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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: Applied Demography (PGSP11485)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will include hands on opportunities to conduct applied demographic analysis using Excel and POPGROUP (the Excel-based industry standard software for demographic projections within the UK). Students will apply demographic methods using real data from UK and overseas. We consider how the study of demographic pattern and process relates to many of the great social policy challenges of the 21st Century (population ageing, overpopulation, migration, population growth/decline, spatial and social unevenness in demographic processes).
Course description Set within the framework of the basic demographic equation (population change = births deaths +/- net migration) the course unpacks the demographers tool kit. We consider the derivation, use and interpretation of key measures used in the study of population structure and the components of population change (fertility, mortality and migration) concluding with a look at issues involved in developing population projection at national and neighbourhood levels. We consider how the study of demographic pattern and process relates to many of the great social policy challenges of the 21st Century
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  15
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 11, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 175 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Presentation of demographic project (20% of the final mark)«br /»
Each student will present his/her findings from a piece of demographic analysis that contributes to a social or planning issue. Possible questions will be provided or students can select their own question. Similarly, students will be provided with a large scale quantitative data set or will be free to select their own dataset. Students will be graded on content, style and presentation skills.«br /»
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Demographic project report (80% of the final mark)«br /»
This report will require students to identify a demographic issue (national or local), download data and perform and report on a piece of demographic analysis. The word length is 4000 words including any footnotes and endnotes, but excluding references, tables, figures and appendices. The report could be related to the MSc dissertation, PhD thesis, or something entirely separate. It must not duplicate in any way work that is submitted for credits in any other course, or that has been developed already for any other purpose (e.g. publications), although it may develop and extend work that has been started elsewhere, as long as the earlier work is made clear and cited in the references. «br /»
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This course is also offered at undergraduate level, however, the assignment in this level 11 course is considerably more sophisticated. The undergraduate version of the course has a final exam which involves interpretation of demographic analyses. The postgraduate version requires students to perform a piece of demographic analysis using the techniques developed on the course, this may be linked to their MSc dissertation, PhD thesis, or something entirely separate. Informal one-to one meetings with students (or feedback on project plans) will provide additional support to undertake this level 11 assignment. The assignment requires a higher level of critical engagement throughout. Students must demonstrate more than an ability to apply and interpret such models. They must also place their analysis in a broader research context by linking together theory, empirical finding in the literature, data preparation choices and interpretation of the analysis performed. «br /»
Feedback Written and verbal feedback will be offered on the practical exercises completed during the course with model answers on Learn.
Written feedback will be given on the project report and on the presentations
Feedback will given in class on understandings of concepts covered using online polling software
One to one meetings will be used to provide feedback as students develop plans for their final assignments
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically understand how demographic patterns and processes influence our understanding of changing populations and of related social issues
  2. Cast demographic questions in analytic terms through a deep knowledge and understanding of the key theory and principles underlying demographic analysis
  3. Critically calculate and interpret a range of measures for demographic analysis
  4. Exercise substantial autonomy to access, evaluate and use appropriate demographic data sources
  5. Creatively identify a demographic issue and critically evaluate the issue using applied demographic analysis.
Reading List
Specific readings will be given each week but the following can be considered core texts.
Hinde, A. (1998) Demographic Methods. Arnold, London [Fairly mathematical approach]
Holdsworth, C., Finney, N., Marshall, A. and Norman, P. (2013) Population and Society Sage [This undergraduate text does not focus on methods but gives a useful introduction to population topics and theories]
Newell, C. (1994) Methods and Models in Demography Wiley [Good for those new to the subject]
Weeks, J.R. (1999) Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues Wadsworth, Belmont [A very readable text]
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Demographic analysis is increasingly used in a range of sectors (public and private). For example, projections of populations and households (and other characteristics such as disability) are regularly used to inform planning functions. To produce a set of demographic projections one needs a sound understanding of the measurement of fertility, mortality and migration and the limitations of data/measures that capture these processes. Students will leave the course with capacity to use demographic data to contribute to an evidence base that informs policy that respond to particular demographic trends (national and local) and associated issues.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Alan Marshall
Tel: (0131 6)51 1462
Course secretaryMr Jack Smith
Tel: (0131 6)51 1485
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