Demography PhD

Study level PhD studies

Duration of study 4 years

Language Estonian English

Available places 1


Duration: 4 years (8 semesters)
Cost: Free
Language of Instruction: English, Estonian
Field of Study: Social Sciences, Business and Law 
Conferred Degree: PhD (Demography)

See study program here

Objectives of the Programme:

  • to create opportunities for acquiring the highest scientific qualification in demography;
  • to create conditions that enable the achievement of professionalism for conducting individual research at international level;
  • to create opportunities for developing high level scientific expertise to continue academic work in the field of demography, and assure the sustainability of the field;
  • to support the development of skills and knowledge for filling various positions where high level population-related competence is required, primarily in public sector in the areas of education, healthcare, social security or planning.

Learning Outcomes:

  • is able to address the acute issues in society within the framework of population development;
  • has systematic knowledge about the research trends and theoretical premises of population studies;
  • is able to orient in contemporary research methods;
  • is able to plan, conduct and report scientific work applying field-specific research methods;
  • is capable of creating scientific texts at an internationally acceptable level, critically analysing research texts, and presenting valid arguments in scientific debate;
  • is able to work in an international team.

What Do We Expect from an Applicant?

We are looking for applicants with Master’s degree or its equivalent, who have a clear interest in population studies and who are eager to gain experience in working with quantitative datasets. Prior independent research experience and publications are considered as an advantage, participation in international cooperation is recommended. We expect that a candidate is willing to connect his/her research topic with issues relevant to Estonian population development.

Why Study Demography at Tallinn University?

School of Governance, Law and Society is the only place in Estonia that provides a possibility to gain doctoral degree in demography. Our research themes cover all major demographic processes both in contemporary and historical perspective (including fertility and partnership, mortality and health, population aging, foreign-origin population, historical demography). The School has invested considerable effort in the development of internationally comparable population databases from which PhD-students also benefit. Student’s participation in international conferences and research collaboration is supported. The study programme and research support are flexible and based on individual needs. We recommend participation in the European Doctoral School of Demography (EDSD) which is a one-year rotating study programme carried out by leading demography centers in Europe.  

What are the Career Options After the Studies?

A PhD in demography enables the graduate to work: 1) as researcher or head of R&D projects; 2) as a top specialist, primarily in public sector where high-level population-related competence is required (including healthcare, education, social security, pension systems, regional planning).

Admission Requirements

For general requirements, please read admission to PhD Studies.

Programme specific requirements:

  • Admission exam includes:

1) discussion based on the plan for the doctoral thesis that is agreed with the prospective supervisor (attention is paid to the relevance of the topic for research priorities of the Institute);

2) estimation of the candidate's CV and publications.

  • It is recommended that the candidate is familiar with the materials of the basic course of demography (please ask further information from the head of studies).

Structure of the PhD proposal (5-10 pages+references):        

  • (1) the subject of the doctoral thesis, including a brief summary of the research problem that the doctoral thesis seeks to solve
  • (2) objectives of the research, main research questions and tasks or work hypotheses
  • (3) a brief overview of the most important thematic previous studies and theoretical standpoints with literature references
  • (4) the data and research methods that are intended to be used to solve the research problem, including sampling principles
  • (5) work plan, resources necessary for doctoral studies and potential risks
  • 6) why did you choose Tallinn University?

* The PhD proposal must be agreed upon and signed by a potential supervisor.

Supervisors contacts can be found here:

Supervisors research field can be found here:

Contact us!

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Governance, Law and Society:
    Ave Põldmets-Ruut
    Academic Counsellor - Specialist


  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.