Population Dynamics Option

The Population Dynamics Option (PDO) is a cross-disciplinary, cross-faculty graduate program offered as an option within 5 existing Master’s and doctoral programs in the departments of Sociology, Economics, and Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health (EBOH) at McGill University. 

The 5 programs are:

M.A. (non-thesis) in Sociology
Ph.D. in Sociology
M.A. (non-thesis) in Economics
M.Sc. in Public Health in EBOH
Ph.D. in Epidemiology in EBOH

HOW TO REGISTER: Students enter the option through one of the participating departments and must meet the Master’s or Ph.D. requirements of that unit. While students are encouraged to enter the option at the time of registration into their MA or PhD program, they may also enter the option after they have begun their program, provided they are able to meet all of the option requirements. Details on how to register.


  • Required courses, as per the program through which the student enters the PDO. See below required courses per program.
  • Attendance at least five of the talks per term given in the Social Statistics and Population Dynamics Seminar;
  • Dissertation (for Ph.D. students), Research Paper/Project (for Master’s students) and MScPH practicum must be on a topic relating to population dynamics, approved by the PDO coordinating committee.


  • Specialized training in population research
  • Annotation on your transcript demonstrating that you completed this specialized option in Population Dynamics

REQUIRED COURSES: Graduate students in SOCIOLOGY and EBOH will take two required courses in Sociology (SOCI 626: Demographic Methods (Fall 2017 - Thursdays 10:35 am-12:25 pm) and SOCI 545: Sociology of Population (Winter 2018 - Fridays 12:35-2:25) and one course from the following approved list of courses in Sociology, Economics, or EBOH, all of which are worth three credits each.

Sociology 2016-17

SOCI 512 Ethnicity & Public Policy (not offered 2016-17)
SOCI 513 Social Aspects HIV/AIDS in Africa (not offered 2016-17)
SOCI 520 Migration and Immigrant Groups (not offered 2016-17)
SOCI 525 Health Care Systems in Comparative Perspective Fall 2016
SOCI 535 Sociology of the Family (not offered 2016-17)
SOCI 588 Biosociology/Biodemography Winter 2017

Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Occupational Health 2016-17

See also Master's of Public Health: Population Dynamics Option or PhD Epidemiology Population Dynamics Option. See below for MScPH practicum requirements.

EPIB 501 Population Health and Epidemiology (not offered 2016-17)
EPIB 525 Health Care Systems in Comparative Perspective (See SOCI 525)
EPIB 527 Economics for Health Services Research and Policy (not offered 2016-17)
EPIB 528 Economic Evaluation of Health Programs ( not offered 2016-17)
EPIB 615 Introduction to Infectious Disease Epidemiology (not offered 2016-17)
EPIB 648 Methods in Social Epidemiology (not offered 2016-17)
EPIB 675

Global Environmental Health and Burden of Disease (not offered 2016-17)

EPIB 681 Global Health: Epidemiological Research (not offered 2016-17)

Note: Only students outside of EBOH are eligible to take EPIB 501: Population Health and Epidemiology

Population Dynamics option (PDO) requirements of the MScPH practicum

The population option is situated at the intersection of population dynamics and population health. As such, many public health topics pertaining to population health could lend themselves to this option but clinical or lab-based public health projects are likely not eligible topics for a PDO practicum. Ideal PDO practicums would include projects for which quantitative analysis of health processes related to or contributing to population dynamics is a key component of practicum research or activities. For instance, projects that take into consideration social or economic determinants of health, notably those stemming from the other main research axes of the Centre on Population Dynamics, namely family, migration, aging, and education and labour markets. Students are required to write a short paragraph describing their practicum for approval from the graduate committee chair, which for 2015-16 is amelie.quesnelvallee [at] mcgill.ca (subject: MScPH%20practicum) (Professor Amélie Quesnel-Vallée).”

REQUIRED COURSES: Graduate students in the M.A. (non-thesis) program in ECONOMICS are unable to take more than 3 credits outside of the department of Economics.  Thus, they will take one required course in Sociology (SOCI 626: Demographic Methods), a required course in microeconomics relevant for population studies (ECON 742:  Empirical Microeconomics), and required courses in Economic Theory (ECON 610 and ECON 620).  In addition, they will take one course from the approved list of population dynamics courses in Economics, also all worth 3 credits each.

Economics 2016-17

See also M.A. Population Dynamics Option Non-thesis

ECON 622 Public Finance (not offered 2016-17)
ECON 634 Economic Development 3 Fall 2016
ECON 641 Labour Economics Fall 2016
ECON 734 Economic Development 4 Winter 2017     
ECON 741 Advanced Labour Economics Fall 2016
ECON 744 Health Economics Winter 2017


Contact amelie.quesnelvallee [at] mcgill.ca (subject: CPD%20Population%20Dynamics%20Option) (Prof. Amélie Quesnel-Vallée), the chair of the CPD graduate committee for any questions regarding the Population Dynamics options. Alternatively, you can talk to the Graduate studies director of your department or a CPD member. Departmental graduate studies contacts: graduate.economics [at] mcgill.ca (Economics), gradadmin.eboh [at] mcgill.ca (subject: Population%20Dynamics%20option) (Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health), graduate.sociology [at] mcgill.ca (subject: graduate%20option%20in%20Population%20Dynamics) (Sociology)

To register for the Population Dynamics Option

  1. Go to Graduate forms HERE
  2. Click on "for students in Graduate Programs
  3. Choose "Request for a Program Change" form
  4. Select Department
  5. Select "Concentration only" (as well as "term" and "year" you would like the option to take effect)
  6. Then "Add concentration"
  7. Then type in "Population Dynamics Option" etc.
  8. Fill in the rest of the form and submit.