Admission and Requirements

Predoctoral students with population studies interests in the departments of Anthropology, Economics, Political Science, Public Health, and Sociology may apply to the PSTC training program, a competitive and interdisciplinary graduate program that is comprised of coursework and other requirements. The PSTC does not grant degrees, but rather provides resources and opportunities in the form of faculty mentorship, financial support, and physical workspace for students with research interests in demography. 

To affiliate with the PSTC, graduate students must apply to the training program and reapply annually to maintain membership. Applications (and reapplications) are distributed in the spring. Some students indicate an interest in population studies on their applications to graduate school. Other students apply to the training program after enrollment in their graduate programs, sometimes after coursework sparks an interest in demography. Either way, admission into the training program begins with admission to one of the affiliated Ph.D. programs. Information about these programs can be found on their websites via the following links:

Each year approximately 50-60 trainees are active in the program. The PSTC offers students personalized attention and provides them with many opportunities for financial support, engagement in collaborative research, close interaction with faculty, and outstanding facilities.


To specialize in demography, trainees must complete three sets of requirements as stipulated by the Brown University Graduate School, participating departments, and the PSTC. The PSTC's core set of requirements 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. (See Department-specific requirements or Courses for course options.)
  3. Three professionalization workshops each year. Trainees are expected to attend all workshops while in residence at Brown (that is, not conducting fieldwork). These workshops focus on grant writing, research practice, responsible conduct of research, presentation skills, and methods.
  4. Regular attendance at the PSTC colloquia, graduate student meeting with external speakers, and other related events at the PSTC and its affiliated departments.
  5. Working groups. These groups focus on trainees and faculty presenting and discussing their work-in-progress papers or projects in a substantive area (Anthropological Demography, Computation, Development, Gender, Health, Inequality, Migration, etc.). 
  6. Complete Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) certification program. All trainees are required to complete this certification in the responsible conduct of research upon being accepted as trainees and must 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. (The PSTC will fund first-year trainees to attend PAA and other trainees to present papers at PAA.)
  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).

For more information, please email the PSTC.

For information on Brown University graduate admissions and financial assistance, please visit the Graduate School at Brown website.