Department of Demography

Demography M.A. and Ph.D. Programs

Master of Arts in Demography

The Master's program is intended to provide training for those interested exclusively in the MA in Demography and for those who will acquire the degree in addition to a doctoral degree in another subject. Applicants interested in earning a Ph.D. in Demography should apply directly to the Ph.D. program, whether or not they already hold a Master's degree.

Occasionally students holding or earning a Master's degree in another subject may wish to earn an MA in Demography as well. They may do so provided that there is no overlap between the courses used to satisfy the requirements for the two degrees. Individuals holding a Master's degree in Demography from another institution (even if under a different title, like Population Studies) cannot earn an MA in Demography at UC Berkeley.

Ph.D. in Demography

The doctoral program is intended to provide advanced training in demography, with particular attention to research and theoretical issues.

Academic Progress

Graduate programs in Demography consist of coursework, examinations and other requirements.

Master's Program

The Demography MA degree requires a minimum of 24 units under the semester system (of which 12 must be graduate units with course numbers 200 or greater). Since it follows Plan for Master's degrees at the Berkeley campus, it also requires a comprehensive final examination but no Master's thesis.

Coursework for the MA in Demography is as follows:

110 Introduction to Population Analysis
C126 Sex, Death, and Data
or 200 Social Demography: Population, Culture and Society
C175 Economic Demography
210 Demographic Methods
213 Practical Computer Applications for Demographic Analysis
(minimum 7)
Total 24 units

Required courses (i.e., 110, C126 or 200, C175, 210) must be taken on a letter-grade basis. At the end of the first year, all students must pass a comprehensive final examination on demographic methods and substance. MA candidates receive their degree upon successful completion of this examination and all necessary coursework. In principle, the Demography MA degree can be earned in one to one and a half years.

Ph.D. Program

Students in the doctoral program take the same curriculum in the first year as Master's students and sit for the same written examinations, which they must pass at a level commensurate with the requirements of the doctoral program. In addition, the Ph.D. program includes the following requirements:

Ancillary Master's degree.

Those working for a doctoral degree are expected to enter with, or obtain concurrently at Berkeley, a Master's degree in a different but related subject (e.g., Sociology, Economics, Anthropology, Statistics, Public Policy, Public Health, Biostatistics, Regional Planning, Geography). This ancillary Master’s degree must be earned before the dissertation stage. We recognize that some students may enter the doctoral program with a Master's degree in Demography, or with a one in a subject not clearly related to their demographic work. The applicability of such degrees to the doctoral program is determined on an individual basis.

Language Examination.

Each student is expected to demonstrate reasonable reading competence in at least one other than English language that is relevant to demographic studies.

Oral Qualifying Examination.

The oral qualifying examination for admission to doctoral candidacy should be taken during the second or third year (depending on the time needed for the completion of the student's ancillary Master's program).

Dissertation Prospectus.

The dissertation prospectus is developed in the context of a research seminar, Demography 295. Doctoral students are expected to enroll in 295 every semester until the prospectus is complete, which should occur within three years after matriculation.


Upon successful completion of the foreign language requirement, the oral qualifying exam, and the prospectus, students enter into the final phase of the program, doctoral candidacy. During this period, students are expected to take another research seminar, Demography 296, every semester until the completion of the dissertation. This phase should last two or three academic years.