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Applied Demography

Degree Requirements | Curriculum | Location | Careers

The Master of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) degree with a concentration in applied demography is an innovative, professional degree program. Applied demography involves the use of the principles and methods of demography in decision making and planning problems in both public and private settings. Graduates of the program will work in corporations, research organizations, and government agencies. Regardless of the setting, graduates use demographic data to identify and analyze important population trends and their consequences.

A full-time student can earn the M.U.S. degree in approximately 15 to 18 months. A part-time student can earn the degree in 30 to 36 months. Most classes are held in the late afternoon and early evening.

Coursework emphasizes the fundamentals of demographic techniques, statistics, and research methods. Computer applications and practical exercises are an integral part of all demography courses. Problem sets and individual and group projects requiring outside class time throughout the term are characteristic of required courses.

Degree Requirements

Students must complete general course work for the M.U.S. degree as well as a set of required courses in applied demography for the concentration in applied demography.

Admission Requirements

Students must have a Bachelor's degree and take the Graduate Record Examination. Foreign students must have a minimum score of 550 on the TOEFL exam. All students should have a demonstrated facility in courses such as college algebra and statistics.

Deadlines for admission and applications for financial assistance may be obtained by contacting the School of Urban Studies and Planning.

Professional Development for Working Professionals

Applied Demography Certificate

The College of Urban and Public Affairs offers working professionals the opportunity to gain valuable up-to-date information and training with its new competency-building certificate programs. These programs are designed for both the young professional as well as the experienced, mid-career practitioner.

To Pursue a Certificate, you will need to apply for "quick-entry" admission to Portland State University. Go to and choose the "Quick Entry App Admissions" option. When you are admitted under this option, you can only take 8 credits or fewer per term.

You don't need to be admitted to a graduate program. If you do decide to apply to a graduate program, you will be able to transfer 12 to 24 of your graduate credits into the program.

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Applied Demography Curriculum

The goal of the Portland State University's applied demography curriculum is for students to acquire skills to use population information and analytic techniques to solve problems in the private and public settings. The program is intended to prepare mid-level professionals for the business, government, and non-profit sectors. It is designed to meet growing needs for specialists with technical competence in the collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation of quantitative demographic data.

For a graduate certificate, students are required to complete the first four courses listed below. For the Masters of Urban Studies (M.U.S.) degree, students are required to earn 20 credits, as follows, as part of their M.U.S. degree program:

Principles of Social Demography 4
Applied Demographic Methods I 4
Applied Demographic Methods II 4
Research Practicum 4
Electives 4

The training stresses proficiency in using the tools of demographic analysis, with particular attention to the logic of scientific inquiry, the methods of data collection, data quality, and techniques of quantitative analysis. The program emphasizes interpretation of research findings and relies on problem sets and projects to reinforce concepts and develop skills.

After completing the required coursework in the principles and methods of applied demography, students enroll in a research practicum, where they will complete a demographic research topic of particular interest to them.

There are two options for fulfilling the M.U.S. degree requirements. One option is a thesis. The alternative option is to complete a research paper and an exam in the field of concentration.

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Portland State University is a public university located in Portland, Oregon. Housing is located close to the campus. Portland has an excellent public transportation system, available to students who prefer to live further from the campus in the metropolitan area.

The metropolitan Portland location provides access to students for paid and unpaid internships while enrolled in the applied demography course of study. The Population Research Center will help students in securing positions.

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Careers in Applied Demography

There are employment opportunities for applied demographers in a variety of settings, including marketing, consulting, government, and the non-profit sector. The job market is strong for technically competent, quantitative applied demographers. Center faculty will help graduates in their job searches. The University also supports a Career Center that helps in locating suitable employment for graduates.

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