Department of Demography

Continuing a tradition begun in 1965, the Department of Demography offers training for advanced degrees in demography. The program is one of the very few in the United States granting graduate degrees in demography, rather than treating the subject as a field of specialization within another discipline, typically sociology. This training strategy permits greater concentration and depth in demography, as well as program flexibility and breadth in related subjects, helping students to attain both competence in the quantitative aspects of demography and breadth in social science theory and substance. A special characteristic of the program is its emphasis on individual interest, allowing students to pursue their own intellectual concerns while preserving the highest standards through rigorous theoretical and methodological training.

Training and research explore anthropological, economic, historical, mathematical, statistical, and social aspects of demography. Computer applications, including exploratory statistical analysis and microsimulation techniques, are strongly emphasized. The Department has advanced computing facilities consisting of state-of-the-art UNIX workstations and servers, networked PCs, and access to IBM mainframe services. The Department has its own non-circulating library, the Allan Sharlin Memorial Library, hosting a wide collection of books and periodicals in the field of demography.

Areas of Specialization


Methodologies and Data

Pathways into Program

The academic program in demography begins with regularly scheduled courses and seminars. They are augmented by individually designed reading courses, departmental colloquia and lecture series, personal advising and supervision by the graduate adviser and faculty members, as well as informal study groups with peers. Research assistantships, financed through faculty research grants, complement academic courses in developing professional skills. Teaching assistantships help to develop teaching abilities and credentials.

The Department of Demography offers MA and Ph.D. degrees in Demography and also provides training with no degree goal for postdoctoral students and professionals. Although there is no undergraduate major in Demography, there is a minor in the subject. Undergraduate students may elect to study demography while undertaking an individual major in any field at UC Berkeley.

Demography M.A. and Ph.D. Programs
The Master’s program is intended to provide training for those interested exclusively in the MA in Demography and for those who will acquire the degree in addition to a doctoral degree in another subject. Applicants interested in earning a Ph.D. in Demography should apply directly to the Ph.D. program, whether or not they already hold a Master’s degree.
Occasionally students holding or earning a Master’s degree in another subject may wish to earn an MA in Demography as well. They may do so provided that there is no overlap between the courses used to satisfy the requirements for the two degrees. Individuals holding a Master’s degree in Demography from another institution (even if under a different title, like Population Studies) cannot earn an MA in Demography at UC Berkeley.

Ph.D. in Demography
The doctoral program is intended to provide advanced training in demography, with particular attention to research and theoretical issues.

For more information on the specific course outlines of each degree, click here.