This paper describes the Prenatal Determinants of Schizophrenia (PDS) Study; three companion papers report the first results. The PDS Study was designed to study early antecedents of schizophrenia in a birth cohort of 1959-1967 for whom a wealth of archived prenatal data–including maternal sera–was available. Making use of the registries of a health plan into which the cohort was born, we ascertained and then diagnosed 71 cases of schizophrenia and spectrum disorders in the cohort. We describe herein the available prenatal data, the process of case diagnosis, and the strategies used to analyze prenatal determinants of schizophrenia in this cohort. Data are presented that bear on the main sources of potential bias and are important to understanding the strengths and limitations of this unique data set.