Marriage and Family Therapy Schools

Learn about the courses you'll take in a graduate marriage and family therapy program. Find out about licensure and certification requirements for counselors and therapists. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Marriage and family therapy can be studied at the undergraduate level through related programs, but degrees specifically in the field can only be found at the graduate level. Students take coursework in areas like group therapy and domestic violence, and can find flexible online study options if needed.

What Is a Marriage and Family Therapy Degree?

Marriage and family therapy is a study area typically offered in master's degree programs. If you're just starting out in your college career, you could pursue a bachelor's degree in psychology or counseling, and then move on to a master's degree program. Some graduate schools accept applicants who hold bachelor's degrees in areas unrelated to counseling and psychology, so you could choose another major; however, undergraduate coursework in psychology would be beneficial.

A Master of Arts or Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program is a 2-year program consisting of seminars, classroom-based lectures and clinical studies. As part of your clinical requirements, you'll take part in a supervised internship where you'll gain real-world skills in a therapeutic setting, typically a hospital or clinic. Other graduate program options include a Master of Science in Counseling or Counseling Psychology with a concentration in marriage and family therapy. Most of these programs are designed to fulfill the experience requirements mandated by state licensure boards.

If you're a busy professional or you have family obligations, you could complete an online master's degree program; although the clinical requirements would be the same as in an on-campus program. Because of licensing and certification requirements, you should consider a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

What Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy?

Bachelor's degrees with relevant studies in marriage and family therapy are available in myriad formats, including a family studies minor. An online option is available is a psychology and counseling combo.

  • The University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers a family studies minor
  • Lesley University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Counseling
  • Crown College offers an online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Psychology/Counseling

What Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy?

Acquire the necessary tools and training to become a marriage and therapy counselor with master's degree programs. A variety of programs are available.

  • Northcentral University offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Northwestern University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Seton Hall University offers a Master of Science (M.S.) in Marriage and Family Therapy

What Kind of Classes Will I Take?

You'll take classes that combine studies in psychology, education and marriage and family therapy. Additionally, you'll conduct academic research and compose a master's thesis or research project. Some examples of courses you might take include:

  • Family studies
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy theories
  • Assessment and treatment
  • Domestic violence

Do I Need a Doctoral Degree?

A doctoral degree would qualify you for a career as a researcher or professor at a 4-year university. Doctoral degree programs can last 3-4 years and lead to a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Marriage and Family Therapy. A Ph.D. program would allow you to develop research techniques and studies involving the latest in therapy practices. While the first year or two is spent in the classroom, you may also complete clinical training at a health care facility.

What Schools Offer Doctoral Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy?

Students can study marriage and family therapy counseling at the doctorate level via programs which includes a Doctor of Psychology program. Doctor of Philosophy programs will train students for research and teaching in the field.

  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) in Marital and Family Therapy
  • The University of Georgia offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) with a Marriage and Family Therapy Emphasis
  • The University of Louisiana-Monroe offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Marriage and Family Therapy

What About Licensure and Certification?

After you earn your master's degree, you will qualify for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in most states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other requirements, including clinical hours, vary by state, but you'll typically need at least 2,000 hours of clinical experience. Post-degree programs, such as graduate certificate programs, could help you fulfill those requirements.

If you're looking for certification on a national level, you could pursue the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential from the National Board for Certified Counselor and Affiliates, Inc. In addition to a master's degree in counseling, you'll need to pass the National Counselor Exam (NCE) and show documentation of 3,000 hours of supervised experience in counseling to earn certification.

Family therapy and marriage counseling is typically studied at the master's level, which prepares students for their doctorate degree. To that end, students will train to become researchers, teachers, and scholars.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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