College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Master's and PhD programs

Family social science graduate programs offer you a unique program of study using the insights and methods of the social sciences to examine how families develop and grow within various contexts and cultures. You will learn to:

  • integrate family theory, research, and practice
  • produce scholarly research
  • develop effective and innovative teaching skills

Your program of study will include research and coursework across the breadth of family social science, including:

  • conceptual theoretical frameworks
  • research, assessment, and evaluation methodologies
  • implementation and translational research
  • community collaborations and system change initiatives

Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized leaders and researchers committed to your success. Their research areas encompass child adjustment in families; families and culture; families and financial decisions; family formation and intergenerational studies; families, loss, and trauma; intimate family relationships; and parent and family education.

To learn more, explore their research projects, or watch videos of faculty members discussing their work.

    Master's programs

    A Master's degree in family social science will prepare you for a variety of careers in academia, policy-related firms, and social service or health care organizations.

    Master's in family social science

    A Master's in family social science will prepare you for an advanced degree in family social science or a variety of careers in academia, clinical administration and leadership, policy-related firms, government agencies, independent research institutions, school systems, and social service or health care organizations.

    MA/PhD in family social science

    If you are interested in pursuing a doctoral degree but have not yet earned a master's degree, the joint MA/PhD in Family Science program is an option. You will enter as a master's candidate and after completing the capstone thesis, will be evaluated to continue into the doctoral program. Please note that this program of study is not a pathway to a PhD in Couple and Family Therapy which has different requirements.

      Doctoral programs

      A PhD will prepare you to lead with a broad foundation in theory, research, and practice. Choose from two specializations: family science and couple and family therapy.

      Family science specialization

      The family science specialization includes coursework, research engagement, and intense mentoring from faculty to prepare you to contribute to the broader field of family science and develop effective teaching skills.

      Couple and family therapy

      The Couple and Family Therapy doctoral specialization prepares the next generation of leaders and agents of social change to work systemically with diverse families and communities locally and internationally.

      FSoS student handbook

      Learn more about family social science graduate programs in the the online Family Social Science Graduate Handbook.

      FSoS Graduate Handbooks and program manuals from past years are linked at the forms and handbooks page.

      Financing your education

      Visit OneStop Student Services: Finances for information on tuition, fees, and financial aid.

      Visit the assistantships, fellowships, and other funding page for information about funding opportunities through FSoS, CEHD, and UMN.

      Information about assistantships and benefits are on the Office of Human Resources website.

      Faculty and staff contacts

      Sumitra Madhuri Ramachandran, Graduate Program Coordinator,
      Stacey Horn, Department Head and Professor,
      Catherine Solheim, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor,
      Armeda Wojciak, Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Program Director and Associate Professor,
      Contact the FSoS Graduate programs at