Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

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Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019 2019-07-06T22:56:20+00:00

A graduate degree in marriage and family therapy can be the perfect choice for students looking to become mental health professionals working with couples, families, and individuals in a systemic framework. With a marriage and family therapy degree from one of the following schools, students have the opportunity to seek employment in a variety of settings, including churches, medical clinics, mental health centers, social service agencies, schools, private practices, inpatient treatment facilities, and outpatient care centers. The following list ranks the top 30 graduate degree programs in marriage and family therapy for students considering this challenging yet rewarding career path.

Methodology

This ranking list was developed with the goal of outlining the top graduate programs in marriage and family therapy. We know that choosing the best program to meet a student’s needs can be frustrating and overwhelming at times, which is why we took the courtesy of analyzing some of the top factors prospective students look for in a program. To start, we conducted a search for the term “graduate degree in marriage and family therapy online” using the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator Tool. We then took the initial pool of 35 institutions and narrowed it down to the top 30 programs based on the following ranking methodology.

Average Cost of Graduate Attendance

One of the first factors we looked at was the average cost of graduate attendance. Although the quality of the program is certainly important, the cost of tuition is one of the first things prospective students look for when considering a school. For the purpose of this ranking, we used data obtained from the College Navigator Tool as well as each program’s website in order to obtain the most accurate information possible. We assigned points based on the following cost categories:

Points:
Under $18,000: 4 points
$18,001 to $25,000: 3 points
$25,001 to $35,000: 2 points
$35,000 or more: 1 point

College Ranking

The next consideration was whether or not an institution has been acknowledged by a national ranking body such as U.S. News & World Report. We looked at a number of factors, including each school’s place in rankings for Best National School, Best Value School, and Top Public School, and assigned points based on the following tables.

Points:
U.S. News & World Report: Best National School Ranking:
Top 25: 5 points
Top 50: 3 points
Top 100: 2 point
Top 150: 1 point

U.S. News & World Report: Best Value School, Top Public School Ranking:
Top 25: 3 points
Top 50: 2 points
Top 100: 1 point

Accreditation

In order to be included in the following ranking list, a school must have achieved regional or national accreditation. Institutions with accreditation are given an edge over colleges or universities without the stamp of accreditation. We also looked at whether a specific program earned specialized, programmatic accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). These schools were awarded additional points for this recognition.

Points:
Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE): 2 points
Regional accreditation: 1 point

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy

30. Northcentral University

San Diego, California

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 63-99 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 6
Program Website

Established in 1996, Northcentral University is an online, non-profit university with corporate headquarters located in San Diego, California. The School of Marriage and Family Sciences offers both a Ph.D. and M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy. The Ph.D. is available entirely online and does not require students to travel to complete residency requirements. Students are responsible for completing a nine-month internship and a face-to-face practicum with a qualified supervisor in their local area. The Ph.D. consists of 63 to 99 credit hours, including 21 to 35 courses, depending on the specialization. Available concentrations are offered in areas such as systemic leadership, education and supervision, therapy with military families, couple therapy, child and adolescent therapy, and more. The program can be completed within 56 months.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $22,218
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
N/A
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
WSCUC

29. Regent University

Virginia Beach, Virginia

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Counseling and Psychological Studies does not lead to professional accreditation.

Points: 6
Program Website

Regent University is a private, Christian university in Virginia Beach, Virginia that is affiliated with the Interdenominal Evangelical School of Christianity. The school offers a Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies with a concentration on marriage and family ministry. This program is designed for students looking to impact the culture beyond the Ph.D. in Counseling without seeking professional accreditation. Coursework is available online and presented from a Christian worldview, and areas of study include child behavior problems, eating disorders, sexual dysfunction, crisis management, forgiveness, models of inner healing, and more. Graduates are prepared for careers as church counseling consultants, researchers or writers, university faculty, and congregational or pastoral leaders.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Counseling & Psychological Studies – Marriage & Family Ministry
M.A. in Marriage, Couple & Family Counseling
Average Program Cost: $18,700
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#201 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
SACSCOC

28. Eastern University

St. Davids, Pennsylvania

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 6
Program Website

Eastern University is a Christian university affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA and located in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. The school confers a 60-credit-hour Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy that is available online with on-campus residencies. Students must complete 42 credits of core studies, 15 credits of research methodology and a doctoral dissertation, and three credits of field supervision. The program is offered in a cohort format in which students move through the curriculum as a group, and the program can be completed within four years. Areas of study include trauma and family systems, human sexuality, qualitative research methodology, systems theory, and couples therapy theory and practice.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy
Doctor of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Studies
Average Program Cost: $16,480
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#76 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
MSCHE

27. Liberty University

Lynchburg, Virginia

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ed.D in Community Care and Counseling can be completed in three years of study.

Points: 6
Program Website

Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is the world’s largest, nonprofit, Christian institution and offers more than 250 programs of study. Liberty offers an online Ed.D. in Community Care and Counseling – Marriage and Family Counseling degree that provides students with the knowledge and tools they need to provide professional counseling services in a ministry setting. Students may complete the 57-credit-hour program within three years, and although the coursework is available online, students may choose to pursue optional intensives to further develop their education and training. Students are required to complete an integrated dissertation project in which they demonstrate their expertise and ability to apply advanced counseling theories to practical problems.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling – Marriage and Family Counseling
Average Program Cost: $11,305
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#230-#301 in National Universities
Accreditations:
SACSCOC

26. University of San Diego

San Diego, California

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MFT program can be completed in two years of full-time study.

Points: 7
Program Website

The University of San Diego was founded in 1952 as the San Diego College for Women and has since expanded to offer more than 60 degrees at the doctoral, master’s, and bachelor’s levels., including a Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) program that combines hands-on clinical experiences, personalized instruction, and internationally renowned faculty. Students complete rigorous coursework as well as a 12-month clinical practicum in community sites. The courses explore diverse angles of therapeutic practice, and students learn how to work with clients with substance abuse, how aging issues play out in family therapy, and how to integrate research on social neuroscience. Those pursuing the program on a full-time basis can earn their degree within two years and apply 1,100 hours toward the 3,000 hours required to sit for MFT licensure in California.

Degree Options:
Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) Program
Average Program Cost: $43,218
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#66 in Best Value Schools
#85 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
WSCUC

25. Drexel University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Couple and Family Therapy uses evidence-informed practices, social justice theory, and cultural diversity as programmatic anchors.

Points: 7
Program Website

Drexel University operates three campuses, all of which are located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2002, Drexel expanded through the addition of a medical college, and it now serves more than 26,000 students via a number of professional, graduate, and undergraduate degree programs. Students may choose from either a Master of Family Therapy degree or a Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy. The doctoral program trains students from a couple and family systems perspective using evidence-informed practices, social justice theory, and cultural diversity as programmatic anchors. The training and education experience consists of components such as policy, research, theory, self-of-the-therapist, and teaching, clinical, and supervisory skills.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy
Master of Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $28,665
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#67 in Best Value Schools
#102 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
MSCHE

24. Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Family Therapy requires 96 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 7
Program Website

Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Nova Southeastern University is comprised of 18 schools and colleges that offer more than 175 academic programs and more than 250 majors to more than 24,000 students. The school confers a Ph.D. in Family Therapy program that is designed to prepare graduates for careers as senior clinicians, supervisors, researchers, and professors. The 96-credit-hour program is intended for students with master’s degrees and consists of coursework in research methods, theory, teaching, and the clinical contributions of three major system paradigms. Elective courses are also available to allow students to enhance their learning in special topics. Students must also successfully complete three-term clinical internships designed to provide them with a full-time, supervised experience that emphasizes relationally-focused research and/or practice.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Family Therapy
M.S. in Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $21,024
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#191 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

23. Syracuse University

Syracuse, New York

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 72 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Syracuse University is a private research university in Syracuse, New York that is organized into 13 colleges and schools. The school employs 1,500 faculty members and educates more than 22,000 students each year. Syracuse confers a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), the first and only accredited program of its kind in the state. The 72-credit-hour curriculum includes 33 credits from a master’s in MFT as well as coursework in advanced theory and practice, advanced research methodology, electives, and an advanced practicum. Doctoral students must also complete a dissertation as well as a nine-month clinical internship and a doctoral qualifying examination.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy
Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $28,062
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#51 in Best Value Schools
#53 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
MSCHE

22. Chapman University

Orange, California

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy require 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Located in Orange, California, Chapman University offers more than 100 areas of study and encompasses 10 colleges and schools. The school’s Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences offers a 60-credit-hour Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) degree that is designed to prepare students for licensure as marriage and family therapists in California. All students must complete a one-year clinical practicum in the school’s on-site community clinic, the Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy. Areas of study include couples therapy, ethics and professional issues, psychopharmacology, crisis management and clinical process, group therapy, public mental health, and multicultural issues in therapy. Students must complete a comprehensive examination and a capstone project in order to graduate.

Degree Options:
M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $27,480
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#40 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
WSCUC

21. Regis University

Denver, Colorado

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 20 courses of study.

Points: 8
Program Website

Regis University in Denver, Colorado is a Roman Catholic university that is divided into five colleges that educate more than 11,400 students each year. The school’s Reuckert-Hartman College for Health Professions offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy that prepares students to provide counseling and guidance based on in-depth research and theory. Students must complete 20 courses for a total of 60 units of study in order to graduate, and students may complete the program within two and a half to three years. In addition to coursework, all MFT students complete three semesters of a practicum at the school’s on-site MFT training clinic, and graduates are prepared for careers in residential care centers, health practitioner offices, government agencies, outpatient centers, and private practices.

Degree Options:
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $19,650
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#32 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
HLC

20. University of Louisville

Louisville, Kentucky

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Couple and Family Therapy program requires 81 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Founded in 1798 as the first city-owned public university in the country, the University of Louisville is a public university in Louisville, Kentucky that operates one of the fastest-growing medical research institutions in the nation. Students may pursue a Master of Science in Social Work with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT), formerly Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). The 81-credit-hour program, offered by the Kent School of Social Work, focuses on practice and theory, supervised clinical practice, integration of research, ethics, practical applications, and theoretical foundations. Students are required to complete coursework, faculty supervision, and practicum hours in order to sit for MFT licensure. Students may complete the program in two years, and the curriculum meets the requirements for licensed clinical social work licensure in Kentucky.

Degree Options:
Couple & Family Therapy (CFT)
Average Program Cost: $19,026
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#91 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#171 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

19. Bethel University

St. Paul, Minnesota

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Located just outside of St. Paul in Arden Hills, Minnesota, Bethel University is affiliated with the congregations of Converge and educates more than 6,000 students each year through its adult education, seminar, graduate, and undergraduate programs. The school confers a 60-unit Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy degree that combines training in clinical theory and practice with Christian theology. Coursework meets the academic requirements for licensure in Minnesota, although students will be required to pass the licensure exam and complete additional supervised clinical practice. A nine-month, 300-hour practicum is also required. Most courses are available on-campus during the day, and a few courses are offered as weeklong intensives in June. Graduates may earn their degree within three to four years.

Degree Options:
M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $15,240
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
HLC

18. University of Louisiana at Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Systemic Studies requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 8
Program Website

Located in Monroe, Louisiana, the University of Louisiana at Monroe was established as Ouachita Parish Junior College in 1931 and belongs to the University of Louisiana System. The school offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree with an online concentration in systemic studies. The program is designed for professionals, educators, coaches, counselors, and clinicians looking for deeper studies of the contexts that advance the practices necessary for change. Students must complete 60 semester units or two years of full-time coursework as well as a dissertation. Nonclinical in emphasis, the degree does not prepare graduates to be eligible for the Marriage and Family Therapy license.

Degree Options:
Doctor of Philosophy in Systemic Studies
Average Program Cost: $15,000
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#230-#301 in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

17. Fairfield University

Fairfield, Connecticut

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy requires students complete a comprehensive exam, a capstone presentation, and/or a thesis seminar.

Points: 9
Program Website

Located in Fairfield, Connecticut, Fairfield University is a Jesuit Catholic school and a member of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. The school operates five colleges in education, nursing, engineering, business, and the arts and sciences. The school offers a Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy, and students complete a pre-determined arrangement of courses, beginning with the foundations of systematic/relational models and theories. Other areas of study include foundational clinical practice, ethics and diversity, research evaluation and diagnosis/treatment, and clinical treatment with families and individual couples. To graduate, students complete a comprehensive exam, a capstone presentation, and/or a thesis seminar.

Degree Options:
M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy
M.A. in Family Studies
Average Program Cost: $23,250
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#21 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
NEASC

16. University of Kentucky

Lexington, Kentucky

Ranking Top 40 Doctoral Programs in Clinical Psychology in 2019

The Ph.D in Family Sciences requires a 53 credit hour prearranged curriculum.

Points: 9
Program Website

The Department of Family Sciences confers doctoral- and master’s-level programs with optional emphasis areas in couple and family therapy, aging, adolescent development, family processes, and family finance and economics. Graduates of either graduate program are eligible to become Certified Family Life Educators (CFLEs). Specifically, the Couple and Family Therapy emphasis requires students to complete a prearranged curriculum that totals 53 credit hours, including a professional development seminar, a data analysis or program evaluation course, a supervised practicum, and 18 hours of core couple and family therapy courses. Students must also complete a thesis or scholarly project as well as 500 hours of direct contact with clients.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Family Sciences
Master of Science in Family Sciences
Average Program Cost: $19,089
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#75 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#140 in Best Value Schools
#147 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

15. East Carolina University

Greenville, North Carolina

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy can be completed in two full years of study.

Points: 9
Program Website

East Carolina University is a public research/doctoral university in Greenville, North Carolina. It was founded in 1907 as a teacher training school and has since grown into the fourth-largest university in the state. Students looking to pursue studies in marriage and family therapy at East Carolina can earn a Master of Science degree. This program prepares students to work as marriage and family therapists who are grounded in systems theory as well as its application to clinical practice. The curriculum highlights the importance of working together within larger systems, and students are encouraged to develop a customized therapy style that combines technique with theory. The program includes 51 semester hours and requires full-time study over two years. Graduates are prepared to become licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT).

Degree Options:
M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $11,228
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#106 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#194 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

14. University of Rochester

Rochester, New York

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 60 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 10
Program Website

The University of Rochester is a nonsectarian, private research university in Rochester, New York. The school enrolls nearly 10,000 students split almost evenly between graduate and undergraduate students. Students may pursue a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree, which requires 60 credit hours of coursework in areas such as child-focused family therapy, family therapy research, couples therapy, and human development across the life cycle. Students must complete two clinical practicum courses, one part-time and one full-time, for a total of 100 hours of supervision and 500 clinical contact hours.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $37,405
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#23 in Best Value Schools
#33 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
MSCHE

13. University of New Hampshire

Durham, New Hampshire

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 500 clinical practice hours.

Points: 10
Program Website

Located in Durham, the University of New Hampshire is a public research university in the University System of New Hampshire. The school confers a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy that prepares students for work in human service, medical, family service, and mental health settings. The coursework emphasizes universal, strategic, and fundamental approaches to marriage and family therapy. In order to become a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, students must complete 500 clinical practice hours during their education; additional hours are required to meet AAMFT standards for membership following graduation. The clinical training emphasizes treating families, couples, and individuals in relation to larger systems that influence them. Students can earn their degree within two years.

Degree Options:
Human Development and Family Studies: Marriage and Family Therapy M.S.
Average Program Cost: $20,760
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#46 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#76 in Best Value Schools
#106 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
NEASC

12. University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Couples and Family Therapy is a two year program.

Points: 10
Program Website

Founded in 1876, the University of Oregon is a public flagship research university that sits on a 295-acre campus in Eugene, Oregon. The school offers an M.S. in Couples and Family Therapy (CFT) — a two-year, 90-credit program that prepares students to become professional family therapists who are ready to seek state licensure. In addition to completing coursework, students have the option to complete a research project and submit a thesis as part of the program requirements. Students may also pursue a unique Spanish Language Psychological Service & Research Specialization, which is designed to train students for engaging in mental health services research and provision with Spanish-speaking populations. Graduates may seek employment in churches, family services clinics, health-maintenance organizations, hospitals, and mental health centers.

Degree Options:
M.S. in Couples and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $19,647
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#45 in Top Public Schools
#102 (tie) in National Universities
#143 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
NWCCU

11. Auburn University

Auburn, Alabama

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 500 therapy hours.

Points: 10
Program Website

Auburn University is a public research university in Auburn, Alabama that enrolls more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students, making it the second-largest university in the state. The school offers a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree that trains students to pursue careers as marriage and family therapists. In order to be eligible for AAMFT clinical membership after graduation, students must complete a specific course sequence that includes the multidisciplinary areas of communities, families, and individuals. A master’s thesis is also required as well as 500 therapy hours, 250 of which must be relational in nature. The program is organized into a cohort that accepts six students each year.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MS-MFT)
Average Program Cost: $16,923
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#52 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#115 (tie) in National Universities
#132 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

10. California State University – Northridge

Los Angeles, California

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Counseling students engage in field coursework and practicum experiences.

Points: 10
Program Website

California State University Northridge, located in Los Angeles, California, is the largest school in the California State University System. CSUN offers three doctoral degrees, 70 master’s degrees, and more than 130 bachelor’s degrees. Students may pursue an M.S. in Counseling with an option in Marriage and Family Therapy. The program prepares students to pursue licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselor and a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. Coursework includes topics such as substance abuse and addictions treatment, a seminar in counseling theory and practice, couples and sex therapy, and postmodern and cognitive family theories and their evidence bases. Students also engage in field coursework and practicum experiences in order to supplement their learning. Before graduating, students must complete a culminating experience, either involving the creation of an original thesis or a final graduate project.

Degree Options:
M.S. in Counseling – Marriage and Family Therapy Option
Average Program Cost: $8,322
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#21 (tie) in Top Public Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
WSCUC

9. University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Lincoln, Nebraska

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 51 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 10
Program Website

Chartered in 1869 and often referred to as UNL or simply Nebraska, the University of Nebraska Lincoln is the oldest university in the state and the largest school in the University of Nebraska System. UNL confers an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy that consists of either a thesis or non-thesis option and prepares students for work as a licensed mental health practitioner with a Marriage and Family Therapist certification. Students can complete the program in two years, and the coursework consists of 51 credit hours of study. All students are required to complete a 12-month practicum experience that involves 500 direct therapy hours, 250 of which must be with families and/or couples, and 100 hours of supervision.

Degree Options:
Marriage and Family Therapy Master of Science (M.S.)
Average Program Cost: $8,243
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#61 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#95 in Best Value Schools
#129 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
HLC

8. Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 500 clinical hours.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1851 by John Evans and eight others, Northwestern University is a private research university based in Evanston, Illinois. The school’s M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy aims to educate students to become empirically informed, ethical, culturally sensitive, systemic, competent, and knowledgeable marriage and family therapists. Students receive 100 percent of their clinical training in the school’s own clinic, including 500 clinical hours, 250 of which are supervised. The program is comprised of six internship courses and 19 academic courses as well as 10 research labs with MFT student representation. Graduates may complete the program within two years. Prospective students should note that the clinical practice, coursework, various program meetings, and supervision comprise a full-time commitment.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Marriage & Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $54,120
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#10 (tie) in National Universities
#15 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
HLC

7. University of Maryland

College Park, Maryland

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Couple and Family Therapy requires 48-51 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1856, the University of Maryland is the largest university in the Washington metropolitan area and the state, enrolling more than 41,000 students. Recognized as one of the top programs of its kind, the M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy provides students with a high level of ethical integrity, top-notch therapeutic skills, and a commitment to working with diverse families. Through the Center for Healthy Families, students receive real-world experiences, and the program provides students with the supervised clinical training they need to fulfill licensure requirements. The CFT curriculum consists of both supervised clinical practice with clients and traditional coursework. The thesis option consists of 51 credit hours, while the non-thesis option requires 48 credit hours. Class work is completed in conjunction with nine credits of supervision in clinical work and 15 credits of clinical practicum seminars.

Degree Options:
M.S., Couple and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $18,828
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#22 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#63 (tie) in National Universities
#108 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
MSCHE

6. Michigan State University

East Lansing, Michigan

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Couple and Family Therapy can be completed within four years.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1855, Michigan State University is a public research university located in East Lansing, Michigan. The doctoral program in couple and family therapy requires students to acquire a therapeutic methodology that is personally relevant and grounded in comprehensive practice and theory. Students entering the program with a Master’s in MFT typically earn their doctoral degree within four years. A total of 1,000 hours of direct client contact is required for the doctorate, and students must complete a nine-month internship that includes research, administrative, teaching, and clinical experiences in addition to traditional classroom work.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $17,377
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#35 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#85 (tie) in National Universities
#144 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
HLC

5. Kansas State University

Manhattan, Kansas

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

KSU offers both an MS and PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Points: 12
Program Website

Commonly referred to as K-State or Kansas State, Kansas State University is a public research university that operates a main campus in Manhattan, Kansas. Opened in 1863, it was the first public institution of higher learning in the state. Kansas State offers two graduate programs in marriage and family therapy. The M.S. in Family Studies and Human Services with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy provides the professional, clinical, and academic training necessary for graduates to succeed as clinicians in a number of mental health settings. Students may also pursue a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy that aims to train scholars as educators, clinical supervisors, top-level clinicians, and leading researchers.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Family Studies and Human Services
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $17,035
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#26 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#70 (tie) in National Universities
#99 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
HLC

4. Virginia Tech

Blacksburg, Virginia

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 51 to 54 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

Virginia Polytech Institute and State University, or Virginia Tech, is a public, research, land-grant university that operates a main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia as well as educational facilities in six regions across the state. The school offers a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy that consists of 51 to 54 semester hours of coursework. With full-time study, students may earn their degree within two years. However, in addition to traditional classes, students are required to complete 500 direct client contact clinical hours as well as a thesis or clinical project, so most students complete the program within three years. Graduates are prepared for licensure in Virginia, and all clinical hours are completed at the school’s on-site training clinic, The Center for Family Services.

Degree Options:
Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Program
Average Program Cost: $15,510
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#30 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#76 (tie) in National Universities
#103 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

3. Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 85 credit hours of coursework.

Points: 12
Program Website

Founded in 1851, Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state. Students may pursue a Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy degree that emphasizes clinical training and offers additional skills and knowledge to help students become scholars ready to assume academic positions. The program is research-based and investigates distressed families, family processes, and intimate relationships through service activities, teaching, and research. Students must complete 85 total credit hours to earn their degree, including 24 credit hours for dissertation as well as a practicum and internship.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $13,581
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#26 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#70 (tie) in National Universities
#99 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

2. Brigham Young University

Provo, Utah

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The MS in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 500 hours of client interaction.

Points: 12
Program Website

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah is fully owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It offers more than 65 master’s and 25 doctoral degree programs to more than 33,000 students, including an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Students may choose either a research or a clinical track, depending on their career goals, and classes may include topics such as addictions and violence in families, research methods, and the individual and family over the life. The research track requires a final thesis, while the clinical track requires a final presentation. Both tracks require the completion of 500 hours of direct face-to-face client contact.

Degree Options:
Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy
Average Program Cost: $7,080
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#11 in Best Value Schools
#66 (tie) in National Universities
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
NWCCU

1. University of Georgia

Athens, Georgia

Ranking Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy 2019

The Ph.D in Human Development and Family Science is guided by the biopsychosocial and the scientist-practitioner models of training.

Points: 14
Program Website

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, is one of three schools to claim the title of the oldest public university in the country. Students looking to pursue a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy at the highest level may consider UGA’s Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy (MFT). Through practicum experiences and formal coursework in service, teaching, and research, students build a professional identity as a scholar and couple/family therapist. The program is guided by the biopsychosocial and the scientist-practitioner models of training. Most students complete the HDFS Ph.D. and MFT emphasis within five years.

Degree Options:
Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science
Average Program Cost: $10,408
U.S. News & World Report Ranking:
#13 (tie) in Top Public Schools
#46 (tie) in National Universities
#84 in Best Value Schools
Accreditations:
COAMFTE
SACSCOC

Frequently Asked Questions

What are My Career Options for a Graduate Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy?

Students who earn a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy will be qualified for a number of top-level positions, although individual eligibility will depend on additional factors like the city and state of employment as well as the type of employer. Four of the most common career pathways in marriage and family therapy include:

  • Rehabilitation Counselor: A rehabilitation counselor specializes in helping clients with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities that interfere with their clients’ independent living. Areas in which rehabilitation counselors may help include applying for federal and state disability benefits, obtaining an education, and apply to and interviewing for jobs.
  • School and Career Counselor: Career and school counselors are employed in private and public schools throughout the country. Those working at the elementary and pre-K levels are usually responsible for evaluating students for behavioral disorders, learning disabilities, and other treatable issues. At the high and middle school levels, counselors often divide their time between career/college advisement and mental health counseling.
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor: These counselors help clients overcome addictions to prescription medications, drugs, alcohol, and other potentially harmful substances as well as behaviors like sex addiction or gambling. They typically help clients identify emotional triggers or patterns that usually accompany the addictive behaviors, and they may also assist them during the recovery and rehabilitation stages.
  • Mental Health Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist: Broadly speaking, the marriage and family therapy industry is dedicated to helping clients overcome emotional, behavioral, and mental disorders. Marriage and family therapists typically serve clients in a group-based setting involving children, a spouse, or other close relatives, while mental health counselors specialize in cognitive one-on-one treatments.

How Much Can You Earn in This Field?

Marriage and family therapy is a subset of counseling, and the typical degree required to obtain a position in this industry is the master’s degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for marriage and family therapists was $48,790 per year, or $23.45 per hour, in May 2017. The highest 10 percent of employed marriage and family therapists earned more than $81,760, while the lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,390.

The average salary for this field can be divided into several top-paying industries, including:

  • State government, excluding hospitals and education: $72,580
  • Outpatient care centers: 48,390
  • Offices of other health practitioners: 45,980
  • Family and individual services: 44,760

The BLS indicates that employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 23 percent from 2016 to 2026, must faster than the nation’s average for all occupations. This growth can be attributed to the increasing use of integrated care — the treatment of multiple problems at the same time by a group of therapists or specialists. When providing integrated care, marriage and family therapists work with counselors such as mental health, behavior disorder, or substance abuse counselors in order to address patients’ issue as a team.

Are There Any Professional Organizations for Marriage and Family Therapists?

Learning about different approaches to marriage and family counseling and making professional connections within the industry are crucial to a student’s success. Joining a professional organization is a great way for students to learn more about their chosen career path. Below, you’ll find three of the most prominent organizations in the country for marriage and family therapists. These organizations maintain active job boards, provide online training, host networking events, and offer other services for career-ready graduates. These resources are often invaluable as students complete their chosen degree program and prepare to seek employment.

  • International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors: The IAMFC was founded in 1989 and now represents a network of psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, counselors, and other professionals in the marriage and family therapy field. Members are given access to The Family Digest and The Family Journal as well as to an extensive job directory and information about credentialing and certification.
  • American Counseling Association: The ACA was founded in 1952 and, with more than 52,000 members, is the largest organization for professional counselors in the world. The ACA website features a virtual knowledge center that contains information about ethics, diagnostics, licensure requirements, and other important areas within the field of marriage and family therapy. An online job board, journal publications, and continuing education opportunities are also available.
  • American Association for Marriage and Family Therapists: The AAMFT is the leading professional organization for therapists specializing in marriage and family counseling. The organization represents more than 50,000 licensed counselors across the globe and features a virtual networking center, an online information library, licensure links, and a job board.

A graduate degree in marriage and family therapy is a great way for students to jumpstart a career in the helping professions. Graduates have many opportunities for employment as they may practice in a hospital, work as part of a private practice, or seek a position within another type of medical setting. After earning a graduate degree and securing licensure, a marriage and family therapist is equipped to work with a number of populations, including people who are struggling with a single issue in their lives as well as those who are severely mentally ill. Therapists may also focus on a smaller group such as a married couple or parent and child, or they may work with a large family unit. Regardless of the specific career path, there are many opportunities in this growing field. As the need for professionals with a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy grows each year, now is the time to consider applying to one of the above top 30 graduate degree programs in marriage and family therapy.

This concludes our ranking of the Top 30 Graduate Degree Programs in Marriage and Family Therapy.