The University of Southampton
Social Sciences: Social Statistics & DemographyPart of Social SciencesPostgraduate study

MSc Demography

The MSc Demography provides vocational training for professional demographers and quantitative social policy analysts and promotes interdisciplinary study in the field of population science.

Graduates from this programme will be equipped to undertake quantitative analysis to support social policymaking locally, nationally and internationally in the health and social care professions, market research, local and national government departments, international organisations and the many other agencies that require a sound social statistical basis for decision-making.

Introducing your course

Intrigued by the key issues brought on by the constant changes in global populations? Then apply for a Masters in Demography at the University of Southampton to see the world in a different light by understanding population change and the methods of researching ageing societies. Through this masters degree, you can examine population and reproductive health as well as the population trends in both developed and developing countries.

The Masters in Demography degree can lead to a national or international career as a highly trained population scientist in the public, private or third sectors.


The programme involves a core of compulsory modules which cover contemporary demographic issues, demographic methods and approaches, as well as general social science research methods – both qualitative and quantitative.

It benefits from our strong quantitative tradition in Social Sciences, which provides training in rigorous statistical methods. There are also a number of option modules in methodological and demographic topics that can be taken in the second semester.

View the programme specification document for this course

To Apply

You should apply using the University's online application form. You can find more details on our Apply page.

Applications can be submitted at any time, although we would encourage applicants to apply before the end of May. If you are seeking financial support for your postgraduate studies, we recommend that you apply before the end of February so you have time to gather the necessary documentation for your funding body/sponsor.

MSc modules
If applying for one of our MSc programmes, please specify the option modules you intend to take, if known.

For all applications, two academic references are required. Unfortunately, we cannot consider applications until we have received both references.

Programme Structure

The programme is normally full-time and lasts for 12 months, with nine months of taught modules between October and June of the academic year, followed by three months of research and preparation of a masters dissertation.

It is possible to undertake this programme over 27 months of part-time study, providing suitable arrangements can be made.

Key Facts

As a leading centre of demography and poverty analysis, our research covers: demographic estimation and statistical modelling; the family, life course and ageing; historical demography; HIV/AIDS; reproductive and child health in the developing world; and research on poverty and living standards in both rich and poor countries.

We host the flagship ESRC programme in demography, the Centre for Population Change.

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Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

Selection process

We welcome applications from students who have, or expect to have, an upper second-class honours degree or higher in any of the social sciences or geography, or in other disciplines, such as mathematics or statistics, where previous training is of particular relevance to population analysis.

This page contains specific entry requirements for this course. Find out about equivalent entry requirements and qualifications for your country.


Typical course content

The year is divided into two semesters, each comprising 12 teaching weeks.

The programme consists of a number of modules and a dissertation to be completed over the summer months. Each module is worth 10 CATS points (except GERO6017 which is worth 20) and a total of 120 points are required to complete the taught component of the course.

Year 1

Supervised research for MSc Demography
After the taught modules you will undertake a supervised research project starting in June and submit a dissertation for the MSc in September (or December if studying part time). Providing satisfactory supervision arrangements can be made, you can work on a topic of your own choice.

Dissertations are of about 15,000 words in length. They should demonstrate your mastery of the topic area, but they are not expected to contain a substantial original contribution.

Dissertation examples

  • an investigation into population change through internal and international migration at the county level in England
  • reproductive health among adolescents in Malawi
  • risk factors of disease and mortality in developing countries
  • determinants of contraceptive approval among religious leaders in Pakistan
  • health inequality in Madagascar
  • wellbeing among children left behind by migrant parents in Tajikistan
  • maternal health policy change in Ghana
  • educational attainment trends in the UK

In the week before the first semester begins, you will attend a four-day introduction to:

  • the computing facilities at Southampton
  • core statistical packages SPSS and STATA

In addition to the core and compulsory modules listed, students should choose 30 CATS worth of optional modules from the list below. Modules on other MSc programmes (e.g. MSc Gerontology) may be taken as options after discussion with your academic tutor and the MSc programme coordinator.


Core [?]
A core module is a module which must be taken and passed.
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).
Credits are based on the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS).

Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if s/he takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information can be found in the programme handbook (or other appropriate guide or website).

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

View the full list of course fees

Commonwealth Shared Scholarships

We are seeking MSc Demography candidates for the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships scheme. The scholarships are for candidates from least developed and lower middle income Commonwealth countries, for full-time Master’s study on selected courses. The scholarship covers tuition fees, living allowance, and some other costs. Applications will be ranked based on academic qualifications and potential impact of the work on the development of the candidate’s home country. Please be in touch with the programme director Dr Heini Vaisanen as soon as possible, if you wish to apply.

Application process: Candidates should apply to BOTH the Commonwealth Scholarships Commission via Electronic Application System (EAS) and to the University of Southampton via Postgraduate applications.

Eligibility: Holders of a first degree of at least upper second class (2:1) in a field relevant to demography, who are citizens or refugees and permanently residing in one of the following countries: Bangladesh, Cameroon, Ghana, Guyana, India, Kenya, Kiribati, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Uganda, Vanuatu, or Zambia.

Opening date: 23 February 2018.

Closing date: 10 April 2018.

More information: See the Commonwealth Shared Scholarships website.

The Population Investigation Committee (PIC) Masters Studentship Scheme in Population Studies 2018

We are seeking MSc Demography candidates for the PIC Masters Studentship Scheme in Population Studies. The aim of the scheme is to aid the recruitment and initial development of talented students in demography by contributing to student fees and maintenance costs. Candidates will be expected to be planning a career in demographic research, or in an area where demographic skills are a necessity. The value of a scholarship in 2018 will be £15,000, to include tuition fees, which are capped at the maximum agreed RCUK level. Applications are not accepted from individual students – please be in touch with the programme director Dr Heini Vaisanen (, if you wish to apply.

Opening date: April 2018 (TBC)

Closing date: late June 2018 (TBC)

Eligibility: Scholarships will only be awarded to students who are normally UK resident or EU students with eligibility as defined by the ESRC (please see here for more information). Candidates must have qualifications of the standard of a good honours degree at first or upper second-class level from a UK academic institution (please see here for more information).

More information:

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

EquipmentApproved calculators: Candidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved model is Casio FX-570 This may be purchased from any source and no longer needs to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
BooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source. Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
EquipmentIT: Software licenses - All specific pieces of software required as part of your programme are available on the University’s public workstations. Statistical software can be downloaded via iSolutions for free:
EquipmentIT: Hardware - Public workstations loaded with all specific pieces of software that are required as part of your course are available in Building 58. Public workstations loaded with more generic software are available across the campus. You may, however, benefit from having your own PC or laptop and a USB stick.
Printing and copyingMuch of your coursework, such as essays and projects, is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy, including the MSc dissertation. Information about generic University printing, including printing costs, can be found here: Information about dissertation printing can be found here:

In some cases you'll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Learning & Assessment

Study locations

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