Demography, PhD

Penn Demography trains independent researchers who are prepared to fill leading roles in social demography and population analysis at a variety of organizations and are well versed in the growth, structure, health and well-being of human populations. Graduates have a firm grasp of both the substance and methods of study in the core areas of demography and population sciences (mortality, fertility, migration, population aging, and demographic — economic interrelations) from both a domestic and international perspective.

The Graduate Group in Demography is responsible for training students through course work and supervised research. The Graduate Group in Demography is composed of faculty members with backgrounds in demography, sociology, economics, anthropology, nursing, and medicine.

View the University’s Academic Rules for PhD Programs.

Required Courses

A minimum of 20 course units are required. A minimum of 12 course units must be taken at the University of Pennsylvania.

Required Courses
DEMG/SOCI 6070Introduction to Demography1
DEMG/SOCI 6090Basic Demographic Methods1
DEMG/SOCI 5350Quantitative Methods I1
DEMG/SOCI 5351Quantitative Methods II1
DEMG/SOCI 6040Methodology of Social Research1
DEMG 7070Second Year Research Seminar I (Part I of a two-part course)1
DEMG 7071Second Year Research Seminar II (Part II of a two-part course)1
DEMG/SOCI 7960Demographic, Economic, and Social Interrelations1
Demography Electives
Select four independent study or other demography courses4
Select eight course units8
Total Course Units20

Program Milestones

  • Satisfactory completion of 20 course units
  • Satisfactory completion of a first year research paper 
  • Satisfactory completion of a second year research paper
  • Satisfactory completion of the MA Exam administered in May in the end of the student's first year in the program
  • Satisfactory completion of the PhD Examination administered in May in the end of the student's second year in the program
  • Successfully complete a dissertation on an approved topic. To remain in good standing students should establish a dissertation committee and defend their dissertation proposal before the beginning of their fourth year in the program.

The degree and major requirements displayed are intended as a guide for students entering in the Fall of 2023 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.