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Population Studies


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

  • Testimonial van

    Webclass Population Studies

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

  • Opleidingsvideo

    Master Population Studies

    – Opleidingsvideo
  • Testimonial van Yohannes Dibaba Wado, Ethiopia

    Population Studies in Groningen is known for its research

    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.

    – Yohannes Dibaba Wado, Ethiopia
  • Testimonial van Jelmer Bouter

    I never thought of studying demography until I read an article in the newspaper

    I have a bachelor's degree in History from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. During the programme I realised that history isn't really for me. I decided to complete the bachelor anyway, but would not apply for a master's programme until I was absolutely certain what I wanted to do. I started working full-time and thought about what I wanted to study.

    In conversations with friends, demography was often mentioned, but I never thought of studying that until I read an article in the newspaper. I searched for demography master programmes on line and found the Master Population Studies at the University of Groningen. From the programme coordinator I learned that I had to do a pre-master to meet the admission requirements, which was also a good opportunity for me to decide if I really wanted to enroll in the master. I lived in Rotterdam at the time and traveled to Groningen for lectures.

    When friends and family would ask what I wanted to do after completing the master Population Studies, I jokingly said I would like to work at CBS Statistics and spend my days working with numbers and statistics. Now that I have (happily) attended guest lectures by people from NIDI, CBS Statistics and SERAC, I am looking for an internship opportunity at CBS Statistics. It all seems to fall into place now.

    – Jelmer Bouter
  • Testimonial van

    The future of elderly, housing and health care

    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:

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