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

Minimum Requirements for Admission

The following minimum requirements apply to all graduate programs and will be verified by the Graduate Division:

  1. A bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution;
  2. A grade point average of B or better (3.0);
  3. If the applicant has completed a basic degree from a country or political entity (e.g., Quebec) where English is not the official language, adequate proficiency in English to do graduate work, as evidenced by a TOEFL score of at least 90 on the iBT test, 570 on the paper-and-pencil test, or an IELTS Band score of at least 7 on a 9-point scale (note that individual programs may set higher levels for any of these); and
  4. Sufficient undergraduate training to do graduate work in the given field.

Applicants Who Already Hold a Graduate Degree

The Graduate Council views academic degrees not as vocational training certificates, but as evidence of broad training in research methods, independent study, and articulation of learning. Therefore, applicants who already have academic graduate degrees should be able to pursue new subject matter at an advanced level without the need to enroll in a related or similar graduate program.

Programs may consider students for an additional academic master’s or professional master’s degree only if the additional degree is in a distinctly different field.

Applicants admitted to a doctoral program that requires a master’s degree to be earned at Berkeley as a prerequisite (even though the applicant already has a master’s degree from another institution in the same or a closely allied field of study) will be permitted to undertake the second master’s degree, despite the overlap in field.

The Graduate Division will admit students for a second doctoral degree only if they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Applicants with doctoral degrees may be admitted for an additional doctoral degree only if that degree program is in a general area of knowledge distinctly different from the field in which they earned their original degree. For example, a physics PhD could be admitted to a doctoral degree program in music or history; however, a student with a doctoral degree in mathematics would not be permitted to add a PhD in statistics.
  2. Applicants who hold the PhD degree may be admitted to a professional doctorate or professional master’s degree program if there is no duplication of training involved.

Applicants may apply only to one single degree program or one concurrent degree program per admission cycle.

Required Documents for Applications

  1. Transcripts: Applicants may upload unofficial transcripts with your application for the departmental initial review. Unofficial transcripts must contain specific information including the name of the applicant, name of the school, all courses, grades, units, & degree conferral (if applicable). 
  2. Letters of recommendation: Applicants may request online letters of recommendation through the online application system. Hard copies of recommendation letters must be sent directly to the program, by the recommender, not the Graduate Admissions.
  3. Evidence of English language proficiency: All applicants who have completed a basic degree from a country or political entity in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Burma, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most European countries, and Quebec (Canada). However, applicants who, at the time of application, have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a US university may submit an official transcript from the US university to fulfill this requirement. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

    • courses in English as a Second Language,

    • courses conducted in a language other than English,

    • courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and

    • courses of a non-academic nature.

Applicants who have previously applied to Berkeley must also submit new test scores that meet the current minimum requirement from one of the standardized tests. Official TOEFL score reports must be sent directly from Educational Test Services (ETS). The institution code for Berkeley is 4833 for Graduate Organizations. Official IELTS score reports must be sent electronically from the testing center to University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall, Rm 318 MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. TOEFL and IELTS score reports are only valid for two years prior to beginning the graduate program at UC Berkeley. Note: score reports can not expire before the month of June.


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.

Language Examination

Each student is expected to demonstrate reasonable reading competence in at least one other than English language that is relevant to demographic studies. Students must pass a language exam before advancing to doctoral candidacy.

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 foreign language requirement, 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

Faculty and Instructors


Irene Bloemraad, Professor of Sociology . Immigration, social movements, political sociology, multiculturalism, race and ethnicity, Canada, non-profit organizations, research methods.
Research Profile

Daniel Aldana Cohen, Assistant Professor of Sociology. Politics of climate change.
Research Profile

William H. Dow, Professor of Public Health. Health economics, international health, economic demography.
Research Profile

Dennis Feehan, Assistant Professor of Demography . Demography, social networks, sociology, and statistics.
Research Profile

Neil D. Fligstein, Professor of Sociology . Economic sociology, organizations, methodology and statistics, political.
Research Profile

Marion Fourcade, Professor of Sociology . Culture, social theory, political sociology, economic sociology, comparative methods, knowledge and science.
Research Profile

Joshua R. Goldstein, Professor of Demography . Fertility, marriage, social demography, historical demography, population aging, formal demography .
Research Profile

David Harding, Associate Professor of Sociology . Poverty, inequality, causal inference, mixed methods, incarceration, prisoner reentry, education, neighborhoods, urban, community, adolescence.
Research Profile

Heather A. Haveman, Professor of Sociology . Organizations, economic sociology, entrepreneurship, China, careers and social mobility, gender, social history.
Research Profile

Rucker Johnson, Associate Professor of Public Policy . Determinants of intergenerational mobility, societal consequences of incarceration, effects of maternal employment patterns on child well-being, socioeconomic determinants of health disparities over the life course.
Research Profile

Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, Professor of Demography and Sociology. Culture, population, social action, intentions, Africa, gender, fertility, marriage.
Research Profile

Danya Lagos, Assistant Professor of Sociology . Gender studies, transgender studies, LGBTQ communities, survey research methods.
Research Profile

Mara Loveman, Professor of Sociology . Comparative and historical sociology, political sociology, ethnoracial politics, development, demography, Latin America.
Research Profile

Samuel R. Lucas, Professor of Sociology . Research methods, demography, sociology, social stratification, sociology of education, and research statistics.
Research Profile

Ayesha Mahmud, Assistant Professor of Demography . Infectious disease dynamics, disease ecology, mathematical models, Asia, Africa, Central America.
Research Profile

Jane Mauldon, Associate Teaching Professor of Public Policy. Demography, public policy, quantitative methods, health policy and economics, poverty and public policy, the teen-parent component of California_ _s welfare reforms.
Research Profile

Trond Petersen, Professor of Sociology. Inequality, comparative gender inequality, hiring, promotions, wages, quantitative methods, social stratification, economic sociology, comparative studies, and quantitative methods.
Research Profile

Emeritus Faculty

Leo Goodman, Professor Emeritus. Sociology, statistics, log-linear models, correspondence analysis models, mathematical demography, categorical data analysis, survey data analysis, logit models, log-bilinear models, association models.
Research Profile

Eugene A. Hammel, Professor Emeritus. Kinship, social anthropology, stratification, statistical and formal analysis, computer applications, peasant society and culture, demography, Balkans.
Research Profile

Ronald D. Lee, Professor Emeritus. Economics, evolutionary theory, mathematical demography, population aging, intergenerational transfers, economic demography, life history theory, population forecasting, national transfer accounts.
Research Profile

Kristin Luker, Professor Emeritus. Social policy, jurisprudence.
Research Profile

Kenneth Wachter, Professor Emeritus. Mathematical demography stochastic models, simulation, biodemography, federal statistical system.
Research Profile

John R. Wilmoth, Professor Emeritus. Demography, sociology, methodological research, longevity, life expectancy, mortality differentials, familial resemblance, mortality and life expectancy forcasting, historical population trends, world population growth, international migration forecasting.
Research Profile

Contact Information

Graduate Group in Sociology and Demography

310 Social Sciences Building

Phone: 510-642-9800

Fax: 510-643-8558

Visit Group Website

Department Chair

Mara Loveman

Graduate Advisor

Dennis Feehan

Graduate Student Affairs Officer

Monique Verrier

Phone: 510-642-9800

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