Master of Arts Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy

© Giordan L., 2020 Graduate

Make a Positive Difference with a MAMFT Degree

As the first MFT degree program with distance education to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), NCU’s MAMFT provides rigorous training to help you develop into a competent, ethical, culturally sensitive and licensable marriage and family therapist. This program is designed to empower you to make a difference in the communities where you live and work.

Accreditation from the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE) ensures that this program meets the quality standards for programs that provide systemic therapy education and training. NCU's MFT degree courses are primarily online, however, practicum, internships, and clinical supervision activities include traditional engagement in the communities our students reside.

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  • NO Residency
  • NO Group Work
  • 100% Online Learning
  • 100% Doctoral Faculty

Bringing Better Communication Close to Home

Marriage and Family Therapy Resources

Read our Guide to Marriage and Family Therapy

Program Handbook

The Program Handbook is designed to serve as a guide that provides you with applicable information that can help you succeed in your goal of becoming a marriage and family therapist. You will find policies and forms related to program admission, confidentiality, student progress and retention, graduation, program learning outcomes, the organizational structure of the program, specific program requirements, discussion on pursuing licensure, and other relevant program documents. It is a supplement to, but not a substitute for, the Northcentral University Catalog to access a web-based version of the handbook.

MAMFT Program Learning Outcomes

  • Employ competence in working with diverse populations in clinical settings.
  • Students/graduates** will evaluate family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts.
  • Examine family systems-theory-oriented models of therapy
  • Formulate a decision-making process for ethical dilemmas congruent with the AAMFT Code of Ethics.

The MAMFT degree is structured to assist students to seek licensure in the state or jurisdiction of their choice. To allow this, courses can be added to the standard 45 credit program (up to a total program requirement of 60 credits) to assist with meeting licensure requirements. Eligible transfer credits can be applied to the program to support the respective state licensure requirement.

A core goal of the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) degree is to qualify students to become licensed as Marriage and Family Therapists and pursue a career within this field. NCU recognizes that today’s professionals are much more likely to move, live, and work in multiple states during their professional careers. With over 25% (n=16) of states now requiring 60 credit hour degrees to qualify for MFT licensure, and with more states proposing this change, it is recommended that students consider a degree plan and electives that maximize portability of the degree throughout the U.S.

NCU recognizes that a majority of states do not yet require 60 credit hour degrees and thus desire to allow students to keep the cost of their education as low as possible while still balancing the need of having a degree that allows for transportability between states during their professional career. Due to the nature of the MFT profession and differences that exist today in state licensing requirements, NCU allows students the ability to select additional electives above the required 45-credit degree plan, up to 60 credits.

Program at a Glance:

Total Credit Hours: At least 45 Credit Hours*
Courses: 15-20*
Recommended Completion Time: 33 Months

*Students seeking licensure may be required by their state to complete up to 60 credit hours, which could equate for up to 20 courses.

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Below is the template that programs should use to display the Graduate Achievement Data (GAD) in accordance with the COAMFTE Accreditation Standards Version 12.5. Programs must display this table on their homepage or have a clearly displayed link which leads directly to the GAD table. In each case, the GAD information must be clearly labeled and identifiable on the program's homepage and provide all of the required information. Programs may use the table below or develop their own format as long as all elements in the template below are included.

Programs that have questions about meeting the Graduate Achievement disclosure policy should contact coa@aamft.org

Instructions for completing and posting the Graduate Achievement Data on the program’s website:

  1. Programs are required to publish data on all of the required Graduate Achievement Data set by the Commission per cohort on an annual basis on the program's website.
  • Programs must provide complete information in all sections of the Graduate Achievement Data Disclosure table, including initial accreditation date and percentage rates (not raw data) for the graduation rates, job placement rates and licensure rates in each track of the program.
  • Programs have the following four options to complete the table (Please do not input “NA” into the table):
    1. No Students: Use ONLY when no students have enrolled in a given cohort.
    2. IP=In Process: Use ONLY for recent cohorts that students are still in the process of completing the program within the advertised timeframe.
    3. Not Accredited: Use with cohorts that entered prior to your program being granted COAMFTE Accreditation that your program does not wish to provide data on.
    4. Numbers: 0-3,000
      • Programs that enter "0" for cells will need to provide contextual information regarding why "0" was entered.
  1. The information must be clearly labeled and identifiable on the program's home page and provide all of the required information.
  • The program’s landing/homepage must clearly display the Graduate Achievement Data Disclosure Table either on the homepage itself or have a clearly displayed link which leads directly to the GAD table. The URL link must be a working link.
  1. Programs that only offer one track (FT or PT not both) should remove the column that does not apply.
  1. The data on the Graduate Achievement Data Disclosure Table that is published on the website annually needs to be consistent with the Graduate Achievement Data that is reported in the program’s Annual Report. In other words, the Graduate Achievement Data for Advertised Graduation Rates, Job Placement Rates and Licensure Rates (MC-B) that is presented in the Annual Report should reflect (be exactly the same as) the publicly disclosed Graduate Achievement Data presented on the program's website. Programs are encouraged to ensure consistency of data between the GAD table on their respective website and the data they include in their Annual Report to avoid additional reports.

Graduate Achievement Data Disclosure


Graduate Achievement Data for Northcentral University
Accredited: December 2012
Advertised Program Length*: 4.5 years
Maximum Time to Complete Program: 6 years
Cohort Year Students Entered Program # of Students In Program
FT
Graduation Rate in Advertised Time (%)*
FT
Maximum Graduation Rate (%)
FT
Job Placement Rate (%)**
FT
Licensure Rate (%)***
FT
Exam Pass Rate (%)****
FT
2015-2016 380 41% 52.1% 96.6% 53.5% 98%
2016-2017 331 34.7% 42.8% 93.4% 50.4% 91.2%
2017-2018 312 36.9% 38.5% 88.9% 47.9% 100%
2018-2019 229 In process In process In process In process In process
2019-2020 287 In process In process In process In process In process
2020-2021 352 In process In process In process In process In process
2021-2022 386 In process In process In process In process In process

FT=Full-time

IP=In Process: Students from the cohort listed have yet to graduate from the cohort year listed.

Programs are only required to provide data on the past 7 years/cohort or since the program was initially accredited, whichever is shorter.

* Graduation Rate is the program’s Advertised Length of Completion which is how long the program is designed to complete as written.
** Job Placement Rate is the percentage of graduates from the cohort year that are employed utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program.
*** Licensure rate is the percentage of graduates from the cohort year that have achieved ANY level of MFT licensure. For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% licensure rate for each cohort. Program has identified a reporting benchmark for licensure rate as three years post-graduation.
**** National Exam Pass Rate is the percentage of graduates from the cohort year that reported sitting and passing the National or State Equivalent Exam.

Marriage and Family Therapy, California Licensure Track

For many working Californians, the traditional graduate school model and on-campus classroom schedules prevent highly qualified individuals from pursuing a Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy in California. Northcentral University’s California Licensure Track option is pre-approved by the Board of Behavioral Sciences in California (CA). and meets all the educational requirements set by the state to earn a qualifying degree towards licensure. Since NCU is a regionally accredited university, this degree meets the licensing requirements in many other states. All courses are taught by professors who possess significant experience in the field of MFT, and many are also currently practicing clinicians.

Couples Therapy

With the changing definition of marriage, along with social expectations, marriage and long-term relationships often face challenges that call for the help of a trained third party. NCU’s Couple Therapy specialization is designed to prepare you to work with couples in therapeutic settings, primarily using a family therapy, systems perspective. Students in this specialization are required to complete two content courses in this area, a research course focused on issues related to working with couples, and at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved setting with a qualified local clinical supervisor.

LGBTQ Couples and Family Therapy

Same-sex couples face many of the same relational issues as heterosexual couples, but the attendant differences can create unique challenges as well. The LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy specialization is designed to prepare you to work with clients in the LGBTQ community and to specialize in working with couples and families using a family therapy, systems-oriented approach. In this specialization, you will be required to complete two content courses focused in this area, a research course focused on issues related to working with LGBTQ couples and families, and at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved setting with a qualified local clinical supervisor.

Military Family Therapy

Members of the military and their families are typically strong, but that strength sometimes needs the reinforcement that only a trained counselor can provide. Military families also face unique challenges, such as long periods of separation during deployments. The Military Family Therapy specialization prepares you to work primarily with individuals, couples, and families that are affiliated with the military, using a family therapy, systems perspective. In this specialization you will be required to complete two focused content courses, a research course focusing on issues related to working with military families, and at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved military setting with a qualified local clinical supervisor.

Systemic Treatment of Addictions

This specialization is designed for students that are interested in working with individuals and families facing addiction issues and co-occurring disorders. Courses in this specialization examine the historical and theoretical foundations of addictive disorders, the philosophies of co-occurring disorders and various systematic theories and evidence-based models for treatment. Students will also learn methods for assessing substance-related and addictive disorders in the context of family therapy and ethical issues related to working in the field of addictions as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Obtaining a specialization at the master’s level allows students to focus their education and become subject matter experts in their particular area of study.

Child and Adolescent Family Therapy

When divorce and other strife enters the lives of children and teens, it often takes a sensitive professional to help them and their families weather these storms. The Child and Adolescent Family Therapy specialization is designed to prepare you to work in therapeutic settings with children and adolescents using a family therapy, systems approach. In this specialization you will be required to complete two focused content courses, a research course focusing on issues related to working with children, adolescents and families, as well as complete at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved setting under the guidance of a qualified local supervisor.

General 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 41% in the next decade. The Master’s in General Family Therapy prepares you to meet this growing demand. There is no physical residency requirement, which means you are able to complete all of your coursework 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 professors who possess significant experience teaching in the field of MFT as well as working as MFTs.

Northcentral University pursues programmatic accreditation whenever appropriate. The Master’s and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy are COAMFTE and IACSTE accredited.

Medical Family Therapy

Medical challenges can often overwhelm a family emotionally. But the guidance of a trained professional can make a difference. The Medical Family Therapy specialization is designed to prepare you to work with individuals, couples and family who are facing chronic and acute medical difficulties. Medical Family Therapy incorporates a family therapy, systems perspective in helping clients to understand and manage their medical difficulties. In this specialization you will be required to complete two focused content courses, a research course focused on issues related to medical family therapy, and at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved medical setting with a qualified local clinical supervisor.

Northcentral University pursues programmatic accreditation whenever appropriate. The Master’s and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy are COAMFTE and IACSTE accredited.

Trauma Informed Systemic Therapy

This specialization is designed for students that are interested in helping individuals and families cope with the effects of traumatic events. Courses in this specialization are aligned with the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and cover a range of topics such as the nature and impact of psychological trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder and the human capacity for healing. Students will also learn about the historical and theoretical foundations of trauma, crisis-related issues in marriage and family therapy and system-based theories and models in the context of family violence.

Obtaining a specialization at the master’s level allows students to focus their education and become subject matter experts in their particular area of study.

Systemic Sex Therapy

This specialization is designed for students that are interested in working with individuals and couples that are facing sexual difficulties. Courses in this specialization cover the historical and theoretical foundations of systemic sex therapy, including how religion, culture and society have informed sexual behaviors. Students will learn about sexual disorders, models of therapy and assessment, creating a non-judgmental therapeutic alliance with clients and ethical issues specific to this field of practice. Additionally, students will learn how to apply this knowledge within the practice of marriage and family therapy.

Obtaining a specialization at the master’s level allows students to focus their education and become subject matter experts in their particular area of study.

  • Family / Behavioral Therapist
  • Family/ School / General Social Work
  • Medical Office / Practice Manager
  • Mental Health / Behavioral Counselor
  • Social / Human Services Manager
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • And many more, in public and private facilities of all different sizes!

*Positions may require additional experience, training and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Many roles may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met.

The MAMFT 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 program requiring more than 45 credits and up to 60-credits or who need specific additional courses for their state licensure requirements will be allowed to complete optional elective courses to meet these requirements, which will constitute the total credit requirements for graduation from the program.

The University may accept a maximum of 15 semester credit hours in transfer toward the master’s degree for graduate coursework completed toward a 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 MAMFT program. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content to the required course work in the MAMFT program. See the Transfer Credit Policy for additional information.

The MAMFT program has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NCU
  • 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 must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma and/or degree posted transcript

Beyond these standard graduation requirements, the MAMFT 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 – MAMFT students will be required to complete 300 hours of direct client contact, which includes conducting face-to-face therapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups. At least 150 hours of client contact must be relational (e.g., couple or family). See section below for new client contact requirements starting January 1, 2022. For more information, please read the practicum and internship course descriptions or the Clinical Training Handbook.

Supervision – In conjunction with client contact, MAMFT students must receive a total of 100 hours of supervision, at least fifty-two (52) of which must be individual supervision conducted by an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, AAMFT Supervisor Candidate, or state-approved supervisor. At least 50 of the supervision hours must also involve a supervisor’s review of the student’s therapy with clients via video/audio recording or live observation. See section below for new client contact requirements starting January 1, 2022. In some cases, students may be required to pay for local supervision. This will depend on the clinical placement location and/or local supervisor they contract with to complete their practicum and internship requirements. The decision and responsibility to pay for local supervision is entirely up to the student and not a requirement of NCU.

Liability Insurance – Prior to beginning any clinical experience, students are required to submit proof of professional liability insurance. This is included with a student membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (for California students it is also included in the student membership in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists).

Clinical Hours Tracking – the MAMFT program uses a web-based system to document completion of clinical hours. Students, local approved clinical supervisors and NCU faculty training supervisors all have access to the system in order to support the successful completion of the clinical training requirements for the program. Students will be allowed access to the system upon request after they have completed at least six courses.

Basic 45-credit hour Program (this is the basis for all degree plans except California)

Foundation Courses

MFT-5101 - Foundations for Graduate Study in Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT-5104 - Treatment Planning and Traditional Family Therapy
MFT-5105 - Recovery-Oriented Care and Postmodern Family Therapy

Fundamental Courses

MFT-5103 - Systemic Evaluation and Case Management
MFT-5102 - Legal, Ethical and Professional Development in Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT-6102 - Psychopathology, Diagnosis, and Systemic Treatment

Specialization and Research Courses

MFT-5106 - Research Methods and Evidence Based Practice
MFT-6101 - Human Development and Family Dynamics Across the Lifespan
MFT-6103 - Cultural Diversity, Gender, and Family Development
MFT-6105 - Couple and Sex Therapy
Specialization/Elective Course 1
Specialization/Elective Course 2
Additional Elective courses as needed for state licensure

Clinical Experience Requirements

MFT-6951 - MFT Practicum I
MFT-6952 - MFT Practicum II
MFT-6991 - MFT Internship I
MFT-6992 - MFT Internship II
MFT-6995 - MFT Internship and Capstone Presentation

CONTACT US

To speak with an Enrollment Advisor, call (866) 776-0331 or email admissions@ncu.edu.

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Why Choose Northcentral University?

  • Classes Start Weekly: Your Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is flexible with NCU’s year-round enrollment and weekly class starts.
  • 1:1 Teaching Model: Our 100% doctoral faculty meet with you one-on-one, so you can focus on what matters — making a difference with your degree.
  • Online Community: To help students feel less isolated in a virtual learning environment, we created a community space called The Commons. The purpose was to create an interactive space for students to make real-time connections, meet, share ideas, and support each other through their academic journeys.

  • NO Residency
  • NO Group Work
  • 100% Online Learning
  • 100% Doctoral Faculty
  • No GRE/GMAT