380.755.01 | AY 2013-2014 - Summer Term | 2 Credit(s)
T 1:30:00 PM
  • Welcome Message

    Welcome to Population Dynamics and Public Health.  Public health is a population science and gaining an understanding of how trends and patterns of births, deaths and migration determine the size, shape and location of populations is the critical foundation for your work in all the other public health disciplines.  

    This course has been developed by Professors Henry Mosley, MD, MPH, a public health physician and Stan Becker, PhD a demographer to specifically meet the needs of students in the MPH program.  A special feature of this course is the participation by internationally recognized faculty who will  highlight the relevance of the specific components of population change to the field of public health. 

    We trust that you will find this an interesting and challenging course that will prepare you for your studies of public health.


  • Course Description
    Provides an overview of population dynamics in US and the world and their implications for health trends at the individual, family, community and global levels.
  • Course topics
    • Global Population Growth and the Demographic Transition
    • Reproductive Levels and Patterns: Replenishing the Population
    • Mortality Levels and Trends: The Epidemiological Transition
    • Population Age and Sex Composition and Implications for Health Programs
    • Sources of  Population Data ; International and National
    • Population, Wealth and Development
    • Migration: Internal, International and Social and Health Consequences
    • Population, Health and the Environment
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Describe the major trends and patterns of domestic and international population dynamics (mortality, fertility and migration) and the basic components of population size, distribution and composition
    • Identify selected sources of population data and their strengths and limitations, and apply population methods to public health program planning
    • Identify some key health policy interventions which affect population change
  • Course Format

    This course is designed so that the students will gain the maximun benefit  from contact with the senior faculty during the Tuesday lecture sessions. Specifically, during this class time the faculty will be presenting and discussing case studies that will give a deeper understanding of the principles and concepts relating to the population topic being covered.

    The required weekly readings, mini-lectures and Gapminder Exercises have been developed to assure that students are prepared in advance for the more in-depth discussions by the faculty in the Thursday lectures.  Upon completing these assignments and the self-assessment quizzes, the students will gain the knowledge of the core concepts, definitions and methodologies relating to the topic being discussed. 

    The lab periods are largely open sessions where the student teams, in addition to working on their projects for presentation, can review the concepts and issues already covered as well as the new topics for the next week.  Faculty will be available in all lab sessions to clarify concepts and answer any questions.  TAs will be available by appointment for special assistance as needed.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Weekly Assignments: Description and Guidelines

    Course topics will be introduced with short readings, mini-lectures. and Gapminder exercises.  In order to prepare for each Thursday's class session, students will be required  to complete the readings, watch the mini-lectures posted online, and take the self-assessment quiz based on these materials.  

    Online self-assessment quizzes will become available one week before the lecture and will be due by 11:59 PM each Monday, before the Tuesday session.  

    The self-assesssment quizzes will be scored but the scores themsleves will not count toward the student's final grades.  Instead, credit will be given for completing each self-assessment quiz prior to the due date/time.  Failure to complete an online quiz by the date/time will result in the loss of 2 points for each quiz from the final grade.

  • Team Projects and Class Presentation

    In the first lab session, the class will be randomly divided into teams of 5 persons each; team members will work together throughout the labs.

     Each team will choose public health issue to address that will  require some demographic background.  The team will need to describe and interpret the relevant demographic picture, search the literature for information related to the issue and then give their conclusions.  

    The final output of this assignment will be a short (15-20 minute) presentation given to the class using PowerPoint or other media, and also posted to the CoursePlus Drop Box along with the relevant bibliography.

    Full instructions for this Final Project Assignment is given in Lab 1 in the CoursePlus web site 

    Please refer to this file.
  • Estimated Workload

    In addition to participation in the 1 hour lecture and 2 hour lab each week, the estimated course workload outside class is as follows:

    • The weekly readings, mini-lectures and online self-assessment quizzes will take about 2 hours per week
    • The preparation of the Final Team Project will require about 1 hour per week for each team member
  • Exam Format

    The mid-term and final exams with have multiple choice, true-false and short answer questions as well as some basic calculations of demographic measures.

  • Methods of Assessment

    The grade in this course will be determined by the following:

    • Timely completion of the weekly Assignment online quizes  - 10 points
    • Mid-term examination - 30 points
    • Final examination - 45 points
    • Final team project assignment - 15 points
  • Required Texts and Supplemental References

    There are two required texts for this course.  Both are published by the Population Reference Bureau and are freely available on the web.  We have made these available in the Online Library linked to the Introduction Session.  All of the required readings listed in the weekly Assignment sessions  are in these two monographs.  These are:

    1. “Population: A Lively Introduction”, 5th Edition, 2007.
    2. "PRB's Population Handbook", 6th Edition, 2011.

    There are a number of Supplemental References in the Online Library that you will find linked to the Assignment and the Lecture sessions.  These are made available for students interested in getting a broader understanding of the topic being covered.  Reading these references is optional.

  • Contact Information
    Stan Becker
    Henry Mosley
    Amy Tsui
    Emily Agree
    David Bishai
    Court Robinson
    Donna Strobino
    Adel Takruri
    Rachel Chase
  • Intended Audience
    MPH Students
  • Prerequisites



  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at dss@jhsph.edu.