College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science


In the Department of Family Social Science, we study systems frameworks (such as family systems theory or ecological models) to understand, advance knowledge, and enhance the well-being of “diverse families in a changing world.” Families and family systems are inextricably linked to and intertwined with all aspects of healthy family functioning and human development.

    Advancing knowledge in family science and human development

    As a department, we advance knowledge in human development across multiple life stages and transitions. Faculty expertise spans family systems, family processes, and family socialization; parenting, parent-child interactions, and parent education; personal and family finances and financial literacy; as well as the intersection of families, neighborhoods, and communities in health, well-being, and development. 

    Using a systems approach makes us unique

    Faculty in our department focus on multiple domains of family health, wellness, and development including physical, mental, emotional, relational, educational, and financial. Using a systems approach to understand individuals, families, and communities, faculty in our department focus on individuals in the context of relationships and families across the lifespan – adults, children, and adolescents – and intergenerational and transnational interactions and relationships.

    Grounded in inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice

    Inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice are embedded in faculty research, teaching, and service. They focus on diverse populations and communities such as immigrant and refugee families, African American couples and families, the Native American/American Indian community, Sexual and Gender Minority youth and parents, and children with autism and their families. Within the department, faculty use a variety of theoretical frameworks, paradigms, and models across both research and teaching.

    Emerging and enduring departmental priorities

    • Centering systemic approaches and theories
    • Interdisciplinary
    • Applied and engaged research and pedagogy
    • Focus on theory and theory development
    • Immigrant and refugee, BIPOC, and other marginalized communities, families, and individuals including transnational family relationships
    • Centering health and wellbeing across multiple domains: mental, physical, relational, financial, and educational
    • Innovative methodological approaches

    Learn more about FSoS research

    Visit the projects and labs page to learn about faculty research projects and collaborations.

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    The outreach page outlines collaborations with community partners.

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    The extension page highlights projects that serve individuals, families, and communities across Minnesota and across the nation.

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