MPC Training Program in Population Studies Requirements

Traineeships last three years.

In Years 1 and 2 of the training program, Trainees will complete four courses:

  • Population Methods and Issues in the U.S. and the Global South (PA 5301)
    This course surveys population trends and issues and teaches basic demographic methods. Topics include fertility, mortality, and the demographic transition; population growth and the environment; infant mortality; sexuality and the control of fertility; US trends in family structure; and aging.

  • Advanced Demographic Methods: Sex, Death & Mobility: Population Modeling (SOC 8890)

    Populations are made up of people whose lives are changing all the time. This course covers population modeling techniques from the demographic tradition, organized around life transitions. These techniques excel at describing social and epidemiological changes occurring along multiple time scales simultaneously; identifying the inequalities lurking beneath population averages; relating multiple dimensions of population structure; and figuring out what population a research question is really about.

Two of the seminars listed below:

Economic Demography (PA 8331) 
This course will expose you to the major economic theories in demography, including those of migration, mortality, fertility, marriage, family formation, and others. We will also discuss recent empirical work on these same topics and explore the difficulties of causal inference in demography.

Global & U.S. Perspectives on Health and Mortality (PA 8461)
This course examines issues in health, mortality, and aging, focusing on differentials in health and mortality across time, space, and social groups.

Human Fertility and the Family (HIST 8970)
This course examines trends, differentials, and transitions in fertility and the family, focusing on the fertility transition in developed and developing countries and economic, social, and biological factors affecting reproduction.

Migration and Migrants in Demographic Perspective (SOC 8607)
This course provides a demographic point of entry into major theoretical, methodological, empirical, and substantive debates on international and internal migration (as a type of transition) and migrants (as a status or type of actor) drawing from such disciplines as economics, geography, public policy, sociology, and statistics.

The following seminar elective is eligible during Fall 2020 only:

The Politics and Policy of Demographic Change (PA 5490) 
The first part of the course focuses on the history and politics of the US Census. Students will have a clear understanding of some of the major uses of census data; understand how historical events and policy debates have shaped the census overtime; and understand the concerns relating to undercounting, privacy, and debate about the citizenship question. Next the course focuses on the impact of demographic change on politics and policy, specifically voting behavior and party competition. Specific demographic trends of interest include population ageing, immigration, changes in US racial composition, and distribution/internal migration. Finally in the third section, we focus on policies that impact demographic behavior (for instance gender equality policies) and policies that manipulate/distort the impact of census counts such as gerrymandering and felony disenfranchisement.

 Each of these courses will allow students to work with MPC data products and to write seminar papers that might become second year research papers.

By the end of year 2, all Trainees will defend a second year demographic research paper, written with close supervision from their faculty mentor(s). The paper should be of a form, style, and quality suitable for submission to a population research journal.

In addition, all Trainees will:

  • Meet frequently with their faculty mentor(s)
  • Regularly attend MPC research seminars and workshops and meet with visiting scholars when they come to MPC to give talks or hold project meetings
  • Work closely—for 20 hours per week, year round—on population research. This research will ordinarily involve some combination of data infrastructure work on MPC data projects and substantive research, and will be oriented toward training students to work with data, conduct analyses, and write and present papers.
  • Attend and participate in the PAA meetings
  • Pursue publication of their second year paper