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Population Studies

College of Social Sciences
Saunders Hall 716
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
Tel: (808) 956-7551
Fax: (808) 956-6870
E-mail: popstudy@hawaii.edu
Web: www.populationstudies.hawaii.edu


*Graduate Faculty

*A. Mason, PhD (director)—economics
*A. Dellis, PhD—economics
*C.M. Douglass, PhD—urban and regional planning
*N. Etkin, PhD—anthropology
*T. Halliday, PhD—economics
*H.R. Lee, PhD—speech
*S.H. Lee, PhD—economics
*Y.J. Lee, PhD—sociology
*G. Russo, PhD—economics
*C. Stephenson, PhD—political science

Affiliate Graduate Faculty

T. Brown, PhD—population studies
J. Chen, PhD—population studies
L. J. Cho, PhD—sociology and economics
M. Choe, PhD—public health
J. Gartrell, PhD—sociology
G. Jarvis, PhD—sociology
A. Onaka, PhD—population studies
P. Pirie, PhD—population studies
R. Retherford, PhD—sociology
P. Xenos, PhD—sociology

Certificate Offered: Graduate Certificate in Population Studies

The Academic Program

Population Studies (PPST) is an interdisciplinary graduate certificate program whose faculty come from UH departments in the College of Social Sciences and the Department of Public Health, from the Program on Population, East-West Center, and from the Department of Health, State of Hawai‘i. The Population Studies Program serves both independent graduate study and degree candidates in other UH units who wish to understand population processes and to develop special competence in applying the concepts and tools of demography and of their discipline to the study of human populations. The program focuses on the links between population processes and their variable contexts (historical, environmental, cultural, social, economic, and political) in the contemporary world, especially Asia and the Pacific, as well as on the concepts and tools of demographic analysis.

Population Studies consists of a core of basic information and five themes or key issues in population inquiry: demographic methods, health and development, population and environment, reproduction and human resources, and social mobility and spatial dynamics. Each of these is conceived as an overlapping circle to emphasize the exchange of information and ideas about human populations, based on courses and seminars drawn from population studies and the social, health, and human sciences. Each of the five thematic clusters in population has a faculty leader, responsible for facilitating its intellectual integrity and routine operation.

Certificate in Population Studies


The interdisciplinary graduate Certificate in Population Studies consists of 16 credits of course work, earned with a grade of more than B- in any course, and either a comprehensive examination or a research paper. Specific requirements are as follows:

  • A core of four courses (10 credits), including Introduction to Human Population (PPST 650), Methods of Demographic Analysis (PPST 691), Faculty Seminar Series (PPST 649), and the Interdisciplinary Seminar in Population Studies (PPST 750).
  • Two courses (6 credits), numbered 600 or above, selected from any of the five thematic clusters in population (demographic methods, health and development, population and environment, reproduction and human resources, and social mobility and spatial dynamics). On petition, the program director may accept 600-level courses or above that are not listed within any of the five thematic clusters but have significant population content. Courses taken for credit may be applied to both a graduate degree and the interdisciplinary certificate.
  • Either a research paper of publishable quality on a population topic or a comprehensive examination in the interdisciplinary study of human populations. Students may choose to enroll for 3 credits of Directed Reading and Research (PPST 699) when undertaking their research paper.

Each year, the program director appoints a committee of three faculty members to both administer the comprehensive examination and assess completed research papers. Four of six questions must be answered in the comprehensive examination, which will be written and followed by an oral discussion. It will be broad in scope and assume basic knowledge of the concepts, substance, and techniques of population. Questions will be concerned with the integration of material, plausible argument, and reflective statement. Research papers must be of publishable quality, and a student choosing this option will have a faculty adviser who is not a member of the assessment committee.


Demographic Methods. Provides additional training in the concepts and techniques of demographic analysis. Many Asia/Pacific countries do not have accurate and timely systems of vital registration or have limited or imperfect data on population characteristics. Specialized training allows students to estimate and assess more correctly demographic parameters using these types of data. Courses cover field methods for collecting valid and reliable information about population, as well as survival models, analysis of categorical data, and other state-of-the-art statistical techniques for data analysis. Students taking courses within this cluster should prepare themselves through broad coverage of social statistics.

Health and Development. Explores the physiological, cultural, and social impacts of international development that introduces biomedicine, impacts food producing technology, and affects the political economy of health and health care. Courses in this specialization address physiological and social factors affecting health through the life cycle; reproduction and health; cultural diversity and health (gender, class, ethnicity; epidemiology of infectious and chronic diseases) including malaria, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease; and the economics of health and health care.

Population and Environment. Considers the relationship of population to the quality of the natural environment and its ability to sustain life. Major themes include the debate over sustainable development and the impact of population growth on land and sea resources, pollution and climate, together with relationships between population and culture, consumption and distribution of resources, and human conflict. Specific issues include use and quality of energy, water and land, deforestation and desertification, agricultural and industrial practices, and urbanization. The cluster focuses on issues of the commons, particularly governance, including the role of international governmental and nongovernmental organizations and social movements.

Reproduction and Human Resources. Examines the dynamics of producing human resources and their interactions with economic, social, and cultural factors. Analyses focus on both the quantity and quality of human resources, their causes and consequences. Topic areas include marriage and family, human fertility, reproductive health, child survival, and the interaction of investment in human capital with economic development. Study of the organization, implementation, and evaluation of family planning programs also forms part of this interdisciplinary cluster.

Social Mobility and Spatial Dynamics. Focuses attention on social mobility in society and over space. It covers mobility both in situ and over space within and among social formations. It includes such topics as social stratification and inequality, labor markets and systems, and the spatial dynamics of migration and social change associated with urbanization, rural-urban relations, and regional development. These dimensions of population can be viewed at all social and spatial scales, from household and neighborhood to the urban, regional, national, and international level. Each topic is intrinsically multidimensional and lends itself to interdisciplinary perspectives. Courses are assembled to allow for such perspectives, while keeping consistent attention to spatial processes and patterns of population.

PPST Courses