Introduction to Global Population Change

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tiziana Leone OLD2.56


This course is available on the BSc in Actuarial Science, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Environment and Development, BSc in Environmental Policy, BSc in Social Policy, BSc in Social Policy and Criminology, BSc in Social Policy and Economics, BSc in Social Policy and Sociology and BSc in Social Policy with Government. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


As a general introduction to Population Studies, it assumes no previous knowledge of the subject.

Course content

The course is concerned with inter-relationships between the population characteristics of a society (fertility, mortality and migration) and their economic and social context. Both the causes of population change and their consequences are examined. The approach of the course is comparative across time and space: it covers population issues across the developed and developing world, and examines trends over time in both regions. The course will address key global debates which include: is population growth sustainable; what is the relationship between population size and available resources; what are the social, biological and economic influences on population growth rates, especially the role of famine, disease and war. What role have family planning programmes in decreasing population size; is ageing a threat. A wide range of topics is covered, including the demographic and health transitions; HIV/AIDS; fertility decline; the changing characteristics of the family; global trends in population ageing and their social and economic consequences for the elderly; theories and trends in migration; urbanisation.


10 hours of lectures and 8 hours of classes in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to prepare at least one class presentation per term and submit two essays per term.

Indicative reading

Detailed reading lists are provided at the beginning of each term. Key overview texts include: M Livi-Bacci, A Concise History of World Population; H Jones, Population Geography; E A Wrigley, Population and History; W Lutz, The Future Population of the World.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 10.3
2:1 31
2:2 34.5
Third 20.7
Fail 3.4

Key facts

Department: Social Policy

Total students 2012/13: 15

Average class size 2012/13: 8

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information