Penn State World Campus offers new graduate certificate in applied demography

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State is offering the country’s first online graduate program in applied demography, aimed at equipping professionals in business, government and nonprofits to analyze and use demographic data and statistics.

The 12-credit program, offered by the College of the Liberal Arts through Penn State World Campus, leads to a certificate in applied demography.

“This certificate will provide working professionals with the skills they need to do work in areas such as consulting, data analysis and local and regional planning,” said lead faculty member Alexis R. Santos. Santos said the program will focus on hands-on applications and analysis of real-world cases.

“In an era of tight budgets, you have to know the population you’re serving.”

-- Gordon De Jong, Penn State professor of sociology and demography

Applied demography involves the measurement and analysis of population change — through births, deaths, immigrating, aging and changes in family patterns such as divorce and cohabitation.

Gordon De Jong, professor of sociology and demography and co-founder of the Population Research Institute at Penn State, said the new program is timely because of the greater availability of data and an increasing emphasis on data-driven decision-making. “In an era of tight budgets, you have to know the population you’re serving,” he said.

The tools and methods taught in the certificate program are applicable to the work of market research analysts, political scientists, statisticians, local and regional planners and economists in both the public and private sectors, Santos said. A local government might use demographic analysis to know whether to build a new school or a nursing home, or where to locate a hospital. Or, a company might use demographic analysis of potential customers to determine where to locate a new business.

“This program will allow people who routinely work with demographic data and methods to augment their knowledge and skills, which in turn will help them meet their professional goals,” said John Iceland, head of Penn State’s Department of Sociology and Criminology.

“The fact that it's a World Campus program also permits people to continue their learning at a top program without taking a break from their work and careers.”

More information is available on the World Campus website.

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Last Updated April 14, 2016