Sociology and Demography

University of California, Berkeley

About the Program

The Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography (GGSD) is an interdisciplinary training program in the social sciences designed for students with broad intellectual interests. Drawing on Berkeley's Department of Sociology and Department of Demography, the group offers students a rigorous and rewarding intellectual experience.

The group, founded in 2001, sponsors a single degree program leading to a PhD in Sociology and Demography. The GGSD helps foster an active intellectual exchange between graduate students and faculty in the two disciplines. In addition, faculty and students associated with the group often maintain close ties with other disciplines both inside and outside the social sciences (for example, economics, anthropology, statistics, public health, biology, and medicine).

The specific emphasis of this academic program is the intersection of the fields of sociology and demography. Potential areas of study include, but are not limited to: population history, social stratification, inequality, race, ethnicity, causes and consequences of population growth, the demographic transition, population–environment interactions, economic development, immigration, globalization, gender, family, kinship, child welfare, sexuality, intergenerational relations, aging, mortality, health care, disability, fertility, family planning, and birth control.

Students in the GGSD typically earn both an MA in Sociology and an MA in Demography en route to the PhD in Sociology and Demography; however, it is not required to earn an MA in Sociology to get the PhD in Sociology and Demography. Students already enrolled in another graduate program at Berkeley who wish to earn a PhD in Sociology and Demography should contact the Graduate Student Affairs Officer to receive application instructions. Students not already enrolled at Berkeley who wish to enter the PhD program should complete the required online application. The general deadlines for the application specified by the Graduate Division apply, as do the general requirements of the Academic Senate and the Graduate Division for PhD degree programs.

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Admission to the University

Applying for Graduate Admission

Thank you for considering UC Berkeley for graduate study! UC Berkeley offers more than 120 graduate programs representing the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary scholarship. The Graduate Division hosts a complete list of graduate academic programs, departments, degrees offered, and application deadlines can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Prospective students must submit an online application to be considered for admission, in addition to any supplemental materials specific to the program for which they are applying. The online application and steps to take to apply can be found on the Graduate Division website.

Admission Requirements

The minimum graduate admission requirements are:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;

  2. A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and

  3. Enough undergraduate training to do graduate work in your chosen field.

For a list of requirements to complete your graduate application, please see the Graduate Division’s Admissions Requirements page. It is also important to check with the program or department of interest, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree. Department contact information can be found here.

Where to apply?

Visit the Berkeley Graduate Division application page.

Admission to the Program

The Department of Demography requires all applicants to take the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination. Applicants may apply for the Masters in Demography, PhD in Demography or the PhD in Sociology and Demography. 

Doctoral Degree Requirements

Normative Time Requirements

Normative Time to Advancement

Normative time to advancement to doctoral candidacy for the Sociology and Demography PhD is eight semesters from the time the student entered the program.

Normative Time in Candidacy

Normative time in doctoral candidacy for the Sociology and Demography PhD degree is four semesters.

Total Normative Time

The total normative time of the program is 12 semesters.

Time to Advancement


Courses Required
DEMOG 110Introduction to Population Analysis3
DEMOG/ECON C175Economic Demography4
DEMOG 200Fundamentals of Population Thought4
Sex, Death, and Data [4] (May substitute for DEMOG 200)
DEMOG 210Demographic Methods: Rates and Structures4
DEMOG 211Advanced Demographic Analysis3-4
or SOCIOL 271C Methods of Sociological Research
DEMOG 213Practical Computer Applications for Demographic Analysis2
DEMOG 296Advanced Research Techniques4
DEMOG Graduate Elective (choose one course from 220 to 289)
SOCIOL 200Proseminar1
Classical Social Theory
and Modern Social Theory
SOCIOL 271AMethods of Sociological Research4
SOCIOL Graduate Electives (choose two courses from 280 series)
Electives per approved study list

Coursework and Preliminary Examination

During the first year of study students in all Demography and Sociology and Demography degree programs complete the required coursework (24 units) and then take the preliminary examination at the end of the spring semester.

Research Paper

After completing the core Sociology classes, students write an empirical research paper reviewed by 2-3 committee members.

Dissertation Prospectus

The dissertation prospectus is developed in the context of a research seminar and under the advisement of the graduate academic advisor. The dissertation prospectus must be approved by the proposed dissertation advisor. 

Oral Qualifying Examination

The oral qualifying examination for admission to doctoral candidacy should be taken during the second or third year.

CITI Human Subjects Training

Students are required to take CITI Human Subjects training as specified by the Office for the Protection of Human Subjects before advancing to doctoral candidacy. For more information please see the OPHS website:

Time in Candidacy


Upon successful completion of the oral qualifying exam and the prospectus, students enter into the final phase of the program, doctoral candidacy. During this period, students are expected to take another research seminar, DEMOG 296, every semester until the completion of the dissertation. The department does not require a formal defense of the completed dissertation. 

Required Professional Development

The department does not formally require professional development but all students are encouraged to attend the weekly Demography Brown Bag Presentation Series. Students are also encouraged to attend and present papers at the annual Population Association of America Meeting or other demographic conferences.


Demography Courses

Sociology Courses

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography

310 Social Sciences Building

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Department Chair

Mara Loveman

Graduate Advisor

Dennis Feehan

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Monique Verrier

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