Master’s degree Program in demography in Moscow

Tatiana TABAC,
Master’s student at the Demography program, Institute of Demography, National Research University Higher School of Economics

In 2013, I was employed at the Center for Demographic Research of the National Institute for Economic Research of ASM. I really liked my work, but the lack of specialized studies was quite an obstacle. The course of demography at the Faculty of Sociology at the Moldova State University was general, my knowledge in the field were fairly vague. Thus, when an announcement was published on the electronic Journal Demoscope Weekly ( regarding the scholarships contest for the master program in demography (February 2014) at the "Higher School of Economics" University (Russia, Moscow), with the support of my colleagues, I decided to try my luck and participate.
Later in the spring of 2014, I had the opportunity to participate at the “Spring school in demography" organized by the Institute of Demography of the National Research University Higher School of Economics. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to UNFPA fund in Moldova, which financially supported the participation of two young researchers from the Centre for Demographic Research at this event. The interesting subjects and the high professionalism of the teachers convinced me to continue my studies in demography.
After the interview, which took place in Moldova, in summer I have already been enrolled in the Master’s degree program in demography.

Spring school in demography, April 25-30, 2014

Master’s program in demography was launched in 2009 and it is taught by the Department of Demography of the Institute of Demography of the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow. The program aims to prepare qualified professionals with in-depth knowledge in demography and population issues.
Each year, the University offers master scholarships to bachelor graduates from CIS and Baltic countries. Due to the interdisciplinary specific of demography, young people studying at this Master’s program have previous studies in diverse fields: sociology, geography, history, anthropology, statistics, economics, mathematics etc.
Becoming a Master’s student enrolled in this program, I had the opportunity to attend the courses of famous Russian demographers: A. Vyshnevskyy, M. Denisenko, S. Zakharov, S. Vasin, N. Makrtchyan and many other highly qualifies specialists . Moreover, I was very pleased to meet and attend the courses held by foreign experts in demography: S.G.Wheatcroft (University of Melbourne, Australia), M. Rivkin-Fish (University of North Carolina, USA) A.Blum (INED, France) M.Guillot (University of Pennsylvania, USA). It should be mentioned that the learning process is quite intensive and I will not hide that you have to put many efforts to be able to successfully fulfil all the requirements and pass the exams.
The education program lasts for two years. During the studies, the lodging is provided and I receive a scholarship.

and the Master’s students
Institute of Demography from Russia collaborates with institutes of demography from France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Italy, UK, Australia, USA etc. At the end of the Master’s program, students have the opportunity to do an internship in one of the research institutes abroad. Moreover, after graduation, graduates of the Master’s program "Demography" have the opportunity to do a PhD in one of the universities from the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, France, USA or Russia.
Starting this year, the department established a new Master’s program taught in English -"Population and development". Requirements for participation and applying for a scholarship are the same as for the current program.
Soon I will finish the first year of study. During this time, I learned many new things, and I realized how diverse, complicated and interesting demography is. For my master's thesis, I chose a subject related to the migration process, taking into account that this is a pressing problem for Moldova, and there are few specialists in this field.
After completing my master studies, I want to return home to Moldova and to continue my career in the Center for Demographic Research. I will start my PhD at the specialty "Sociology of population and demographic processes"; I want to research the migration issue. I will work hard to deepen the knowledge obtained, and I will contribute to dealing with social and demographic issues faced by our country.



“Population and Health” course

I participated at the "Population and Health" course, which took place from 30 March to 17 April 2015 in Moscow, organized by Centre for Demographic Research of the New Economic School ( The course was held by the experts from the leading demographic research institutions: Vladimir M. Shkolnikov (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; New Economic School, Russia), Domantas Jasilionis (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany), Dmitri A. Zhdanov (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Germany; New Economic School, Russia), Evgeny M. Andreev (New Economic School, Russia), France Meslé (National Institute of Demographic Studies in France), David A. Leon (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine).
The course consisted of three modules: Basic methods and techniques, Theories and methods in population-level research, Studies based on micro-data. The first module included the following topics: construction of life tables, measures of mortality and life table functions, decomposition methods, data sources, data quality and statistical errors. The second module was focused on the divergences and convergences in mortality, classification of causes of death, measurement of health inequalities, health and survival differences between men and women. In the third module, we discussed the following topics: epidemiological researches, ageing and health expressed in biomarkers, mortality differentials in the Russian Federation, survival and health in Russia, health and alcohol, health and smoking.
Each topic of the module was followed by practical exercises in Excel or/and R program. By the end of the course, each participant presented his/her research topic and the methods of demographic analysis learned that will be useful in the further research. I made a presentation on my research on healthy life expectancy in Moldova.
The course was intense, sometimes difficult, but very useful for helping create a real image of the current demographic context and highlighting the importance of quality of life on the development and prosperity of a state. I hope I will manage to apply all the new knowledge and skills acquired in my further research.
I would like to thank Population Fund in Moldova (UNFPA) for the financial support of my participation at the course.

Cristina AVRAM, scientific researcher CDR