By: BCD Staff
Are you interested in becoming a therapist and working with individuals, couples and families? A Marriage and Family Therapy degree could be the degree for you. Marriage and Family Therapists (also known as Couple and Family Therapists) specialize in providing psychotherapy in the context of couple and family systems. A master's and/or doctorate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy will prepare you to assess, diagnose, and treat a broad range of mental health and relational issues from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, behavioral disorders, infidelity, divorce, and much more. Marriage and Family Therapists work in community mental health agencies, private practice, schools, medical settings, and residential treatment centers to name a few. CNN Money listed Marriage/Family Therapist as one of the top 50 Best Jobs in America with a projected 10-year job growth rate at 41.2%.
This list includes some of the best Marriage and Family Therapy programs in the country. There are over 100 COAMFTE accredited Family Therapy degree programs nationwide. We chose to list only COAMFTE accredited programs because this accreditation board provides the gold standard for the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. The COAMFTE ensures that graduates of programs with its seal of approval will have the curriculum and supervised clinical experience accepted by all 50 states to work towards licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). To become licensed, graduates need to pass the national licensure exam and complete post master's supervised clinical hours (hour requirement varies by state). If a Marriage and Family Therapy program offered multiple degrees, only those that are COAMFTE accredited were listed here. We have selected the most affordable programs for this list (see methodology). The selection listed here includes M.A., M.S., PsyD, and Ph.D. programs in Marriage and Family Therapy.
The programs listed here require the completion of supervised clinical hours while in graduate school (typically 500 hours usually completed in the second year of study). Supervised clinical hours typically take place at the programs on-campus mental health clinic and at an off-site placement. These practicum and internship hours allow students to integrate what they have learned in the classroom in clinical practice with the supportive and instructive supervision of Marriage and Family Therapy faculty and AAMFT approved clinical supervisors. Many graduates of Marriage and Family Therapy programs around the country identify the supervised clinical experience as the most valuable component of their graduate careers.
When considering paying for graduate school remember two things: First, in-state tuition is less expensive (out-of-state tuition is listed here because not all schools offer an in-state rate). Secondly, many graduate programs offer assistantships and scholarships that students are eligible to apply for once enrolled in the program. Assistantships usually allow students to work as graduate teaching fellows and/or conduct research in exchange for a stipend and/or tuition waiver. It is always a good idea to inquire about potentially available assistantships when narrowing down your top choices for graduate programs.
Fairfield University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program addresses issues related to social justice throughout the curriculum and clinical training. In order to provide a range of options for internship and practicum, the Marriage and Family Therapy program has connections with 45 sites. The program is committed to serving diverse client populations, supporting a diverse student body and having a faculty representing diversity.
- Tuition: $15,920
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,046
- Courses Include: Foundations of Marital and Family Therapy, Divorce, Single Parenting, and Remarriage, Intervention in Structural and Strategic Family Therapy, Couples Therapy, Multicultural Issues in Counseling, Human Sexuality and Sexual Dysfunction, and Research in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Northcentral University's School of Marriage and Family Sciences offers both a M.A. and a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program is one of only two schools on this list offering online degrees. This is the only program on the list offering an online Ph.D. Northcentral University does not require its students to travel to complete residency requirements. All coursework is completed online. Students will complete face-to-face practicum and internship clinical hours and supervision with a qualified supervisor in their local area.
- Tuition: $15,557
- Graduate Enrollment: 10,678
- Ph.D. Specialization Options Include: Child and Adolescent Therapy, Couple Therapy, General Family Therapy, Medical Family Therapy and Therapy with Military Families.
University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. A full-time track and a part-time track are available, and the program can be completed in two to four years. The program admits up to 16 students annually. Most graduate students will receive graduate assistantships that could include a stipend and/or tuition. Graduate assistantships are only available to full-time students.
- Tuition: $15,550
- Graduate Enrollment: 2,774
- Courses Include: Individual and Family Life Cycle Development, Advanced Study of Marriage and Family Therapy Studies, Gender and Culture in the Family, Couple Therapy, Parents and Children: Problem Resolution, and Practice of Family Research.
St. Mary's University
San Antonio, TX
The Department of Counseling and Human Services at St. Mary's University offers a Master of Arts and Doctorate of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy. These degrees are designed as practitioner and advanced practitioner/researcher degrees respectively. St. Mary's University is a Catholic Marianist University founded in 1852. St. Mary's features a diverse student population of all faiths and backgrounds.
- Tuition: $15,070
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,475
- Courses Include: Mental Health and Psychopathology, Human Sexuality, Crisis Counseling, Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy, Strategies of Family Therapy, MFT Outcome Research, and Working with Latino Families.
University of Wisconsin - Stout
The University of Wisconsin – Stout offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. This program offers a cohort model (13 students each year) and onsite clinic for clinical hours. Classes are offered on Mondays and Tuesdays. This program has been accredited by the COAMFTE since 1977. It is one of the two longest-accredited Marriage and Family Therapy programs in the country. Note: Minnesota residents may qualify for in-state tuition due to state reciprocity agreements. In-state tuition is less than what is listed here. The University of Wisconsin – Stout is located in rural Northwestern Wisconsin and is interested in increasing the diversity of students in the program. Students representing diversity are encouraged to apply.
- Tuition: $14,995
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,105
- Courses Include: Theories of Family Process, Cultural Competence in Family Therapy, Couples Therapy and Sex Therapy, Lifespan, Family and Human Development, Counseling Children and Adolescents, and Professional Issues in Couple and Family Therapy.
University of Houston - Clear Lake
The Master of Arts in Family Therapy program at University of Houston Clear Lake was one of the first accredited programs in Texas (COAMFTE accredited since 1983) and has over 650 graduates. Features that will appeal to budget-conscious students include out-of-state tuition waivers (Dollars for Scholars Program), potential annual scholarships, and the low cost of living in Houston. The Family Therapy program at the University of Houston Clear lake values and attracts diverse students. Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. and one of the most diverse cities in the world.
- Tuition: $14,904
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,311
- Courses Include: Introduction to Family Therapy, Family Assessment, Group Psychotherapy, Substance Abuse: Causes and Treatments, Cross-Cultural Perspectives on the Family, Systems and Symptoms, and Couple and Sex Therapy.
Our Lady of the Lake University - Houston
The Woodlands, TX
Our Lady of the Lake University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Family, Couple and Individual Psychotherapy (FCIP) at both the Houston and San Antonio campuses. This program emphasizes a strengths-based perspective and collaborative process in therapy. Cultural competence is central to the program's values, and students will be trained in providing services to individuals, couples, and families from diverse backgrounds. An emphasis is placed on cultural as well as linguistic diversity.
- Tuition: $14,678
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,372
- Courses Include: Introduction to Systemic Approaches to Psychotherapy, Psychopathology: Etiology, Diagnosis, & Treatment Planning, Family Processes Across Cultures, Theoretical Foundations of Individual and Family Psychotherapy, and Psychotherapy with Children, Adolescents, and Their Families.
University of Akron
The University of Akron offers a Master's degree and Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling/ Therapy. Both degrees are dually accredited by COAMFTE and CACREP. Graduates of the Master's program will be prepared for licensure and careers in a variety of settings based on personal preference and goals. The program claims a 95% completion rate and a licensure exam pass rate of 96%. The doctoral program aims to prepare graduates to work in the field of marriage and family therapy as advanced practitioners, teachers/supervisors, and researchers.
- Tuition: $14,364
- Graduate Enrollment: 4,455
- Courses Include: Marriage and Family Therapy: Theories and Techniques, Systems Theory in Family Therapy, Marital Therapy, Multicultural Counseling, Techniques of Counseling, Issues in Sexuality for Counselors, Multicultural Counseling, Statistics, Research Design, and Clinical Supervision.
Mercer University School of Medicine offers a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. The program's mission includes preparing medical students and marriage and family therapy students to work collaboratively as they provide services to individuals, couples and families. This program is offered on the Macon and Atlanta campuses.
- Tuition: $14,127
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,932
- Courses Include: Marriage and Family Therapy Methods, Addiction Processes in Families, Marital, Couple and Sexual Issues in Family Therapy, Human Development Across the Lifespan, Loss and Grief Across the LIfespan, and Ethics and Professional Practice.
Capella University is one of two programs that made this list offering an online marriage and family counseling degree. This COAMFTE and CACREP accredited program combines online coursework, residencies, and clinical experience to fulfill practicum requirements. Each component builds on the others to ensure graduates are well prepared to enter the field as counselors and therapists and work towards marriage and family therapy licensure.
- Tuition: $13,770
- Graduate Enrollment: 26,060
- Courses Include: Introduction to Marriage and Family Counseling/ Therapy, Family Therapy Theory and Methods, Marriage and Family Systems, Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Counseling/ Therapy, Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations, and Group Counseling and Clinical Applications in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech University's Ph.D. program in Couple, Marriage, and Family Therapy provides students with the expertise needed to conduct clinical research, offer advanced counseling services, and teach in higher education settings. Students accepted in the program will receive first-hand experience by leading supervised therapy sessions and working alongside prominent researchers and highly experienced practitioners. The program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) since 1981, and hours accumulated during the program can be counted toward full licensure in Texas.
- Tuition: $13,731
- Graduate Enrollment: 6,067
- Courses Include: Diversity in Marriage and Family Therapy, Qualitative Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy, Grant Writing, Writing for Publication, Addictions and the Family, and Gender, Violence, Grief/ Loss.
Argosy University at the Salt Lake and the Twin Cities campuses offer a COAMFTE accredited Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. Students will be evaluated to make sure they have mastered specific core competencies as they progress through the program to ensure their success as clinicians. The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree program at Argosy University, Twin Cities offers an optional concentration in Forensic Counseling.
- Tuition: $13,628
- Graduate Enrollment: 135
- Courses Include: Theories of Family Process and Development, Schools of Family Therapy, Psychopathology and Assessment, Couples and Relational Family Therapy Skills, Individual and Personality Development, and Social and Cultural Foundations of Therapy.
Evangelical Theological Seminary
Evangelical Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. This marriage and family counseling degree integrates biblical principles and Christian faith with marriage and family theories. Students will learn together with the support of the faculty in the cohort model. Graduates go on to work in a variety of settings, from churches to private practice.
- Tuition: $12,480
- Graduate Enrollment: 113
- Courses Include: Survey of Christian Theology, History and Theology of Marriage, Assessment in Marriage and Family Therapy, Children and Adolescents in Family Therapy, Gender and Ethnicity, Abusive and Addictive Family Systems, and Ethical, Legal, and Professional Issues in Family Therapy.
The Marriage and Family Therapy program at Purdue University Calumet highlights theory, research, and practice. The program currently accepts 9 students into each cohort. Full-time students can complete the 61 credit hour program in 2-3 years. A master's thesis is required for graduation. Graduates of this program have a 100% employment rate.
- Tuition: $12,208
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,032
- Courses Include: Couple and Sex Therapy, Trauma and Recovery in Family Therapy, Advanced Child Development, Diversity and Social Justice in Family Therapy, Family Therapy Skills, Transgenerational Family Therapies, and Contemporary Issues in Family Therapy.
St. Cloud State University
St. Cloud, MN
St. Cloud State University offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. This family therapy degree program operates on the cohort model, with all classes having an experiential element intended to keep students engaged and connected to their work and each other.
- Tuition: $11,839
- Graduate Enrollment: 1,631
- Courses Include: Family Systems, Clinical Issues in Marriage and Family Therapy, Family Assessment, Psychodiagnosis, Assessment, and Treatment Planning, Professional Skills and Procedures, and Child Development and Treatment.
The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is offered at both the Wichita and Greater Kansas City Area (Lenexa) campuses. Classes typically take place on weekday afternoons and evenings. 60 credit hours are required for completion of the program, which consists of Core Curriculum requirements, Clinical Training requirements, and elective course requirements.
- Tuition: $11,358
- Graduate Enrollment: 569
- Courses Include: History of Marriage and Family Therapy and Systems Theory, Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy, Research in Marriage and Family Therapy, Sexuality, Intimacy, and Sex Therapy, and Family Development, Stress and Violence.
Christian Theological Seminary
The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at Christian Theological Seminary combines psychological and theological studies to prepare students to counsel individuals, couples, and families. Clinicians will be prepared to address both the mental health and spiritual needs of clients. Students will complete all of their clinical hours on campus at the Christian Theological Seminary Counseling Center. Interested students can combine this degree with the Master of Divinity.
- Tuition: $11,198
- Graduate Enrollment: 188
- Clinical Situations Students Will Gain Expertise in Include: crisis counseling, premarital counseling, couples counseling, children and teens in family counseling, play therapy. Additionally, Spanish speaking students will have the opportunity to provide therapy for Spanish speaking families.
The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy at Pfeiffer University is offered at both the Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham campuses. This COAMFTE accredited program will prepare graduates to take the national licensing exam. Students in the program are expected to be enrolled every semester throughout the program to ensure consistent clinical training. Students in the program are expected to participate in local, state, and national conferences. Additionally, to contribute to the growth and development of the students as therapists, all students are required to participate in confidential personal growth counseling throughout the course of the program.
- Tuition: $10,765
- Graduate Enrollment: 909
- Courses Include: Assessment and Treatment Planning in Family Therapy, Family Therapy: Children and Adolescents, Advanced Psychopathology in the Family Context, Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques, and Introduction to Family Systems.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary offers one of the few seminary-based Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy programs in the United States. This degree can be earned as a dual degree with a Master of Divinity leading to ordination as a minister. Graduates of this program go on to work as mental health professionals in a range of settings, including agencies to churches. Cohort sizes over the last 10 years have ranged from 5-14 students. In the last few years, 100% of graduates of this program have gone on to obtain state licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists.
- Tuition: $10,546
- Graduate Enrollment: 199
- Program Goals: For graduates to be prepared to work as Marriage and Family Therapists, for graduates professional ability to reflect theologically on their work, for graduates to have entry level pastoral counseling skills, for graduates to represent and value diverse religious background, culture, racial and ethnic identity, gender, and sexual orientation.
Indiana Wesleyan University
The Marriage and Family Counseling degree at Indiana Wesleyan University is accredited by both the CACREP and COAMFTE. This program approaches marriage and family therapy from a Christian worldview. Students working toward their Master of Arts in the Marriage and Family Counseling/ Therapy program will gain clinical skills through internship and practicum experience off-site as well as on-site at the programs therapy and research center. Students will receive supervision and feedback from faculty and peers through live sessions with a two-way mirror as well as through video taped sessions.
- Tuition: $10,235
- Graduate Enrollment: 4,193
- Courses Include: Theory and Techniques of Helping Relationship, Theories and Treatment of Addiction, Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues, Multicultural Counseling, Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy with Couples and Families.
San Diego, CA
Bethel University offers a Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy through the Bethel Seminary. The COAMFTE accredited Marriage and Family Therapy degree program is offered at the San Diego campus. This program integrates Biblical teaching and provides students with a spiritual foundation. Courses are offered on campus in the afternoons and evenings.
- Tuition: $10,230
- Graduate Enrollment: 178
- Courses Include: Families in Context: Gender, Class, and Culture, Dynamics of Family Process, and Professional and Legal Issues.
Regis University offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. The 60-credit-hour interactive program at Regis University prepares clinicians to provide advocacy and promote social justice in working with clients. Students will complete practicum and internship hours for their Marriage and Family Counseling degree at the department's state-of-the-art counseling laboratory and at local mental health counseling agencies. Regis University offers the M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy at three campuses: North Denver, Broomfield, and Colorado Springs.
- Tuition: $10,224
- Graduate Enrollment: 4,550
- Courses Include: Human Growth and Development, Theories of Family Therapy, Cultural Issues and Social Justice, Assessment and Diagnosis, Integrated Healthcare, Counseling Techniques, Techniques in Family and Couple Therapy, Substance Abuse Treatment, Gender Development and Sexuality, and Counseling Military Families.
Converse College's Marriage and Family Therapy Degree requires the completion of 60 credit hours. The majority of courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends. Students will complete a 12 month practicum experience providing individual, couple and family therapy at WestGate Training and Consultation Network. The Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy degree at Converse College prepares culturally competent practitioners to treat a range of issues for diverse populations.
- Tuition: $8,210
- Graduate Enrollment: 587
- Courses Include: Systems of Family Therapy, Diagnostics of Mental Disorders in Interpersonal Systems, Cultural Competence and Family Therapy, Marital and Family Therapy Supervision, Treatment of Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and LGBT Issues in MFT.
St. Mary's University of Minnesota
The Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at St. Mary's University of Minnesota is designed for adult learners. The majority of students complete the program in three years, but an accelerated pace is also available for students who wish to complete the program in two. St. Mary's University aims to make their advanced degrees convenient and accessible, offering multiple potential start dates as well as flexible course scheduling and blended delivery models.
- Tuition: $7,668
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,596
- Courses Include: Foundations of Family Therapy, Developmental Psychology, Theories of Personality, Psychopathology, Counseling Theory and Technique, Multicultural Studies of the Family, Couple Relationships, Assessment of Couples and Families, Neuroscience in Couple Therapy, Premarital Counseling, Addictions and Family Therapy, and Marriage and Family Therapy with Immigrant Families.
Brigham Young University
Brigham Young University (BYU) offers two COAMFTE accredited Marriage and Family Therapy programs, with both a Masters (M.S.) and Ph.D. degree available. This program is offered by the School of Family Life. Students working towards their Marriage and Family Therapy degree (M.S. and Ph.D.) will complete 10-15 hours of clinical work with individuals, couples and families per week.
- Tuition: $6,310
- Graduate Enrollment: 3,358
- Courses Include: Theoretical Foundations of Family System, Theoretical Foundations of Marital and Family Therapy, Analysis and Treatment of Human Sexual Development, Addictions and Violence in Families, Issues of Gender and Ethnicity, Ethical and Professional Issues for Family Therapists, Parent Education, Family Economics, Child and Adolescent Socialization, Familial Influences on Social Development, Emotional & Moral Development, and Theories of Human Development.
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