College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Apply for a PhD in family social science

How to apply

The program requirements below are required by the Department of Family Social Science for graduate school applications to be considered complete.

If you have any additional questions, please e-mail

International students

The Graduate College Admissions site has information, including English Language Proficiency, Transcripts, and Credentials requirements, to help you complete your application.

Application deadline

PhD and MA/PhD applications are due December 1, 2023 for fall 2024 admission.

NOTE: If you are applying for the MA/PhD program, instructions for your application are on the Master's program How-to-Apply page.

Apply online

(all supplementary information must also be submitted online)


If you have any additional questions, please e-mail

Program requirements

The following information is requested specifically by the Department of Family Social Science.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for applicants seeking admission.

    1. Transcripts/Academic records

    Upload in Academic History section of online application.

    You must upload unofficial transcripts or academic records for each higher learning institution where you have earned credit, including partial or incomplete transcripts.

    Transcripts are evaluated for:

    • GPA: 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) preferred The most competitive applications will have higher GPAs.
    • Significant social and behavioral coursework strongly preferred: i.e., family and consumer sciences, human development, psychology, economics, sociology.
    • Coursework in research methods as well as statistics, including two courses in advanced statistics and/or research methods. This coursework ideally includes descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, probability, correlation, ANOVA, or regression.

    Learn more about transcripts and academic records

    1. Transcripts/Academic records

    Upload in Materials section of online application.

    3. English language assessment tests (TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS)

    Report in Test Scores section of online application.

    Our department utilizes the operational standards set by the Graduate School for English language proficiency requirements. Visit the Graduate School Admissions' website for more information on minimum standards. The Department is currently accepting any of the University of Minnesota approved COVID-19 English Proficiency Testing Options

    4. Letters of recommendations

    See Recommendations section on the online application site.

    A minimum of three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors or supervisors, are required. Letters should address your potential for research and successfully completing the FSoS degree program. If applying to the CFT specialization, letters should be from individuals familiar with the research and clinical experiences, skills, and potential of the applicant.

    The online application includes a section for you to enter the contact information for your recommenders. Please notify the individuals you select as recommenders that they will receive an email from the application system with instructions on how to submit their letters.

    5. Personal statement

    Upload in Materials section of online application.

    Write a statement (12-point font, maximum length three single-spaced pages) describing your responses to the following (please use the question titles (bolded text) as subheads):

    1. Contributions and commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
      Please describe your past contributions as well as your vision and future goals for how your scholarship will contribute to advancing family social science’s commitment to inclusive excellence. Address your leadership, commitment, and experiences with diversity, equity, and inclusion, and with addressing structural challenges to the extent you have experienced them or have knowledge of them.
    2. Career goals
      What is your career goal and how will a degree in family social science help you reach that goal? For example, professor, research scientist, non-profit work, clinical work.
    3. Research areas
      What areas of research and methods do you hope to pursue as a graduate student and beyond? For example, what specific problems or issues, research questions, types of families/relationships, types of research methods/approaches do you hope to pursue?
    4. Research experiences and skills
      Describe specific research experiences and skills that have prepared you for the doctoral program in family social science. For example, you might have experience (individual or with teams) with different methods (i.e., various qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods); research processes (i.e., theoretical development, collecting and analyzing data, grant writing, submitting and publishing manuscripts, professional presentations); or content areas.
    5. Teaching and outreach goals, experiences, and skills
      Describe your goals related to teaching and/or outreach or clinical work, and the specific experiences that you have had that have prepared you to reach those goals. For example, you might have experience with peer mentoring, serving as a TA, teaching a class, teaching a community group, working with different types of families in communities, clinical work, or family focused prevention or intervention work.
    6. Faculty with Whom You Want to Work
      Please list two to three faculty members with whom you hope to work and briefly describe how your research goals and interests fit with the expertise of these faculty. Faculty areas of scholarship can be found on the Department Faculty page.

    6. Diversity statement (all applicants)

    Diversity statement, required information is described in the online application.

    7. Optional: Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) Fellowship

    If you wish to be considered for DOVE Fellowship nomination, please email a brief summary of why your background would promote diversity of views, experience, and ideas to when you submit your application.

    The DOVE Fellowship program seeks to assist graduate programs to promote a diversity of views, experiences, and ideas in the pursuit of research, scholarship, and creative excellence. This diversity is promoted through the recruitment and support of academically excellent students with diverse ethnic, racial, economic, and educational backgrounds and experiences as suggested in the review/selection consideration list. Programs are encouraged to consider students from groups that have been underrepresented in their graduate programs.

    Learn more about eligibility requirements at the DOVE Fellowship site.

    8. Application fee waiver request

    Applicants who would like to request an application fee waiver must submit a written request by November 15. Funds are limited and no guarantee can be made that fee waiver requests will be granted. Requests should be sent to and include the following information:

    • Your name
    • Name of the program/degree to which you are applying
    • Indicate if you are a McNair Scholar
    • If you were not a McNair Scholar, please describe how the application fee provides a barrier to your application submission