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Population Studies (Z036)   

Program Title and Classification

Population Studies

Graduate Certificate Program

College: Behavioral and Social Sciences


The Certificate Program in Population Studies provides interdisciplinary training in demographic methods, theory, and research for graduate students in departments affiliated with the Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC), culminating in a Certificate in Population Studies for graduate students who complete the required coursework. Historically, the Population Sciences were born out of the discipline of Demography, a field that boomed during the 1950s around fears of a world-wide population explosion and its consequences. Demography was taught largely within departments of Sociology. Today the field has changed a great deal and researchers worry about issues of low fertility and underpopulation as much as overpopulation. What demographers of the 1950s missed in their dire predictions were unprecedented behavioral changes of families to changing economic circumstances, changing social pressures, and changing ideas of what constituted a family. Today, the core of the population sciences is not forecasting population growth and its components (mortality, fertility and immigration) but instead understanding what economic, social, and ideational factors affect these components and how changing mortality, fertility, and immigration may affect other family choices. With the growing emphasis on choice and on the consequences of population change, and with the shift from being a field focusing on forecasting to one focusing on understanding causal relationships, training across several fields of study has become necessary.

Admissions Information

The Certificate Program is offered to students enrolled in a Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland College Park. Please contact your department for more information.

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant FallSpring
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
Please visit the department's websitePlease visit the department's website
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
Please visit the department's websitePlease visit the department's website

Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at

Degree Requirements

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate (P.B.C.)

Total CreditsCore Requirements

12 credits required

SOCY 611: Introduction to Demographic Methods (3 credits)

SOCY 630: Population and Society or ECON 772: Population Economics (3 credits)

Two Electives approved by advisor (6 credits)


The Certificate requires a minimum of four courses (12 credits) including two required core courses and two electives. At least one course taken for the Certificate must be from a department other than the student's home unit. (See the Certificate information page on the MPRC website for details.) Students must achieve a GPA of 3.0 or higher in these four courses. Previously earned credits may be retroactively applied toward the Certificate. Students may apply to participate in the Certificate Program at any time up until the semester before they intend to graduate. Applications may be accessed by following the link above.


Facilities and Special Resources

The Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC) is a multidisciplinary center dedicated to the support and advancement of population research. We provide a research environment conducive to interdisciplinary collaboration among our diverse Faculty Associates and to the development of young scholars through cross-disciplinary training and mentoring. Our proximity to Washington DC allows us to develop strong relationships with the U.S. federal statistical agencies and with policy communities. These ties provide our researchers access to under-utilized or restricted-use government data, allow them to partner with agencies on research and data improvement projects, and allow them to provide policy makers with non-partisan, scientific evidence on population-related issues. MPRC provides workspace, a fully-equipped computer lab, a laptop loaner program, SAS and Stata training courses, and administrative and financial support to associated graduate students.

Contact Statement

For more detailed information about the Graduate Certificate in Population Studies, please refer to the MPRC web site Certificate pages.



Dr. Joan Kahn, Professor, Department of Sociology

3137 Art-Sociology

College Park

MD, 20742

Telephone: 301-405-6412


Dr. Judith Hellerstein, Professor of Economics

3115J Tydings Hall

College Park

MD, 20742

Telephone: 301-405-3545


Associated Information


demography, population, fertility, family, social inequality, health disparities, aging, demographic analysis, population research methods, survey methodology, geographic modeling of diseases, marriage, parenting, intergenerational relationships, time use