University of Minnesota

Department of Family Social Science
Last Updated

Family Social Science is a multidisciplinary department committed to the generation and application of knowledge that enhances family functioning and well-being in diverse family settings. Scholarship is organized around four themes: Families and Diversity, Families and Economic Well-Being, Families and Mental Health, Families Across the Life Span, and Parent and Family Education. Research, teaching and outreach activities encompass a wide range of social, economic, and political issues that affect families locally, nationally, globally.

Program Overview
Program Administrator
Dr. Lynne M. Borden
Department Emphasis
  • 100% Family Scocial Science
  • 47% Family Science
  • 53% Couple & Family Therapy
Campus Enrollment
50,678
Program Options
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral
Areas of Study
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Doctoral
Department Address

1985 Buford Avenue
290 McNeal Hall
Saint Paul, MN 55108-6140
United States

Phone Number
612-625-1900
Undergraduate Program
Undergraduate Director
Dr. William Goodman
Undergrad Program Options
  • Family Social Science
Undergrad Courses Offered
  • Intimate Relationships
  • Human Development
  • Cash or Credit:You Need to Know
  • Preparation for Working with Families
  • Family Policy
  • Methods in Family Research
  • Independent Study in FSoS
  • Personal & Family Finances
  • Family Systems & Diversity
  • Global & Diverse Families
  • Independent Study in FSoS
  • Alcohol & Drugs: Families & Culture
  • Counseling Skills Practicum
  • Sexuality & Gender in Families & Close Relationships
  • Family Psychology
  • Family Resource Management
  • Special Topics in FSoS
  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual People in Families
  • Family Financial Counseling
  • Families & Aging
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • Legal-Economic Controversies in Families
  • Independent Study in FSoS
  • Research Internship
  • Field Study: Working with Families
  • Directed Study in FSoS.
Undergrad Comments

Family Social Science is a multidisciplinary major for students interested in helping people, providing education, counseling, and understanding family relationships. The major prepares students for careers working with individuals, families, and human service agencies. The student experience is enhanced by a required community or research internships. Students from other programs may also pursue a Family Social Science minor. The Family Social Science minor allows students to gain an understanding of families from several social science perspectives. Couple relationships, family systems, and diversity are included in the basic courses.

Graduate Program
Graduate Director
Dr. Catherine Solheim
Graduate Courses Offered
  • Special Topics in Family Social Science
  • Alcohol and Drugs: Families and Culture online course
  • Counseling Skills Practicum I
  • Family Education Perspectives
  • Introduction to Parent Education
  • Parent-Child Interaction
  • Everyday Experiences of Families
  • Parent Learning and Development: Implications for Parent Education
  • Parent Education Curriculum
  • Teaching and Learning in Parent Education
  • Assessment and Evaluation in Parent Education
  • Student Teaching in Parent Education
  • Conceptual Frameworks in the Family
  • Qualitative Family Research Methods I & II
  • Quantitative Family Research Methods I & II
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Supervision
  • Couple/Marriage and Family Therapy Research
  • Integrative Research Seminar
  • Family Stress, Coping and Adaptation
  • Preparation for Independent Teaching in Family Studies
  • Directed Study in Family Social Science
  • Directed Research in Family Social Science
  • Orientation for Family Social Science
  • Couple/Marriage Family Therapy Practicum
  • Couple/ Marriage Family Therapy Internship
  • Supervision of Supervision
  • Dissertation Credit
Master's Level
Masters Program Options
  • M.A. Family Social Science
  • M.A. Family Social Science Prevention Science
  • M.Ed. Family Education
Masters Comments

The research-oriented option is recommended for students who intend to pursue the Ph.D at a later date. The non-research-oriented program is designed for students who wish to further their education so that they may hold positions of responsibility serving families. This program option is considered a terminal degree and is not intended to provide extensive research experience.

Plan A with Thesis: Prepares students for an advanced degree in Family Social Science or a related field. The research-oriented option is recommended for students who intend to pursue the Ph.D. at a later date.

Plan B with Project: Designed for students who want to work in the community without pursuing a Ph.D. The non-research-oriented option is designed for students who wish to further their education so that they may hold positions of responsibility serving families. The program is considered a terminal degree and is not intended to provide an extensive research experience.

Masters in Family Education

Parent Education Teaching License (for the state of Minnesota)

Certificate in Parent Education

These three professional studies degrees are recommended for students interested gaining skills and professional recognition for the practice of parent and family education. Students may elect to pursue one, two or all of the degree programs as coursework is interrelated. All required courses are offered online. This program is considered a terminal degree and is not intended to provide extensive research experience.

Masters in Family Education: Prepares professionals whose work is with parents and families, including licensed teachers, to further develop their knowledge and skills in family education. Many individuals choose to combine this M.Ed. degree program with a teaching license in parent education.

Parent Education Teaching License (for the state of Minnesota): Available for those who wish to teach in and lead parent education programs in a variety of school and community settings. In Minnesota, the parent education licensure is required for those teaching in early childhood and family education (ECFE) programs. Though not required for licensure, students may choose to combine this program with a M.Ed. in family education, or other advanced graduate degrees.

Certificate in Parent Education: An online post-baccalaureate program designed for those who wish to teach in and lead parent education programs in a variety of school and community settings that do not require a Minnesota teaching license.

Doctoral Level
Doctoral Program Options
  • Ph.D. Family Social Science, Family Science Specialization
  • Ph.D. Family Social Science, Couple & Family Therapy Specialization</li></ul>
Doctoral Comments

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy is conferred in recognition of the breadth and depth of scholarly knowledge and of demonstrated ability to investigate problems independently. The doctoral program is kept relatively small in order to afford extensive interaction between students and faculty. Students have opportunities to participate in research and teaching assistantships, present papers at professional conferences, and participate in a teaching internship, and may expperience engaged scholarship. FSoS has an excellent track record of funding students through assistantships and fellowships. The doctoral program in Couple and Family Therapy is accredited by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy.

CFLE Information

NCFR recognizes schools offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs with course work that follows the Standards and Criteria required for approval as a Provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). NCFR approval allows the school to offer their graduates the opportunity to apply for Provisional Certification using the Abbreviated Application process. The CFLE Checklist represents the courses that meet the CFLE criteria at that school. Students must complete all the courses on a checklist in order to qualify to apply for the CFLE designation through the Abbreviated Application process.