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Master's Degree in Family Social Science

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. This happens through designing and evaluating interventions, and utilizing knowledge about them more strategically.

The fundamental assumption of the prevention science Master’s program 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. FSoS is an interdisciplinary department dealing with all aspects of family life in the U.S. and around the world, with the full range of factors affecting families.

The master's degree program in prevention science consists of several components:

Core Requirements |Specialization| Plan A or Plan B

Thesis (Plan A)

  • Prevention Science Master's Plan A prepares students for an advanced degree
  • 22 credits coursework
  • 10 credits thesis

Project (Plan B)

  • Prevention Science Master's Plan B is designed for students planning to work in the field of prevention science
  • 26 credits coursework
  • 4 credits project


View current departmental course offerings.


Admission to the Department of Family Social Science (FSoS) is based on a review of multiple sources of information with no single factor determining an applicant's success or failure.

Admission Criteria

  • Evidence of strong academic preparation and the ability and desire to perform graduate level scholarship, including research.
  • Fit of applicant's professional goals with FSoS prevention science faculty scholarship and with the overall FSoS mission: enhancing the well-being of diverse families in a changing world.
  • Unique contributions applicant would make to FSoS values, including social relevance, collaboration, inclusiveness, excellence, innovation, and diversity.

Learn more about faculty research interests.

Prevention Science faculty include: Gerald August, Abigail Gewirtz, Timothy Piehler, Lindsey Weiler, and Liz Wieling.

Application Procedures

Complete applications are due March 1st.
Faculty are not obligated to review incomplete applications.

Learn more about application procedures and instructions.

After Applying

The number of graduate applicants admitted into the program varies from year to year, depending on applicant qualifications, and the availability of faculty advisers.

This year we are seeking a cohort of eight to ten M.A. students.

Students must inform the Department of Family Social Science of their final decision to attend or not attend by April 15th.


The program of study for the M.A. degree is planned by the student and the faculty adviser, approved by the director of graduate studies, and then filed with the Graduate School.


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

Visit Assistantships, Fellowships, & 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.

If you have any additional questions, please e-mail