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University of Pennsylvania Course/Program Name
Application closes on
National :15 Dec 
International :15 Dec 

PhD Demography

 Course Level
Full Time

5 Years
 Start month

 Tuition fee

17802 USD
17802 USD

Application fee

International 80 USD
National 80 USD
School of Arts and Science
Scores accepted
IELTS (min)7
TOEFL-IBT (min)100
TOEFL-PBT (min)600
GRE (avg)307
GMAT (avg)732

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About this course

The Graduate Group in Demography administers the Ph.D. program in demography. The Ph.D. program in demography includes the acquisition of an A.M. degree in demography. We do not however offer a terminal master's degree program here at Penn. The Graduate Group in Demography is responsible for training students through course work and supervised research. Those seeking a Ph.D. degree in Demography should apply to the Graduate Group in Demography. Demography has a long and proud tradition at Penn, and students seeking to specialize in it have an unusually broad array of courses from which to pick and a relatively large number of faculty members with whom they can work. Penn is unique in having professors who teach and conduct research within virtually all substantive areas of population. The Population Studies Center provides office and work space for graduate students, both those in the Graduate Group in Demography and those otherwise affiliated with the Center and its research projects. These include access to the Demography Library and to computing facilities. The Center sponsors a weekly seminar series that affords students the opportunity to keep abreast of the latest work by leading scholars in the field of populations, as well as less formal opportunities to interact with visiting scholars.

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Eligibility Criteria

Eng lang – On the TOEFL-iBT exam (Internet-Based Test), competitive applicants tend to have a composite score of 100 and above (the exam is scaled from 0-120, with 120 being a perfect score) with demonstrated consistency on each section of the exam (reading, listening, speaking, and writing). On the Paper- Based TOEFL, Penn tends to admit students with a score of 600 and above (the exam is scaled from 310 to 677, with 677 being a perfect score).

  • IELTS - 7.0
  • GRE - 307
  • GMAT - 732


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Course Modules

Ph.D. Degree Requirements
In order to achieve Ph.D. candidacy in Demography, students must satisfy the following requirements and maintain the judgment of the faculty that their progress is sufficient and predictive of eventual completion of the Ph.D.:

Satisfactory completion of 20 course units, which can include those required for the A.M. degreeEight

  • (8) required courses
  • Four (4) demography elective courses
  • Eight (8) elective courses

Satisfactory completion of a research paper (written in conjunction with the two-semester Seminar in Demographic Research [DEMG 707/708]) taken in the student's second year in the program, in addition to (or in distinction from) that required for the A.M. degree. Students are encouraged to identify a faculty advisor for this paper by the beginning of their second year in the program and to inform the Chair of the Graduate Group in Demography of their advisor.
Satisfactory completion of the Preliminary Examinations administered in May in the end of the student's second year in the program
Most students in Demography satisfy these requirements by the end of their second year.

Candidates for the Ph.D. in Demography must meet the following requirements to obtain the Ph.D. degree:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the principle substantive topics of Demography and of the relation of these issues to their social and economic setting.
  • Indicate a firm grasp of both the substance and methods of studies in the core fields of Demography (mortality, fertility, migration, population aging, and demographic-economic interrelations).
  • Acquire specialized knowledge in the student's principal area of research within Demography such as mortality, fertility, migration, labor force, mathematical demography, urbanization, demographic history, population policies, or interrelations of population and development.
  • Successfully complete a dissertation on an approved topic. To remain in good standing students should establish a dissertation committee and defend their dissertation proposal before the beginning of their fourth year in the program.

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How to Apply

Applications are accepted only for Fall semester matriculation (beginning in late August); the deadline for application is December 15. Applications that arrive later may still be considered, but the chance of both admission and financial support may well be lower. In the Graduate Group in Demography, such decisions are made by the Admissions and Awards Committee, which meets from mid-January to early March.

Recommendation letters can be addressed to the Chair of the Graduate Group in Demography.

Admissions information, the graduate handbook and the on-line application can be found on the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences website. Prospective students should apply using the electronic application via the Electronic On-line Application website. The Admissions Application website opens in October for the upcoming admissions cycle.

All applicants are required to take the Graduate Record Exams (GRE's). Scores are valid for five years. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Scores are valid for two years.

  • A Bachelor’s degree is a minimum requirement.

The Graduate Group in Demography does require a writing sample.

Financial Support
Virtually all students matriculating in the Graduate Group in Demography receive support for their tuition as well as a stipend for modest living expenses. The Admissions and Awards Committee awards a limited number of fellowships from various sources, including competitive University fellowships, and training grants from the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development. Research assistantships associated with externally funded faculty research projects and teaching assistantships may also be available. These financial resources are allocated primarily on the basis of merit, so all applicants are advised to check the appropriate financial support box on the first page of the application form. Because these financial resources are comparatively scarce, it is also highly advisable for prospective students to seek financial support from outside sources: for example, U.S. students should consider applying to the National Science Foundation; foreign students should consider the Fulbright Commission (with offices in most countries), as well as other sources of national support.

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