GEOG31060 Population Geography

Academic Year 2023/2024

Population geographies offer different but complementary explorations of core issues affecting our present and past worlds. Taking as the focus populations, this module offers students the opportunity to explore how where we are matters to how we are born, the life we lead and our death. Bringing ideas to life through both scholarly engagements with concepts and practical activities, students will have the opportunity to focus on their areas of interest. Engaging with key contemporary and historical issues in population geography, students will be encouraged to work in groups and develop research skills that help us to understand the world around us. Engaging key scholars, students will investigate local, national, development and world population issues. Overall, students will use a spatial lens to critically interrogate population and social geographies, developing an understanding of populations and societies as created through statistics and power relations.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module, students will:
• Understand the links between population, political ecology, and the built and natural environments.
• Discuss contemporary population problems at different geographic scales, such as population growth and food, climate change and migration, segregation, rural to urban migration and public health infrastructure.
• Interpret demographic data and apply fundamental population geography principles to predict population outcomes.
• Assess the limitations of demographic data sources, such as difficulties collecting data on specific populations (i.e., the homeless), and ethical considerations of demographic data.
• Analyse demographic data using GIS to solve real-world problems.
• Appraise government policies adopted to address population issues—for example, family planning policies and immigration laws.

Indicative Module Content:

Week 1 Introduction to Demographics

Week 2 Demographic Data Science & Census Data

Week 3 Population Dynamics

Week 4 Population Structures

Week 5 Fertility

Week 6 Mortality

Week 7 Migration

Week 8 [Fieldwork Week]

Week 9 [Fieldwork Week]

Week 10 The Family & Households

Week 11 Segregation

Week 12 Emerging Issues & Sustainability

Week 13 Advanced Topics

Week 14 Final Project Presentations

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Autonomous Student Learning


Online Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
- Weekly in-person lectures to introduce population geography concepts, demographic data, and GIS methods.
- Weekly online labs (both individual and group-based) to develop GIS and demographic data analysis skills.
- Research project report to synthesis material learned.
- Research project presentation. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Continuous Assessment: Weekly Lab Assignment: All activities outlined in week by week guide with full details on Brightspace Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Presentation: Final project presentations: Activity with full details on Brightspace Week 12 n/a Pass/Fail Grade Scale No


Project: 2000 word population geography research project, with assessed appendices Week 12 n/a Graded No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

- Group feedback on common issues arising from the written assignments will be provided on brightspace. - Timely individualised feedback will be provided on written assignments. - Students are welcome to meet with the module coordinator during office hours (virutally) if more detailed feedback / further clarification is required. Please note: The UCD standard for feedback is within 20 working days, i.e. 5 weeks. We will endeavour to return assignments that are completed on time within 2-3 weeks, and where possible before the next assignment is due. Assignments handed in late will be subject to University timescales. This may mean that if you hand in your assignment late, another assignment will need to be completed, before the original one is marked. This will also be the case with the final project report, i.e. if you complete the assignments late, you may not have feedback in time to use it for your final project report.

Name Role
Professor Rosana Pinheiro-Machado Lecturer / Co-Lecturer