Every family has its troubles and arguments. Sometimes the they just need an outside voice to make them realize why they love each other.
You could be that voice. With a Master’s in Family Counseling, you’ll be an expert in family dynamics.
But should you choose individual counseling or family counseling? And is there even a difference, or is it just that family counseling involves more people?
What Is Family Counseling?
Family Counseling is a school of psychology which seeks to reduce the stress levels and levels of conflict within families by altering and improving the systems of interaction between the family members.
Unlike in individual counseling, the focus is on the dynamics between people, instead of identifying problems within individuals.
If you’re considering online school, check out College Choice’s ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Family Counseling.
How Much Money Can I Earn Working in Family Counseling?
Family Counseling is a great job field to enter, as there are countless individuals and families who need experienced counselors. This high demand is why there are already more than 41,000 family counselors employed throughout the country. And the BLS expects a 23 percent growth in this job market over the next decade, much faster than average.
Why Choose A Master’s in Family Counseling?
Marriage and Family Therapy is a specialized field, which requires individuals who have more than just a general background in undergraduate psychology. Pursuing a graduate degree allows students to delve into complex topics such as addiction and sex therapy.
Most Master’s programs also have internship and fieldwork requirements that get students hundreds of hours of professional experience before they are even on the job market. These allow students to professionalize their in-class learning and to network with local businesses that could employ them full-time after graduation.
What Are the 30 Best Master’s in Family Counseling?
College Choice considers several factors including institutional merit, student fulfillment, and return on investment to develop rankings.
Institutional merit combines metrics such as student-to-faculty ratios, graduation rates and endowment to measure each school’s ability to provide excellent and cost-effective education for each student. Student fulfillment measures how fulfilled current and former students felt with the services and programs offered at each school.
And finally return on investment looks at the fiscal benefits students are likely to receive from each school’s education, weighted against the costs of attendance, namely tuition and student loans. In the end, these are the 30 Best Master’s in Family Counseling.
See our rankings methodology page.
Brigham Young University
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $12,864
Brigham Young University is a private university located in Provo, UT. The school is fully owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Often referred to as BYU, it offers 68 master’s programs and 25 doctoral degree programs. Brigham Young has a student population of 33,000, around 3,000 of which are postgraduates.
Brigham Young offers a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family therapy. Students choose between a clinical track or research track for their degree, depending on their career plans. Classes for each of these tracks include:
- Research Methods for Marriage and Family Therapy
- Addictions and Violence in Families
- The Individual and Family Over the Life
- Master’s Thesis
In addition to course requirements, the clinical track requires a final presentation, while the research option requires preparation of a final thesis. Students must also complete 500 hours of direct face to face client experience, regardless of track.
Applicants to the program are required to submit scores from the GRE. Students should also provide lists of clinical/human services experience and research experience. Students will also complete a video interview, for which they will receive further instructions during the application process.
College Choice Score: 97.11
Average Net Price: $39,637
Pepperdine University is a private, non-profit university located in Malibu, CA. The school has an affiliation with the Churches of Christ. In addition to their main campus in Malibu, they also offer six additional graduate campuses throughout Southern California and international campuses in Asia and Europe. Pepperdine has around 680 academic staff members and 7,800 total students.
Pepperdine offers a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. This is a 62-unit program, which generally lasts two years. Courses required in the program include:
- Theories of Counseling and Psychology
- Multicultural Counseling
- Clinical Practicum
- Interpersonal Skills and Group Therapy
The program meets requirements for licenses including the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist license or the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor license in California.
Pepperdine utilizes a small cohort method, which provides a shared-learning experience among students in the program. In addition, the program includes small class sizes and automatic class registration in each term. Students also engage in supervised counseling experience in the local community during their second year.
University of San Diego
College Choice Score: 96.62
Average Net Price: $38,596
The University of San Diego is a private university located in San Diego, CA. USD has an affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church. It was founded in 1952 as the San Diego College for Women. The school has since expanded to offer more than 60 degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels. Around 6,000 students attend the school and are divided between six schools and colleges. \
The University of San Diego offers a Master of Family Therapy program. Full-time students generally graduate in two years and are required to complete a total of 59 units during their time in the program. Sample courses include:
- Systematic Treatment on Children
- Human Diversity in Family Therapy
- Couples and Sex Therapy
- Collaborative Care
In addition to course requirements, students must complete a total of 500 clinical contact hours, which also includes a minimal of 250 relational hours, and 100 supervision hours (including 50 with raw data). These are completed during a student’s Practicum course towards the end of the program.
All masters and doctoral students are required to participate in an international experience, which is designed to support the growth of their cultural competency. USD’s program utilizes a biopsychosocial systems approach, which focuses on the deep relationships that evolve within families that affect people’s everyday lives.
Nova Southeastern University
College Choice Score: 95.16
Average Net Price: $25,344
Nova Southeastern University, better known as NSU or Nova, is a private nonprofit university located in Davie, FL. Nova is currently made up of 18 colleges and schools that offer over 175 academic programs with more than 250 majors. NSU enrolled around 24,000 students during the 2014-2015 academic year and has an alumni network of over 170,000 people.
Nova Southeastern University offers a Master of Science in Family Therapy. It is a 60 credit-hour program, which is intended to last for a total of two years. The program is designed to develop students’ research skills and prepare them for careers as marriage and family therapists. Courses from the program include:
- Introduction to Systems Theory
- Theories of Marital and Family Therapy
- External Practicum I-II
- Human Sexuality and Gender
Students are allowed to enter the program in either the Fall or Spring semesters. They may enroll part-time of full-time, taking somewhere between six and twelve credits per semester.
Applicants to the program should possess at least a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution. They should possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, and a total score of 300 on the quantitative and verbal sections of the GRE. Students also provide letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and an academic writing sample.
College Choice Score: 94.59
Average Net Price: $31,823
Syracuse University is a private, research university located in Syracuse, NY. The school maintains a relationship with the United Methodist Church, but has identified itself as nonsectarian since 1920. Syracuse has around 1,500 academic staff members and 22,000 total students. Syracuse is organized into 13 schools and colleges, and has an endowment of $1.25 billion.
Syracuse offers a Masters of Art degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program requires students to complete 60 credit-hours, and typically takes two years to complete. Program courses include:
- Introduction to Family Systems
- Alcohol and Other Drugs in Social Work Practice
- Marriage and Family Therapy Ethics and Issues
The first 51 credits of the program come from a pre-set list of required courses. The final nine credits are chosen from a list of electives, which students choose after consultation with their advisors.
Elective courses include options such as Family Therapy with LGBT Couples and Families. Students have the option of completing the program on a 3 year, part-time basis. Students are allowed to transfer up to 12 units of degree applicable work (must have a grade of B or higher in transferred courses).
College Choice Score: 93.60
Average Net Price: $27,205
Bethel University is an evangelical Christian university located in Arden Hills, MN, just outside of St. Paul, with a second campus in San Diego, CA. The school is affiliated with the congregations of Converge, which were formerly known as the Baptist General Conference. Bethel has around 6,000 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate, seminary, and adult education programs.
Bethel offers a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. It is a 60-unit program, which combines training in clinical practice and theory with Christian theology. Highlights from the program include:
- Instruction and supervision by scholar-practitioners
- Support for personal, theoretical, and spiritual integration
- An emphasis on the self of the therapist
- Preparation for competent, ethical practice in any setting
Graduates from the program have gone on to careers such as school-based therapists, directors of children’s and family ministry, and case managers. Graduate employers include companies such as the Minnesota Renewal Center and the Neighborhood Involvement Program.
Coursework from the Marriage and Family Therapy program meets the academic requirements for licensure in the state of Minnesota. To obtain a license, students must then only complete the additional supervised clinical practice and to pass the licensure exam. Most courses are offered during the day, with a few weeklong intensives offered in June.
College Choice Score: 93.38
Average Net Price: $21,304
Friends University is a private, Christian university located in Wichita, KS. The school was founded by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) in 1898, but now identifies as non-denominational. They have 319 academic staff members and around 2,700 total students.
Friends University offers a Master of Science degree in Family Therapy. Students are required to complete a total of 60 credit-hours from core curriculum, clinical training, and elective courses. Sample courses include:
- Pharmacology in Mental Health Services
- Spirituality and Clinical Practice
- Emotion Focused Approaches to Therapy
- Sexuality, Intimacy, and Sex Therapy
Applicants to the program are required to have a baccalaureate degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. A brief autobiography and statement of goals will also be required.
Students are able to take classes in either Wichita or Kansas City. The program meets the educational requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Kansas and Missouri. Prerequisite coursework is required in research methods/designs, as well as two upper-division courses in family studies, human development, psychology, or sociology.
Indiana Wesleyan University
College Choice Score: 91.84
Average Net Price: $19,519
Indiana Wesleyan University is a private, liberal arts university located in Marion, IN. It is considered an evangelical university and has an affiliation with Wesleyan Church. It is the largest private university in Indiana and the largest member the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, with around 16,000 students.
Indian Wesleyan offers a Master of Arts with a major in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy. It is a 60 credit-hour graduate program that emphasizes family systems within each student’s Christian worldview context. Sample courses from the program include:
- Sexuality, Intimacy and Gender
- Appraisals of Individuals and Families
- Integration of Christian Faith in Professional Counseling
In addition to coursework, students must complete 100 practicum hours and 900 internship hours. These hours are completed at either the Marion or Indianapolis campuses.
The curriculum is designed so that students meet the academic requirements for licensure as a family or marriage therapist in the state of Indiana. To apply, students are required to possess a baccalaureate degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting body or the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
College Choice Score: 91.70
Average Net Price: $38,527
Fairfield University is a private university located in Fairfield, CT. Fairfield is a Jesuit Catholic school, and is a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. They have five colleges: arts and sciences, business, engineering, nursing, and education. The overall student population is composed of 4,100 undergraduate and 1,100 graduate students.
Fairfield offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program. Students complete a pre-set arrangement of courses, which begins with the foundations of relational/systematic theories and models. Courses then progress as follows:
- Clinical Treatment with Individual Couples, and Families
- Ethics and Diversity
- Research Evaluation and Diagnosis/Treatment of Issues
- Community Intersections and Collaborations
- Foundational Clinical Practice
Students complete the program by taking a comprehensive exam, giving a capstone presentation, or taking a thesis seminar. The thesis is recommended for students who wish to further pursue their academic career in marriage and family therapy.
Fairfield also offers a Master of Arts program in Family Studies, which has similar admissions requirements to the therapy program. All students being considered for admission to the program will be required to complete an on-campus interview with staff from the program.
College Choice Score: 91.39
Average Net Price: $26,505
Regis University, previously known as Regis College, is a private university located in Denver, CO. Regis is a Roman Catholic university, specifically of the Jesuit congregation. RU is divided into five colleges: Regis College, the College of Business and Economics, the College of Computer and Information Sciences, the College of Contemporary Liberal Studies, and The Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions. Regis has a student population of around 11,400 and employs just under 2,000 academic staff.
Regis offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program. This is a 60-credit-hour program, which meets the academic requirements for Colorado Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. Courses from the program include:
- Theories of Family Therapy
- Gender Development and Sexuality
- Play in Family Therapy
- Professional Orientation and Ethical Issues
Students are required to complete a prerequisite course in Human Growth and Development (3 semester hours) before beginning their graduate study.
Regis offers a number of related postgraduate certificates, including certificates in Counseling Children & Adolescents, Marriage and Family Therapy, Depth Psychotherapy Counseling, and Counseling Military Families. Applicants to the program should have an undergraduate degree in psychology or family studies. Strong applicants will also have experience relating to psychotherapy, either personal or professional.
Christian Theological Seminary
College Choice Score: 90.89
Average Net Price: $21,300
Christian Theological Seminary is an ecumenical seminary located in Indianapolis, IN. They are associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The school is intended by students from a number of different religious faiths, and is not limited to members of Disciples of Christ. They have a total enrollment of around 250 students and an endowment of $95 million.
The Christian Theological Seminary offers a Master of Art degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Coursework focuses on a blend between psychological and theological study with clinical practice, which allows students to mentor individuals and families on mental and spiritual levels. Other key information:
- The advertised length of the program is 4 years, but many students are able to graduate in only 3.
- Spanish-speaking students have the ability to counsel Spanish-speaking clients during their clinical work
- Students receive a minimum of 100 hours of individual and group supervision in practicum.
On top of the classroom learning, the CTS Counseling Center gives students the option to complete their practicum and resident hours on campus. Students are able to network and seek clients without having to leave campus.
CTS also offers a Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, which has similar admission and program requirements to the Marriage and Family Therapy program, as well as some of the same faculty members.
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus
College Choice Score: 87.11
Average Net Price: $13,751
The University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus is located in Aurora, CO. This campus contains the health and science related schools and colleges of the University of Colorado, including the schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry. Part of the school’s campus previously housed the Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center, the remainder of which is now home to a children’s hospital and a future VA hospital.
The University of Colorado offers a Master of Arts degree in Counseling, with a concentration in Couple and Family Counseling/Therapy. Students are required to take a minimum of 63-credit hours of coursework to graduate. Courses from the program include:
- Group Counseling
- Family Therapy Theory
- Intro to Sex Therapy
- Mental Health Diagnosis
In addition to coursework, students complete practicum and internship experience that helps to professionalize their in-class learning. Students complete the program by either taking a comprehensive exam or by writing a thesis.
The University of Colorado has a chapter of the Beta Alpha Omega honors society, which is the counseling academic professional honor society. The group helps to promote scholarship, leadership, and professionalism in counseling in the field of mental health.
California State University, Northridge
College Choice Score: 86.99
Average Net Price: $6,574
California State University, Northridge is a public university located in Los Angeles, CA. It is the largest school in the California State University system, with a student body of 42,000 students and around 2,100 academic staff members. CSUN offers 134 different bachelor’s programs, 70 different master’s degree fields, and 3 doctoral degrees.
California State Northridge offers a Master of Science degree, with an option in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program prepares students to pursue a license as a Marriage and Family Therapist and Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of California. Courses from the program include:
- Postmodern and Cognitive Family Theories and Their Evidence Base
- Couples and Sex Therapy
- Seminar in Counseling Theory and Practice
- Substance Abuse and Addictions Treatment
Students engage in Practicum and Field coursework to supplement their in-class learning. The program ends with a Culminating Experience, either involving a final graduate project or the creation of an original thesis.
Applicants to the program must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. They must have had a minimum GPA of 2.5 on a 3.0 scale in the final 60 semester/quarter units attempted. Students will also craft a personal statement and engage in the candidate interview process.
Abilene Christian University
College Choice Score: 86.77
Average Net Price: $26,916
Abilene Christian University, also known as ACU, is a non-profit university located in Abilene, TX. The school has an affiliation with Churches of Christ. It was originally founded in 1906 as the Childers Classical Institute. In 2014, they had a total enrollment of 4,427 students, which included just shy of 800 graduate students.
Abilene Christian University offers a Master of Family Therapy program, which prepares students for Christian service and leadership in a variety of secular and faith-based settings. It is a 60 credit-hour program, which involves courses covering:
- Family Therapy/General Systems Theory
- Couples Therapy
- Family Therapy across the Life Cycle
- Theological Perspectives on Human Behavior
Students also complete a 500-hour internship, usually at ACU’s on-site Marriage and Family Institute.
Students have the option of choosing between three courses of study: a two year program in pursuit of an MFT degree; a three year program, which includes an extra year in the school of divinity and leads to a Master of Arts in Christian Ministry in addition to the MFT degree; and a four year plan leading to the MFT and an MDiv degree from the School of Theology.
College Choice Score: 86.25
Average Net Price: $39,021
Drexel University is a private research university with three campuses, all located in Philadelphia, PA. The school has recently expanded through the addition of a medical college in 2002, and now serves over 26,000 students through a variety of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degree programs. Drexel offers co-op programs to students, which allow them to gain paid, full-time work experience while earning their degree.
Drexel offers a Master of Family Therapy degree program, which involves the completion of 90 credit-hours. The program merges the Person of the Therapist model with social justice frameworks for education, supervision, and training. Sample courses include:
- Historical and Sociocultural Influences
- Person of the Therapist Experience I-III
- Sex Therapy
- Child Therapy in Coupe and Family Therapy
Students complete the program with a one credit Capstone Project course. Students must also complete clinical practicum experiences, one lasting nine months and one last twelve months, prior to graduation.
Students applying to the program should possess a baccalaureate degree and have had an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Students are not required to send GRE scores to Drexel. Students also complete an in-person interview, as well as present three letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose.
University of Rochester
College Choice Score: 86.03
Average Net Price: $34,170
The University of Rochester is a private, nonsectarian research university located in Rochester, New York. Rochester has around 10,000 total students, split almost evenly between undergraduate and graduate students. There are around 1,200 academic staff members and the school’s endowment is nearly $2.5 billion.
Rochester has a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program, which requires the completion of 60 credit-hours of coursework. Example classes from the curriculum include:
- Human Development Across the Life Cycle
- Couples Therapy
- Family Therapy Research
- Child-focused family therapy
Students complete their time in the program through two clinical practicum courses. One of these courses involves part-time work, while the second one involves working full-time in practice. These requirements include 500 clinical contact hours and 100 hours of supervision.
Students applying to the program are required to submit either GRE or TOEFL scores. Applicants will also be required to complete interviews with three program faculty members and to submit three letters of recommendation. Rochester also emphasizes that applicants should be committed to a relational and systematic approach to helping individuals, couples, and their families.
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
College Choice Score: 85.89
Average Net Price: $0
Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, often shortened to simply Louisville Seminary, is a seminary located in Louisville, KY. The seminary is associated with the Presbyterian Church and is one of ten official PC seminaries. The school has an enrollment of 150 students and an endowment of $73 million.
The Louisville Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program involves 70 hours of coursework and a minimum 500 hours of supervised clinical practice. Students will ground students in a professional identity informed by theological, religious, and spiritual studies. Courses include:
- Human Growth and Transformation
- Brief Counseling in Congregations
- Therapeutic Care of Children
- Theories of Change
Students must complete a “Senior Integration Experience” at the end of their time at Louisville to qualify for graduation. There is also an MFT Exit Examination that students must pass before finishing.
The Louisville Seminary is home to a chapter of the Delta Kappa International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society. Delta Kappa is the official honors society for professionals in the field of marriage and family therapy. Louisville is only the twentieth member of this group.
John Brown University
College Choice Score: 84.65
Average Net Price: $19,687
John Brown University is a private, liberal arts college located in Siloam Springs, AR. JBU has 2,100 students, including an undergraduate population of 1,715. They have regional education centers throughout Arkansas in Rogers, Little Rock, and Fort Smith. It is a Christian university and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
John Brown has a Master of Science degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy. The degree program involves the completion of 64 credit-hours of coursework, beginning with core courses such as:
- Principles of Family Therapy
- Family of Origin
- Brief Therapy
Students continue to elective courses in the later portions of the program, taking classes including:
- Introduction to Play Therapy
- Topics in Counseling
There is also an option for students in the therapy program to study Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
John Brown’s graduate counseling courses are offered in evening and weekend formats on the their main campus, as well as at their educational centers throughout Arkansas. Some courses are also available online. All JBU courses are taught from a Christian worldview, by faculty committed to both the academic and spiritual growth of students.
College Choice Score: 83.91
Average Net Price: $17,837
Regent University is a private, Christian university located in Virginia Beach, VA. Originally known as Christian Broadcasting Network University, the school changed its name to Regent in 1990. It is affiliated with the Interdenominational Evangelical school of Christianity. They have around 8,600 students, roughly evenly split between undergraduates and postgraduates.
Regent has a Master of Art degree program in Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling. The degree program is available both online and on-campus. Classes in the program include:
- Theories of Counseling
- Research & Statistics
- Career & Lifestyle Development
- Marital & Couples Therapy
For the online residency, students participate in two week-long residencies. Students in the normal on-campus program will complete this requirement through in-person internships, taken at comparable facilities throughout the year. However, these internships will last for entire semesters, rather than for only a week at a time.
The online degree option includes an on-campus residency, during which students will fulfill the required residency requirement. Students graduating from the program are eligible to pursue careers in settings including mental health facilities, private practices, and public agencies. The Christian element of Regent’s curriculum also makes students eligible for church counseling jobs.
College Choice Score: 83.75
Average Net Price: $19,543
Pfeiffer University is a private university located in Richfield, NC. It is a Christian university and shares an affiliation with the United Methodist Church. They have 1,200 students and 51 full-time academic staff members. Academic programs are divided between five different undergraduate schools, in addition to the graduate school.
Pfeiffer University is home to a Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree program. The program involves 66 semester hours of coursework, in addition to clinical training hours. The program includes courses such as:
- Advanced Human Growth and Development
- Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques
- Family Therapy Theories
- Human Sexuality and Contextual Sex Therapy
To complete the clinical training component of the program, students must complete 500 clinical hours – 250 individual and 250 relational – of experience during their Internship in Marriage & Family Therapy.
Students are encouraged and expected to be active and engaged professional’s in the field of family and individual therapy. This involves attending conferences such as AAMFT and NCAMFT.
Antioch University New England
College Choice Score: 83.27
Average Net Price: $61,664
Antioch University New England is a private graduate school located in Keene, NH. It is part of the larger Antioch University system, which has campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Yellow Springs, OH. The school was established in 1964 and has 1,200 total students.
Antioch University has a Master of Arts degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program is low-residency and generally involves three years of full-time enrollment (33 months). Courses in the program include:
- Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy
- Special Issues in Family Therapy: Domestic Violence and Larger Systems
- Social/Cultural Diversity
Students come to campus to complete residencies, which combine seminars, workshops, guest lectures, advising sessions, peer discussions, and student presentations. Each residency takes around four to five days, and are intended to build long-last personal and professional relationships.
Graduates from the program are eligible for American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy clinical membership and licensure or certification. Students from the program have self-reported a 98% percent passing rate on the MFT licensure exam. Admissions deadlines for Fall and Spring are July 1 and December 1, respectively.
College Choice Score: 82.47
Average Net Price: $16,538
Capella University is a for-profit, online university with its headquarters in Minneapolis, MN. Capella offers 142 graduate and undergraduate specializations. They have around 1,500 administrative staff members, along with roughly approximately 36,000 students enrolled through their online courses. Eighty-six percent of their faculty hold doctoral degrees.
Capella offers a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy. It is a 92 quarter-credit hour program. Most of the coursework for the degree is completed online, which includes sample courses such as:
- Systematic Approaches to Sexual and Gender Issues
- Marriage and Family Systems
- Couple and Marital Therapy
- Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Theory and Practice
Students experience a strong combination of online coursework and face-to-face experiences that prepare students for licensure in the field of family/personal therapy. In addition to the online coursework, students complete intensive, onsite residencies with students and faculty from the program.
Capella offers scholarships for new students, as well as 10 percent discounts for military service members and their spouses. Students may bring in up to 12 quarter transfer credits into the masters program. Capella also offers graduate counseling degrees in general school counseling, addiction studies, and clinical mental health counseling.
Alliant International University
College Choice Score: 81.22
Average Net Price: $19,190
Alliant International University, often referred to simply as “Alliant,” is a private benefit corporation based out of San Diego, CA. Alliant offers programs through six domestic campuses, all located in California, and four international campuses in Mexico, Kenya, Japan, and Hong Kong. They have around 4,000 total students, 95 percent of whom are postgraduates.
Alliant International offers online and on-campus degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy. It is a two year program, generally divided into three semesters per year for a total of 60 units. Courses in the progression include:
- MFT Theories and Techniques
- Chemical Dependency and the Family
- Parent-Child Therapy Techniques
- Couples Therapy
Starting with the third semester of their first year, students begin their MFT Practicum, which helps them to transition their learning from the classroom into their professional experience.
Applicants to the program are required to have an undergraduate bachelor’s degree with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Students with a GPA below this level are required to provide a personal statement explaining the reasoning behind this level of academic performance.
College Choice Score: 81.22
Average Net Price: $19,746
Argosy University is a system of three colleges: The American School of Professional Psychology, the Medical Institute of Minnesota, and the University of Sarasota. The school was recently acquired by The Dream Foundation, which operates for-profit graduate programs throughout Canada and the United States. Some locations of Argosy have stopped admitting new students, while others have been incorporated within the ranks of the Dream Foundation.
Argosy offers a Master of Arts degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. Students are required to complete a total of 48 credit hours of in-class coursework, as well as supplemental practicum and group work. Coursework includes options such as:
- Schools of Family Therapy
- Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy
- Social and Cultural Foundations of Therapy
- Couples and Relational Therapy Skills
Students are also required to take a sequence of three practicum courses (three credits each). Students will also have additional professionalization and practicum seminar requirements.
Students must also fulfill a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE), which is a series of competency-based tasks that are made to ensure students have fully mastered major clinical and therapeutic skills. Tasks occur throughout the program and culminate in the practicum seminar that occurs at the end of the student’s course of study.
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
College Choice Score: 80.64
Average Net Price: $11,432
University of Nevada, Las Vegas is a public university located in Paradise, NV. UNLV is home to the only dental and law schools in the state of Nevada. They have 1,000 academic staff members and around 30,000 total students. From this group, around 25,000 students are undergraduates and the other 5,000 are postgraduates.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas offers a Master of Science in Couple and Family Therapy. Graduates from the program have become licensed marriage and family therapists, and have also gone on to careers as agency setting clinicians or marriage and family therapy researchers. Courses in the program include:
- Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy
- Principles and Practices of Marriage and Family Therapy
- Advanced Family Practicum
- Couples Therapy
The program culminates with a capstone research project that ties together the student’s in-class and professional experiences.
Students will complete a full-time practicum internship during their course of study. The student’s faculty advisor will consult the student in regards to the location and timing of their internship, and the skills gained during this time will be used both in the capstone course and after graduation.
College Choice Score: 80.55
Average Net Price: $38,420
Western Seminary is an evangelical theological seminary, which has campuses in Portland, OR, San Jose and Sacramento, CA, and Seattle, WA. The school also offers online only degree programs. They have just under 1,000 total students, and offer Master’s programs in Divinity, Counseling, Intercultural Studies, Leadership, and Theology.
Western Seminary offers a Master of Arts in Counseling that prepares students to excel in counseling in private practice, church, agency, or school settings. It is a 68 credit program that can be completed in as few as 32 months. Courses in the program include:
- Clinical Foundations
- Human Life Span Development
- Advanced Integration
- Child and Adolescent Therapy
There is an option to take up to ten credit hours of courses in an online format, as well as at the San Jose or Sacramento campuses. Students may also pursue an additional Addiction Studies Certificate with an extra 5-8 credits of study. Students also take 8 credits of biblical/theological credits.
The curriculum fulfills the requirements for application to the Board of Behavioral Sciences to register as an Associate MFT in the State of California. Students can also sit for the Marriage and Family Therapist License, though this does require supplemental experience after the end of this academic program.
Palo Alto University
College Choice Score: 80.45
Average Net Price: $23,064
Palo Alto University is a private, non-profit university located in Palo Alto, CA. PAU was founded in 1975 as the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, before being officially reformed as PAU in August 2009. They have 81 academic staff members and just under 1,100 total students. They have an interconnected relationship with Stanford University.
PAU offers a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, with an emphasis in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. Students pursue a course of 93 quarter-credit hours of coursework such as:
- Counseling Theory
- Legal and Ethical Foundations
- Child and Adolescent Counseling
- Substance Abuse
In addition to their coursework, students complete mandatory fieldwork, workshops, and intensives that are progressive and designed to prepare students for their final, capstone project at the end of the program.
This program fulfills the educational requirements in California for the state’s Marriage and Family Therapist license. Students have the option of pursuing either an on-campus or distance/online sequence of courses in the program. All on-campus requirements must be fulfilled with either sequence, namely the practicum and necessary fieldwork.
Mid-America Christian University
College Choice Score: 80.37
Average Net Price: $16,241
Mid-America Christian University is a private, liberal-arts college located in Oklahoma City, OK. The school was previously located in Houston, and was known as the Gulf Coast Bible College. They are associated with the Church of God in Anderson, Indiana and have a student population of approximately 2,500.
Mid-American Christian University offers a Master of Science degree in Counseling with a Marital, Couples and Family Counseling/Therapy emphasis. It is a 60-63 credit-hour program, which is intended to help students pursue licensure as a Marital and Family Therapist. This is done through courses including:
- Marriage and Family Systems and Treatment
- Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
- Human Sexuality Counseling
- Chemical Dependency Counseling
Towards the end of their course of study, students will enroll in a therapy practicum/internship course that will be used to gain professional experience.
Mid-American also offers Masters of Science Counseling degrees in Addiction and Substance Abuse, Applied Behavioral Science, Clinical Mental Health Counseling. These degrees have similar admissions criteria to the Family Counseling option. All of these programs offer a Christian faith-based perspective on counseling.
College Choice Score: 80.08
Average Net Price: $23,958
LeTourneau University is a private university located in Longview, TX. It is an interdenominational Christian university, which offers programs in engineering, aeronautical science, education, and business. They have around 3,000 total students, which includes their online degree programs for working adults and additional education centers in Dallas and Houston, TX.
LeTourneau has a Master of Arts program in Marriage and Family Therapy. It is a 66 credit-hour program composed of core, clinical theology, and required courses. Sampling from these groups include:
- Couples Therapy
- Family Assessment
- Trauma and Theodicy
- Integrative Theology for Counselors
- Lifespan Human Development
44 credits come from the Core Section, 8 from Clinical Theology, and 14 from the Required LMFT Courses. In addition to the direct theology courses, there is a Christian framework/foundation for each of the courses that students take in the program.
Graduates from the program have the necessary academic program to take state licensure exams for positions such as employment counseling or mental health counseling. Alumni from the program have also pursued careers as school counselors. Students may pursue a Licensed Professional Counselor or Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist license.
University of Southern Mississippi
College Choice Score: 79.50
Average Net Price: $11,916
The University of Southern Mississippi, also known as Southern Miss, is a public university located in Hattiesburg, MS. The university was founded in 1910 as the Mississippi Normal College, which helped to prepare and train educators. The school now offers a wide range of degrees and major programs. The Carnegie Foundations designates the school as having a “High Research Activity” level. Southern Miss has around 14,500 students.
Southern Mississippi has a Master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy. It is a 60 credit-hour program, which also requires the completion of client contact hours. Students may take courses including:
- Introduction to Marriage and Family Theories
- Individual and Family Life Cycle
- Gender/Culture in MFT
- Couples Therapy
Students are required to complete 500 client contact hours, of which 250 must be relational. Students must also complete 250 hours in the University Clinic for Family Therapy.
Students are also required to complete 100 hours of supervision, and maintain a 1:5 ratio of supervision-to-client contact hours. Fifty percent of these supervision hours must be individual supervision, and 50 percent of the data must be raw data. Some portions of these may overlap with one another, as confirmed by the student’s academic advisor.