BASS Criminology and Data Analytics

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Introduction to Population Development & Social Change

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOST20151
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


This course offers an introduction to demography, i.e., to the field of population studies and deals with the social, cultural, and economic factors that influence populations and demographic measures. Students learn to critically reflect on data and data sources and put population development into context.  

The course covers the basic population processes of fertility, mortality, and migration, and more specific ones such as population growth, the world population, consequences of population aging and family change. Important societal issues related to population development, population structure, and population policy are studied both from a historical and a contemporary perspective. The course covers different demographic theories and debates surrounding population development.  


  • Introduce to the basic questions, research topics, and concepts in demography  
  • Give an overview of the basic population processes of mortality, fertility, and migration  
  • Discuss in more detail some core population questions and demographic issues (i.e. population ageing, population growth, global inequality etc.)  
  • Give students the opportunity to research into demographic questions  
  • Develop critical thinking skills with focus on data reliability and measurements  

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will be able to:  

  • Describe and explain basic demographic terms  
  • Provide an overview of main issues of population developments  
  • Compare different demographic perspectives as they appear in the literature  
  • Provide an overview of global population developments in historical and contemporary perspectives and discuss main forces behind these developments  
  • Compare demographic data across countries and critically reflect on their appropriateness  
  • Identify and discuss causes and consequences of population issues (i.e. ageing etc.)  
  • Provide an overview of population policies and analyse different approaches to population issues that exist internationally  

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and seminars.  

Total study hours: 200 hours split between lectures, seminars, self-study and preparation for classes, coursework and examinations.  

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Group/team working
Oral communication
Problem solving
Written communication

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written assignment (inc essay) 70%
Oral assessment/presentation 30%

Feedback methods

Full written feedback is provided for both the group presentations and the essays.  

The School of Social Sciences (SoSS) is committed to providing timely and appropriate feedback to students on their academic progress and achievement, thereby enabling students to reflect on their progress and plan their academic and skills development effectively. Students are reminded that feedback is necessarily responsive: only when a  
student has done a certain amount of work and approaches us with it at the appropriate fora is it possible for us to feed back on the student's work. The main forms of feedback on this course are written feedback responses to assessed essays and exam answers. We also draw your attention to the variety of generic forms of feedback available to you on this as on all SoSS courses. These include: meeting the lecturer/tutor during their office hours; e-mailing questions to the lecturer/tutor; asking questions from the lecturer (before and after lecture); presenting a question on the discussion board on Blackboard; and obtaining feedback from your peers during tutorials.  

Recommended reading

Gould, W. T. S. Population and Development. Second edition. London: Routledge, 2015. 

Weeks, John. 2012. An Introduction to Population. Eleventh (or any other) edition.  

International Edition. Belmont CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.  

Livi-Bacci, Massimo. 2012. A Concise History of World Population. Fifth (or any other) edition. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.  

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 22
Seminars 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 170

Return to course details