The Marriage and Family Therapy Master of Arts (MA) degree program is focused on developing the skills and personal and professional growth that are required for effective practice in the field of marriage and family therapy. The program is designed to provide an integrated learning experience for adult students seeking specific training in the profession of marriage and family therapy. Students in this program will critically analyze a broad range of theories and practical knowledge in marriage and family therapy. Degree requirements also include involvement in ongoing clinical work and supervision. This training prepares students for therapeutic and educational work in a variety of settings including mental health centers, public service agencies, correctional institutions, industry, medical settings, and private practice. Additional program description, requirements, policies, and procedures are further described in the MFT Program Handbook, which can be accessed by clicking on the following link (MFT Program Handbook). 

Graduates of the master's level program will be well prepared to begin the process of seeking licensure in their home state or area.

Goals of the MA Program in Marriage and Family Therapy

Goals of the MA Program in Marriage and Family Therapy

The goals (referred to as Student Learning Outcomes) of the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program are:

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of family systems oriented models of therapy (SLO #1).

  2. Students will apply family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts (SLO #2).

  3. Students will demonstrate an applied knowledge of the AAMFT Code of Ethics (SLO #3).

  4. Students will advance their understanding of systemic dynamics within diverse client populations (SLO #4).

General Degree Requirements

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy degree requires a minimum of 45 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the bachelor’s degree. While not required for graduation, students who need to complete a 48- or 60-credit program or need specific additional courses for their state licensure requirements will be allowed to complete optional elective courses to meet these requirements.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 15 semester credit hours in transfer toward the master’s degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred graduate degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content to the required course work in the MFT program.

The MA degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy has the following graduation requirements:

Beyond these standard graduation requirements, the Marriage and Family Therapy master’s program has the following degree requirements:

  1. Online Video Conferencing – In order to complete some of the course requirements and to participate in the online supervision process that is used during the practicum and internship courses, students are required to participate in several online video conferencing meetings throughout their time in the program. In order to participate in these video conference sessions, students are required to own or otherwise have access to a computer, a web cam, a headset, a video recording device, and a high speed internet connection.

  2. Client Contact – Master’s students will be required to complete 500 hours of direct client contact, which includes conducting face-to-face therapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups. At least 250 hours of client contact must be relational (e.g., couple or family). For more information, please read through the practicum and internship course descriptions.

  3. Supervision – In conjunction with client contact, master’s students must receive a total of 100 hours of supervision. Supervision of students will occur at the rate of one (1) hour of supervision per every five (5) hours of client contact and will be face-to-face or live supervision conducted by AAMFT Approved Supervisors, Supervisors-in-Training, or equivalent state approved supervisors.  In some cases, students may be required to pay for local supervision.  This will depend on the clinical placement location, local clinical placement, and/or local supervisor they contract with to complete their practicum and internship requirements.  The decision to pay for local supervision is entirely up to the student and not a requirement of Northcentral University.

  4. Liability Insurance – Prior to beginning any clinical experience, students are required to submit proof of professional liability insurance.

Completion Period for Master's Degrees

Northcentral University allows 6 years to complete Master's programs requiring more than 36 credit hours.

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limits (6 years) are dismissed. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they may document the circumstances and send a request for consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to the policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 53 months. Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most Northcentral students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 31 months.

Elective Courses

To assist students in taking courses that align with their state licensing requirements, if needed students can select from a predetermined list of courses to fill their two elective course requirements or they can request approval to take any of the specialization courses in the PHD-MFT curriculum.  If there are not state specific requirements that are unmet, we recommend students take MFT6104 Family Therapy with Children and MFT6106 Families in Crisis.  Students should review their state educational requirements and speak with their Academic Advisors to determine the best fit.

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Plan

General Family Therapy Specialization

45 Credit Hours

Foundations - 9 credit hours

MFT5101

Foundations for Graduate Study in MFT

MFT5104

Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy

MFT5105

Recovery-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy

45 Credit Hours

Fundamental Courses  - 9 credit hours

MFT5102

Legal, Ethical, and Professional Development in MFT

MFT5103

Systemic Evaluation and Case Management

MFT6102

Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment

Required Specialization Courses - 12 credit hours

MFT5106

Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice

MFT6101

Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan

MFT6103

Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development

MFT6105

Couple and Sex Therapy

Clinical Experience Requirements - 9 credit hours  

MFT6951

MFT Practicum I

MFT6952

MFT Practicum II

MFT6991

MFT Internship I*

MFT6992

MFT Internship II*

MFT6995

MFT Internship and Capstone Presentation*

* Designates 1-credit courses, all other courses are 3 credits.

Elective Courses (Select Two)

MFT6104

Family Therapy with Children*

MFT6106

Families in Crisis*

MFT8103

Assessing and Treating Family Violence

MFT8104

Pharmacology for Family Therapists

MFT8105

Theories of Personality

MFT8115

Family Systems Approaches to Addiction

MFT8303

Systemic Sex Therapy

MFT8601

Gerontology and Systemic Intervention

*Recommended courses, if no state specific course are required.

NOTE: While the Marriage and Family Therapy specialization requires only 45 Credit Hours to graduate, some students may need additional specific courses or additional credit hours in order to meet state licensure requirements. These courses can be selected from relevant Marriage and Family Therapy courses as needed. 

California Licensure Track

For students residing in or planning to move to and pursue licensure in California, we offer a California Licensure Track option within the MA MFT program.  This option has been pre-approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS; the MFT licensing board) in California.  This degree plans requires 60 credit hours.  Students must complete the standard 45 credit hour degree plan with one modification (students must take the California version of our ethics course (MFT6201 California Law and Professional Ethics) rather than the standard ethics course (MFT5102 Legal, Ethical, and Professional Development in MFT), Then, in addition to the standard 45 credits, students must complete an additional five course (15 credits) that have been pre-determined to meet the CA licensing requirements. 

60 Credit Hours

Foundations - 9 credit hours

MFT5101

Foundations for Graduate Study in MFT

MFT5104

Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy

MFT5105

Recovery-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy

Fundamental Courses - 9 credit hours

MFT6201

California Law and Professional Ethics

MFT5103

Systemic Evaluation and Case Management

MFT6102

Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment

Required Specialization Courses - 18 credit hours

MFT5106

Research Methods and Evidence Based Practice

MFT6101

Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan

MFT6103

Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development

MFT6104

Family Therapy with Children

MFT6105

Couple and Sex Therapy

MFT6106

Families in Crisis

California Specific Additional Course Requirements- 15 credit hours

MFT8103

Assessing and Treating Family Violence

MFT8104

Pharmacology for Family Therapists

MFT8115

Family Systems Approaches to Addiction

MFT8303

Systemic Sex Therapy

MFT8601

Gerontology and Systemic Intervention

Clinical Experience Requirements - 9 credit hours  

MFT6951

MFT Practicum I

MFT6952

MFT Practicum II

MFT6991

MFT Internship I*

MFT6992

MFT Internship II*

MFT6995

MFT Internship and Capstone Presentation*

* Designates 1-credit courses, all other courses are 3 credits.