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Minor Population Studies

Academic year 2018-2019, semester 1b

Offered by: Department of Demography, Faculty of Spatial Sciences

Coordinator: dr. Billie de Haas

Introduction

Population issues are crucial to societies all over the world. Almost every day media report on population-related issues such as population aging, population decline and growth, migration, and their consequences for society in terms of the labor and housing market, pensions, health care provision, the integration of immigrants, and the well-being of individuals. Changes in household formation and dissolution (leaving the parental home, marriage, divorce) are important to individual well-being and the demand for housing. Worldwide, population growth and its sustainability are big issues; migration flows have a profound impact on societies and the multi-cultural identities of individuals; the HIV epidemic has severe consequences for the population structure in sub-Saharan Africa and survival strategies of families; increasing obesity has a severe impact on population health.

Aim of the program

The Minor Population Studies is an English-taught minor that aims to provide students with academic insight into this wide spectrum of population issues. The focus of the Minor is on recent demographic trends, the causes and consequences of these trends, and the context in which they take place. The main disciplinary background of the Minor Population Studies is social demography, but insights are also obtained from human geography & planning, sociology, economics, anthropology, public health, gerontology and epidemiology.

Upon completion, students know about recent demographic trends and processes, their socio-cultural background, the role of social and institutional change, and the consequences of the trends on the development of society, ranging from the Netherlands, Europe, to societies worldwide. They also know about important theoretical underpinnings (e.g. the first and second demographic transition, the life course perspective), and methodological issues.

For whom?

The minor is open to every third-year student and to international students interested in population issues, demography, and population geography. The minor is closely linked to a number of other disciplines, and is therefore of interest to students from Sociology; Epidemiology; Psychology; Planning; Human Geography; Public Health; Medical Sciences; Cultural Anthropology; International Relationships; and Gerontology.  

Students who would like to enter the Master programme in Population Studies at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences are encouraged to follow the Minor Population Studies.

Course programme

Minor Population Studies

Population and Development

5 ECTS

Semester 1b

Healthy Ageing: A socio-demographic perspective

5 ECTS

Semester 1b

Global Development Studies (recommended course*)

5 ECTS

Semester 1b

The courses of the Minor Population Studies are usually very well evaluated and students find it very interesting to gain insight into global and local population issues.

The course ‘Population and Development’ addresses recent demographic trends, their socio-cultural background and the consequences for societies worldwide. ‘Healthy Ageing: A socio-demographic perspective’ goes more in depth into the demographic processes of ageing and its relation to health, taking an interdisciplinary and societal perspective.

The minor is taught in English. The courses include guest lectures from experts working in the field of population studies, which enables students to develop career perspectives and to understand linkages between research, policy and practice.

Students interested in Population Studies may also choose to select some of the courses that are provided as part of the Minor Population Studies in combination with a related course, to construct a Personal Minor Population Studies (after consultation with the minor coordinator).

Description of the courses

Population and Development

Course coordinator: dr. Billie de Haas

While countries in Western-Europe are dealing with the implications of population ageing and decline for the wellbeing of its population, projections show that in the eastern part of the world India will pass China in becoming the world’s biggest population. Also, most countries have seen a reduction in fertility and mortality, as explained by the demographic transition model, but countries such as Uganda do not follow this typical pattern: they continue to have high fertility, which poses great challenges to the country’s resources and the wellbeing of its citizens. Different parts of the world are challenged by different population issues, which play a role in the countries development and their population wellbeing. In this course we will explore and discuss how population and development are interlinked and its implications for wellbeing. To do so, we will focus on three global contemporary population issues: sexual and reproductive health, migration and development, and nutrition and food security. We will discuss how international and national policies are at the core of such developments, and we will pay special attention to vulnerable and marginalised groups in societies as we apply a human rights and capability perspective.

Healthy Ageing: A socio-demographic perspective

Course coordinator: dr. T.C. Vogt

Healthy ageing is a topic with great societal relevance. This course introduces the concept of healthy ageing from a socio-demographic perspective. The (bio) - demographic perspective reveals causes and consequences of ageing and their relationship with health. The social perspective addresses determinants of health and wellbeing over the life course with a particular focus on older ages. Healthy ageing is addressed from the societal level, i.e. what does healthy ageing mean for a society, as well as from the individual level, how older people can maintain health, wellbeing and a self-determined life.
After the course, students have an understanding of the determinants and consequences of healthy ageing from a socio-demographic perspective. Students have knowledge of how healthy ageing relates to life course factors including socioeconomic status, health behaviors or social participation. They can reflect on 1.) how these issues relate to older adults’ health and wellbeing and 2.) how societies as a whole are challenged by population ageing.
Next to the lectures, students work in groups on a small research project in which they describe how healthy ageing differs between EU countries and explain possible causes and consequences. They will review the projects of other groups and present their report in class.

Global Development Studies (recommended course*)

Course coordinator: dr. G.J. de Vries

This course is about the main determinants of socio-economic development in developing countries. Students learn about the similarities and differences in the socio-economic development of various regions in the world such as China, India, South-East Asia, Latin-America, Eastern Europe and Africa. In the course, the role of trade, technology, health, education, structural change, and foreign aid on socio-economic development is explained. The usefulness of various empirical methods to measure socio-economic development and its determinant is discussed, and theories of socio-economic development are evaluated. Throughout the course, national and international policies to generate socio-economic development are discussed and evaluated.

*It is possible to replace this course with another course after permission of the coordinator of the minor.

Last modified:26 November 2018 2.25 p.m.