Graduate Minor in Prevention Science

Prevention science is the scientific study of systematic efforts to reduce the incidence of unhealthy or maladaptive behavior, and to promote health and adaptive behavior in populations across the life span through designing and evaluating interventions, and utilizing knowledge about them more strategically.

The fundamental assumption of the prevention science minor is that future researchers and scholars will be most able to meet the challenges and changes occurring in society and in their chosen professions and disciplines if their training is comprehensive and transdisciplinary.

Students will be expected to select one of the following Areas of Concentration as a major emphasis:

1. Promotion of Mental Health and Well-being Across the Life Span

A. Promotion of Children’s Mental Health and Well-being
This focus addresses how child and adolescent mental health affect human and family development in the context of education, health, community, and society; as well as how family development affects the mental health and well-being of children (9 elective courses identified).

B. Promotion of Adult Mental Health and Well-being
This focus will address on the promotion of adult mental health and well-being throughout the life course, including individuals and groups, with and without special mental health needs. The affect of adult mental health on human and multi-generational family development in the context of community and society is included (9 elective courses identified).

C. Integrated Life Span

D. Student selected integration of foci (a) and (b).

2. Interventions in Education, Health, and Social Services

The design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of a variety of programs in education, health, and social welfare are high priorities today and this should be reflected in training. School-based programs are increasingly viewed as key strategies of educational reform. Social and health service delivery to children, families, and adults are undergoing substantial innovation. 9 elective courses identified).

3. Social Policy

This concentration addresses how social policies and issues affect human and family behavior across the life course. Substantive areas include, among others, child care, poverty, welfare reform, school reform, and health-care reform. An emphasis is given to large-scale policies and programs as well as dissemination and use (8 elective courses identified).

4. Family and Community Studies

How family and community contexts and processes affect individuals is a key issue for the development and analysis of preventive interventions, and for basic research on families and communities. Further, family and community-based programs also are central to addressing the myriad of social problems and issues. The relation between family development and other major social contexts such as neighborhoods, communities, and service systems will be important aspects of this focus area (7 elective courses identified).

5. Methodology

An ever-expanding number of quantitative and qualitative methods are available for conducting prevention and intervention research. Basic and advanced statistical and methodological training are essential to high-quality graduate training. Gaining understanding and experience in conducting research in field settings is key to developing methodological skills. Some topics to be covered in this focus area include evaluation, statistical modeling, benefit-cost analysis, meta-analysis, and ethnography (15 elective courses identified).

6. Individualized Concentration

This concentration will enable students to individualize their emphasis within the minor by combining electives from areas of concentration 1 – 5 to meet their individual educational needs.


Master's students must complete the following 9 credits:

  • PREV 8001 - Introduction to Prevention Science (3 credits)
  • 6 additional credits of elective courses from the student's area of concentration, in consultation with the program director.
  • Elective course options (PDF)

Doctoral students must complete the following 13 credits:

  • PREV 8001 - Introduction to Prevention Science (3 credits)
  • PREV 8005 - Prevention Science Capstone Course (1 credit)
  • 9 additional credits of elective courses from the student's area of concentration, in consultation with the program director.
  • Elective course options (PDF)


Students are required to submit the following:

  1. Complete application form (PDF)
  2. Statement of interest
  3. Current unofficial transcript
  4. Specification of Area of Concentration

Complete applications should be sent to:

Abigail Gewirtz, Prevention Science Program Director
290 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108

For more information visit the University Catalogs website.