The principal aim of the Penn pre-doctoral program overall, and the pre-doctoral program in the demography and economics of aging in particular, is to train independent researchers who are prepared to play leading roles in demography and population analyses, including the growth, structure, and wellbeing of human populations. This goal is achieved through 1) intensive instruction in the methods, theoretical approaches, and empirical substance of demography and allied disciplines; and 2) progressive incorporation of students into faculty research activities that will eventually branch into independent research. Central to the achievement of this goal is exposure of students to the demographer’s modus operandi. Demography represents an approach to studying social phenomena that in some ways is distinct from other approaches in the social sciences but, and, in other ways, is at the nexus of several social and behavioral sciences.