Master’s Program

Master of Science Degree in Demography

The Center for Demography and Population Health offers a one-year program of study leading to the Master’s of Science degree in Demography.

Program Overview

This multidisciplinary program has been designed for students seeking to develop proficiency in the use of demographic concepts, data, and techniques. The curriculum emphasizes demographic practice and the development of intellectual and analytical skills useful in a research or data-intensive setting.

The typical applicant to our program:

  • Wants to learn more about real-world issues that affect populations, such as
    • how coastal populations will change as sea levels rise
    • how changing US family structures affect adolescent health
    • how migration and birth rates affect the number of children in local schools
    • how labor markets will change as populations become older
    • many other social, economic, and health-related topics
  • Enjoys the challenge of working with numbers and statistical software
  • Seeks to develop proficiency in the use of demographic data, methods, and concepts
  • Plans a career in mid-level research/data-intensive positions in the public or private sectors.


A minimum of 30 semester hours are required to earn the MS degree in Demography. Candidates for the degree complete at least 27 semester hours of course work and a Master’s Research Paper (3 to 6 semester hours). Required course work includes 18 hours of statistics and data analysis courses, six hours of graduate-level seminars in demographic core courses, and three hours of electives. Students also participate in a Professional Development Seminar during their first semester, which provides professional guidance in résumé and portfolio development, interviewing, and professional networking. Many of our students benefit from practical training acquired through summer internships with federal or state agencies.

The program is designed to be completed in one calendar year. Students begin the program in the Fall semester and graduate the following summer. Coursework may be completed over three semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer), although students planning a summer internship typically complete course requirements in two semesters. During the Summer semester, students enroll in a Master’s Research course, which guides them through the process of completing a demographic research project on a topic of their choosing. The course has been designed to accommodate students who are in residence and students who are doing summer internships away from Tallahassee.

We also accept part-time students, who complete the degree in more than one calendar year. Part-time study is a particularly good option for university or state employees who are eligible for tuition benefits through their jobs.


Required courses are offered through departments in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy (CoSS); electives are offered through CoSS departments and through various departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education.

Required courses:

  • Three semester hours, Fall (choose one):
    • Population Data (ECP 5118OR Population Data (SYD 5133)
  • Three semester hours, Spring (choose one):
    • Techniques of Population Analysis (SYD 5135OR Mathematical Demography (ECP 5117)
  • Three semester hours, Spring:  Forecasting (URP 5261)
  • Three semester hours, Fall or Spring (choose one):
    • Urban and Regional Information Systems (URP 5272OR Geographic Information Systems (GIS 5101 + GIS 5101L)
  • Six semester hours:
    • Choose one in Fall: 
      • Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis (SYA 5305)
      • Planning  Statistics (URP 5211)
      • Data Analysis and Social Statistics (SYA 5458)
    • Choose one in Spring:
      • Multivariate Analysis (SYA 5406)
      • Planning Research Methods (URP 5201)
  • Three semester hours (required):
    • Introduction to Demography (SYD 5045)
  • Three semester hours (choose one):
    • Health and Survival (SYD 5215)
    • Fertility (SYD 5225)
    • Economics of Population (ECP 5115)
    • Changing Families (SYO 5117)
    • International Population Dynamics (SYD 5046)
    • Population Theory (SYD 5105)
    • Aging and the Life Course (SYA 6933)
  • Six semester hours, Summer:  Master’s Research for Demographers (DEM 5972)
  • Fall: Demography Professional Development Seminar (DEM 5935)

Approved Electives:

ECO 5427 Limited Dependent Variables
ECP 5536 Seminar in Health Economics
ECS 5015 Economic Development: Theory and Problems
EDF 5401 General Linear Model
GEO 5472 Political Geography
GEO 5545 Advanced Economic Geography
SYA 5407 Advanced Quantitative Methods
SYD 5136 Life Course Epidemiology
SYD 5137 Fundamentals of Epidemiology
SYO 6407 Race, Ethnicity, and Health
URP 5530 Policy and Planning for the Aging
URP 5544 Gender and Development
URP 5610 Developing Areas
URP 5614 Population and Development Planning
STA 5066 Data Management in SAS
URP 5847 Growth and Development of Cities

Course offerings vary by semester and academic year.  Course descriptions are provided in the University’s Graduate Bulletin, available on-line at  Course substitutions may be made with the Director’s permission.


Application to the one-year program leading to the Master’s of Science degree in Demography must be made online, through the Office of Graduate Admissions (  

Admission Requirements

Admission to Graduate Studies at the Florida State University requires the following:

  • An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution, with a minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade point average (GPA)in all work attempted while registered as an upper-division undergraduate student working towards a bachelor’s degree; or
  • A graduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution, or a comparable degree from an international institution; and
  • Test scores from a nationally standardized graduate admission test which is acceptable for the program to which the applicant is applying; and
  • An English proficiency exam for those applicants whose native language is not English.

Departmental Requirements

  • An upper-division (junior and senior year) undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale); and
  • The university may require applicants to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The GRE requirement was temporarily waived for Master’s program applicants in 2020, but it may be reinstated in the future. Check the university website.

Supporting Documents

  • Departmental Application (1 required)
  • Letters of Recommendation (2 required)
    • Two letters of recommendation that attest to your likely success in a graduate program. At least one letter should be written by a faculty member from your undergraduate program; the second writer may be a faculty member or a professional in the field.
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
    • Submission of Resume/Curriculum Vitae is optional.
  • Unofficial Score Report
    • Upload an unofficial copy of any required test scores, to expedite the review process.
  • Unofficial Transcript
    • Upload an unofficial copy of your transcript to expedite the review process.

Additional Information:
All documents listed above are required for consideration for admission to the Master’s in Demography program, unless otherwise indicated as optional. Missing materials will delay the processing of your graduate school application. All documents, with the exception of transcripts, should be submitted electronically.

For more information on University requirements, click here.

Evaluation of applications:
Application materials are evaluated by members of the CDPH Executive Committee and the Center Director.  Admission decisions are based on our evaluation of the applicant’s suitability for the program, based on the writing sample and personal statement, and the likelihood that the applicant will complete the program successfully, as indicated by the applicant’s academic record, GRE scores (if required), and recommendation letters.  Applicants are notified by email at two points in the application process:  (1) when CDPH has received all of the application material, and (2) when the admission decision has been made (typically 4-6 weeks after the application is complete). 

Admission deadlines
The MS-Demography program admits students in the Fall semester only.  Prospective students may file an application at any time from July 2nd of the year prior to anticipated admission up through June 1st.  We strongly urge prospective students to complete their applications prior to March 15th.  Space in the program is limited and the federal financial aid window typically closes on or about June 1st. 

Tuition, Fees, and Financial Aid
Information on tuition and fees is available at the Student Financial Services web site (link this to

Non-Florida residents may be eligible for in-state tuition and fees if they are residents of states participating in the Academic Common Market. International applicants may be eligible for Florida Linkage Institute Out-of-State Tuition Exemption. In order to qualify, the applicants must be from one of the countries where a Florida Linkage Institute has been established. 

CDPH does not offer graduate assistantships (see Scholarships).  Students in the MS program may be eligible for financial aid in the form of federal loans, work-study funding, or institutional grants. Information on these and other forms of financial aid is available from the FSU Office of Financial Aid (link to Students are also strongly encouraged to visit the web site of the Graduate School’s Funding and Awards page for information on sources of external fellowships (link to