Ph.D. in Population Studies and Department Degree

Students interested in population studies may apply to do a joint degree with their home department as well as Population Studies.  Joint degree students have typically come from sociology, economics and politics. Students typically have a strong quantitative background, often in statistics, mathematics, or environmental sciences (though not limited to these fields). Students may apply for the joint degree at the time of application to Princeton, or during their second or third year of study in their home department.

Applicants are required to submit scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and for those students whose native language is not English and who have not had advanced training at an English-speaking institution, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is also required. 

To qualify for a joint degree, the student must fulfill all home departmental requirements, including passing the general examination in demography and writing a dissertation on a topic related to the study of population. In addition, the candidate for the joint degree must pass a general examination in one additional specialized field of population beyond what is required for the standard departmental degree. Permission to do the joint degree is obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies for the Program in Population Studies.

Degree requirements for a typical student pursuing a joint degree with sociology and population studies are summarized below. Other home department requirements may vary.  More detailed requirements can be found in the Graduate Student handbook.

  • Attain a passing grade in 12 to 14 courses in the first two to three years of enrollment.  This includes the core POP sequence (POP 501; POP 502;POP 503), and required sociology core courses.
  • Attend and actively participate in the year-long weekly Notestein Seminar Series.
  • Successfully complete a course or workshop in Responsible Conduct of Research (e.g.SOC 506/SOC 545)
  • Successfully write an empirical second year paper.
  • Pass the General Examinations. The first exam on demographic methods and content is normally taken in May of the first year. The other two are taken as a  field exam. These field exams are normally taken May of the second year or October of the third year.
  • Complete six assistant instructor (AI) hours, normally during second and third year.
  • Complete and defend an acceptable dissertation prospectus by the end of the third year.
  • Present your work at a Notestein Seminar.
  • Complete an acceptable dissertation and pass a final public oral examination.

Please consult the Graduate Student Handbook and your Home Department handbook for complete guidelines.  Below are yearly requirements at a glance for a typical sociology/population studies student:

Yearly Requirements at a Glance (SOC/PIPS)

First Year:

  • Take POP 501 – Survey of Population Problems
  • Take POP 502 -  Research Methods in Demography
  • Take Statistics Sequence (SOC 500; SOC 504)
  • Take Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory (SOC 501 and SOC 502)
  • Take Techniques and Methods of Social Science (SOC 503)
  • Take Proseminar (SOC 508, Fall)
  • Take Demography General Exam (May)
  • Attend Notestein seminars and sociology department colloquia

Second Year:

  • Take POP 503 – Evaluation of Demographic Research (Year 2 or 3)
  • Take SOC 506 – Research Ethics and Scientific Integrity (approved Responsible Conduct of Research course) (Year 2 or 3)
  • Take Empirical Seminar (SOC 505, Fall, Spring)
  • Take additional POP electives
  • Complete two general/field exams in population subfields (May)
  • Complete publishable Empirical Paper
  • Complete Precept AI hours
  • Attend Notestein seminars and sociology department colloquia

Third Year:

  • Take POP 503 – Evaluation of Demographic Research (Year 2 or 3)
  • Take POP 506 – Responsible Conduct of Research (or approved equivalent) (Year 2 or 3)
  • Take additional POP electives
  • Dissertation Prospectus with Oral Defense (End of Year 3)
  • Attend Notestein seminars

Fourth Year:

  • Work on dissertation research. 
  • Present a Notestein seminar (Year 4 or 5)
  • Attend Notestein seminars

Fifth Year:

  • Complete and defend dissertation.
  • Present a Notestein seminar (Year 4 or 5)
  • Attend Notestein seminars

Additional information for current students can be found on the Ph.D. program SharePoint site.