Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Policies and procedures involved in the Certificate Program are listed here. If you have questions on the administration of the Certificate Program, please contact Emilio Zagheni (Training Director), Aimée Dechter (Assistant Training Director), or a member of the CSDE Training Committee.


1. Coursework

The Certificate Program’s core coursework consists of 17 credit hours (16 for cohorts entering the program prior to Fall 2016) in core demography. The program requires an additional 3 elective courses (a minimum of 9 credit hours) that may be selected from a broad range of disciplines. In addition, students must comply with two distribution requirements:

  1. CSDE requires that at least one elective be offered outside the student’s degree-granting department and not cross-listed in the degree-granting department. Exposure to multiple disciplinary perspectives is a foundation of the Demographic Methods Certificate program.
  2. The Graduate School limits overlap of coursework applied toward the certificate and the student’s degree granting unit to electives and to a maximum of 6 credits. Because graduate certificates are intended to enhance graduate education beyond the regular course of study, overlap is not permitted with required courses or between two or more graduate certificates. More detailed information on overlapping credits is below.

Learn about Restrictions on Credit Overlap

The courses that qualify as eligible electives may vary over time as the content of courses and course offerings change based on developments in the field and the expertise of the faculty. Students may identify a course that is not on the list of electives and ask that it be considered for inclusion by submitting a formal requests containing course materials (i.e., syllabus, reading lists, and assignments) to the Assistant Training Director,

Required and elective courses are listed below.

Browse Courses

2. Two-Year Terminal Degree Programs

By formal request, Trainees enrolled in two-year terminal degree programs may complete fewer than 6 quarters of the weekly seminar, CSDE 501.

3. Restrictions on Credit Overlap

The Graduate School ensures that graduate certificate programs for matriculated graduate students are not simply a subset of courses required for their degree by limiting the overlap of coursework applied towards both programs to 6 credits and limiting the overlap to elective coursework in each program (Memo 43: Graduate Certificates).  When enrolled in two degree programs (e.g., terminal masters and doctorate) and a graduate certificate program, no course can count for all three programs, and the maximum overlap of any one course can only be between two of the three programs. Moreover, overlap of coursework between Graduate Certificate programs is prohibited. There are no restrictions on overlap with certificate programs that are not under the purview of the Graduate School. These programs do not record the certificate on transcripts and are distinct from graduate certificates.

Tracking Credits across Programs

Trainees must work with their graduate program coordinators to develop a course plan that meets the requirements of their degree and those of the Certificate Program. CSDE strongly recommends Trainees track certificate activity and which courses they are using for which degree. Developing curriculum plans for the distribution of courses and credits is also recommended, as misallocating credits can be costly.

4. Faculty Mentoring

The population research community strongly adheres to the value of apprenticeship training in conjunction with coursework. CSDE Trainees are required to engage in a research apprenticeship or close collaboration with a CSDE Affiliate mentor. The Director or Assistant Director of Training will help pair trainees with an appropriate CSDE faculty Affiliate Mentor. The mentor is responsible for advising the Trainee on his/her individual research program and involving the Trainee in the mentor’s research project or another faculty member’s project that more closely aligns with the trainee’s interests.

5. NIH Requirements

Trainees must acknowledge support provided directly or indirectly by institutional and individual grants. A template can be copied onto presentations, posters, papers, and publications to acknowledge direct and indirect funding.

The NIH Public Access Policy ensures that the public has access to the published results from NIH funded research. To comply, all CSDE Trainees and Affiliates must deposit manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central and receive a PCMCID number (if the journal has not already done this for you).

Trainees entering the program in Fall 2015 and later complete Individualized Development Plans (IDP) and update them in coordination with their advisors.

Trainees are also required to complete online certification in the Protection of Human Research Subjects (PHRS). There are several online options. The spring Proseminar (CSDE 502) requires the CITI web-based training course called Human Subjects Learners (Stage 1 – Basic Course).

6. Minimum GPA

Successful completion of the Demographic Methods Graduate Certificate requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the core courses and 2.7 or higher for each additional course counted toward the certificate.

7. Mandatory Reporting

Trainees must submit progress reports and evaluations of the training program at least annually, usually in Spring Quarter, and promptly respond to other CSDE requests for updates and other information.


1. Requesting a Certificate

Students are responsible for tracking their progress in the Demographic Methods Certificate program and working with the administrator(s) of their graduate degree program to distribute courses and credits across degrees and Graduate Certificates appropriately. Upon fulfilling the requirements of the Demographic Methods Certificate program, students request the certificate and submit documentation to the CSDE Assistant Training Director, Aimée Dechter , that demonstrates that they successfully completed the Certificate’s required courses and eligible electives and they do not need these credits for any other Graduate Certificate or degree, beyond the overlap permitted by the Graduate School and CSDE, which is stipulated in the Policies section of the CSDE website, with additional detail provided in the Graduate School Memo 43: Graduate Certificate . The following two forms of  documentation must be submitted along with the request to receive the certificate:

  1. To show the successful completion of the required and elective courses, submit a transcript in a pdf format in which you have highlighted the required courses and three electives that you have completed. Save the pdf file with the option to display highlighting.
  2. To demonstrate that these courses comply with the restriction on overlapping credits across  degrees and Graduate Certificates, submit a detailed degree audit or a list of each course applied to the Demographic Methods Certificate alongside its number of credits and any degrees for which the credits overlap. The degree audit or list must clearly demonstrate the following
    • No more than 6 credits overlap between the Demographic Methods Certificate and your degrees, combined.
    • The 6 overlapping credits are limited to the elective coursework in each program.
    • No credits overlap between the Demographic Methods Certificate and another Graduate  Certificate

The degree audit or list must be approved by the administrator of your graduate program. The graduate program administrator may send the documentation or the student may send the documentation, copying the graduate administrator. The documentation and request should be sent to the CSDE Assistant Training Director. The process of determining the distribution of credits across degrees and certificates takes time. Please let your graduate program administrator know in advance that you will need their assistance.

Students may request the certificate and submit the documentation to CSDE anytime but if the request is made less than three or four weeks before the end of a quarter, the certificate may not appear on the transcript until the end of the following quarter because while CSDE approves certificates on a rolling basic, the Graduate School and Registrar’s office typically process the certificates in bulk at the end of each quarter.  Students who have been awarded certificates before the end of spring quarter will be presented with a framed certificate at CSDE’s end of year reception in June.

2. Requesting a Travel Grant

Presenting at conferences is important for academic and professional growth, and CSDE recognizes this. CSDE offers about five grants (depending on funding) each year to support travel for research presentations at the Annual Meeting of the Population Association of America. The grant covers up to $500 in travel and conference-related expenses, including hotel and a per diem for meals. The call for applications is generally made soon after PAA sessions are completed and presenters are informed.

Funds are limited. Only trainees presenting their research in a paper or poster session are eligible for travel awards. Priority is given to single authors and first authors in a paper session. Higher order authorship paper presentations and poster presentations receive lower priority. Consideration may also be given to efforts to secure travel funding outside of CSDE in previous years.

The application consists of an online questionnaire, CV, and a proposed budget following a template. Applicants will be asked about prior travel funding from CSDE, the Graduate School , the GPSS Travel Grants Program, and home departments. The application will ask for the session, whether it is a paper or poster session, the authors of the paper in order, and the title of the paper.

3. Course Waivers

Courses may be waived based on the completion of comparable courses at another institution. Waiver requests will be assessed by CSDE Affiliates from the discipline on the basis of course comparability—namely, the rigor, depth, and breadth of the material. The request must contain course materials (i.e., syllabus, reading lists, and assignments) and should also include transcripts and graded assignments, including papers and problem sets. Send these materials to the Assistant Training Director .

4. Withdrawing & Removing the Certificate Code

Under no circumstances should a student or their department remove the Demographic Methods Certificate code from a student’s record without first informing CSDE one week in advance.

Students who wish to remove the certificate code from their records, for any reason, must either first inform the Assistant Training Director, Aimée Dechter, before making the request, or ask her to petition the Graduate School to remove the code.  Otherwise CSDE has no  knowledge of the student’s status in the certificate program. Once the code is removed, CSDE can no longer access the student’s records.

In rare circumstances, the number of degree programs and Graduate Certificate Programs can exceed the Graduate School’s record capacity. Students who have received the Certificate but have no room for another Certificate or degree they are pursuing should request removal of the Demographic Methods Certificate code by contacting Aimée Dechter.