Princeton University

Princeton University

Office of Population Research

The Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton University is a leading demographic research and training center. OPR has a distinguished history of contributions in formal demography and the study of fertility change. In recent years there has been increasing research activity in the areas of health and wellbeing, social demography, and migration and urbanization. It offers a Ph.D. in demography as well as doctoral training in demography through other departments such as Economics, Sociology, and Politics. The Office also trains visitors from developing and developed countries and Master’s students in public policy, typically through a one-year certificate program.

OPR faculty associates have broad interests that extend far beyond conventional topics in population analysis. For example, areas of current research among OPR faculty include poverty and child wellbeing, the biological and socioeconomic correlates of aging and health, population and the environment, reproductive health and technology, family structure, and migration and development. Teaching and research specializations are focused on both industrialized countries (primarily the U.S.) and developing nations.

Areas of Specialization: 
Families, Fertility, and Children
Population Health and Well-being
Social-Biological Interactions

Pathways into Program

Students at Princeton can apply to the Program in Population Studies or they can pursue a specialization in Demography as part of their doctoral studies in Economics, Sociology, or Politics. The Joint Degree Program in Social Policy (JDP) is a collaborative effort of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the departments of Economics, Politics, Psychology, Population Studies, and Sociology. There is also a one-year Certificate in Demography. There is one application for admission to the Graduate School of Princeton University, which provides several routes for students interested in population studies:

  • For those students who have a strong quantitative background and wish to earn the Ph.D. in Demography, application should be made directly to Population Studies (POP).
  • For those students with a strong social science background such as economic, politics, or sociology who wish to earn a degree in one of these fields, application should be made directly to that home department (ECO, POL, SOC). To indicate your interest in population studies, you would mark the appropriate code in the section Areas of Interest; your choices would be demography (DEM), economics and demography (EDM), or sociology and demography (SDM).
  • Students interested in the joint degree in "Demography and Social Policy" should apply as a prospective Joint Degree Program (JDP) student and should select "demography" and "social policy" under the "areas of interests" portion of the application.

Application can be made to only one department, but more than one area of interest may be indicated. An application that indicates population studies as either the primary field or an area of interest will be considered by the OPR admission committee.

It should also be noted that if, during the application process, the committee members determine that a student is better suited to another program or department affiliated with population, we will contact that student to seek permission to reroute the application.

Degree Types

Master's Programs
Ph.D.
Marta Tienda is Maurice P. During '22 Professor in Demographic Studies, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and from 1997-2002 served as director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. She is past president (2002) of the Population Association of America, and is a board member of TIAA, the Sloan Foundation, the RAND Corporation and the Jacobs Foundation of Switzerland. From 2000 to 2010, she led The Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project, a research investigation of college planning and enrollment behavior under a policy that guarantees high school seniors who graduate in the top 10 percent of their class admission to any Texas public college or university. In this interview, Tienda discusses major findings and policy implications from this study.
  • Office of Population Research (OPR) at Princeton University
  • 2015 Winner of the Charles F. Westoff Prize in Demography at Princeton

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