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Apply for a Ph.D., Family Social Science, Couple and Family Therapy Specialization

Application Procedures

Complete applications are due December 1st.


Apply using the ApplyYourself online admissions system (all supplementary information must also be submitted online).

For more information visit the Graduate School's Admissions page.


The following information is requested specifically by the Department of Family Social Science.

1. Family Social Science Application Form (PDF) - Required for application review
Upload in Program Supplementary Information section of online application, as Upload #2.
Indicate the degree and specialization you are applying for; verify that all required information has been submitted and that your application is complete.
Make sure to add the link for your brief video presentation and in your video settings allow users with the link to have viewing access to your video.
Download the application form.
2. Transcripts/Academic Records
Upload in Educational Background section of online application.
You must upload unofficial transcripts or academic records for each higher learning institution where you have earned credit, including partial or incomplete transcripts.

Transcripts are evaluated for:
  • GPA: 3.0 or higher (on a 4.0 scale) preferred
    The most competitive applications will have higher GPAs.
  • Significant social and behavioral coursework strongly preferred: i.e. family and consumer sciences, human development, psychology, economics, sociology.
  • Coursework in research methods as well as statistics, including two courses in advanced statistics and/or research methods. This coursework ideally includes descriptive statistics, inferential statistics, probability, correlation, ANOVA, or regression.
Students applying to the CFT program must have a clinical master's degree (e.g., couple/marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatric nursing), or have achieved equivalent clinical experience, as determined by the CFT faculty. Applicants need to be aware that clinical training at the master's level is not offered in this department. Students admitted to the CFT doctoral program are expected to be clinically active throughout the duration of their time in the program. Students' clinical activity during the program is expected to be approximately 6-10 hours per week.
Learn more about transcripts and academic records
3. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores
Report in Test Information Self-Reported section of online application.
Official GRE scores are needed by the December 1 deadline. The department will not accept GRE reports that are more than five years old.
For testing purposes, the University of Minnesota code is 6874. No need to select a department code.
Find more information about University GRE application instructions.
4. English language assessment tests (TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS)
Report in Test Information Self-Reported section of online application.
Our department utilizes the operational standards set by the Graduate School for English language proficiency requirements. Visit the Graduate School Admissions' website for more information on minimum standards.
5. Letters of Recommendations
See Recommendations under Important Links on the online application site.
A minimum of three letters of recommendation, preferably from professors or supervisors, are required. Letters should address your potential for research and successfully completing the FSoS degree program. If applying to the CFT specialization, letters should be from individuals familiar with the research and clinical experiences, skills, and potential of the applicant.

The online application includes a section for you to enter the contact information for your recommenders. Please notify the individuals you select as recommenders that they will receive an email from the application system with instructions on how to submit their letters.
6. Two Applicant Statements
Upload in Applicant Statements section of online application.
Statement #1
Write a statement (500-1000 words) describing your responses to the following:
  • How do your long-term professional goals fit with the mission of the Department of Family Social Science?
    The mission of the Department of Family Social Science is to enhance the well-being of diverse families in a changing world through teaching, research, and outreach.
  • Describe your research interests, experiences, and connections to faculty scholarship.
    Specifically address:
    1. What content areas of research and methods do you hope to pursue as a graduate student and beyond (i.e. specific problems or issues, research questions, types of families/relationships, types of research methods/approaches)?
    2. What types of research experiences have prepared you for a doctoral program in family social science? For example, you might have experience (individual or with teams) with different methods (i.e. various qualitative, quantitative, mixed methods); research processes (i.e., theoretical development, collecting and analyzing data, grant writing, submitting and publishing manuscripts, professional presentations); or content areas.
    3. Please list at least two faculty members with whom you hope to work and briefly describe how your research goals and interests fit with the expertise of these faculty.
      Faculty areas of scholarship can be found on the faculty profile pages.
  • Describe specific experiences and skills in teaching that have prepared you for the doctoral program in family social science.
    For example, working with different types of families in communities; family focused prevention or intervention work.
Statement #2
Diversity statement, required information is described in the online application.
7. Writing Sample
Upload in Program Supplementary Information section of online application
Include a sample of your writing in English (e.g. a research paper or term paper that you feel best reflects your abilities).
8. Applicant Video (Couple and Family Therapy Applicants Only)
Prepare and submit a 5 minute video addressing the following questions:
  • Why is pursuing a Ph.D. in the CFT program important to me?
  • How do I plan on using this degree in the future?
  • What personal attributes would I bring to the educational experience?
Applicants should use an internet-based service (e.g. YouTube, Vimeo) to host the video, with a limit of 5 minutes in length, and make sure your settings allow people with the video URL to view the video (i.e., unlisted setting).

Allow your personality to show through in your presentation; preferably avoiding "talking head" presentations. The videos will be evaluated with an eye on how the applicant presents him/herself (e.g., can we get a sense of who you are and how you might be in the program?), maturity, creativity, and the applicant's overall fit with the goals of the program.

Submit your video link on the Family Social Science Application Form (PDF). This video is used to supplement written application materials. If you have any questions, contact

9. Optional: Common Ground Consortium Fellowship
If you wish to be considered for a Common Ground Consortium (CGC) Fellowship for Black Students, upload your statement in the Program Supplementary Information section of the online application, as Upload #1.
The statement should briefly address the following:
Given that the University of Minnesota is a public land grant institution, it is imperative that CGC scholars can both benefit personally from their membership in the program as well as further the University's founding mission to contribute to scholarship that benefits the local and greater communities. Please describe how your participation as a CGC scholar would do the following: (a) enhance your graduate student experience, (b) prepare you for your chosen career, and (c) benefit the public.
Learn more about the Common Ground Consortium.

After Applying

The number of graduate applicants admitted into the program varies from year to year, depending on applicant qualifications (academic preparation, fit, and unique contributions), the availability of faculty advisers, and available financial support.

A typical incoming graduate student cohort includes 9-12 students (a few M.A. degree-seeking students and a majority of Ph.D. degree-seeking students).

Ph.D. and M.A./Ph.D. applicants who pass an initial review by faculty will be invited to an on-campus interview February 11-12, 2018..

If you have any additional questions, please e-mail