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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 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
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
Not being delivered
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 secretaryMs Cath Thompson
Tel: (0131 6)51 3892
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