General Family Therapy

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

According to the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment in the Marriage and Family Therapy field is expected to grow much faster than average (41 percent). Northcentral University’s Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Master’s program is designed to prepare you to meet this growing demand.  Most importantly, the NCU MAMFT program is structured to give you more flexibility than is typically found in most on-campus programs.  There is no physical residency requirement, which means you are able to complete all of your course work online and secure a clinical placement site in your local community to complete the face-to-face clinical training component of the program.  All courses are taught by faculty with a PhD who possess significant experience teaching in the field of MFT and working as MFTs. Northcentral University is also regionally accredited, which should allow you to meet the MFT licensing requirements in most states.

For more information regarding our Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, click on the links below.

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:

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through Northcentral.
  • Successful completion of all required degree program courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher.
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution.
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University.
  • All financial obligations to the University paid in full.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree Plan

45 Credit Hours

Foundations - 9 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

MFT5101

Foundations for Graduate Study in MFT

This course prepares students for success in a master's degree program in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy at Northcentral University, by introducing relevant technologies, reviewing professional standards and expectations, and developing essential skills in family therapy. Topics and practice include a review of the history of the field of family therapy, an overview of systems theory and the major models of family therapy, professional ethics, academic integrity, and respect for diversity. Course activities will emphasize personal application. Students will manage and utilize an e-Portfolio to begin a collection of scholarly artifacts and materials for use throughout their graduate program.

MFT5104

Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy

This course uses a treatment planning focus while training students to have a thorough understanding of traditional models of marriage and family therapy. Course content will be focused on application of these clinical models to common clinical concerns and will address a wide variety of presenting clinical problems. Material and assignments in the course will address family therapy practice and be related conceptually to theory.

MFT5105

Recovery-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy

This course trains students to work with clients using a recovery-oriented approach that focuses on client strengths and working collaboratively toward meaningful change and improvement. Using this focus, course content will address social constructionism, narrative, solution-focused, and collaborative models of therapy as well as other postmodern trends. Course material will address a wide variety of presenting clinical problems and will address contemporary conceptual directions of the field of marriage and family therapy.

Fundamental Courses - 9 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

MFT5102

Legal, Ethical, and Professional Development in MFT

This course will include content regarding professional identity, including professional socialization, scope of practice, professional organizations, licensure, and certification. The course will focus on ethical issues related to the profession of marriage and family therapy and the practice of individual, couple, and family therapy. Specifically, students will address the AAMFT Code of Ethics, confidentiality issues, the legal responsibilities and liabilities of clinical practice and research, family law, record keeping, reimbursement, and the business aspects of practice. The course will inform students about the interface between therapist responsibility and the professional, social, and political context of treatment.

MFT5103

Systemic Evaluation and Case Management

This course provides students with foundational training in understanding and using various assessment and evaluation tools and methods with clients with attention to individual, couple, and family level evaluations. This course also trains students in standard case management methods including identifying and aligning clients with appropriate community resources.

MFT6102

Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment

Using a relational/systemic perspective, this course will address the traditional psychodiagnostic categories as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The focus of the course content will be on the assessment and treatment of major mental health issues through marriage and family therapy. This course is designed to address the program's second Student Learning Outcome (SLO) which states, "Students will apply family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts (SLO-2)."

Required Specialization Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

MFT5106

Research Methods and Evidence-Based Practice

This course investigates existing research and research methods used in marriage and family therapy as well as research ethics training, evaluation of existing research, understanding common research designs, and exploring potential research options of interest to the students. Course content also focuses on the importance of a scientist-practitioner approach to clinical work and the validation and use of evidence based practices in family therapy.

MFT6101

Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan

This course will include content on individual and family development across the lifespan. Specific emphasis will be given to developmentally appropriate and atypical transitions related to common concerns in marriage and family therapy.

MFT6103

Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development

This course addresses issues related to diversity and power and privilege as they relate to culture, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, and spirituality. Economic diversity and the impact of poverty on individuals and families are emphasized. Each of these types of diversity is examined with respect to the relevance they have to the profession and practice of family therapy.

MFT6105

Couples and Sex Therapy

This course will address several models of couples and sex therapy. Within each model there will be a focus on assessment of couples dynamics, goal setting, and potential interventions. Specific attention will be given to the development of a personal theory of working with couples based on a foundation of existing models. This course is designed to address the program's second Student Learning Outcomes (SLO) which states, "Students will apply family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts (SLO-2)."

Clinical Experience Requirements - 9 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

MFT6951

MFT Practicum I

This course provides students with an opportunity to engage in ongoing therapeutic practice. Emphasis is placed on the development of therapy and assessment skills, theoretical integration, and personal growth. Students will complete a portion of their required 500 client contact hours (half of which must be with couples and/or families). They will also complete a portion of their required 100 hours of supervision (50 of which must be individual supervision). Inclusive of the practicum and internship courses, students are required to receive a minimum 50 hours of supervision based on direct observation, videotape or audiotape. At least 25 hours of this supervision will be based on direct observation or videotape. The accumulation of clinical and supervision hours are tracked using a clinical hours tracking system/forms required to be used by MFT students, and signed by the on-site supervisor. The local on-site supervisor will provide regular individual supervision of the student and assist the student in managing cases. The Northcentral Clinical Faculty will maintain regular contact with student and Local Clinical Supervisor and will facilitate the process of learning and knowledge integration. Additionally, students are required to participate in weekly online group practicum sessions with the Northcentral Clinical Faculty. Students in the Master prgram must enroll in two practicum courses (MFT6951: MFT Practicum I and MFT6952: MFT Practicum II) and three internship courses (MFT6991, MFT6992, and MFT6995). Each MFT Practicum and Internship course lasts 12 weeks and must span over a minimum of 52 weeks. Students are required to be clinically active for the duration of that time. It is expected that students will accrue approximately 100 client contact hours during each of the two practicum courses. To meet this requirement students should plan to complete a minimum of 8 direct (face-to-face) client contact hours per week. Additional time will be needed each week in order to complete paperwork, set appointments, r

MFT6952

MFT Practicum II

This course provides students with an opportunity to engage in ongoing therapeutic practice. Emphasis is placed on the development of therapy and assessment skills, theoretical integration, and personal growth. Students will complete a portion of their required 500 client contact hours (half of which must be with couples and/or families). They will also complete a portion of their required 100 hours of supervision (50 of which must be individual supervision). Inclusive of the practicum and internship courses, students are required to receive a minimum 50 hours of supervision based on direct observation, videotape or audiotape. At least 25 hours of this supervision will be based on direct observation or videotape. The accumulation of clinical and supervision hours are tracked using a clinical hours tracking system/forms required to be used by MFT students, and signed by the on-site supervisor. The local on-site supervisor will provide regular individual supervision of the student and assist the student in managing cases. The Northcentral Clinical Faculty will maintain regular contact with student and Local Clinical Supervisor and will facilitate the process of learning and knowledge integration. Additionally, students are required to participate in weekly online group practicum sessions with the Northcentral Clinical Faculty . Students in the Master program must enroll in two practicum courses (MFT6951: MFT Practicum I and MFT6952: MFT Practicum II) and three internship courses (MFT6991, MFT6992, and MFT6995). Each MFT Practicum and Internship course lasts 12 weeks and must span over a minimum of 52 weeks. Students are required to be clinically active for the duration of that time. It is expected that students will accrue approximately 100 client contact hours during each of the two practicum courses. To meet this requirement students should plan to complete a minimum of 10 direct (face-to-face) client contact hours per week. Additional time will be needed each week in order to complete paperwork, set appointmen

MFT6991

MFT Internship I*

Upon completion of Practicum I and II, students are required to enroll in 3-one credit internship courses (each 12 weeks in duration) to complete the remaining hours of the required 500 direct client contact hours (with 250 of these being relational hours) and 52 weeks, with the final internship course being the Capstone for the clinical training process. Students register for these courses to cover a period of no less than 28-36 weeks. Beyond completion of hours, the structure of the internship experience is different from the practicum courses in that, while you received direct supervision and more extensive involvement with the University faculty supervisor during practicum, the internship experience is a bit more autonomous. You will attend supervision sessions with the NCU faculty supervisor weekly or every other week depending on the number of hours of client contact you have completed. During the internship experience, you are required to continue working with a qualified local clinical supervisor to complete direct supervision of your clinical work for the duration of the internship. You must receive 1 hour every week. This supervision must involve direct observation or video recorded observation of your sessions. In addition to completion of the required client contact hours and supervision, during the internship experience (credits 2 and 3) you are also required to prepare for and take the practice exam for the national licensing exam and, in the internship capstone course, prepare and present your own theoretically grounded personal model of therapy to the MFT faculty.

MFT6992

MFT Internship II*

Upon completion of Practicum I and II, students are required to enroll in 3-one credit internship courses (each 12 weeks in duration) to complete the remaining hours of the required 500 direct client contact hours (with 250 of these being relational hours) and 52 weeks, with the final internship course being the Capstone for the clinical training process. Students register for these courses to cover a period of no less than 28-36 weeks. Beyond completion of hours, the structure of the internship experience is different from the practicum courses in that, while you received direct supervision and more extensive involvement with the University faculty supervisor during practicum, the internship experience is a bit more autonomous. You will attend supervision sessions with the NCU faculty supervisor weekly or every other week depending on the number of hours of client contact you have completed. During the internship experience, you are required to continue working with a qualified local clinical supervisor to complete direct supervision of your clinical work for the duration of the internship. You must receive 1 hour every week. This supervision must involve direct observation or video recorded observation of your sessions. In addition to completion of the required client contact hours and supervision, during the internship experience (credits 2 and 3) you are also required to prepare for and take the practice exam for the national licensing exam and, in the internship capstone course, prepare and present your own theoretically grounded personal model of therapy to the MFT faculty.

MFT6995

MFT Internship and Capstone Presentation*

Upon completion of Practicum I and II, students are required to enroll in 3-one credit internship courses (each 12 weeks in duration) to complete the remaining hours of the required 500 direct client contact hours (with 250 of these being relational hours) and 52 weeks, with the final internship course being the Capstone for the clinical training process. Students register for these courses to cover a period of no less than 28-36 weeks. Beyond completion of hours, the structure of the internship experience is different from the practicum courses in that, while you received direct supervision and more extensive involvement with the University faculty supervisor during practicum, the internship experience is a bit more autonomous. You will attend supervision sessions with the NCU faculty supervisor weekly or every other week depending on the number of hours of client contact you have completed. During the internship experience, you are required to continue working with a qualified local clinical supervisor to complete direct supervision of your clinical work for the duration of the internship. You must receive 1 hour every week. This supervision must involve direct observation or video recorded observation of your sessions. In addition to completion of the required client contact hours and supervision, during the internship experience (credits 2 and 3) you are also required to prepare for and take the practice exam for the national licensing exam and, in the internship capstone course, prepare and present your own theoretically grounded personal model of therapy to the MFT faculty.

Additional Specialization Courses - *Recommended courses, if no state-specific courses are required

Course Code

Name

Course Description

MFT6104

Family Therapy with Children*

This course is designed to provide clinically relevant background information, theory, and therapeutic models and interventions for a wide variety of presenting clinical problems relevant to children. Course material will address family therapy practice and be related conceptually to theory. Specific methods of therapy with children and facilitating parental and family involvement will be discussed. Facilitating child involvement in the therapeutic process for families will be addressed as well.

MFT6106

Families in Crisis*

This course will address contemporary crisis-related issues in marriage and family therapy to include gender, violence, addictions, and abuse. It will also address the treatment of individuals, couples, and families from a relational/systemic perspective with respect to these issues. The focus will be on the effects of trauma and stress on family life and relationships as well as recovery from a variety of related presenting issues.

MFT8103

Assessing and Treating Family Violence

This graduate level course examines family violence and the most effective way to address the consequences of it, including how to treat families that are affected by it. Theory and research will be explored related to definitions, causes, and characteristics of affected families (financial stress/poverty, social stress and the consequences of family violence. The types and targets of family violence will be explored. These include: spouse/partner, children, adolescents, college-aged adults, adults, and older adults. Violence among those in special populations will be included (e.g., same sex couples, rural families, disabled individuals, cross-cultural families, and military families). Students will learn about the importance of completing a thorough and comprehensive assessment of family violence, including an examination of resilience or family strengths as applied to this topic. Finally, the course will prepare students to intervene with families impacted by violence. Information regarding individual, couple, family, and group interventions will be included in the course. Awareness of cultural and ethical considerations will be included throughout the course.

MFT8104

Pharmacology for Family Therapists

This course is an overview of clinical psychopharmacology. The course will focus on psychiatric disorders their symptoms and medications. Students will explore basic classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medications, so that appropriate referrals can be made for medication evaluations and so that the side effects of those medications can be identified, and appropriate treatment plans may be developed. In addition the course will teach Marriage and Family Therapists how to interact effectively in collaborative/ multidisciplinary settings with other mental healthcare practitioners.

MFT8105

Theories of Personality

In this course you will examine, compare, and contrast key personality theories. Drawing on classic and contemporary sources, you will consider Freudian, post-Freudian, behaviorism, and social learning theories. You will also examine more contemporary theories on personality such as those put forth by cognitive, humanistic, and positive psychology. After learning these theories you will apply these concepts to the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy.

MFT8115

Family Systems Approaches to Addiction

This course provides an overview of family systems approaches to addiction. Course material addresses addiction with respect to etiology, intervention, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment from a family systems perspective. In addition, the course explores how multicultural systemic issues influence family systems approaches to dealing with addictions.

MFT8303

Systemic Sex Therapy

This course focuses on physiological, psychological, and sociocultural variables associated with human sexuality and then maintains a focused emphasis on systemically oriented sex therapy including methods of conducting sexual assessments and both individual and relational therapy designed to help clients with variety of sexual issues, sexual dysfunctions, and sexual challenges within relationships.

MFT8601

Gerontology and Systemic Intervention

This course deals with the biological, social, cognitive, and psychological aspects of aging. Ancillary aspects of aging are also explored, including: issues related to long-term care, end of life issues, the cultural context of human development, and the impact of socioeconomic status (poverty) on the elderly. A significant focus of the course is the application of systemic treatment/theory to the elderly adult population and multigenerational families.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s MAMFT costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $839
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,517
  • Program cost: $37,755
  • Average Book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Technology Fee: $0
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.

Northcentral University’s Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Northcentral University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.  For more information on COAMFTE accreditation, visit their website.