To specialize in demography, trainees must complete three sets of requirements as stipulated by the Brown University Graduate School, the PSTC, and their home departments.


In addition to the degree requirements of the Graduate School and each participating department, the PSTC has a core set of requirements for all trainees to form a coherent and integrated training program that socializes and prepares trainees to be professional population scientists. This socialization and training takes place in semester-long courses, one- or two-week training modules, workshops, and activities. 

  1. Department-specific requirements. (Click here for details.)
  2. Semester-long population-related elective course outside of home department. These are drawn from the lists of required and elective courses in each department as well as extensive courses in spatial analysis offered through the S4 or our core departments. (See Department-specific requirements or Courses for course options.)
  3. Three professionalization workshops each year. Trainees will be required to attend all workshops while in residence at Brown (not conducting fieldwork). These workshops focus on: 1) grant writing, 2) research practice, 3) responsible conduct of research, and/or 4) methods.
  4. Attendance at the colloquia series and other related events at the PSTC and respective departments.
  5. One semester of a work-in-progress brown bag series (during final two years). This weekly seminar series is for advanced predoc (and postdoc) trainees and focuses on trainees presenting their dissertation work or research projects to each other.
  6. Complete Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) certification program. All trainees are required to complete this certification upon being accepted as trainees and to renew every three years. Broad information about this program is available on Brown’s Office of Sponsored Projects website. Visit the online training program website.
  7. Attend the annual meeting of the Population Association of America (at least once).
  8. Work on a population-related topic for dissertation research and have a mentor who is a PSTC-affiliated faculty member (usually primary advisor, but not necessarily so).

“I enjoyed and benefited a lot from the interdisciplinary research environment as a PSTC trainee.  I received comprehensive mentoring from multiple faculty members and had a great opportunity to learn about the most recent developments in demographic research from the weekly colloquia while establishing research connections with the invited scholars from all over the world.  The workshops on a variety of topics on demography and research practice in general were an important complement to my academic training. The computing infrastructure and staff support helped me tremendously in accomplishing my research projects.  Finally, the financial support for conference travel, fieldwork, and other research activities helped to further build my academic capacity.”

Hongwei Xu ’12, Faculty Research Fellow, Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan