DV456      Half Unit
Population, Health and Development: Evidence and Projections

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Tiziana Leone CON 8.11


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Social Research Methods. This course is available on the MSc in Development Management, MSc in Development Management (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Development Studies, MSc in Economic Policy for International Development, MSc in Gender, Development and Globalisation, MSc in Global Health Policy, MSc in Health and International Development, MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies, MSc in Political Economy of Late Development and MSc in Urbanisation and Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Places will be allocated with priority first to MSc Health and International Development students and then to students on International Development and joint-degree programmes. In cases where there are more applicants than spaces places will be allocated randomly in accordance with the priorities listed above. Spare places for non-ID/Joint Degree students will be allocated by random selection, with preference given to degrees that permit this option.


Some familiarity with personal computers is required, but a high degree of technical proficiency is not required. Familiarity with excel (basic functions) needed otherwise attend a course at LSE Life. For more details on whether the course might be suitable for you please visit Moodle.

Course content

The course is practical in nature and overviews key methods used for planning in population and development with an emphasis on the health sector. Key questions which will be answered in this course are: what is the future of the world population; what are the family planning needs of couples in low income countries; what will be the number of newly HIV infected in the next 15 years; what is the future of major diseases; what is the impact of key health interventions. The focus will be both on producing information as well as on searching and understanding data provided by key international agencies and on learning how to relate the information meaningfully to policy makers. Relevance will be given to methods used for assessing the implications of high levels of mortality in developing countries with specific reference to the HIV/AIDS pandemic; as well as the assessment of high fertility levels due to low uptakes of family planning methods. During the course students will learn to apply interventions based models through the use of Spectrum to understand the impact on outcomes and on governments’ health expenditure. The approach is practical and complements the more theoretical population courses giving additional skills such as an understanding of key international projections and estimates, planning for health workforce and for health supplies. Students will undertake a number of computer-based assignments (using either Excel or Spectrum) which will follow the topics highlighted during the lectures. The course covers concepts used for population analysis; the role of population projections in the population planning and development process; the basis of projections made by international agencies such as the UN Population Division; the formulation of projection assumptions and methods of making projections; methods for projecting and assessing the impact of HIV/AIDS and the use of software such as AIM (AIDS Impact Model) as well as planning maternal and child health interventions with the use of LiST. The course will also give an overview of projections for non-communicable diseases, Malaria and TB among others. Emphasis will be given to the learning of analytical skills which include data and information searching on the internet as well as presentation of the information. Former students have found the course useful to get a foundation of how UN agencies involved in data collection work, to gain analytical skills which are transferable as well as getting a grasp of how to translate data into policy.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the WT.

Student on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to submit a formative assessment of 5 pages before the end of term.

Indicative reading

Relevant documents will be provided at the start of the course, mainly in the form of electronic documents.

Suggested reading are Lutz “The future population of the world"; Cohen “How many people can the earth support”


Coursework (90%) in the ST.
Continuous assessment (10%) in the WT.

Assessment will be by two forms of assessments.

Continuous assessment worth 10%: will be based on course participation, a group presentation along with homework submitted on Moodle during WT. 

Coursework worth 90% - will be a 10 A4 page report. This will involve the formulation, execution and writing up of a project concerned with a model for population planning, to be agreed with the course teacher. This must be submitted by the second week of ST

Student performance results

(2019/20 - 2021/22 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 30
Merit 57
Pass 12
Fail 1

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2022/23: 46

Average class size 2022/23: 16

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Lecture capture used 2022/23: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills