internship at a GRACE placement and
  • Attend at least five scheduled GRACE educational events during the course of their graduate studies.

A GRACE Scholar designation identifies you to potential employers as a student who received additional training and preparation for working with older adults.

Are there scholarship opportunities? Fellowships will be awarded through a generous grant from the St. David’s Foundation. St. David’s Foundation GRACE Fellowships will be awarded through a competitive process to some first field and final field students who are placed at GRACE placements and fulfill additional educational criteria.

For more information, contact Sarah Swords, LCSW, Clinical Assistant Professor and GRACE Program Coordinator: