Certificate Program in Demography

The Certificate Program in Demography is the first demographic training program in the New York metropolitan area. The CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR), established by the Board of Trustees of the City University of New York in November 2007, serves as a focal point for this program. Faculty from throughout CUNY, and who are affiliated with the Institute, teach the courses that comprise the Certificate Program.

CUNY doctoral students may enroll in the Certificate Program in Demography through their home doctoral program. Prospective doctoral students must apply for admission to one of the many doctoral degree programs in the traditional disciplines associated with demography, such as Sociology, Economics, Public Health, and Political Science. Once admitted, a student is then eligible to take demography certificate courses en route to the doctoral degree.

The Certificate Program, which began in Fall 2010, consists of core courses in demographic theory and methods and a range of electives. A limited number of fellowships will be available for demography students. On their applications, prospective students should describe their interests and background in demography and note their desire to be considered for a fellowship in demography. The fellowship consists of tuition, fees, and stipend, contingent on proper progress, for five years.

The Certificate Program in Demography provides students with the tools to understand deeply, and conduct rigorous analyses of, population structure and processes. Specifically, the courses comprising the certificate focus, for example, on understanding the causes and consequences of changes in population-related phenomena such as family formation, fertility and reproductive health, disease, aging and mortality, urbanization, racial and ethnic composition, and mobility, and how such changes shape social, economic, and political processes and outcomes at the local, national, and international level.

General information for prospective students in CUNY doctoral programs can be found here: [Prospective Students].

CUNY doctoral program application information can be found here: [Instructions for Applying].


Academic Information

Admission Requirements

The Certificate Program in Demography is open to any student who is newly admitted to a doctoral program at the Graduate Center and to students (in good standing) currently enrolled in doctoral programs at the Graduate Center.

Demography Certificate Program students are defined as those students matriculated for a doctoral degree in any of the participating doctoral programs, who have filed with the Coordinator an application for the certificate and who are engaged in fulfilling the requirements for the certificate.


The Demography Certificate Program consists of 15 credits: nine credits of core courses and six credits of elective courses. The program will offer several three-credit courses and many one-credit courses. The one-credit courses are intended to allow students to tailor the electives to their interests. A one-credit course, will meet once per week for two hours, over a period of five weeks. In any given year, up to nine credit hours worth of elective courses may be offered (depending on the number of core courses offered).

One-credit courses will be offered sequentially within a given semester to fill a standard three-credit time/place slot. For example, then, three one-credit courses offered in a given semester will be scheduled back-to-back in a single classroom.


Course Descriptions


Core Courses: 9 credits


DCP 701, Introduction to Demography (three credit hours). This course will review the demographic, social, and economic determinants of fertility, health, mortality and related demographic aspects, and the effects of population size, composition, and structure on social and economic conditions. Each week will focus on the predominant themes in these subareas of demography. Topics will include, among others: demographic transition; aging and mortality; fertility, family planning, and reproductive health; urbanization; migration; family demography to include marriage, living arrangements, and family structure; population and environment; consequences of population growth for economic development; and the demographic future.

DCP 702, Methods of Demographic Analysis (three credit hours). This course gives students an overview of some of the major demographic methods used in the study of population, and includes the standard procedures for the measurement of fertility, mortality, natural increase, migration, and nuptiality. Students will learn how to compute demographic rates, construct life tables, and implement population projections, and how to carry out standardization, decomposition of differences, the analysis of fertility and nuptiality patterns, analysis invoking model life tables and stable population theory, and analysis of nonstable populations. Anyone examining demographic data from various sources can find the sheer quantity of data daunting. Further, often we have strong reason to believe that data are of less than adequate quality and would be misled by taking them at face value. This course will allow the student to “make sense” of the data and infer accurately the trends and patterns in demographic phenomena that may not be obvious without the application of the methods learned in this class.

DCP 701 and DCP 702 are prerequisites for all advanced methods and elective courses. If a student does not possess the necessary prerequisites for a course, then she or he may enroll in the course with the permission of the Coordinator of the certificate program.

DCP 801, Advanced Methods of Demographic Analysis (three credit hours). In this course we study advanced methods of demographic analysis. They are widely used in research on mortality, fertility, nuptiality, migration, population composition, and other demographic processes, but many of them can also be applied to a broad range of topics in other areas of social sciences and biomedical sciences. Those methods include event history analysis (nonparametric, semi-parametric and parametric versions; continuous and discrete time versions; fixed and time-dependent covariate versions), life table techniques (single-decrement, multiple-decrement, and multi-state), decomposition analysis, age-period-cohort models, methods for analyzing multiple time trends (e.g., Lee-Carter model), Lexis map analysis, smoothing and non-parametric regression techniques, and mathematical models of population dynamics. Computer exercises are included. Prerequisites: (1) Introductory statistics including multiple linear regression; (2) DCP 70200 or permission of the instructor.

Elective Courses: 6 credits

Six credits worth of classes must be chosen from a range of courses, varying in the number of credits. Proposed electives for the certificate program include courses that relate to any of several major disciplines, such as sociology, economics, public health, and political science. Elective courses may include titles such as “Economic Demography,” “Public Health Demography,” “Demography of the Marital Life Course,” “Population and the Environment,” “Politics and Demography,” and “Spatial Demography.”

Some existing courses from allied disciplines may also fulfill elective credits towards the certificate, subject to the approval of the Coordinator of the Demography Certificate Program. Also subject to the approval of the Coordinator, students may substitute up to six credits of comparable courses taken at other institutions, if they have not been counted towards another degree.

All students enrolled in the certificate program will be encouraged to attend the Demography Seminar Series. Seminar attendance is mandatory for fellowship recipients.

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