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.