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Demography & Population Studies Degree Programs

Aug 15, 2018

Graduate programs in demography and population studies examine factors impacting human populations including economics, health, and migration. Available largely at the doctoral level, these programs emphasize quantitative social science research.

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Although master's level programs are available, graduate programs in demography and population studies usually result in a doctoral degree, often in a related field like economics or sociology with a specialization in demography. These plans of study involve examining demographic issues, including migration, population development, economic demography, public health, and statistical demography. Students pursuing a Ph.D. complete coursework, pass examinations, and compose a dissertation.

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Demography and Population Studies Program Information

With their focus on systematic analysis of issues affecting human populations, graduate programs in demography cover theoretical perspectives on sociological, economic, and lifestyle issues and provide a strong focus on quantitative methods of analysis. Ph.D. programs can take ten semesters to complete and include courses like those listed below.

Demography or Population Studies Foundations

Preliminary graduate courses in demography and population studies examine how populations are studied and trends that have affected human populations in the past and present. Students investigate social science perspectives on population changes and study texts that are foundational in the field. These classes may also cover how demographers and population scientists produce and interpret data.

Economic Demography

Graduate programs include courses on specific aspects of demographic study, including economics. These classes examine how changes in demographics affect economies and how economic factors influence human populations through trends in fertility and migration. They may also focus on how economics affect a particular aspect of human populations, like health.

Demographic Research Methods

Graduate methods courses examine how demographers and population scientists collect data on populations. These courses usually focus on methods that yield quantitative data, such as surveys. They may cover approaches to sampling as well as designing effective research instruments. Methods classes in this field adopt a social science perspective and draw from methodological approaches in disciplines like sociology.

Statistics

With their heavy focus on quantitative research methods, these graduate programs usually include multiple courses on statistics. Students learn to analyze demographic data using linear statistical models or regression models. Use of software packages to analyze data may be included along with methods of interpreting statistical output.

Policy Analysis

Students might be able to examine the relationship between policy and population in a special topics course. Some programs also offer a series of courses that examine policy as it relates to such areas as international migration, inequality and reproductive health. Students examine theoretical models and use empirical data to assess the impact of policy on such areas as social stratification, an elderly population's health status or pregnancy rates.

Program Admission Requirements

Applicants to graduate programs in demography and population sciences must hold at least a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. Competitive applicants will have some experience in relevant fields, including quantitative methods. Many entering students have completed undergraduate degrees in economics, public health, or sociology. Some graduate departments require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher. Applicants must also submit GRE scores and letters of recommendation, and some programs require additional materials like a statement of purpose.

Graduate programs in demography and population studies use social science approaches to study human populations through foundational courses in population science and classes examining particular demographic issues like economics and public health. These programs include a strong emphasis on quantitative research and admit applicants with relevant undergraduate backgrounds.

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