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PhD Population Sciences

interrelated perspectives on population issues

The PhD in Population Sciences is a 4-year PhD programme designed for committed students and professionals from all backgrounds. The programme, taught in English, will prepare you to do top-level research in academic and non-academic environments.


A key feature of this programme is its interdisciplinary character, using mainly quantitative methods to study population issues. The programme acknowledges that studying population and the causes and consequences of demographic events calls upon and contributes to various scientific areas. Coming from a background on Social Sciences, Health Sciences or Statistics, for example, you will study population issues benefiting from a solid training in Demography and an international research environment.

Four ULisboa’s schools  - Instituto Superior de Ciências Sociais e Políticas (ISCSP), Instituto de Ciências Sociais (ICS), Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território (IGOT) and Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestão (ISEG )- got together to offer you this unique PhD programme on Population Sciences, which relies on a scientifically diverse and highly qualified faculty, with international experience.

“A people map”: map made using geo-twitter-plot, NASA's night-time mosaic, and a population density map (in blue). The brighter it is the highest is population density. White highlights are Twitter. By Max OrHai and Charlie Loyd

Population issues are at the base of some of the most pressing societal challenges. The tensions that the demographic divide produces in the relations between countries and regions of the world is increasingly more evident. The heterogeneity of population challenges is clear when we observe (very) low fertility and the consequent ageing of the population in more developed countries, whereas developing countries face demographic pressure and international migrations. Population sciences contribute to a better understanding of these issues that  call upon public policies and the overall society.


Research in population sciences may also provide clues on how to reach sustainability goals in a world characterized by such great heterogeneity across regions in terms of its effects but also in terms of poverty, life expectancy or education. By studying the impact on the planet of either population dynamics or the demographic behaviour of individuals, population scientists can help finding ways to face the pressing climate change challenge.

If you want to know more about the contribution of demography and demographers to understanding and addressing current world population challenges, check the IUSSP video 'when Demographers unite'

Population Sciences: why?

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