BASS Politics and Sociology / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Theory & Method in Demography

Course unit fact file
Unit code SOST30012
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? Yes


Set within the framework of the basic demographic equation (population change = births - deaths +/- net migration) the course unpacks the demographer's tool kit. We consider the derivation, use and interpretation of key measures used in the study of population structure and the components of population change (fertility, mortality and migration) concluding with a look at population projection. Throughout the course there is an emphasis on hands-on learning of demographic method with application using real data from UK and overseas. We consider how the study of demographic pattern and process relates to many of the great social policy challenges of the 21st Century.


The course aims to:

  • Introduce students to the way demographic pattern and process is central to our understanding of many important social and policy issues
  • Provide a basic grounding in the theory and principles underlying demographic processes and their measurement
  • Introduce students to the range of data used in demographic analysis
  • Equip students with the basic techniques of demographic analysis
  • Enable students to critically interpret demographic data and analysis

Learning outcomes

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

  • Demonstrate understanding of demographic pattern and process
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of data sources and methods used in demographic analysis
  • Demonstrate ability to apply method and data appropriately to answer demographic questions and problems
  • Interpret the output of demographic analysis appropriately

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and workshops.

Please note the information in scheduled activity hours are for guidance only and may change.

Assessment methods

2 hour on-campus exam - 70%

A report totalling 1,600 words (excluding outputs, graphs/tables + calculations) - 30%

Feedback methods

Non-assessed weekly workshop exercises provide an opportunity for formative feedback on understanding and progress. This is complemented by Blackboard quizzes with auto feedback. Coursework submissions are graded and accompanied by feedback in grademark.

Recommended reading

Rowland D T (2003) Demographic Concepts and Methods, (OUP) Newell, C.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 20
Practical classes & workshops 8
Independent study hours
Independent study 172

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Mark Brown Unit coordinator

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