Degree Type: 

Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Population and Health

Modes of Study: 


About Programme: 

Since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) of Cairo, 1994, there has been a new orientation towards the interface of population and development, a perspective, which has been reinforced in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The nature of other demographic variables namely fertility, migration (both internal and international), and urbanization have also undergone transformation with changes in national and global development. For instance, levels of fertility in some African countries have declined very fast; some have plateaued, while others have remained high within the last two decades. Mortality, especially among children has also declined. Among the population agenda are identifying strategies, processes and indicators in population, which can be used to assess the achievement of the MDG, which cover a wide range of demographic variables.

The spread of diseases in time and space, perception of aetiology of diseases, attitudes to and health seeking behaviours are functions of individual and collective attributes of a group of people. Changes in socio-economic conditions and demographic characteristics give rise to a number of health challenges such as obesity, sexually transmitted infections, emergence of new diseases (e.g. Ebola, avian flu and SARS) and those associated with ageing. The proportion of the population aged 65 years and above is rising due to increases in expectation of life as a result of improved health facilities, sanitation and changes in diets. One outcome of longevity is the emergence of degenerative diseases.  

Current thinking in population education is to train students who have analytical skills in both technical and substantive demography. The essential skills include analytical skills for data collection, management and analysis, problem-solving skills and decision-making skills which involve ability to weigh options and take decisions. There is also the need for a generation of students who can be critical in their analysis of population and health interface as well as interested in life-long learning as professionals in the field of population. Teaching and learning, will be geared towards the development of such skills which will enable them contribute to the search for strategies for the socio-economic development of the country.


The main objective of the programme is to undertake teaching and research in population science and social dimensions of health at the graduate level. The focus will be on aspects of technical and substantive demography and the socio-political and economic dimensions of population and health. The specific objectives are to: provide avenues for students to develop analytical, problem-solving and decision-making skills in population and socio-cultural and economic aspects of health; promote research relating to the interface of population and socio-cultural dimensions of health; and produce the next generation of academics in population and development.

Entry Requirements: 

Candidates to this programme must have obtained first class at the bachelor’s level or a Masters degree in one of the following areas: Population, Health, Geography, Economics, Sociology, Development Studies, Government, Business Management, Biological, Physical or Agricultural Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics

Target group

The target groups for the programme are graduates from any field who are interested in the interface of population and socio-economic aspects of health. 

Career Opportunities: 

The goal of the programme is produce graduates and professionals specializing in teaching and research in population and the social dimensions of health.

Programme Structure

Level 900

First Semester

3 Credit(s)

The course deals with Western, African and Asian philosophical thoughts which have shaped and have the potential to shape social science research and practice. It traces the development of various philosophical points of view about knowledge, sources of knowledge and schools of thought, knowledge generation and research. Among the issues to be discussed are: nature of science; theory of science; the scientific enterprise; theories of knowledge, ontology (the being of things) and methodology (ways of doing things); worldviews or cosmology and sources of knowledge. Focus will be placed on selected philosophers in Western thought such as St. Augustine, Plato, John S. Mill, John Locke, Hume, Kant, Berkley; and on Wiredu, Gyekye and Confucius. Schools of thought which have influenced social science research: e.g. positivism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, existentialism, feminist epistemology, epicurean thought, Marxist thought (socialism), cosmological and ontological arguments, justice; selected Eastern (Indo-Chinese) thought; and Africa cosmology of life; and ethics in research will be discussed.  Emphasis will be on implications of these thoughts for knowledge generation and for research.

Objectives: The objectives of this course are to:

  • Build the capacity of students to understand philosophical thoughts which have shaped social science research and practice;
  • Equip students with critical thinking and analytical skills in social science research; and
  • Develop the reasoning skills of students towards social science research.

 Mode of Delivery: The course will be delivered through assigned readings, individual and group assignments and presentations in class.

3 Credit(s)

The nature and objectives of social sciences are discussed in this course. Other discussions focus on the strengths and weaknesses of positivist and hermeneutics traditions, functional dependency and statistical laws, building blocks and theory formulation. Sources of new theories, measurement models and their applications in the social sciences, objectivity and the question of value free social sciences, and feminist epistemology are also addressed. Discussions will also involve systems thinking and analysis, and logical, empirical and epistemological processes in theory formulation or construction in the social sciences. 

Objectives: The objectives of this course are to:

  • Develop the ability of students to appraise processes involved in theory building
  • Equip students with analytical skills in linking theoretical and empirical issues in social science research.

Mode of Delivery: The main modes of delivery are assigned readings, individual and group assignments and presentations in class.

3 Credit(s)

This course builds on POH 810 and focuses on: theoretical issues inherent in quantitative research, when to use quantitative techniques and types of quantitative techniques. It also deals with issues of validity, reliability and representativeness as well as design of research instruments, how to apply theoretical and conceptual frameworks, employ appropriate data collection and analysis techniques and writing of research reports.

Objective: The objective of the course is to:

  • Enhance the capacity of students to understand quantitative research processes
  • Strengthen the skills of students to conduct independent quantitative research.

 Mode of Delivery: The content will be delivered on through lectures, assigned data analysis, individual and group presentations.

Second Semester

3 Credit(s)

This course involves fieldwork and presentation of results based on a topic chosen by the students.

Mode of Delivery: The modes of delivery are data collection exercises, individual and group presentation of reports.

3 Credit(s)

This course builds on POH 810 and focuses on: theoretical issues inherent in qualitative research, when to use qualitative techniques and types of qualitative techniques. It will include concepts of validation (e.g. trustworthiness and reflexivity), how to develop research guides and screening forms. It also deals with how to apply theoretical and conceptual frameworks, employ appropriate data collection and analysis techniques (computer-assisted qualitative data analysis) and writing of reports.

 Objective: The objectives of the course are to:

  • Enhance the capacity of students to understand qualitative research processes
  • Strengthen the skills of students to conduct independent qualitative research.

Mode of Delivery: The course will be delivered through lectures, assigned data collection, individual and group presentations.

3 Credit(s)

Students present theses in their areas of research based on the conditions set out in the Academic Policies and Regulations for Graduate Studies. Thesis proposals are presented in the second year.