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Population Studies, 7.5 Credits

Swedish name: Befolkningshistoria

This syllabus is valid: 2018-02-26 and until further notice

Course code: 1HI018

Credit points: 7.5

Education level: Second cycle

Main Field of Study and progress level: History: Second cycle, has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements

Grading scale: VG Pass with distinction, G Pass, U Fail

Revised by: Head of Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, 2018-03-01


There is a mutual and strong relationship between the development and composition of a society’s population and changes in the economy, cultural values and institutions. Changes in the composition and size of the population reflect the changing equilibrium between available resources and human behaviour and attitudes. The size and composition of the population also set boundaries for what kind of developmental paths a society can take at a given point in history. The aim of this course is to provide insights into what we know and what we do not know about the mechanisms that have generated population changes and how these changes in population size and composition in turn have influenced the long-term development of society. Student of the course will achieve insight into population dynamics and the history of population movements, such as changes in fertility and mortality patterns in Sweden and other Western countries since the late 18th century up until today. The social and demographic history of the family and how changes in the economy, institutions and cultural values are interconnected with new family behaviour such as reductions of family size, is a vital theme of the course. The driving forces of the epidemiological transition in Sweden and Europe and the history of diseases and public health as well as the history of the family and family-planning will therefore be an important part of the curriculum.

Expected learning outcomes

After completion of the course students will:

Knowledge and Understanding:
  • demonstrate an understanding of basic demographic concepts.
  • demonstrate an understanding of population dynamics and the changes in mortality and fertility in Western countries during the last 200 years.
  • demonstrate an understanding of theoretical differences among the most influential models that have been put forward in demographic research to account for the first (industrial) demographic transition.
  • demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of the of the second (post-industrial) demographic transition that attempts to explain new patterns of family behaviour and the emergence of ”lowest-low fertiltiy” in parts of the developed world since the 1960s.
Skills and Ability:
  • be able to correctly apply basic demographic concepts when analysing population dynamics.
  • be able to compare and evaluate the strength and weaknesses of different demographic models.
Assessment and Approach:
  • problematize, assess and critically discuss results from demographic research.

Required Knowledge

Univ: History C, or similar. Proficiency in English equivalent to Swedish upper secondary course English A. When the language of instruction is Swedish, applicants must prove proficiency in Swedish to the level required for basic eligibility for higher studies.

Form of instruction

This course is taught fully online, with no face-to-face meetings. Course material and other information is made available through the course website in Cambro, where also seminars and examinations are carried out.

Students are required to have access to a computer and a stable internet connection.


Examination modes

The examination of the course will consist of seminars and written individual assignments.

On the course as a whole, the grades given are Fail (U), Pass (G), or Pass with Distinction (VG). In order to pass the course as a whole, all mandatory parts must be passed as well. The final grade of the course is a summary assessment of the results and decided only after all mandatory parts are passed. A student who has passed an examination may not be re-examined.
For students who do not pass the regular examination there is another opportunity to do the examination within two months and a third opportunity within one year. 
A student who has failed two examinations for a course or segment of a course, has the right to have another examiner appointed. Requests for new examiners are made to the Faculty of Humanities.

Academic credit transfer
Transfer of credits is handled by Student Services/Degree Evaluation Office. See


Valid from: 2018 week 9

Social change and health in Sweden. 250 years of politics and practice
Sundin Jan, Willner Sam
Swedish National Institute for Public Health : 2007 :

Livi Bacci Massimo.
A concise history of world population
5th ed. : Oxford : Wiley-Blackwell : 2012. : 271 s. :
ISBN: 0470673206
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Therborn Göran
Between sex and power : family in the world, 1900-2000
London : Routledge : 2004 : 379 s. :
ISBN: 0-415-30078-9
Search Album, the University Library catalogue

Plus a selection of articles