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 607/SOCI 60701
DEMG 609/SOCI 60901
DEMG 535/SOCI 53501
DEMG 536/SOCI 53511
DEMG 604/SOCI 60401
DEMG 707 (Part I of a two-part course)1
DEMG 708 (Part II of a two-part course)1
DEMG 796/SOCI 79601
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 2022 and later. Students should consult with their academic program regarding final certifications and requirements for graduation.