SA481      Half Unit
Population Analysis: Methods and Models

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof. Michael Murphy


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available on the MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Global Population Health, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in Population and Development, MSc in Statistics, MSc in Statistics (Research), MSc in Statistics (Social Statistics) and MSc in Statistics (Social Statistics) (Research). This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.


Students should have basic numeracy, but the course does not require advanced mathematical knowledge.Some practical sessions will involve use of the spreadsheet EXCEL. IT Training provides numerous self-paced student supervised workshops on EXCEL and downloadable course guides. Students with no prior experience of EXCEL are advised to attend one of these workshops before the course.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to the key concepts and methods required for population analysis.The course will explain the dynamics of population change and enable students to learn basic methods for measuring population structure and the determinants of population size and change (fertility, mortality and migration). The course will also provide an introduction to population projections and describe and evaluate how demographic data are collected and used. Emphasis is placed on the understanding and interpretation of demographic data, as well as methods of population analysis.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to complete exercises, write one essay and complete one multiple choice questionnaires during the term.

Indicative reading

Demography: Measuring and Modeling Population Processes by S H Preston, P Heuveline and M Guillot, 2001. This will be used as a reference text in the course. Students may also find it helpful to consult some of the other standard texts available including: Essential Demographic Methods by Kenneth W. Wachter, 2014 (recommended); Demographic Methods by Andrew Hinde, 1998; Demographic Methods and Concepts by Donald Rowland, 2003 (less advanced); or Methods and Models in Demography by C Newell, 1988 (less advanced).



Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2013/14 - 2015/16 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 29.9
Merit 28.4
Pass 22.4
Fail 19.4

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2016/17: 11

Average class size 2016/17: 12

Controlled access 2016/17: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information