International Graduate Program of the Asian Demographic Research Institute

School of Sociology and Political Science

Shanghai University


The International Graduate Program in Asian Demographic Research is an English-taught post-graduate program under the Asian Demographic Research Institute (ADRI), specially designed for international and Chinese students who are interested in demography and scientific studies of population-related issues, particularly in Asia. As a component of the multi-disciplinary Post-graduate Program of Global Studies (PPGS) at Shanghai University, this program reflects ADRI’s mission of training a new generation of demographers to undertake in-depth comparative analysis in Asia, the continent that is home to more than half of the world’s population.

Students of this program will gain a solid foundation in theories and methods for understanding the determinants and consequences of population dynamics, modern techniques for collecting and processing population data, and statistical and mathematical models and tools for analyzing and simulating population-socioeconomic-environment interactions. Instruction is provided by ADRI’s faculty members, leading international experts in their fields of study who have graduated from and taught in world-class universities in the US, Europe, and Australia. Students will also benefit greatly from frequent guest lectures, including lectures by some of the world’s most respected demographers. Through the network of the Asian MetaCentre for Population and Sustainable Development Analysis, of which ADRI serves as the headquarters, students will have opportunities to participate in demographic training workshops and other exchange programs with member institutes of the Asian MetaCentre.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will have developed a solid base of knowledge in the discipline of demography, developed contacts with an extensive network of established scholars, and be prepared for a career in Asian population research, including research in support of policy or business analyses.


  • Credits: at least 47 Credits in total

At least 47 credits are needed to get a degree, among which 7 credits are from the public courses, 10 credits from program compulsory courses, 20 credits from the optional courses, 4 credits from innovative courses, 4 credits from writing courses and 2 credits are from academic seminars.

  • Publication

At least one academic paper must be published (in English, Chinese, or the student’s native language) during the period of study before the degree is awarded.

  • Language of the Thesis

The master’s thesis must be prepared in English with an additional Chinese abstract of about 1500 characters.

  • Graduation Certificate

    1. After finish at least 47 credits’ study and pass all the course exams, students can attend proposal defense (the second year of the program) and middle-term evaluation (need to be finished before the winter semester of second year of the program).

    2. After the proposal defense and middle term evaluation, students can attend pre-defense of the these. After the pre-defense and pass the blind review, students can attend final defense.

    3. After the successful oral final defense and evaluation by the Academic Degrees Committee of Shanghai University, the graduation certificate and a Diploma of Master Degree in The People’s Republic of China will be issued.


The required time for this program is 3 years, and the maximum time is six years.


Public Courses (7 credits)

  • Theory and practice of socialism with Chinese characteristics in New era (2 credits)

  • Comprehensive Academic English (3 credits)

  • Public Physical Education (1 credit)

Choose one from the below two:

  • An Introduction to Dialectics of Nature (1 credit)

  • Marxism and Social Science Methodology (1 credit)

Compulsory Courses (10 credits)

  • Professional English (2 credits)

  • Demographic Methods and Technique I (4 credits)

  • Theory in Demography (4 credits)

Optional Courses (20 credits)

Please see the “Optional Course” in the curriculum form

Innovative Courses (4 credits)

  • Spatial Analysis for Population Studies (4 credits)

  • Population, Health and Health Policy (4 credits)

Writing Courses (4 credits)

  • Academic Writing in English (4 credits)

  • Academic Seminars (2 credits)


Please check the Application Entry website for application and all details (http://www.apply.shu.edu.cn)

Admission Requirements

1. Language Proficiency

IELTS (A) 6.5 or TOEFL IBT 90 or above received within the recent two years(TOEFL MyBest & TOEFL essentials Scores accepted). Other internationally recognized English proficiency tests with scores of the same level and proof of certificates is needed. The following types of applicants are exempt from taking the TOEFL or IELTS: 1 Native speakers of English;2 The previous degree is fully taught in English.

2. Academic Certificate

Be a bachelor’s degree holder; (Graduates who did not receive their degree certificates at the time of application should provide pre-graduation certificates issued by their schools or colleges to prove their ability to graduate smoothly and obtain their degree certificates by July of the application year.)

Relevant undergraduate academic background is required, or have completed undergraduate-level courses relevant to intended graduate major, with GPA 2.5 or above (4 point GPA system)

3. Accepted by a prospective professor at Shanghai University Choose supervisor online when choosing a major in the online application system and get accepted by a prospective professor.

Documents for Application

  1. ID photo

  2. Information page of passport

  3. Selfie video

  4. Highest degree certificate and official transcripts

  5. English proficiency certificates

  6. Statement of financial support (can download at https://apply.shu.edu.cn/application/index)

  7. 2 recommendation letters with signature

  8. Personal Statement (including study or research plan)

  9. Certificate of no criminal record (can download at https://apply.shu.edu.cn/application/index )

  10. RMB 500 Yuan or USD 80 dollars application fee

Deadline for Application:

Before the end of June each year


  1. Scholarships

There are some scholarships available for excellent international students who pursue an MA degree at Shanghai University. For detailed information, please visit https://apply.shu.edu.cn/application/scholarships.

  1. Tuition

RMB 32,500 per year (paid yearly and not in installments). Payment methods can be found at http://www.apply.shu.edu.cn/sys/web/Admissions.asp?id=5


A student who fails to meet the above requirements may be advised as to termination of the graduate study. The termination procedure complies with the University Policies.


Quarters (Three 10-week quarters and one 4-week summer quarter)

1st quarter, September to November

2nd quarter, December to January

3rd quarter, March to June

4th quarter, June-July

Vacations & Holidays:

Winter vacation, January to February for 1 month at most (including Spring Festival, varied according to the Chinese Lunar calendar)

Summer vacation, July to August for 2 months at most

National Day, October 1st to 7th

May Day, May 1

New Year Holiday, January 1

Qingming Festival, April 5

Duanwu Festival, one day in mid-June

Mid-Autumn Festival, 1 day in mid-September



Course code

Course Name





Public Courses


Theory and practice of socialism with   Chinese characteristics in New era






Comprehensive Academic English





Public Physical Education





An Introduction to Dialectics of Nature




Choose   one from two


Marxism and Social Science Methodology




Compulsory  Courses


Professional English





Demographic Methods and   Technique I





Theory in   Demography




Optional Courses


Data Science with R




Must choose at least five courses


Population Geography





Statistical Modeling with R.





Migration and   Urbanization





Population, Environment   and Climate Change





Demographic Method and   Technique II





Socio-ecological   interaction in a changing climate




Academic Writing


Academic Writing in English




Innovative Courses


Spatial   Analysis for Population Studies




Population, Health and Health Policy






Academic Seminar



Course exams


Proposal defense and mid-term   evaluation





Introduction to ADRI courses

  1. Statistical Modelling

Instructor: Guy Abel

This course focuses on the use of building and fitting statistical models using R. Throughout the course we use demographic data sets from a number of countries around the world. In the first part of the course we review popular R packages for presenting exploratory data analyses. The second part of the course covers the Central Limit Theorem in the context of regression analysis. The third part of the course illustrates the Generalized Linear Model (GLM) framework, including standard linear regression, binomial logistic regression and Poisson count regression and their implementation in R. In the final part, multilevel/hierarchical models are discussed and fitted. Upon completion of this course students will be familiar with standard statistical modelling techniques for analysing data as well as displaying and interpreting results effectively.

  1. Data Science with R

Instructor: Guy Abel

This course focuses on the use of the R statistical language. Practical hands-on exercises will be emphasized throughout the course to build up participants R experience. No prior knowledge of R is necessary, although participants should be comfortable using computers to handle data sets in statistical software (such as SPSS or Stata) and spreadsheets (such as Excel). Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with the R environment, its basic functions and some more advanced methods. We focus predominantly on the tidyverse suite of packages for importing data into R, manipulating data frames and different types of visualisations including creating maps and animations.

  1. Spatial Analysis for Population Studies

Instructor: Xu Zening

This course provides an overview of spatial themes and techniques in demography. Examples will be drawn from many substantive areas of demography (e.g., mortality, fertility, urbanization, migration, poverty). Students will learn about spatial construction of place, basic mapping skills and spatial data creation and geoprocessing as well as statistical methods to explore and model spatially-referenced data to answer demographic questions. In the most advanced topics, students examine the special difficulties that spatial data may create for standard regression approaches and learn models and approaches for undertaking multivariate regression analysis in the presence of spatial heterogeneity and/or spatial dependence. Emphasis in the course is evenly split between learning how to make maps and a variety of spatial analyses.

Topics covered include thematic mapping, spatial autocorrelation, spatial cluster detection, and spatial point pattern analysis. An important aspect of the course is to gain expertise in the use of software for spatial statistical analysis, such as the ArcGIS, GWR4 and GeoDa software.

  1. Population Geography

Instructor: Chen Chen

Is an aging population something to worry about?  What are the effects of family-planning policies? Do migrants compete with locals for jobs? Many of today’s critical social issues are related to population size, structure, or composition, and where these issues occur can make the answers different.  Population geographers study how location matters to demographic issues and processes. This course is an introduction to population geography.  Major topics in this course include fertility, mortality, and migration, with a focus on how they differ across time and space. With respect to each of these topics, we will learn a set of tools for measuring and describing population processes, data, and population composition. We will also discuss how social issues are related to demography and population geography.

Three major sets of questions will be explored in this course:

What do we know about a population at certain time, in a particular place? (What data sources are available? How can the data be modeled? How can we interpret the data?)

What is the significance of population size, structure, composition, and change? How do these aspects of population affect the economy, society, and culture?

How do populations compare across different regions and what can we learn from the comparisons?

At the end of this course, students should be able to evaluate claims about population issues that occur in different socioeconomic contexts. You should also understand what population geographers do and how they conduct their research. You will also gain some insight into how population geography is relevant to other areas of social science.

  1. Theories in Demography

Instructor: Nayoung Heo

This course focuses on exposing students to prominent and innovative demographic theories and concepts and their applications. There are no prerequisites for this course. Expected outcomes upon completion of this course are as follows. 1) Students feel comfortable with key demographic concepts and theories. 2) They understand the interdisciplinary nature of demography. 3) They can explain how study of population is crucial in explaining various social issues that we are facing now, such as low fertility and high old age dependency ratios. The course methods consist of traditional lecture, in-class discussion, writing assignments, student presentations, and development of a research proposal.

Reading Materials:

Poston, Jr, Dudley L., and Leon F. Bouvier. 2016. Population and Society: An Introduction to Demography. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Joseph McFalls, Jr., 2007, 5th Edition. “Population: A Lively Introduction.” Population Bulletin, March, 3-29

  1. Socio-ecological Interaction in a Changing Climate

Instructor: Kakinuma Kaoru

Demographic perspective is getting more important in environmental science. Frontier demographic research that collaborates with environmental information are essential to develop sustainable societies. This course provides a comprehensive examination of the interrelations between society and ecology in a changing climate. It will help student understand how climate and environmental change affect human society. Particularly we will focus on the effect of climate change on demographic and social issues such as aging, gender inequality, migration and health. Students also can learn about methodologies of data analysis by using Python and R to integrate environmental datasets with demographic datasets.

  1. Demographic Computations

Instructor: Samir KC

This course aims to introduce the concept of demography and its methods and techniques and to study population issues in the contemporary world by analyzing the past evolution and exploring scenarios for the future. In this hands-on programming course, participants will learn how to use basic and advanced spreadsheet techniques (in Excel and VBA) to present and analyze demographic data. Each topic is aimed to show how to apply conventional and advanced Excel techniques to solve typical tasks of demographic analysis. More specifically, students will embark on a journey to understand the evolution of population in a country of their choosing. We will then define future scenarios and project population into the future along the basic dimensions of age and sex. Once the model is ready, we will explore the policy implications of different assumptions.

There will be a frequent back and forth between the instructor explaining a new concept or method followed by the students implementing this method on their computers. Students will be provided with input data, but will also have to search for their own data on the internet and download it for their calculations. In addition to the regular active participation in class and in group discussions, students will have to deliver reports in which they demonstrate how they could apply the new methods to new data.

After completion of this course, students will be able to apply different demographic techniques using Excel and Visual Basic calculate and interpret life tables perform demographic projections applying cohort-component methodology learn how to work with and transform large demographic data sets.

  1. Demographic methods and techniques II

Instructor: Guillaume Marois

The course aims to provide knowledge and skills on advanced demographic methods for population estimates, analyses and forecasts. The course content focuses on methods for estimating or modeling demographic components from alternative/indirect sources, such as the own-children method for fertility rates, the multiple decrement life tables, the gravity models to estimate migration flow, the Rogers-Castro migration schedule, etc. At the end of each lesson, the professor shows how to implement demographic methods learned into a microsimulation framework, which provide basic skills to perform multidimensional population projection and simulation, while introducing some methods to forecast demographic components (extrapolation/interpolation, cohort development approach, etc.) and for validation/quality assessment. Most exercises are conducted with Statistical Analysis System (SAS OnDemand for Academics – Free edition) and Excel.

Students need to bring their own laptop in class with Excel (or equivalent). SAS OnDemand for Academics can be used online for free after subscription. The course is suitable for graduate students with background in basic demographic and statistical methods.

  1. Population, Health, and Health Policy

Instructor: Jinjing Wu

(2 taught by Jiaying Zhao)

The purpose of this course is to allow students to engage in population health thinking. This course has epidemiology as its core and is integrated with theories of relevant social sciences. Students will learn about different epidemiological study designs, including ecological, cross-sectional and cohort studies. Students will also learn how to use epidemiological tools to measure population health and quantify the magnitude of an association between exposure and disease. Brief reviews of relevant statistical methods and their applications in epidemiologic research and interpretation of results will be covered. This course also allows students to have a reservoir of theoretical frameworks (e.g., socio-ecological, life course, network perspectives) from which to draw when formulating research questions. This course also addresses the dynamic processes of fertility, mortality and migration and examines how the interaction of these processes is related to population health.

  1. Migration and Urbanization

Instructor: Zhen Li

(2 taught by Zhu Yu)

Internal migration and urbanization are two related but different phenomenon. To fully understand them, a multi-disciplinary perspective is required, which includes sociology, economics, demography and geography. The purpose of this course is to provide students with a comprehensive picture of the theories, methods and empirical research with regards to internal migration and urbanization. Combining lectures, student presentations, class discussions and seminars, this course aims to engage actively with the students and train them to do quality research on their own.

Reading Materials:

Castles, S., Miller, M. J., & Ammendola, G. (2005). The age of migration: International population movements in the modern world. New York: Guilford Press.

Swanson, David A. and Jacob S. Siegel. 2004. The Methods and Materials of Demography. Academic Press. Chapter 19.

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