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fortesdelena

Best Universities in Demography

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Hello there,

Since Demography doesn't have it's own topic I've taken the liberty to create one in the sociology topic. I hope you don't mind helping me out.

I'm interested in applying to universities in the U.S this year that have good demography departments. Can anybody help me? I've heard Berkeley has a really great demography program, but I don't know any other university.

Thank you,

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Hi fortesdelena:

First, here are the USNWR rankings:

1. UWisconsin - Madison

2. UC Berkley

3. UMichicgan - Ann Arbor

4. Penn State

4. UCLA

4. UT - Austin

7. UNC - Chapel Hill

8. UC - Santa Barbara

8. UMaryland - College Park

8. UPenn

8. UWashington

Some other programs I'd give an honorable mention to not in the top 10 are Princeton, Brown and Ohio State.

What do you want from a demography program? If you want an additional or separate demography degree, only a few programs offer that (one of which is Berkley). Some programs are structed so that you get a joint degrees, one in something else and one in Demography (Penn State, Princeton, UPenn, Florida State).

Another thing to look for is a pop center. Here is a list of pop centers, some located at schools and others at places like the Pop Council (http://www.popcenters.org/member-list). Pop centers is a sign that the university has seriously invested in their demography training program and have money to fund it.

Hope that helps!

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I'll do my best to give you the 411 on demography:

Schools offering a PhD in demography are UPenn, Berkeley, and Princeton. They are all great programs, and their alum (from all 3 schools) have gone on to become some of the best demographers in the world. In fact, the Max-Plank Institute for Demographic Research (in Germany) and Vienna Institute of Demography are run by grads of Berkeley and Penn (respectively). At all of these schools, you can apply for a joint PhD in demography and another related discipline, usually sociology or economics. Also, if you are interested in public health/fertility, look at Johns Hopkis--PhD in reproductive health.

UTexas at San Antonio has started a PhD in applied demography, but I am not too familiar with its reputation and/or quality.

If social demography is your calling, you can receive great training in many universities' sociology phd programs. Wisconsin, Michigan, UNC, Duke, U-Texas, Penn State, UCLA, UMD, FSU, Brown, (I am sure I am missing some), and of course, Penn, Berkeley and Princeton.

Finally, the number of applicants for the PhD programs at Penn, Berkeley, and Princeton is FAR lower than the applicants for their sociology programs. It may seem like a great idea to apply to demography and then enter in sociology at a later time. If demography is your focus, consider this possibility, but also keep in mind that the applicants for demography are usually extremely qualified with both experience and/or master degrees. For sociology, there are a fair amount of undergrads applying directly for the PhD, likely making the applicant pool somewhat less competitive.

Any questions?

How I know this info: I am an aspiring demographer and will be starting a PhD program next year in demography

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I'll be attending one of the universities mentioned on this list for demography in fall!

My advice: Look carefully at which specialties are combined with the demography degree. One of the reasons why I chose my grad school is that the my area of specialty in sociology is one of the best in the country. This combined with the fact that the demography degree is so well-respected played a vital role in my decision. Similarly, the school I chose preferably had a well-respected population center.

Just in response to Demographer's comment about it being less competitive, it's not. It's still HIGHLY competitive. Wait until you apply; you'll see.

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Hi!

I'm interested in applying to a PhD program in demography at some of the top schools. I'd love to have a conversation with someone about it. Basically I just had an epiphane about demography and would really love to discuss with someone who is knowledgeable about the program and schools.

I have a very strong undergraduate academic background (in economics and european studies) and a good job where I've been working for 2 years. I believe my work experience is relevant and it looks great on the resume, but it's not directly in demography or sociology (I am a research assistant in human capital/economics/labor market research, as well as survey design and analysis in SPSS at a well-known non-profit business and economics research firm in Manhattan. I've published some reports and have built a "global labor market's database" in excel). Also I don't have a Master's. I have no idea what backgrounds programs are looking for, besides the general: good academic, work, possible master's, etc. Also, I'd really like to speak to a student or prospective student about why they chose their respective schools, and also the demography PhD in general.

Would anyone be willing to have a quick phone chat?

Thanks very much!

Yolanda L

New York (working remotely from Rome)

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Hi, Yolanda.

I'm not doing a degree in demography, though I minored in it as an undergrad and considered pursuing it further for about a minute. I just went through the application process last year for soc programs, though, and I can tell you that all programs seem to be looking for people from all different backgrounds. There were plenty of people I met looking at schools who were coming straight out of undergrad (usually with lots of research experience, but not exclusively), most with a Sociology degree, some with a more minimal background in SOC, a few with no SOC background whatsoever; many had master's degrees, many did not; people came from all sorts of professional backgrounds, including non-profit work, research, law, medicine, political activism, work at research centers, TFA, business consulting, and I think one person had been working as a speech writer for Obama. Talking to professors and current grad students, there seemed to be an increasingly high proportion of straight from undergrad types in the last few years' admitted cohorts, but the general consensus was that more people were probably applying straight out of college since there aren't that many jobs out there rather than any shifting preference on the school's end. All the things you listed sound like really great experience that I'm sure will help you when applying (and, you know, when actually pursuing the degree) so I wouldn't worry about not having a master's etc.

The other thing I wanted to say is that I highly recommend contacting students in programs you're looking at directly. You're kind of sending out a message in a bottle here and you don't know that it's likely anyone with relevant info will find it. Most schools list contact information for graduate students on their website, and if they don't you could email a prof or administrative personnel saying you're a prospective student and would like to be put in touch with current students in the program. It happens all the time, so it's no big deal for anyone on the other end. I did this for every school I applied to, and it was extremely helpful both in helping me figure out which schools I really wanted to go to and in helping me figure out how to tailor my application to schools. This was probably actually the best resource for me when applying.

Good luck!

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Its something I've also considered but since there are no demography degrees being offered at the community college level its seems like a risky move to get a degree in something with very little job prospects.

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From what I understand, demographers have excellent job prospects. If what you want to do is teach at the community college level, then well, yeah, don't look into it. But there are a ton of jobs for demographers outside of academia, so I don't think anyone should rule out pursuing an interest in demography for fear of unemployment per se....

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Hello to all:

 

The University of Texas at San Antonio has a three year PhD Program in Applied Demography. We are a 40 persons program and have two specializations: 1)Public Policy and 2)Health Policy. Out faculty comes from Penn State, Princeton, UT-Austin, among others. The department is doing cutting edge research in areas such as Migration, Health Disparities, Public Policy Evaluation, Education and Energy Consumption.

 

For more information our website is: http://copp.utsa.edu/demography/home/

 

Cordially,

 

A. Santos

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I know this is an old thread, but I wonder if anyone has thoughts about schools with standalone certificates in demography, but not actual demography programs. I can't tell where grads with a certificate like that would land afterward -- would it be limited by their "home" department? Could someone use such a certificate to sort of switch fields?

What I have in mind is that I met a woman studying epidemiology who is in a demography certificate program, and who was talking about applying to teach in sociology departments that were very strong in demography (such as Penn State). It seemed to me that without coursework in other areas of sociology she would have a really hard time getting a job at a good research university's sociology department (even if her focus was on teaching demography and methods). But I wonder if these institutional boundaries are eroding...

Edited by Pennywise

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