Approved Population Courses 2019-2020

Department of Anthropology

Anthropology 897.037  

Last offered fall 2015 (P. Leslie)

ENVIRONMENT AND POPULATION: The ecology of risk, uncertainty, and demographic behavior (3)

Concern over the relationship between population and environment abounds. But the most salient research and discussion has focused on one aspect of the relationship --human impact on the environment. In this seminar, we will be concerned primarily, though not exclusively, with the other side of the relationship - how environmental characteristics (especially the physical and biotic environments, but also the social/economic/political environment as it interacts with the above) affect population characteristics and dynamics. These two "directional arrows" are of course ultimately inseparable; the distinction here is one of emphasis. We will be concerned not only with how environmental characteristics affect human populations, but also with how responses to those environmental characteristics - mitigation or coping - in turn affect the environment. That is, we will whenever possible take a systems view. A special emphasis will be on the biological and behavioral consequences of environmental fluctuations and unpredictability.
(approved December 2005)

Anthropology 898.076

Last offered spring 2018 (A. Thompson)


This course explores the biological and behavioral characteristics of human populations from a biocultural and evolutionary perspective. We will examine the environmental and social factors that shape human biology and health from the cellular to the societal levels, from conception to old age, and across a range of comparative settings. Topics will include: epigenetics, nutrition and metabolism, growth and development, fertility and reproduction, immunology, cardiovascular health, and aging. Throughout the class, we will draw on classic studies and modern approaches from human biology, public health and medical anthropology to explore the multi-faceted determinants of human biology and health.
(approved January 2016)

Department of Biostatistics

Biostatistics 670 

Offered fall 2018 (R. Bilsborrow and C. Suchindran)


Source and interpretation of demographic data; rates and ratios, standardization, complete and abridged life tables; estimation and projection of fertility, mortality, migration, and population composition.

Department of Economics

Economics 850

Last offered spring 2018 (D. Gilleskie)


Prerequisite, Economics 710 and 771 or permission of the instructor. Measurement and modeling of the demand for medical care, the demand for health behaviors,  the demand for and supply of health insurance, and the incorporation of health, medical care, and health insurance in determining both short and long run labor supply.
(approved December 2011) 

Economics 880 

Offered fall 2018 (K. Peter)


Econ 880 is the first course in the labor economics sequence. We will cover the basics of labor supply, labor demand, human capital, and wages. The course has three main objectives. The first is to develop a critical understanding of the literature in these areas and to identify major issues for future research. The second is to become comfortable with a variety of empirical tools commonly used in the labor field and to use these tools in students’ research projects. The third is to gain background knowledge of important stylized facts about labor markets.
(approved December 2003)

Economics 881 

Last offered offered spring 2017 (J. Fruehwirth)


This course will cover a range of topics in labor economics, including social interactions, economics of education, early childhood intervention, and discrimination. As a unifying theme, we will explore the potential of different policies to alleviate racial and economic inequalities. There will be an emphasis on how economic theory and econometric methods can be used to infer causal, policy-relevant parameters.
(approved December 2003)

Department of Epidemiology

Epidemiology 757

Last offered spring 2017 (S. Weir)


This course is designed to provide an overview of key issues in HIV/AIDS epidemiology to students interested in studying the proximate determinants of the HIV epidemic in developing countries. In addition to getting expert lectures on biological factors of HIV important for understanding the course of an epidemic in a country, students are exposed to topics such as: the methods used by UNAIDS to estimate HIV prevalence in a country and sources of bias in these estimates; the methods used to monitor the proximate determinants of the HIV epidemic in a country including the use of DHS data; and ethical issues raised in decision making about the allocation of prevention and treatment funding.
(approved December 2007)

Epidemiology 826

Offered fall 2018 (A. Aiello and C. Martin)


Social determinants are important drivers of individual and population health. Epidemiologists should understand what social determinants are, how they are derived, and how they can be used in study design, analysis, and interpretation of results. The objective of this course is to provide a foundation for the concepts and theory that underlie social epidemiologic research, including a discussion of how to use those concepts to inform applied research.
(approved December 2006)

Epidemiology 827

Last offered spring 2018 (W. Robinson)


This course examines analytic methods for improving causal inference when investigating social determinants of health.  Topics include causal inference, challenges to investigating the roles of social factors and neighborhoods in health research, and various methods relevant to social epidemiological research.
(approved December 2011)

Department of Geography

Geography 542 

Last offered fall 2016 (M. Emch)


This course focuses on the theory behind neighborhood determinants of health, which is an important area in population health research. It is a survey course that covers the fundamental theory behind neighborhood effects and the approaches for measuring them. The course involves a review of empirical and theoretical work from several different fields including geography, sociology, and public health.
(approved December 2006)

Geography 813 

Offered fall 2018 (S. Walsh)

SEMINAR IN PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY: Land Use/Land Cover Dynamics and Human-Environment Interactions (3)

Department of Maternal and Child Health

Maternal Health Child Health 716

Last offered spring 2018 (S. Bloom and S. Curtis)


This course will provide an overview of the critical issues in international family planning and reproductive health, including major theoretical frameworks, patterns and trends over time, and family planning and reproductive health policy development. We will trace the evolution of the field from its demographic roots through the current expansion to a broader reproductive health perspective. The main theoretical models to explain the determinants of fertility and reproductive mortality and morbidity will be presented. Demographic data will be used to describe the trends and patterns of family planning and reproductive health within the global context. The development of population, family planning and reproductive health policy through the last three decades, along with the more recent focus on the field within the context of health and human rights, will be discussed.
(approved December 2006)

Maternal and Child Health 722

Offered fall 2018 (K. Singh Ongechi)


The focus of this population-based course includes emphases on measurement, trends, theory and both the biological and social determinants of maternal and child health. In the course the main causes of maternal and under-five morbidity and mortality in developing countries are presented as well as the interventions, policies and research which address these causes. Students learn how to use conceptual models and theory to understand how biological and social factors interact to influence health outcomes. The main social factors studied are poverty, education, and gender equality.
(approved December 2012)

Maternal and Child Health 862

Last offered spring 2018 (G. Angeles)


The focus of this course is developing the skills for examining data in order to assess whether a program had an impact on demographic or health outcomes or behaviors of a given population group. Even though good part of the course will be spent reviewing evaluation designs and the application of statistical techniques for evaluating programs, this is not a course in statistics, this is a course on program evaluation, therefore, the interest is in understanding what are the main issues involved in correctly answering the question: Does a program have an impact? and, if the answer is yes, by how much? We will review how to design and carry out a program evaluation and developing the criteria for selecting the appropriate analytical procedure for evaluating a program given the characteristics of the outcome under examination, the program, and the data available to the evaluator. Of course, students should know how to apply the chosen analytical procedure. Emphasis is given to the appropriate interpretation of results in the context of evaluating a program. This course examines the challenges for implementing program impact evaluations in developing countries. Most applications are drawn from impact evaluations of population and MCH programs in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
(approved December 2006)

Department of Nutrition

Nutrition 745 

Offered fall 2018 (L. Adair and M. Bentley)


Provides a broad overview of international nutrition research issues, programs, and policies. Topics will include micronutrient deficiencies, child feeding and growth, determinants of under- and over-nutrition, chronic disease and nutrition, food fortification and supplementation, and nutrition intervention programs and policy.
(approved December 2003)

Department of Public Policy

Public Policy 895  

Last offered spring 2012 (S. Handa)


This course covers topics in poverty, welfare and human resources from an economic perspective, and will be of interest to students who want to specialize in social and behavioral approaches to the study of population and demographic phenomena.
(approved November 2004)

Department of Sociology

Sociology 620

Last offered spring 2016 (Y. Claire Yang)


This seminar surveys the major methodological tools and empirical studies of aging and cohort analysis that are of enduring importance to the understanding of social change, epidemiologic trends, and related population and life course processes and dynamics. It aims to provide useful guidelines on how to conduct such analysis. It first introduces the theoretical background and principles of the aging and cohort analysis paradigm. This is followed by an introduction of key models and methods within the frameworks of three common research designs in empirical research. Discussion within each design emphasizes the substantive problems that result from the lack of adequate analytic strategies and the developments of new models and methods that address these problems. The objectives are for students to obtain an understanding of key concepts, theories, methods, and research findings so that they can begin contributing to current research in a broad range of areas in which time and change are of concerns such as cancer, chronic diseases, mortality, fertility, migration, marriage and family, quality of life, and longevity.
(approved December 2012)

Sociology 818

Last offered spring 2018 (M. Ifatunji)


The study of race and ethnicity is a core feature of sociology, demography and the social sciences more broadly. It also continues to be one of the least understood topic areas and subfields. Many investigators are not adequately trained in the particulars of studying race and ethnicity and instead draw their understanding of these topics from public discourse. This course is designed to develop expert thinkers in this important area of social science. After completing the course, students will be able to reckon with the conceptual nuance and complexity of race and ethnicity. In order to reach this goal, the course begins by reviewing the state-of-the-art for racial and ethnic ontologies and offering a new ontology for the study of race and ethnicity in the social sciences – i.e., ‘ethnoraciality.’ Next, the course reviews current thinking on racism and prejudice and offers a revised theorization of how White supremacy structures ethnoraciality and the political economies of Western societies – i.e., ‘ethnoracial orders.’ Then, after developing a conceptual understanding of ethnoraciality and order, the course demonstrates the utility of these perspectives by conducting a systematic historiography of the formation of the United States, including its constitution, the incorporation of major territories and various periods of immigration. Finally, the course surveys several key areas of research on race and ethnicity: segregation, criminal justice, education, economics, health and research epistemology.
(approved January 2017)

Sociology 820 

Last offered fall 2017 (L. Pearce)


This graduate seminar will introduce students to a wide range of studies in the sociology of family, improving their ability to critically analyze work in this field and inspiring students' own family-related research. The course materials draw on a variety of theoretical, historical, cultural and methodological perspectives to examine topics such as union formation and dissolution, family relationships, childbearing, parenthood, and intergenerational exchanges.
(approved December 2003)

Sociology 830 

Offered fall 2018 (S. P. Morgan)


This is the first part of a two-course sequence that is designed as a basic graduate-level introduction to demography. This part of the course will cover basic concepts and tools, sources of demographic data, and the study of mortality and fertility. The second semester will cover stable population theory, migration, population distribution, population policy, and estimates and projections. Class-time will be devoted to both lecture and discussion, depending on the nature of the topic.

Sociology 831 

Last offered spring 2015 (Y. Cai)


This course is designed to teach the skills necessary to be an effective social demographer. Half of the class time will be in the computer lab devoted to hands on manipulation of demographic data from a variety of sources. The course will be "problem-based" with time spent working on several cases in depth and developing analytic skills.

Sociology 832 

Offered fall 2018 (J. Hagan)


Treats migration trends, patterns, and differentials and their effects on population distribution in continental and regional areas. Attention is given to theoretical and methodological problems in the study of population movement.
(approved December 2005)

Sociology 833 

Last offered fall 2015 (S. P. Morgan and Y. Cai)


Sociology 851
Last offered fall 2017 (K. Weisshaar)

Sociology of Gender (3)

The course covers major classical and current approaches to social stratification in sociology, with some special emphasis on evolutionary approaches, issues related to the evolution of social inequality with industrial development and globalization, and comparative social mobility
(approved January 2018)

Sociology 863

Offered fall 2018 (L. Richardson)


This seminar provides a broad introduction to the sociology of health, illness, and health care. We will consider classic and contemporary perspectives on a selected set of key topics in this field. Both theoretical orientations that motivate work on these topics and empirical evidence generated from this work will be covered. Among the questions we will consider are: How are health and illness (socially) constructed? What function does the social construction of health and illness play? How are health and illness socially distributed? How do social factors “get under the skin”? What role does medicine play in producing health in our society? And what else (besides medicine) is needed to improve population health and reduce health inequalities?
(approved January 2015)

Sociology 950

Last offered spring 2015 (K. Harris)


This course is designed to integrate the theory and research literature on health and developmental trajectories across the life course from early adolescence into adulthood based on the design and data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health). Within the broad life course framework focusing particularly on the transition to adulthood, this course will facilitate student research using Add Health (and other population-representative longitudinal datasets upon approval). Add Health was designed to study the causes of health and health behavior in adolescence and the transition to adulthood with special emphasis on the effects of the social contexts of young people’s lives. The study was designed by population researchers at the Carolina Population Center at UNC, and has been funded through the Demographic and Behavioral Science Branch of NICHD as three program projects from 1994-2013. The design evolved from theoretical notions of how the social and physical environment influence individual health and health behavior among adolescents and their outcomes in young adulthood. In addition to comprehensive demographic, social, behavioral, and biological data on individuals, independent measurement of contextual data on the family, siblings, the school, friends, the peer network, romantic and sexual partners, the neighborhood, the community, and state laws and policies have been collected for rich multilevel analyses of main and interactive environmental influences on health and health behavior.
(approved December 2012)

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