EDSD 2018/2019



The EDSD is an eleven-month program that is offered every year aiming to provide students in the first year of their doctoral studies with an appropriate high-level education in demography. Students will acquire a solid knowledge base on causes and consequences of demographic change, population data, statistical and mathematical demography, as well as modeling, simulation and forecasting. The School’s courses are structured in such a way that the students work on precise formulation of a thesis topic and early steps of their dissertations. Many of the School’s courses concentrate on strengthening the quantitative and programming skills of the students. The language of the School is English.

In the 2018-9 school year the School will be held at two different locations. The preparatory courses (from early September to mid-October 2018) will be offered at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany. The core courses (from mid-October 2018 until end of July 2019) will be held at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense, Denmark.

For more information about demography and about population research in Europe, visit Population Europe.

Successful completion of the School results in a European Research Certificate of Demography provided under the auspices of the European Association for Population Studies (EAPS).


Preparatory courses

The program in Rostock consists of four courses on (1) measures and models in demography, (2) basic mathematics for demographers, (3) basic statistics for demographers and (4) computer programming for demographers.

The aim of the preparatory courses is to prepare the students for the core courses in Odense.


EDSD 110 Measures and Models of Demography

The course is designed for first-year doctoral students in demography who have relatively little previous experience with the subject. It aims to provide EDSD students with an introduction to demographic methods and terminology. It deals with rates and probabilities, the Lexis diagram, the life table, life-time indices of quantum and tempo, period and cohort indices, stable and stationary population, population trends, and basic population projections.

EDSD 120 Basic Mathematic for Demographers

This course is designed for students who are enrolled in the doctoral program in demography. During six weeks basic mathematics used in demography are reviewed. For most of the students this course is the opportunity to review and practice the mathematics of college level. The principal aim of this course is to bring students entering the doctoral program up to a common standard in mathematics. The course is also intended to prepare students for other courses of the doctoral program, which require that students know the basic mathematics. The main sections covered are: differential and integral calculus, matrices and differential equations. Applications to the study of populations are presented in each class.

EDSD 130 Basic Statistics for Demographers

This course will reiterate basic statistical models and techniques for demographers. The topics covered will be:
- Tools for Exploratory Data Analysis (Tabulation, graphical displays, summary statistics)
- Basic Probability Theory (including random variables, discrete and continuous distributions)
- Statistical models and their estimation (with an emphasis on maximum likelihood)
- Sampling variability, Confidence Intervals and Testing
- Regression (Linear models, including ANOVA, diagnostics)
- Generalized Linear Models: Logistic Regression, Poisson Regression

EDSD 140 Computer Programming for Demographers

This course introduces the programming language R. It is very well suited for typical demographic analyses which often require more capabilities than other packages can offer. Besides the availability of more built-in statistical procedures than any other widely used statistical package and its outstanding plotting possibilities, R offers an easy way to extend the language by implementing new methods or modifying existing ones. Hence this introductory course for R will be aimed into two directions: On the one hand, the course will show how to perform 'standard' data manipulation and statistical methods known from other programs. On the other hand, a thorough introduction will be given on programming with R. The topics covered in the course are:
- Basic concepts of R (calling functions, object-orientation)
- Representation of Data (vectors, matrices, dataframes, lists); manipulation of data; referencing elements in data;
- Distributions in R
- Data Input / Output; reading data (ASCII format as well as binary formats like.sav from SPSS), writing data
- Programming with R; flow control (conditional, repetitive execution); writing functions; selected aspects of vectorized computations
- Optimization
- Graphing Data
- Simple statistical modelling


Core courses

After 6 weeks in Rostock, the EDSD program will move to Odense. After a one-week-long introduction and overview, seven weeks will be devoted to study of the causes and consequences of demographic change, five weeks to statistical analysis for demographers, four weeks to mathematical analysis for demographers, four weeks to understanding sources of demographic data, and four weeks to demographic modeling. In addition, three weeks of classes focus on skills for demographers, including how to write a manuscript, how to make a presentation (including how to make short video presentation) and how to exploit better graphical methods of data visualization. An average of 5 hours every week will be available for thesis research, plus 3 weeks over the course of the winter and spring and four and a half weeks in July and early August.

The course on the causes and consequences of demographic change consists of seven week-long modules. One focuses on the causes of change in fertility and family structures; a second week focuses on the consequences of such change. Similarly, there are two weeks on change in mortality and morbidity over age, over time and across populations, one week focusing on causes and the second week on consequences. Furthermore, there are two weeks on changes in migration, both international and within countries, with one week on causes and the other on consequences. The remaining three weeks deal with three important topics related to demographic change, namely, demographic change in historical perspective; migration, health and mortality in developing countries; and the impact of “human capital” (e.g., educational achievement).

The course on statistical methods consists of a week that focuses on understanding causation and then four weeks on event history analysis (survival analysis) of duration data.

The four weeks of the course on mathematical methods include discussion of alternative demographic measures, parametric models, stable population theory, use of matrices in demography, the impact of hidden heterogeneity, how to translate between continuous and discrete measures, and approaches to decomposing change into underlying factors.

Two of the four weeks on demographic data describe the main sources of quantitative demographic data and their weaknesses and pitfalls. In a third week, Bayesian methods are discussed for dealing with problematic data with missing values and errors and with partial or indirectly relevant measurements. The fourth week focuses on the nature of qualitative data and how such data can be analyzed.

The four weeks on demographic modeling address the development of models from theory (and the key fact that demographic models are theories and the main demographic theories are models). One week focuses on how to model demographic pattern, a second week on agent-based models, a third week on age-period-cohort models and the final week on forecasting models.

About a quarter of the total time in Odense is reserved for thesis research by the EDSD students. Each student has a mentor in Odense as well as one at his or her home institution to help guide the thesis research and there are opportunities for EDSD students to make presentations about aspects of their research to get feedback from a broader audience. In some cases, EDSD students write a thesis that can serve as the basis for a longer Ph.D. dissertation: often such students spend one year in the EDSD program followed by three subsequent years of doctoral research. In other cases, EDSD students write a thesis that is a chapter of their dissertation, perhaps the introductory/overview chapter.



Download the schedule here

EDSD schedule 2018-2019


See the current EDSD schedule here

2017/2018 SCHEDULE

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