College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Master's in family social science

A broad foundation of family science expertise

Family Social Science is a unique program using the insights and methods of the social sciences to examine human development over the lifespan and how families work within various contexts and cultures. You will study:

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

Interested in a coursework-based master's degree? 

Learn more about an MEd in family education.

Interested in pursuing a doctoral degree but have not yet earned a master's degree? 

You may apply for the joint MA/PhD in family science program. You'll enter as a master's candidate and following the completion of your master's thesis, will be evaluated to continue into the doctoral program.

Career options

A Master's degree in family social science will prepare you for 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.

What students have said in the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey

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Master's degree students who said their analytical and critical thinking skills had developed to a large or very large extent.

Program options

The Master's in family social science program offers you two options:

Application deadlines

  • MA applications are due March 1, 2024 for fall 2024 admission

The number of graduate applicants admitted into the program varies from year to year.

Begin your application

Learn about the requirements and deadlines.

If you have any questions, please e-mail

Financing your education

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

Visit assistantships, fellowships, and other funding for more information on funding opportunities through FSoS, CEHD, and UMN.

More information regarding assistantships and benefits can be found on the Office of Human Resources website.


Admission to the Department of Family Social Science (FSoS) is based on a review of multiple sources of information:

  • Evidence of strong academic preparation and the ability and desire to perform graduate level scholarship, including research.
  • Alignment of applicant's professional goals with FSoS faculty scholarship and with the department's mission.
  • Unique contributions applicant would make to FSoS values, including social relevance, collaboration, inclusiveness, excellence, innovation, and diversity.

The program of study for the master's degree is planned by the student and the faculty adviser, approved by the director of graduate studies, and then filed with the graduate school.

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