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Population Studies Profile in Sociology

One can never understand societal dynamics without appreciating demographic change; the forces of birth and death as well as migration profoundly influence our personal lives as well as the society around us. People find demography fascinating, because it deals with many personally relevant topics. The field of population studies illustrates how personal biography and history are interconnected. All major life events – including birth, schooling, marriage, occupational choices, childbearing, retirement, and death have demographic implications. They also shape future population size and structure. Understanding current population processes is a prerequisite for understanding future population development and policy challenges. Hence, we strongly believe that expertise in population studies offers good career prospects especially in the area of decision- and policy-making.

The population studies profile is intended for Bachelor graduates of sociology (and other related disciplines including economics, geography, public policy etc.) with interest in population issues, population change, its causes as well as consequences. It balances knowledge and skills in population theory and demographic methods (while our training emphasizes quantitative approaches, we appreciate the promise of qualitative methods as well). The population studies profile builds upon the Anglo-Saxon tradition of population research (or “social demography”) and it capitalizes on the conceptual and theoretical approaches of many social sciences, especially sociology.

The population studies profile consists of 4 courses, of which students have to take 3. The offer includes “Population studies”, in which basic themes of the field are introduced. “Sociology of the Family” deals with one of the core topics of population studies – the family, its formation (and dissolution), (dys)functioning and organization. It also covers issues of social inequality within and across families. “Social gerontology” focuses on population ageing, its sources and consequences for individuals as well as society; it also addresses issues related to ageing policies. Finally, we offer “Methods of advanced demographic analysis”, in which students improve their skills in obtaining, preparing, analyzing demographic data.

Students can decide to specialize in population studies during their first year. The profile is stated in the Diploma Supplement.