POPST201-23A (HAM)

Population Studies

15 Points

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Division of Arts Law Psychology & Social Sciences
National Institute Demographic Economic Analysis


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: monique.mulder@waikato.ac.nz

Placement/WIL Coordinator(s)


Student Representative(s)

Lab Technician(s)


: melanie.chivers@waikato.ac.nz

You can contact staff by:

  • Calling +64 7 838 4466 select option 1, then enter the extension.
  • Extensions starting with 4, 5, 9 or 3 can also be direct dialled:
    • For extensions starting with 4: dial +64 7 838 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 5: dial +64 7 858 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 9: dial +64 7 837 extension.
    • For extensions starting with 3: dial +64 7 2620 + the last 3 digits of the extension e.g. 3123 = +64 7 262 0123.
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What this paper is about

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Population Studies is a highly applied discipline, in demand with employers and also well suited to postgraduate study or research. Population Studies equips students for job opportunities in a broad range of fields, such as policy analysis/advice in central or local government, marketing research, banking and commerce, health, education and general research/advisory/analyst positions. Its multidisciplinary nature makes it an ideal major to combine with other majors.

Successful completion of the course will equip students with a sound knowledge of Population Studies as a discipline. This will include basic demographic concepts and methods, as well as those drawn from Sociology, Geography and Economics which are central to Population Studies. Students should be able to apply these concepts and methods to real world scenarios and questions, demonstrating skills which are relevant in the job market. The course provides an essential foundation for students wishing to take further study or complete a major in Population Studies.

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How this paper will be taught

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This course provides a comprehensive introduction to the exciting multidisciplinary field of Population Studies. Students will gain a sound understanding of the demographic foundations of Population Studies, and explore some of the rich theories and methods drawn from related fields such as economics, geography, sociology and anthropology. This course includes local, national and global content to ensure that students understand both the population dynamics of Aotearoa New Zealand – including the distinctive nature of indigenous Māori demography and the broader international context.

The paper has five modules.

●Module 1 introduces students to Population Studies as a discipline, as well as a central concept, The Demographic
●Module 2 explores the underlying building blocks of population change: fertility, family formation, mortality and migration.
●Module 3 explores different forms of migration and the impacts that immigration has had on New Zealand’s population growth
and composition.
●Module 4 covers the applications and implications of population research with a particular focus on the policy implications of
population composition. We also examine why and how populations are projected into the future.
●Module 5 introduces students to the relationship between Population Studies and other core contributing disciplines, and are
encouraged to develop a critical lens about how populations are studied and represented.

A new module will be made available in Moodle fortnightly and includes self-paced lectures (uploaded weekly) and course readings.
Each module is accompanied by a quiz devoted to related concepts, indices, theories, and analytical techniques.

The course is entirely internally assessed (1:0). Assessment includes a mixture of quizzes, population briefs on focus topics, and a research report (2,500 word max).
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Required Readings

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Optional textbook:

Weeks JR. 2015. Population. An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, Twelfth Edition. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning.

(10th and 11th Editions are suitable).

There are copies of the 2015 edition as well as earlier editions in the University of Waikato library. The e-book can be purchased from Cengage online for $74.95 - https://cengage.co.nz/product/title/population-an-introduction-to-concepts-and-is/isbn/9781305094505

Additional Resources: available on Moodle

There will be assigned readings for each lecture available on Moodle – ensure that you do the readings before the lecture. Throughout the course, supplementary items (e.g. related to emerging issues) will be provided as issues arise. Students are encouraged to keep an eye on the mass media generally for relevant, topical material. Use should also be made of the internet to keep abreast of major debates in the area of population and development: websites for the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation, and the World Bank are particularly useful. Statistics New Zealand and the Australian Bureau of Statistics websites are also valuable sources of freely available demographic data.

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Learning Outcomes

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Students who successfully complete the course should be able to:

  • Apply a range of demographic, social, geographic and economic concepts and methods to provide an understanding of populations
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  • Communicate your ideas in written form for a professional audience
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  • Describe how population change is both cause and effect of societal change
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Describe population processes in their local, national and global contexts
    Linked to the following assessments:
  • Describe the drivers and implications of population change
    Linked to the following assessments:
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How you will be assessed

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This paper utilises a mix of traditional and practical assessment. Traditional assessment refers to conventional short answer quizzes, discursive essays, etc. By contrast, practical assessment is an integrated form of teaching, learning and assessment via which students are required to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate a meaningful understanding and application of the knowledge and skills that they are acquiring. The course does not require mathematical ability. The focus is on communicating the ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’, ‘who’, ‘why’ and ‘so what?’ of population change. If nothing else, this should make you an interesting dinner guest.

Assessment Schedule

Quizzes are uploaded to Moodle Mondays at 2pm. Completed Quizzes are due on Fridays at 5pm.

All assessments are to be accessed and submitted through Moodle.

Open date/timeClose date/timeAssessmentValue (%)
Monday 13 March, 2pmFriday 17 March, 5pmQuiz 15%
Friday 24 March, 5pmPop brief #115%
Monday 27 March, 2pmFriday 31 March, 5pmQuiz 25%
Friday 14 April, 5pmPop brief #215%
Monday 24 April, 2pmFriday 28 April, 5pmQuiz 35%
Monday 1 May, 5pmReport outline15%
Monday 15 May, 2pmFriday 19 May, 5pmQuiz 45%
Friday 26 May, 5pmFinal report35%
Monday 29 May, 2pmFriday 2 June, 5pmBonus Quiz (optional)5%

Note: a very useful site for checking your knowledge is: http://quizlet.com/529702/population-and-migration-flash-cards/

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The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0. There is no final exam. The final exam makes up 0% of the overall mark.

The internal assessment/exam ratio (as stated in the University Calendar) is 100:0 or 0:0, whichever is more favourable for the student. The final exam makes up either 0% or 0% of the overall mark.

Component DescriptionDue Date TimePercentage of overall markSubmission MethodCompulsory
1. Quizzes 4 @ 5% each
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
2. Population briefs 2 @ 15% each
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
3. Report outline
1 May 2023
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
4. Final Report
26 May 2023
5:00 PM
  • Online: Submit through Moodle
Assessment Total:     100    
Failing to complete a compulsory assessment component of a paper will result in an IC grade
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