The doctoral minor has three special features:

  1. Training emphasizes programmatic efforts that seek to prevent the development of problematic outcomes and to promote optimal functioning in individuals or groups across the life course.
  2. Preventive interventions are implemented and evaluated in family, school, and community contexts—their outcome is investigated in interaction within these contexts.
  3. Training emphasizes methodological and statistical training and their applications in prevention research. Particular attention is given to the concentrations of interventions in social services, health, and education; family and community studies; social policy; and methodology.

This multidisciplinary program addresses contemporary health and social issues facing at-risk and vulnerable groups across the life course. Participating units are Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education; Educational Psychology; Human Development and Family Studies; Nursing; Population Health Sciences; and Social Work.

Application information for the doctoral minor and graduate/professional certificate are available online (see website). Completed applications must be signed by faculty advisors and submitted to Carol Aspinwall, Coordinator of Doctoral Student Academic Services, School of Nursing, CSC K6/133, 600 Highland Ave, Madison, WI 53792;

Training Options

Students may earn a doctoral minor or a graduate/professional certificate in Prevention and Intervention Science. 

Doctoral students may earn the doctoral minor in prevention and intervention science. The doctoral minor (Option A) in prevention science requires 10 credits in approved courses. It is a named minor that is listed on student transcripts.

Areas of Concentration

Four areas of concentration are available. Students must select one as a major emphasis.

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 of high societal priority and are reflected in training. School-based programs are increasingly viewed as key strategies of educational reform. Social service and health delivery to children, families, and adults continue to undergo substantial innovation. The promotion of health and development of individuals and groups with and without special health-care needs also is a focal point of interventions.

Social Policy

This area concerns 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. Family and community-based programs are central to addressing myriad social problems and issues. The relationship between family development and other major social contexts such as neighborhoods, communities, and service systems also are important.


An ever-expanding number of quantitative and qualitative methods are available for conducting prevention 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 structural equation modeling, hierarchical linear modeling, growth curve modeling, and ethnography.


Two courses in prevention science, a practicum, and approved elective courses are required of students seeking the doctoral minor or graduate/professional certificate. It is recommended that the two courses in prevention science be taken in the second year of a student's graduate program after introductory courses in theory and a substantive area have been taken in the student's home department.

Required Courses
ED PSYCH/​HDFS/​NURSING/​SOC WORK  880 Prevention Science 13
ED PSYCH/​HDFS/​NURSING/​SOC WORK  881 Capstone Seminar in Prevention Science 21
Practicum 3
Electives 4
Students should select two to four additional courses in one of the areas of concentration. Examples of courses that meet the requirements of the minor and certificate program are listed below.
NURSING 702 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Diverse Communities3
SOC WORK 921 Child Welfare2-3
ED PSYCH 920 Seminar in Child Development2-3
SOC WORK 952 PhD Proseminar3
HDFS 872 Bridging the Gap Between Research and Action3
HDFS 843 Family Policy: How It Affects Families & What Professionals Can Do3
HDFS 766 Current Topics in Human Development and Family Studies1-3
HDFS 869 Advanced Seminar in Family Stress and Coping3
SOC/​ED POL  955 Seminar-Qualitative Methodology3
CURRIC 726 Qualitative Methods of Studying Children and Contexts3
PUB AFFR/​A A E/​ENVIR ST/​POP HLTH  881 Benefit-Cost Analysis3
HDFS 766 Current Topics in Human Development and Family Studies1-3

Faculty: Professors Carter (Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education), Albers (Educational Psychology), Magnuson (Social Work), Riesch (Nursing), Sparks (Human Development and Family Studies)