Course Requirements

This page lists graduate courses in the population field, along with related quantitative courses and other courses taught by OPR faculty.

All OPR students, regardless of home department, are required to take POP 501/ECO 571/SOC 531, POP 502/ECO 572/SOC 532, POP 503, and WWS 599/POP 506 during their course of study.

Other course requirements vary among the affiliated departments or programs. OPR doctoral students typically take three courses per semester during their first two years, but course loads may vary among students

Population Courses

POP 501 / ECO 571 / SOC 531. Survey of Population Problems

Alicia Adsera

Survey of past and current trends in the growth of the population of the world and of selected regions. Analysis of the components of growth and their determinants. The social and economic consequences of population change

POP 502 / ECO 572 / SOC 532. Research Methods in Demography

Arun Hendi

Source materials used in the study of population; standard procedures for the measurement of fertility, mortality, natural increase, migration, and nuptiality; and uses of model life tables and stable population analysis and other techniques of estimation when faced with inaccurate or incomplete data are studied.

POP 503. Evaluation of Demographic Research

Noreen J. Goldman

Course is designed for doctoral students in their third year of a specialization in demography. One objective of the course is to examine critically how researchers tackle demographic research questions. A second related goal is to explore the construction of a dissertation and a research paper.

SOC 506 / POP 506. PhD Seminar: Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity (Half-Term)

Elizabeth M. Armstrong

Examines the ethical issues arising in the context of scientific research. Evaluates the role and responsibilities of professional researchers in dealing with plagiarism, fraud, conflict over authorial credit, and ownership of data. In addition, it undertakes a broader inquiry into conceptions of professional integrity, and the responsibilities that scientists have to their research subjects, to their students and apprentices, as well as to society at large.

SOC 511. Comparative Perspectives on Gender and Development

Patricia Fernández-Kelly

Major works in gender and development. How do masculinity and femininity relate to socio-economic change? How has gender evolved in selected geographical areas, including North America, Asia, Africa, and Latin America? What is the role of the state in defining gender? These are the questions underpinning this course. We investigate the prevalence of gender in various locations and historical periods. Subsequently, we review descriptive data and relevant theories, focusing on the centrality of gender as a vector of stratification. We also examine inequalities between men and women in the domestic and public spheres. Half-term course.

SPI 564 / POP 564. Poverty, Inequality and Health in the World

Anne C. Case

About well-being throughout the world, with focus on income and health. Explores what happened to poverty, inequality, and health, in the US, and internationally. Discusses conceptual foundations of national and global measures of inequality, poverty, and health; construction of measures, and extent to which they can be trusted; relationship between globalization, poverty, and health, historically and currently. Examines links between health and income, why poor people are less healthy and live less long than rich people.

WWS 537 / SOC 537. Social Organization of Cities

Douglas S. Massey

A review of the historical emergence and social evolution of cities and urban life. Course presents current theories regarding the ecological and social structure of urban areas, and how urban social organization affects the behavior and well-being of human beings who live and work in cities.

WWS 540 / SOC 575. Urbanization and Development

Alejandro Portes

Examines the origins, types, and characteristics of cities in less developed countries and the ways in which patterns of urbanization interact with policies to promote economic growth and social equity. Readings and class discussions address three areas: a) a history of urbanization in the Third World; b) an analysis of contemporary urban systems, demographic patterns, and the social structure of large Third World cities; c) a review of the literature on urban dwellers with emphasis on the poor and their political and social outlooks.

WWS 568 / POP 502. Economics of Health in Developing Countries

Jeffrey S. Hammer

Examines health care policy formulation focusing on developing countries. Theory and practical lessons on how policy is, or isn't, translated into programs. Global epidemiological threats to the infrastructure and financial stability of health care systems will be studied, in addition to: 1) how alternative health care finance and reform strategies facilitate or create barriers to achieving policy objectives; and 2) explores the role of governments, WHO, NGOs, and donor agencies in setting the agenda for health policy.

WWS 585A / MOL 586. Topics in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy - Biotechnology Policy

Lee M. Silver

Scientific overview, policy analysis of selected topics in biotechnology that are currently the focus of intense debate. Topics to be covered will include biotech patents, organic/non-organic food, genetically modified plants (GMOs), genetic engineering of animals, embryo stem cell/cloning research, synthetic biology, self-enhancement, genetic selection of human embryos (PGD), and human germline genetic enhancement. Topics will be examined from the perspectives of technical feasibility, economic utility, public perceptions and misperceptions, the viewpoints of supporters and detractors, and the political response in U.S. & other countries.

WWS 590C / SOC 571. Sociological Studies of Inequality(Half -Term)

Sara F. McLanahan

This segment of the JDP seminar covers theory and research on social stratification, the major subfield in sociology that focuses on inequality. Course begins by reviewing major theories, constructs, measures, and empirical work on inequality. Weeks two through six focus on institutions that are expected to produce (and reproduce) inequalities, including families, neighborhoods, schools, labor markets, and penal policy.

WWS 593B / POP 504B. Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights


Examines selected topics in reproductive health, with primary emphasis on contemporary domestic issues in the United States--such as unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infection--but within the context of the international agenda on reproductive rights established in the 1994 Cairo international Conference on Population and development.

WWS 593O / POP 504O. Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - Health and Aging

Noreen J. Goldman

An overview of the epidemiologic transition, reviewing historic and current health patterns, and examines the demographic forces that have led to rapid aging of populations worldwide. After consideration of how researchers measure health status in older populations, the course examines inequalities in health by gender, race and socioeconomic status. The final part of the course considers the potential impact of threats to future improvements in life expectancy and focuses on the social, health and economic consequences of societal aging, primarily in high-income countries.

WWS 594E. Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - International Migration and Public Policy

Douglas S. Massey

This course examines the theoretical models put forth to account for international migration, reviews the empirical evidence on hypotheses derived from these theories in different world regions, develops a synthetic framework for understanding immigration in the contemporary world, and uses this framework to analyze immigration policies in the United States and other migrant-receiving nations.

WWS 594G. Topics in Policy Analysis (Half-Term) - Sociological Perspectives on Inequality

Sara F. McLanahan

Course covers theory and research on social stratification, the major subfield in sociology that focuses on inequality. We begin by reviewing major theories, constructs, and empirical work on inequality. Weeks 2 -6 focus on institutions that mediate the transmission and reproduction of inequality, including families, schools, neighborhoods, labor markets, and the criminal justice system.