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Population Studies

Are you interested in population issues like ageing, integration of migrants and poverty? The MSc Population Studies trains you in theories, methods and skills needed to comprehend population dynamics.

Essential to understanding population dynamics is the study of demographic behaviour of people, in terms of their life events, e.g. birth, marriage, divorce, health, migration, and death. The master programme focuses on these demographic events, on how decision-making regarding these life events is influenced by the historical, economic, societal, cultural, and medical context, and on how these demographic events have an impact on population-level trends.

You will learn about:

  • Pressing population issues as population ageing, integration of migrants, health inequalities and poverty
  • Individual decision-making processes behind demographic events, such as family formation, residential choices and migration, and health care use
  • Collecting and interpreting demographic data
  • Methods and techniques to analyse demographic data: life table, population projections, advanced survey analysis, qualitative research methods
  • Population policies and intervention programmes

The field of Population Studies reflects on and deals with currently relevant demographic topics and related societal issues. The study is simultaneously concrete and broad.

The Master in Population Studies is also good option if you are a mid-career professional working at, for example, a statistical office or demographic department of a government agency looking to improve your skills.

Watch a webinar with prof. Clara Mulder about Migration and Family, and the Master Population Studies

If you are looking to do a two year programme, we offer double degree programmes with the University of Cologne in Germany (Demography and Social Inequality) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain (Social Demography). You can also combine the Master in Population Studies with our top rated two year Research Master in Spatial Sciences.

Facts & Figures
Degree
MSc in Population Studies
Course type
Master
Duration
12 months (60 ECTS)
Croho code
60658
Language of instruction
English
Start
February, September
Faculty
Spatial Sciences
Why study this programme in Groningen?

Our programme is unique in its combination of analytical and social demography, its combination of quantitative and qualitative research methods, its structured progress through the research process, and its international, multidisciplinary and strong scientific orientation - as officially being recognized. Interactive ways of teaching are being employed by very enthusiastic and dedicated teachers. Within the Netherlands, Groningen is the only university offering an MSC in Population Studies.

Programme
Periods
CoursesCourse Catalog >1234
Population, Health and Place (5 EC)
Working with Data in Population Research (5 EC)
Optional courses MSc Population Studies (10 EC)
Life Tables and Population Projections (5 EC)
Migration, Families & Households (5 EC)
Advanced Statistical Analysis (5 EC)
Contemporary Population Issues (5 EC)
Master's Thesis Population Studies (20 EC)

Curriculum

For more information about the courses in this programme, please visit http://www.rug.nl/frw/education/master-info-frw/courses-master-population-studies.

Study abroad

  • Study abroad is optional
Entry Requirements

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
knowledge minimum

Applicants with a Dutch or foreign certificate of higher education that indicates that they have knowledge, understanding and skills at the level of a university Bachelor's degree and who can demonstrate the following specific knowledge, understanding and skills will be admitted to the degree programme:

  • knowledge of the subject of Population Studies at the level of holders of a certificate from the Bachelor's degree programme in 'Human Geography & Urban and Regional Planning'
  • knowledge representing 10 ECTS in statistics courses or the student's statistical knowledge should be equivalent to that, shown by active knowledge of at least variance, association and correlation measures, chi-square tests, univariate and multivariate linear regression, the basics of matrix algebra and the basics of integration & differentiation.We assume that this includes some experience with EXCEL and with syntax writing within statistical software programmes, such as SPSS, STATA and R.
  • Applicants should have an interest in research.
language test

Applicants should be fluent in English and meet one of the following conditions:

  • English at VWO level
  • Comparable to IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic version) 6.5 (TOEFL: iBT 90), with minimum scores:
  • Listening 6.0 (TOEFL: 18)
  • Reading 6.0 (TOEFL: 18)
  • Writing 6.0 (TOEFL: 21)
  • Speaking 6.0 (TOEFL: 20)
  • Exemptions: Native English speakers or diploma holders from United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland.
previous education

Students should have a Bachelor's degree in a discipline related to population studies. The disciplines listed above have direct access. These disciplines also have direct access:

  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology
  • Global and Public Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Gerontology
  • Development Studies
  • International Relations
  • Statistics
  • Economics

The direct access is conditional on sufficient English command and the knowledge minimum.

For all disciplines mentioned above achieved at a university of applied science, you can do a pre-master of max 60 ECTS.

professional experience

Not required

reference letterNo further information
other admission requirements
  • The Admissions Board may require students that do not match the knowledge minimum, come from other disciplines or come from universities of applied sciences to follow additional courses before being allowed to enter the degree programme. This premaster of maximum 60 ECTS (2 demography courses, 2 methodology/writing courses, 2 statistics courses and for students from universities of applied sciences, a Bachelor's thesis) will be assessed individually. Contact: master coordinator Billie de Haas.
  • For the web class Population Studies please go to https://www.rug.nl/nestor and log in with username frw-Webclasspopstudies and password webpopst2014!

Transfer options

Study programmeOrganizationTransition
SociologyAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Human Geography and Urban and Regional PlanningAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Spatial Planning and DesignAll Research universitiesNo additional requirements
Liberal Arts and SciencesAll Research universities

No additional requirements

More information:

Direct access with Philosophy, Politics & Economics and Cognition and Behaviour. Conditional access with Health & Life Sciences. No access with other majors.

Admission requirements

Specific requirementsMore information
certified competences

Applicants should be fluent in English and meet one of the following conditions:

  • English at VWO level
  • Comparable to IELTS International English Language Testing System (Academic version) 6.5 (TOEFL: iBT 90), with minimum scores:
  • Listening 6.0 (TOEFL: 18)
  • Reading 6.0 (TOEFL: 18)
  • Writing 6.0 (TOEFL: 21)
  • Speaking 6.0 (TOEFL: 20)
  • Exemptions: Native English speakers or diploma holders from United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland.
knowledge minimum

Applicants should have an Academic Bachelor degree with some background knowledge in Population Studies, incl. at least 10 ECTS in statistics or equivalent statistical knowledge. We assume that this represents active knowledge of at least variance, association and correlation measures, chi-square tests, bivariate and multivariate linear regression, the basics of matrix algebra and the basics of integration & differentiation, as well as some experience with EXCEL and with syntax writing within statistical software programmes, such as SPSS, STATA and R. Applicants should have an interest in research.

previous education

Students should have a Bachelor's degree in a discipline related to population studies. These disciplines have direct access:

  • Human Geography and Urban and Regional Planning
  • Spatial Planning and Design
  • Sociology
  • Social Psychology
  • Epidemiology
  • Global and Public Health
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Gerontology
  • International Relations
  • Development Studies
  • Statistics
  • Economics

The direct access is conditional on sufficient English command and the knowledge minimum.

For all disciplines mentioned above achieved at a university of applied science, you can do a pre-master of max 60 ECTS.

professional experience

Not required

other admission requirements
  • The Admissions Board may require students that do not match the knowledge minimum, come from other disciplines, or come from universities of applied sciences to follow additional courses before being allowed to enter the degree programme. This premaster of maximum 60 ECTS (2 demography courses, 2 methodology/writing courses, 2 statistics courses) will be assessed individually.
  • For the web class Population Studies please go to www.rug.nl/nestor and log in with username frw-Webclasspopstudies and password webpopst2014!

Language requirements

ExamMinimum score
IELTS overall band6.5
TOEFL internet based90

Application deadlines

Type of studentDeadlineStart course
Dutch students15 August 201901 September 2019
15 January 202001 February 2020
15 August 202001 September 2020
EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
non-EU/EEA students01 May 201901 September 2019
01 May 202001 September 2020
Tuition Fees
NationalityYearFeeProgramme form
EU/EEA2018-2019€ 2060full-time
non-EU/EEA2018-2019€ 14350full-time
EU/EEA2019-2020€ 2083full-time
non-EU/EEA2019-2020€ 14600full-time
After your studies

Job prospects

The Master Population Studies trains you to become a versatile demographer. As a demographer you are competent in describing and analyzing both the population dynamics of different countries or regions and the demographic behaviour of individuals or population groups. Also you are an expert in predicting the likely demographic developments for the future.

Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the master programme, you are capable of reflecting on how the context in which we live affects individual demographic behaviour and leads to different population dynamics, which again has societal consequences. Individual demographic behaviour and population dynamics are crucial to understand because of their effects on the economy, the environment, social networks, social cohesion, health and healthcare, pension reforms and social security, family life and wellbeing. Governments, for example, use demographic knowledge in their policy-making, for planning purposes (schools, housing, health care) or in the localisation of potential problems. Also, for development cooperation, demographic information is crucial. Demographers have a good understanding of contemporary societal problems and issues that affect people in their daily life.

During the programme we offer support for your career preparation. 

More information about  the Careers Company 

More information about  the UG Career Services

See where our alumni end up in this  graphic !

Research

Research

The Master's thesis topic is integrated in the research theme of the Population Research Centre: “Population and Wellbeing in Context”. This comprises topics such as population decline, population ageing, global migration, life of migrants, healthy ageing in society, families, households, residence, causes of death, child health, nutrition, access to health care, place making of elderly.

The master programme clearly reflects the major characteristics of the research programme by focussing on both the macro (population) and micro level (the demographic behaviour of people); by adopting multi-disciplinary perspectives (demography, epidemiology, anthropology, geography, social ageing, nutrition); by teaching both quantitative and qualitative research methods; by focusing on the translation of research into policies or interventions.

The students are being taught the theories, methods and skills that the different teachers apply in their research. They participate in seminars and discussion groups in an active research environment including guest lectures and seminars by established professionals from other demographic institutions.

Part of the Master Programme is the participation in the Dutch Demography Day - a conference for demographers.

Featured researchers

Apply nowDownload brochureOpen days and eventsContact
Master's dayBroerstraat 5More information

Contact

If you want to know more about the programme Population Studies, please contact:

  • 
								Testimonial of Yohannes Dibaba Wado, Ethiopia

    Population Studies in Groningen is known for its research

    – Yohannes Dibaba Wado, Ethiopia
    Read more

    I decided to come to Groningen, because the Master's programme in Population Studies offered in Groningen is of good quality, and is known for its research and practice oriented education. Such education is not available in developing countries like my own.

    The topics studied here are very relevant to the real world problems. Although we need to work hard in the one-year Master 's programme, I have not faced problems so far. I enjoyed the intensive guidance from the teachers and enjoyed being in the company of my fellow students, both Dutch students and students from other countries all over the world. Because we are a relatively small group, we can have lively discussions and close contacts. With the knowledge and skills obtained in the Master's programme, I would like to work as a researcher in Population/Reproductive Health issues in Ethiopia. For the moment, I am looking for possibilities to extend my training in Groningen through a PhD position.

    Close
  • 
								Testimonial of

    Webclass Population Studies

    Read more

    To get an impression of the Master Population Studies and the population issues covered visit our Webclass Population Studies. Please go to www.rug.nl/nestor and log in with username frw-Webclasspopstudies and password webpopst2014!

    Close
  • Watch this videoClose
  • 
								Testimonial of

    The future of elderly, housing and health care

    Read more

    During my study Environmental & Infrastructure Planning (EIP), I minored in demography. It turned out to be very interesting since numbers have always been 'my thing'. After graduating with a Master's in EIP, it was a good choice to enrol in the Master's in Population Studies programme, which equipped me with a relatively uncommon combination of skills and knowledge. It turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life.

    My course mates were very committed and the atmosphere was very good: excellent conditions for obtaining knowledge of quantitative and qualitative methods, getting good grades and having fun at the same time. At the beginning of my Master’s, I mentioned to Professor Inge Hutter that I was interested in an internship combined with my Master’s thesis. Thanks to her effort, I could start at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. After completing 5 months of internship, I carried on working there for almost 2.5 years, doing research on perception of infrastructure vicinities, urbanization and the Millennium Development Goals. And … I met my fiancée there.

    I found another opportunity in the Jan van Es Institute, a knowledge institute for integrated primary care. Although I knew almost nothing about primary care, I got the job: mainly because I had experience with population forecasts. Thank you Population Studies! My work entailed performing analyses of different types of research, but mainly on population and demand for (primary) health care. Several health care centres now have a platform which makes available maps and data on current and future expected demand for care (based on population and indicators) and actual demand for care (based on their patients’ data). The platform provides health care centres access to information concerning the distribution of patients, target groups, and so on.

    After three years at the Jan van Es Institute, I began working for AimTrack (September 2014), together with the owner of the platform and the owner of a health and care innovation database. The scope of the platform has been extended from primary care to an integral perspective which covers costs, health, primary care, secondary care and medication. We have also created a model for elderly, housing and long-term care since the Netherlands has to deal with e.g. ageing and rising health care costs. In the model population forecasts are combined with the current income distribution of elderly (extrapolated by using the cohort method) with indicators (by age and income) of long-term care use at home and in institutions (nursing homes). In the model we take policy into account: housing and care have been separated which implies that patients that got care in a care home will have to pay for their (new) residence themselves. Only the patients in nursing homes can ‘stay where they are’. Next to the demand for care, we also try to get a full overview of the supply of institutions, especially regarding construction year and number of places available. The current state of many institutions will not be sufficient to meet the needs and standards of future elderly with middle or high incomes: new or converted real estate will have to be developed in the next decades. The model provides us with strategic data and information regarding demand and supply of elderly, their income distribution, long-term care in the current and future situation. We collect the data and information into reports for every postal code area, municipality and province in the Netherlands. The strategic information is interesting for e.g. care organizations, insurance companies, municipalities and real estate companies.

    The Master of Population Studies degree has equipped me with a large backpack of methodological and theoretical knowledge which I use in my daily work and which also combines policy interventions and daily life practices. Furthermore, by doing an internship I got ‘easily’ enrolled into a working career. I highly recommend students to do an internship (combined with the Master’s thesis) to get to know more about how it is to work, to expand their network and to increase the chance of getting a job soon. If I had not done the Master’s in Population Studies programme, I would not have had the kind of opportunities (personal and career) I have now.

    If you would like to have more information, please do not hesitate to contact me: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/aukevlonk

    Close

Study associations

Ibn Battuta

Faculty Association of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences from the University of Groningen
https://www.ibnbattuta.nl/
Read more
Study support

For any questions about your study planning, choice of study and personal circumstances that influence your study, you can contact the study advisor's of the Faculty of Spatial Sciences. For more information, see https://www.rug.nl/frw/education/more-education/studiebegeleiding.