Degree-seekers interested in pursuing a master's in marriage and family therapy can review this guide to learn more about potential opportunities in the field. The guide includes a list of the best marriage and family therapy programs of 2020, common courses in marriage and family therapy programs, concentration opportunities, admission requirements, and potential career paths.

What Are the Best Marriage and Family Therapy Programs of 2020? Here Are Our Top 10:

Rank School Location
1 Pepperdine University Malibu, CA
2 Touro University Worldwide Los Alamitos, CA
3 John Brown University Siloam Springs, AR
4 Abilene Christian University Abilene, TX
5 Brandman University Irvine, CA
6 LeTourneau University Longview, TX
7 University of Massachusetts - Boston Boston, MA
8 University of West Alabama Livingston, AL
9 Concordia University - Wisconsin Mequon, WI
10 Fresno Pacific University Fresno, CA

Earning a master's degree in marriage and family therapy prepares many degree-seekers to work as marriage and family therapists after graduation. That said, some graduates pursue careers as school counselors, substance abuse counselors, career counselors, and mental health counselors.

Marriage and family therapists currently have the highest employment levels and concentration of jobs in California. Additionally, they earn the highest average wages in Hawaii.

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you will make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering school rankings that are transparent, inclusive, and relevant for online students. Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read more about our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

2020 Best Accredited Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Programs

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

Pepperdine University

Malibu, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 93%

Founded in 1937 by the Church of Christ, Pepperdine University is ranked as one of the best value schools by U.S. News & World Report. Pepperdine's expansive online catalog includes an online master's in clinical psychology with a specialized track in family and marriage therapy.

The 62-68-credit family and marriage therapy program covers course topics in multicultural counseling, theory of counseling and psychotherapy, and trauma in diverse populations. Candidates must also complete a four-term clinical practicum comprising 700 placement hours under the supervision of an approved licensed counselor or therapist within their community.

Alumni of the program are eligible to sit for California's licensed marriage and family therapist or licensed professional clinical counseling exam, and they may also qualify for other state's exams. Pepperdine holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Family and marriage therapy
Tuition: $1,585/credit
Credit Requirements: 62-68 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (310) 568-5600
Email: admissions@onlinepsych.pepperdine.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

2

Touro University Worldwide

Los Alamitos, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Established in 1971, the Touro College and University system has grown into an extensive network of private postsecondary schools. Its online division — Touro University Worldwide — provides an array of online degrees, including a fully online master of arts in family and marriage therapy.

This 72-credit program covers topics like couples counseling, foundations of psychopathology, and research methodology. Students can select from clinical, nonclinical, and licensed professional clinical counseling tracks. The clinical and licensure options culminate in a practicum requiring 500 hours of client contact.

Online students access courses through Canvas. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree with a minimum 2.5 GPA. TUW holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $500/credit
Credit Requirements: 54 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (818) 575-6800
Email: online@www.tuw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

3

John Brown University

Siloam Springs, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

Established in 1919 as a nondenominational institution, John Brown University boasts a 13-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio and small class sizes. JBU's reputation for a highly personalized learning experience extends to its many online programs, including a partially online master of science in marriage and family therapy.

The 64-credit master of science degree allows students to take up to one-third of their classes through online learning. Course topics include family sexuality, advanced psychopharmacology, and relationship assessment. Candidates can also pursue a dual-degree track, simultaneously earning a master's in clinical mental health counseling.

Completion of the program prepares graduates to sit for the marriage and family therapy national exam. JBU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $560/credit
Credit Requirements: 64 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (479) 524-9500
Email: jbuinfo@jbu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

4

Abilene Christian University

Abilene, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 67%

Originally named the Childers Classical Institute, Abilene Christian University has grown from its 1906 class of 25 students to an enrollment of approximately 5,200 learners. The school's 106 degree programs include a variety of online offerings, including an online master's in marriage and family therapy.

Students can complete this 60-credit program in 33 months. The program offers tracks in medical family therapy, treatment of trauma, child and adolescent therapy, and a general track. Course topics include systemic diagnosis and assessment, couples therapy, and cultural diversity in family therapy.

Graduates of the program are qualified to sit for the marriage and family therapy national exam. ACU's block tuition allows students to take up to 36 credits for the same price. The school holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Medical family therapy; treatment of trauma; child and adolescent therapy; general
Tuition: $825/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (855) 219-7300
Email: andrew.deister@acu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

5

Brandman University

Irvine, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

Formerly a school for service members on the former El Toro Marine Corp base in Orange, California, Brandman University provides quality education to working learners with busy schedules. The school's online offerings include an online master of arts in psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy.

The 30-credit concentration covers course topics including the counseling process, advanced individual counseling, and clinical issues in human diversity. Completion of this online master's degree qualifies graduates for marriage and family therapist licensure in Washington and California, certification in many other states, and American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy membership.

The degree track culminates in a practicum. Brandman holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Psychology
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Marriage and family therapy
Tuition: $660/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or GMAT (if GPA between 2.5 and 2.99)

Contact

Phone: (877) 516-4501
Email: apply@brandman.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

6

LeTourneau University

Longview, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 61%

Based in Longview, Texas, LeTourneau University features a strong Christian component in its curriculum. The college also offers 31 programs online, including a master's in mental health counseling with a specialization in marriage and family counseling.

The 66-credit program dedicates 45 credits to core topics, 15 to the family and marriage therapist specialization, and six toward integrative theology-related coursework. Course topics include family assessment, lifespan human development, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Students can select coursework to earn dual licensure as a licensed professional counselor and a licensed family and marriage therapist.

LETU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master's in Mental Health Counseling
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Marriage and family counseling
Tuition: $615/credit
Credit Requirements: 66 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum

Contact

Phone: (800) 759-8811
Email: admissions@letu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

7

University of Massachusetts - Boston

Boston, MA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

The University of Massachusetts Boston serves about 16,000 students through a variety of on-campus and online programs. The school's online catalog includes an online master of education in counseling that caters to working students interested in marriage and family therapy.

The 60-credit master's degree follows a cohort model and requires a two-week introductory residency along with the completion of a practicum. Students can construct their track to prepare for marriage and family therapist licensure. Course topics include lifespan human development, behavioral counseling, and college readiness counseling. The program concludes with a three-week supervised internship in an approved setting.

Online students access primarily asynchronous classes through the Blackboard learning management system. UMass Boston holds regional accreditation from the New England Commission of Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Education in Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $575/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (617) 287-5000
Email: registrar@umb.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

8

University of West Alabama

Livingston, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 31%

Originally formed as the Livingston Female Academy and State Normal College, the University of West Alabama now operates as a coeducational regional institution. The school offers relatively affordable tuition rates and 58 online programs, including an online master of science in family counseling.

The 33-credit program caters to students who already hold professional licensure or are seeking a degree to work in a position not requiring licensure. Course topics include systems of psychotherapy, advanced techniques in family counseling, and the therapeutic relationship. Students can participate in a counseling internship as an elective option.

The master's program accepts up to nine transfer credits from other institutions. Online learners access mostly asynchronous coursework through the Blackboard learning management system. UWA holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Family Counseling
School Status: Public
Tuition: $429/credit
Credit Requirements: 33 credits
Program Length: 1 year

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE

Contact

Phone: (844) 900-3037
Email: uwaonline@uwa.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

9

Concordia University - Wisconsin

Mequon, WI Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

An institution affiliated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Concordia University Wisconsin features a variety of online options for working professionals. The school's online master of science in family life provides training in family and marriage therapy from a Christian perspective.

The 36-credit master's program prepares participants for a provisional certified family life educator credential from the National Council on Family Relations. Course topics include human development, professional ethics, and family law and public policy. The degree culminates with a thesis seminar. Students also must complete a minimum of 120 hours of supervised experience for their counseling practicum.

The school makes online courses available through Blackboard — usually in an asynchronous format. CUW holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Family Life
School Status: Private
Tuition: $614/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (262) 243-4300
Email: graduate.admission@cuw.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

10

Fresno Pacific University

Fresno, CA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 66%

Fresno Pacific University educates students in the Mennonite tradition through a variety of on-campus and online programs that cater to full-time and working students. The school's diverse online social sciences degrees include a hybrid master's in marriage and family therapy with a strong Christian component.

The 65-credit degree prepares graduates for California marriage and family therapist licensure. The curriculum covers topics such as psychopathology, group counseling, and family violence. All students must complete a capstone experience that includes a practicum and an advanced family studies project or a thesis. The program also allows students to study abroad in Israel each summer.

Applicants must have at least 50 hours of face-to-face counseling experience to be eligible for the program. FPU holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $530/credit
Credit Requirements: 65 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE
Work Experience: 50 hours of face-to-face counseling experience

Contact

Phone: (559) 453-2037
Email: registrar@fresno.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

11

Regent University

Virginia Beach, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Ranked as a top school for online learning by U.S. News & World Report, Regent University's academic catalog includes an online master's in marriage and family therapy. The 60-credit program prepares students to sit for the professional MFT exam in many states.

Students take courses covering theories of human sexuality, models of family therapy, marital and couples therapy, and other subjects. The program culminates with a supervised internship at an approved setting and a weekly internship seminar with a counseling faculty member. Master's in counseling candidates also need to complete a two-week residency.

Online students access mostly asynchronous courses through Blackboard. Regent holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
School Status: Private
Tuition: $710/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum
Standardized Tests: GRE or MAT

Contact

Phone: (800) 681-5906
Email: psycounadmissions@regent.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

12

Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 50%

Established in 1971 in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University offers many distance education programs. The college's online offerings include a biblically focused master's in marriage and family therapy that is tailored to working students.

Part-time students can complete the 60-credit degree program in less than three years. They explore course topics including theories of family systems, group counseling, and advanced couple and marital counseling. The program culminates with a one-semester practicum and two-semester professional internship.

Online students access asynchronous coursework through Canvas. The program allows students to transfer in up to half of the required credits. Liberty holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $565/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.7 minimum

Contact

Phone: (434) 582-2000
Email: luograd@liberty.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

13

Lee University

Cleveland, TN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 57%

Established in 1918 as a Bible college, Lee University has since grown into a private university that serves around 5,000 students. The school's online programs for working students include a fully online master of science in marriage and family studies.

The 36-credit curriculum takes a minimum of four semesters to complete and provides part-time and full-time learning paths. Course topics include human lifespan development, special needs groups, and psychopathology. The degree is tailored to professionals already holding a license or those interested in working in an administrative role at family service agencies and similar settings; however, it does not prepare candidates for licensure.

Online students access primarily asynchronous coursework through Blackboard. Lee holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Marriage and Family Studies
School Status: Private
Tuition: $755/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (423) 614-8000
Email: info@leeuniversity.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

14

Concordia University - Saint Paul

Saint Paul, MN Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 59%

Established in 1893 as a Lutheran ministry preparatory school, Concordia University, Saint Paul now enrolls around 5,000 students in over 76 majors, including 48 online programs.

CSP's 36-credit online master's in family studies holds approval from the National Council on Family Relations. The curriculum includes classes on families in society, systemic dynamics of families, and intimate relationships. Students can choose between a regular track and a certified track that earns graduates the designation of certified family life educator. The program culminates with a capstone project, which varies depending on a student's chosen track.

Online students access asynchronous and synchronous classes through Blackboard. CSP holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Family Science
School Status: Private
Tuition: $457/credit
Credit Requirements: 36 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (651) 641-8230
Email: registrar@csp.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

15

Messiah College

Mechanicsburg, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 78%

A Christian institution located near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, Messiah College offers many distance education programs, including a 60-credit online master of arts in counseling with a concentration in couple and family counseling.

The program allows learners to choose a two-, three-, or four-year completion timeline. Course topics include substance abuse, human sexuality, and premarital and marital counseling. The program culminates with a practicum followed by a two-part internship at an approved site. To graduate, students must also complete one of several national exams to earn marriage and family therapist licensure.

Messiah holds regional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts Counseling
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Couple and family counseling
Tuition: $690/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.0 minimum

Contact

Phone: (717) 796-5061
Email: gradprograms@messiah.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

16

Prescott College

Prescott, AZ Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Prescott College offers a variety of liberal arts programs, many of which can be completed by distance learners. This small, Arizona-based college's academic catalog includes an online master of science in counseling with an emphasis in couple and family counseling.

The 60-credit program follows a hybrid format that includes occasional on-campus components. Students take classes covering counseling theories, psychopathology, and social justice in counseling. Graduates leave the program prepared to pursue marriage and family therapist licensure and to succeed in work environments that follow a client-centered approach.

The school encourages master's in counseling graduates to combine their degree with a post-graduate certificate in a topic like ecotherapy or expressive art therapy. Prescott College holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Couple and family counseling
Tuition: $825/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (877) 350-2100
Email: admissions@prescott.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

17

Amridge University

Montgomery, AL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

Based in Montgomery, Alabama, Amridge University offers many distance education programs for busy professionals. The school's distance programs include a comprehensive online master of arts in marriage and family therapy.

The 60-credit master's typically takes seven semesters to complete and includes part-time and full-time paths. Course topics include counseling for abusive relationships, advanced therapy, and human development. Degree candidates typically arrange their culminating practicum and clinical experiences several semesters in advance. Graduates leave the program prepared to earn a marriage and family therapist license in many states.

Online students access primarily asynchronous coursework through Canvas. Amridge holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $675/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 7 semesters

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (888) 790-8080
Email: admissions@amridgeuniversity.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

18

City University of Seattle

Seattle, WA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 0%

City University of Seattle offers more than 40 flexible distance education programs tailored to the needs of working professionals. The school's online master's in counseling with a concentration in marriage, couple, and family counseling follows a cohort model and takes two years to complete.

The 90-quarter-credit program covers topics including school counseling, human lifespan development, and loss and grief counseling. Students must participate in a three-term practicum followed by a three-term internship. Graduates leave the program having satisfied the educational requirements needed to sit for the clinical mental health counseling and the licensed marriage and family therapist exams.

Class delivery follows a mixed mode where online assignments help facilitate face-to-face discussion. CityU holds regional institutional accreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Counseling
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Marriage, couple, and family counseling
Tuition: $520/credit
Credit Requirements: 90 quarter credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: Hybrid (online/on campus)
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (888) 422-4898
Email: info@cityu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

19

Houston Baptist University

Houston, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

Houston Baptist University has a solid reputation as a provider of distance education programs. Its online catalog includes an online master's in marriage and family therapy tailored to learners interested in transitioning directly to a licensed counseling position upon graduation.

The 60-credit master's program mixes online learning with some on-campus courses that fulfill the state's counseling education mandates. The curriculum covers areas like theories of counseling, clinical psychotherapy, and premarital counseling and marital enrichment. Students complete their degree with a three-semester practicum comprising 700 hours of supervised practice in an approved setting.

Students access online course materials in asynchronous and synchronous formats through Blackboard. HBU holds regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
School Status: Private
Tuition: $575/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (281) 649-3000
Email: onlineadmissions@hbu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

20

Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, OK Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Mid-America Christian University serves a student body of roughly 2,500 learners. The school offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees, many of which are available on campus and online. The school's social science degree options include an online master's in counseling with a marital, couples, and family counsleing/therapy concentration.

The 60-credit curriculum examines counseling through a Christian lens while preparing graduates for licensed work in Oklahoma in religious and secular settings. Course topics include human sexuality in counseling, chemical dependency counseling, and marital and family treatment techniques. The degree path builds counseling, research, and analytical skills, culminating in a 100-hour practicum and a 600-hour internship.

MACU holds regional accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.


Program Overview

Program Name: Master of Science in Counseling
School Status: Private
Available Concentrations: Marital, couples, and family counseling/therapy
Tuition: $642/credit
Credit Requirements: 60 credits
Program Length: 2 years

Delivery

Format: 100% online
Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Contact

Phone: (888) 888-2341
Email: enroll@macu.edu
Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter

Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Program Overview

Master's programs in marriage and family therapy may differ in terms of their course requirements. However, in general, students must complete core and concentration coursework, a residency, and a practicum or internship.

Most students pursuing a master's degree in marriage and family therapy plan on pursuing careers as therapists after they graduate. Programs prepare students to complete the marriage and family therapy licensing process after graduation — all marriage and family therapists must hold licensure.

Common Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Courses

Foundations of Couple and Family Therapy

Students in this class are introduced to the marriage and family therapy career path and theories behind the profession. Degree-seekers review the philosophy and history of marriage and family therapy, and they examine various therapeutic skills needed in the discipline.

Professional Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy

Students review the ethical and legal responsibilities of marriage and family therapy and learn about the licensing requirements they must satisfy after graduation. Learners explore the impact of a therapist's values and culture, as related to clinical practice.

Family Therapy Theory and Methods

This course covers the major theories of family therapy, looking at the family as a system that influences and is influenced by individuals living within that system.

Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy

Students evaluate the complexities of data collection, analysis, and family research design. Coursework prepares learners to understand scales of measurement, experimental and non-experimental designs, and approaches to incorporating clinical research with practice.

Diversity and Social Justice in Systemic Family Therapy

Learners review research, theories, and models that focus on ethical, culturally aware clinical work and social justice advocacy.

Related Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Concentrations

Military Family Therapy

Students in this concentration consider the unique structures and challenges of military families and military culture. The concentration explores post-traumatic stress disorder, repeated deployments and their impact on a military family, substance abuse, and emotional and physical trauma.

General Family Therapy

Degree-seekers focus on broad topics in family therapy, preparing to work in global and multicultural environments. Graduates can go on to work as clinicians, supervisors, researchers, and academic professionals.

Couples Therapy

Degree-seekers pursuing this concentration explore infidelity, communication, substance abuse, and impending divorce. Throughout their coursework, students learn about methods and tools to help clients.

Child and Adolescent Therapy

This concentration teaches students how to deliver culturally informed, evidence-based, contextually sensitive, and developmentally appropriate therapy services to children and adolescents in need.

Systemic Leadership

This concentration prepares graduates for leadership roles across a variety of settings, particularly in public and nonprofit community organizations. Students focus on ethical decision-making and promote conscientious company cultures.

Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Admission Requirements

  • Undergraduate Transcripts

    Students interested in applying to a master's program in marriage and family therapy must provide their undergraduate transcripts. Some institutions might require applicants to complete a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as social work, counseling, or psychology. Alternatively, other institutions might simply require a bachelor's degree in any discipline.

  • Letters of Recommendation

    Many master's programs require applicants to provide letters of recommendation with their application. Typically, institutions require 1-3 letters written by educational and/or professional contacts.

  • Statement of Purpose/Essay

    Applicants to master's programs are often asked to submit an essay or a statement of purpose. This document requires learners to explain their professional and educational goals and how obtaining a master's degree in marriage and family therapy from the institution in question will help them find success.

  • GRE Test Scores

    Many master's programs in marriage and family therapy ask applicants to submit these scores so they can get a holistic idea of a student's competencies and skills. Minimum test scores vary depending on the college or university.

  • Resume

    Although professional experience is not typically a requirement when pursuing a master's degree in marriage and family therapy, applicants may be asked to submit their resume so the admissions office can get an idea of relevant experience, skills, and competencies a candidate might already possess.


Online Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy Career Paths

Most students who pursue a master's in marriage and family therapy graduate with the intention of pursuing careers as marriage and family therapists. A master's degree is required for individuals to pursue these careers.

After earning a master's degree, individuals can develop hands-on experience in the field through clinical components, such as an internship or residency. Every state in the nation requires marriage and family therapists to hold licensure and 2,000-4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience after earning a master's degree.

Additionally, candidates for licensure must complete an exam specific to their state, and all marriage and family therapists are responsible for maintaining their license by completing continuing education requirements.

Related Careers

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a marriage and family therapist make with a master's degree?

Marriage and family therapists must hold a master's degree before they can practice professionally. The median annual pay for this occupation is $50,090, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of these jobs will grow by 22% from 2018-2028 — much faster than the average growth rate for all jobs in the U.S. Some of the highest-paying states for marriage and family therapists include Hawaii, Maine, Colorado, New Jersey, and Utah.

Is marriage and family therapy a good career?

Professionals pursuing marriage and family therapy job opportunities can experience a variety of benefits. Industries with the highest levels of employment in the occupation include individual and family services and offices of other health practitioners. Professionals looking for the highest-paying opportunities can seek opportunities working for state government agencies.

What does a marriage and family therapist do?

Marriage and family therapists use a variety of resources and tools to aid their clients, encouraging them to discuss their thoughts and emotions. They may be responsible for helping clients effectively process difficult changes, such as losing a job or going through a divorce.

How many hours does a marriage and family therapist work?

Typically working 40-hour work weeks, marriage and family therapists may also work on weekends and during evening hours to accommodate their clients' schedules. Thirty percent of marriage and family therapists work in individual and family services, while 20% work in the offices of other health practitioners. The other 50% work in various employment settings, such as outpatient care centers and state government agencies. Workers may also be self-employed.

What jobs can I get with a master's in marriage and family therapy?

While most graduates who hold a master's degree in marriage and family therapy pursue careers as marriage and family therapists, graduates can also explore career opportunities in other areas of counseling, like substance abuse and mental health.

Discover Similar Degree Programs

Looking for something else? Explore these other online degrees.

Additional Reading and Resources

Want more? We have additional resources to help you in every stage of your educational journey.