College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Bachelor of Science in Family Social Science

Family Science – the study of families and interpersonal relationships

Degree overview

If you're looking for a major where you can make a difference and create change, Family Social Science is where you belong. FSoS draws from multiple disciplines such as human development, sociology, and psychology. Professors see you as a whole person, are interested in what you have to say, and are committed to your success. You'll be prepared for a variety of career paths in a tight-knit supportive department.

A Bachelor’s degree in Family Social Science will prepare you to understand how diverse families, couples, and individuals develop throughout their lives, and the impact that social policies and systems have on them. Our undergraduate major and minors integrate well with other programs so you can design a unique path that works for you.

You will build skills to explore scientific findings, translate and apply research, and implement evidence-based practices that enhance the lives of families, couples, and individuals. Our focus on social justice and reducing disparities – racial, financial, and social – will prepare you for a fulfilling career.

Offering small class sizes and individualized attention, the classroom experience will be enhanced with community-based and career-focused experiential learning or internships to apply new knowledge and practice new skills in a supportive real-world environment.

Why study Family Social Science?

You will have:

  • A broad and nuanced understanding of families and communities and how they function
  • The research knowledge and experience to work across diverse family systems
  • Writing skills to communicate clearly with diverse audiences
  • The ability to Incorporate idea and concepts and interpret data
  • 180+ hours of relevant work experience
  • A competitive resume for the job market and/or graduate school applications
  • The support of faculty and staff who will help you recognize your assets and connect you with communities

Our faculty are renowned researchers, inspiring mentors, and committed teachers who are focused on your success. Learn more about them in our Faculty Profile Book.

Please e-mail Kirsten Collins, senior undergraduate advisor, at

What do alumni say about their degree?

"FSoS was the best decision I made – that program laid the foundation for everything I’ve done since."

amanda koonjbeharry

Amanda Koonjbeharry ’09 earned master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Policy and has worked on Hennepin County’s initiatives to identify commercially exploited youth, public policy for the Citizens League, and is now a senior account supervisor with Poston Communications, Atlanta. She was honored as a 2021 CEHD Rising Alumni and as a 2022 “40 Under 40 Honoree” by Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

"I loved studying what makes couples and families healthy, resilient, and unique."

claire busse

Claire Busse '22 graduated with dual degrees in FSoS and Sociology and is a family case manager with Lutheran Social Services. An honors student, she collaborated with advisor Lindsey Weiler, FSoS associate professor, to develop a trauma-informed leadership training for UMN marching band's peer leaders. Read more in this news blog story.

Degree options and requirements

Choose from three concentrations

  • Family and Community Engagement that will prepare you to work directly with families, couples, and young people in community-based, advocacy, and policy organizations to access resources and reduce disparities and inequality.

  • Family Financial Studies that will prepare you to guide families and individuals in navigating complex financial, economic, and social service systems so they can develop successful strategies to achieve their financial goals and thrive. You also will have the option to pursue the Accredited Financial Counselor credential.

  • Family Therapy that will prepare you with foundational content and context for a variety of therapy settings or for graduate studies in therapy programs.

Major Requirements/course catalog

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Family Social Science degree requires the completion of 55-58 credits in the major as well as Liberal Education requirements and electives, totaling 120 University credits. Foundational courses include classes in family theories, psychology, and family research methods, as well as coursework in understanding family systems and diversity, and how technology affects parenting and family relationships. The program capstone is a research or field study four-credit course – or a combination of both – to launch your career or prepare you for graduate school.

View all program requirements in the University catalog or download a PDF of them.

International opportunities
You have the option of completing coursework or internship requirements on campus, in the Twin Cities, or during sponsored learning abroad programs, as well as national student exchange programs.

Declare a major in FSoS

Currently enrolled at the University of Minnesota

If you are a current UMN undergraduate or an incoming first year student and want to declare a major in Family Social Science, visit CEHD Student Services for complete directions, or contact an advisor at or call 612-625-3339.

Currently enrolled at another institution

Interested in transferring to the U of M and into Family Social Science? FSoS is one of the top programs that transfer students choose at the U of M. Get started at the College of Education and Human Development’s CEHD Transfer Admissions site (a GPA of 2.80 in college coursework is preferred).

Transfer resources

Here are additional resources for all transfer students, both current U of M students who want to transfer colleges, or community college students who need to know how their credits will transfer.

Where are FSoS alumni?

"CEHD played a key role in my life."

cheniqua johnson

Cheniqua Johnson '17 is a program officer with the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundation and in 2022 was honored as a “Rising Alumni” by the College of Education and Human Development. She is also active in the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party and the group, In Sisterhood, We Brunch. Follow her many passions on LinkedIn.

"Shared power and making the proper investments are what drive effective change that matters."

dan-neya yancey

Dan-neya Yancey ’20 is working to improve community health in Hennepin County, focusing on Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. She was selected for the 2022-2023 cohort of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota Innovator program and serves on the WFMN Young Women’s Committee for Participatory Grantmaking. Learn more about her on LinkedIn. She loves connecting with people!

What can you do with a degree in FSoS?

A Bachelor's in Family Social Science will prepare you for a career as a program provider, trainer, or researcher in family studies, family community engagement, family therapy, or family financial counseling. Half of our graduates pursue advanced degrees in family science, couple and family therapy, or human development, as well as related programs such as social work, public health, or nursing.

The National Council on Family Relations has identified a range of career paths where family social science alumni are found.

Grant Proposal Writing | Academic and Government Research in Family Science | Population Studies and Demographic Research | Community-based Research for Non-profit Family Agencies | Program Evaluation and Assessment

Youth Development Programs | Adoption Agencies | Foster Care Programs | Teen Pregnancy Services | Vocational Rehabilitation and Job Training | Adult Day Care | Gerontology and Long-term Care Programs

University Teaching | Family Life Education | Sexuality Education | Couple and Family Enrichment Programs | Curriculum Development | Community Education

Individual and Family | Therapy Support Services | Crisis and Hotline Services | Divorce Mediation | Abuse Protection Services | Drug and Alcohol Prevention Programs | Residential Treatment Programs

Employee Assistance Programs | Consumer Protection Agencies | Family Financial Counseling and Planning Agencies | Food Assistance Programs | Research Positions

Family Policy Analysis | Child Welfare Advocacy | Cooperative Extension Specialist | Military Family Support Services | Child and Family Services | Parent Coordination | Juvenile Justice

Public Health Programs and Services | Hospital-based Family Support | Parental and Maternity Services | Holistic Health Centers | Hospice Programs | Hospital Discharge Planning

International Family Policy | Peace Corps and NGO Leadership | Global Family Planning Programs | International Human Rights Advocacy | Immigration and Migrant Family Services

Ministry | Marriage and Relationship Programs | Parenting Education | Youth Programs | Budgeting and Money Management

Career Services

Career counselors in CEHD Career Services are here to help you develop your resume and cover letters as well as prepare you for internships and explore careers. It's never too early to contact them.