PhD Programs for Marriage & Family Therapy in California

Although PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) programs are rare in California, students can earn a doctoral degree from at least three schools in the state. Read more to learn about available programs, admissions, and potential career outcomes. Schools offering Marriage & Family Therapy degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Alliant International University - San Diego

Alliant International University has a PsyD in Marriage and Family program that consists of 114 credit hours and can be completed at one of four campuses: San Diego, Los Angeles, Irvine, or Sacramento. The program is open to students with a master's degree, typically takes five years to complete, and features courses such as research methods, behavior, and advanced couples therapy.

Loma Linda University

The PhD in Systems, Families, and Couples program at Loma Linda University consists of 103 quarter units and offers a concentration in medical family therapy in addition to specialization options in family studies and couple and family therapy. Students can alternatively pursue a Doctor of Marital and Family Therapy (DMFT) through LLU's online program, earning their degree in two years (77 quarter units) or three years (120 quarter units).

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology: Irvine & Los Angeles

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology offers a PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy program at its Irvine campus (full-time/part-time) as well as at its Los Angeles campus (part-time only). The program is open to students who have previously earned a master's degree and consists of 60 credit hours, including courses in psychotherapy, academic writing, and evidence-based treatments.

School Name Programs Offered Average Graduate Tuition (2018-2019)*
Alliant International University - San Diego PsyD in Marriage and Family Therapy $23,501
Loma Linda University Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy
PhD in Systems, Families, and Couples with concentrations/specializations in:
Couple and Family Therapy
Family Studies
Medical Family Therapy
$26,080
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy $21,213
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Los Angeles PsyD in Marital and Family Therapy $21,213

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics

Admittance Requirements for MFT Doctoral Degree Programs in California

Depending on the program selected, students may need a master's degree for admission to a doctoral degree program in marriage and family therapy. Some programs may require students to have a degree in a mental health field or to have completed certain prerequisite courses in their previous studies. Students may also need to have earned a certain GPA, such as 3.0 or 3.2, and to have taken the GRE entrance exam within the last five years. Many programs require students to submit a resume, letters of recommendation, and one or more essays in addition to completing an interview. Some programs cater to licensed marriage and family therapists and interns, so work experience could play a role in schools' admissions decisions.

What Can You Do with a Doctoral Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy?

Clinical Supervisors

Clinical supervisors, or clinical managers, oversee and direct specific departments. They may implement policy changes, determine department objectives, and evaluate staff performance. Graduates of a doctoral program in marriage and family therapy may qualify to work as clinical supervisors of therapy departments and/or facilities.

Marriage and Family Therapists

California requires all marriage and family therapists to have earned a master's degree or a doctoral degree and to have completed significant supervised experience, some of which may be included in doctoral programs. These therapists must have a firm understanding of therapy principles, and methods for practice with children, families, adolescents, and couples. They are also usually required to be trained to handle addiction and trauma situations. These therapists counsel and advise clients using a family-centered approach and apply various therapies to help their clients understand and overcome issues that can include substance abuse and stress.

Postsecondary Teachers

Postsecondary teachers often teach students in university and college settings and are typically qualified to teach in the subject of their graduate studies and work experience. Graduates of doctoral MFT programs may qualify to teach psychology, counseling, or therapy courses in postsecondary settings. The specific duties of postsecondary teachers can vary but may include delivering lectures, grading assignments, advising students, and developing curricula, as well as conducting and publishing research in their area of specialization.

Job Title Median Annual Salary (2018)* Estimated Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Clinical Supervisors (Medical and Health Services Managers) $99,730 18%
Marriage and Family Therapists $50,090 22%
Postsecondary Teachers $78,470 11%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Students in California can earn a doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy through at least three schools. Students will typically need a master's degree for admission and may be prepared for a variety of clinical and teaching careers upon graduation.

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.

Popular Schools

  • Northcentral University

    Northcentral University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Northcentral University:

    Online Programs Available

  • Regent University

    Regent University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Regent University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Doctoral

    Online Programs Available

  • Capella University

    Capella University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral

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  • Loma Linda University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Loma Linda
  • University of Iowa

    Campus Locations:

    • Iowa: Iowa City
  • The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Irvine

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Irvine
  • Florida State University

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Tallahassee
  • University of Louisiana at Monroe

    Campus Locations:

    • Louisiana: Monroe