Areas of Concentration

Four areas of concentration are available. Students usually select one as a major emphasis, but may create their own personal focus by combining courses from any of the focus areas.

Interventions in Social Services, Health, and Education

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. The promotion of health and development of individuals and groups with and without special health-care needs is a focal point of interventions.

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.

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 are important.


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 training include evaluation, statistical modeling, and ethnography.