Contemporary Population Issues

Faculteit Ruimtelijke Wetenschappen
Jaar 2021/22
Vakcode GEMPST23
Vaknaam Contemporary Population Issues
Niveau(s) master
Voertaal Engels
Periode semester II a
ECTS 5
Rooster rooster.rug.nl

Uitgebreide vaknaam Contemporary Population Issues
Leerdoelen After completing the course, students are able to
1. discuss global contemporary population issues in the light of important population conferences on population growth, climate change, and food security;
2. interpret population projections in relation to contemporary population issues;
3. critically reflect on the science-policy interface and its role in the development of population policies;
4. critically asses the relevance and implications of global contemporary population issues for a specific country;
5. debate contemporary population issues in plenary discussions;
6. create a policy brief to effectively and efficiently communicate research findings to policy makers and other stakeholders.
Omschrijving Overpopulation. Already by the end of the 18th century, Thomas Robert Malthus warned the world that population growth would outstrip resources. In the 1970s, The Club of Rome provided this same message again in its famous essay ‘The Limits to Growth’. Although technological innovations and improvements in education and health have challenged these doom scenarios, global population growth and related implications for development, such as climate change, resource availability and food security, remains highly debated. This global concern is also reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals. But is it really population growth we should be concerned with? Or is it more a matter of population structure, resource distribution, consumption levels or population wellbeing?

This course focuses on the issues of population growth, climate change, and food security. We will discuss various mechanisms underlying these contemporary population issues from a macro-level perspective. Students will become aware of the science-policy interface as they discuss the issues from the perspectives of various stakeholders and develop a policy brief for a particular country. At the end of the course, the students will represent their country in a United Nations simulation game addressing this contemporary population issue.

The aim of the course is to develop students’ understanding of global contemporary population issues, and how population policies are developed and implemented to address these issues. The course takes a project-based learning approach in which students make use of lectures, group work and expert lectures to write a country specific dossier and policy brief addressing particular population issues.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will have an understanding of contemporary population issues (population growth, climate change and food security) as well as how these issues could potentially be addressed in policies. They are also aware of forms of research communication that tend to be effective for knowledge exchange and evidence-based policy.
Uren per week 4
Onderwijsvorm Guest lectures, Independent study, Lectures, Seminars
Toetsvorm Active participation, Group assignments, Individual assignments, Oral presentation
(+UN simulation game)
Vaksoort master
Co├Ârdinator dr. S.A. Adaawen
Docent(en) dr. S.A. Adaawen ,dr. B. de Haas , Guest lecturers ,prof. dr. ir. H.H. Haisma ,prof. dr. L.J.G. van Wissen ,dr. T.C. Vogt
Verplichte literatuur
Titel Auteur ISBN Prijs
Articles, see Nestor.
Entreevoorwaarden Students should have relevant knowledge or taken courses in human geography, demography and related courses to be able to follow the course. Students without relevant previous knowledge should be prepared to put in some extra effort into studying the issues in the course.
Opmerkingen Maximum number of students is 30. Compulsory for students Master Population Studies.
Opgenomen in
Opleiding Jaar Periode Type
MSc Economic Geography  (Optional courses Economic Geography) 1 semester II a keuze
MSc Environmental and Infrastructure Planning  (Optional courses EIP) 1 semester II a keuze
MSc Population Studies  (Basic programme Population Studies) 1 semester II a verplicht
MSc Real Estate Studies  (Optional courses Real Estate Studies) 1 semester II a keuze
MSc Society, Sustainability and Planning  (Optional courses Society, Sustainability and Planning) 1 semester II a keuze
MSc Spatial Sciences (research)  (Optional thematic courses (GERMTTO) year 1 and 2 Spatial Sciences) - semester II a keuze