College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Ph.D. Minor in Prevention Science

Understanding and using what works

Prevention Science is a multi-disciplinary comprehensive approach to identify how best to promote the well-being of diverse families and communities by bridging research and practice.

The fundamental assumption of the Ph.D. Minor in Prevention Science 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.

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 influences 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.

B. Promotion of Adults' Mental Health and Well-Being
This focus addresses the promotion of adult mental health and well-being throughout the lifespan, including individuals and groups with and without special mental health needs as well as the impact of adult mental health on human and multi-generational family development in the context of community and society.

C. Integrated Life Span

2. Interventions in Education, Health, and Social Services

The design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of a variety of programs are high priorities today. School-based programs are increasingly viewed as key strategies of educational reform, while social and health service delivery to children, adults, and families are undergoing substantial innovation.

3. Social Policy

This concentration addresses how social policies and issues impact human and family behavior across the lifespan. Substantive areas include childcare, poverty, welfare reform, school reform, and health-care reform. An emphasis is given to large-scale policies and programs as well as dissemination and implementation.

4. Family and Community Studies

How family and community contexts and processes influence individuals is a key issue for the development and analysis of preventive interventions and for basic research on families and communities. In addition, family and community-based programs are central to addressing social problems and issues. The connections between family development and other major social contexts such as neighborhoods, communities, and service systems will be important aspects of this focus area.

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. Topics in this focus area include evaluation, statistical modeling, benefit-cost analysis, meta-analysis, and ethnography.

6. Individualized Concentration

This concentration gives students the opportunity to tailor their emphasis by combining electives to meet their individual educational needs.


Course of study

Doctoral students must complete the following 12 credits:

  • PREV 8001/FSOS 5701 - Principles and Practices in Prevention Science (3 credits)
  • PREV 8002/FSOS 5702 - Prevention Science Research Methodology (3 credits)
  • PREV 8003/FSOS 5703 - New Topics in Prevention Science: Implementation and Dissemination (3 credits)
  • 3 additional credits of elective courses from the student's area of concentration
  • Elective course options (PDF)

All courses must be taken A-F and completed with a GPA of at least 3.0.

For more program information and class descriptions, visit the University Catalogs website.

How to apply

Students are required to submit the following:

Completed applications should be sent to:

Family Social Science - Graduate Student Services Support
290 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Ave
St. Paul, MN 55108
Email: fsosgrad@umn.edu