Marriage and Family Therapy


St. Mary’s University MFT Programs:  MFT Excellence in Context

Doctor of Philosophy

The mission of the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is to produce advanced clinician-scholars who provide leadership in clinical practice, marriage and family therapy instruction and training, supervision, research, and clinical administration, or any combination of these professional activities in the field of marriage and family therapy. Specific to this mission, the MFT doctoral program works to educate culturally sensitive and socially just MFT clinician-scholars who can educate other therapists and meet the needs of diverse populations in multidisciplinary settings across South Texas and nationally.

The MFT doctoral program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. The 71-semester hour program is structured for full-time study of about three to five years, with the final year including a 12-month internship and the student’s dissertation research. The doctoral internship provides the opportunity to gain clinical experience in multidisciplinary settings. The internship includes at least 500 client contact hours with 100 hours of supervision by faculty and advanced clinicians. Students see clients in our on campus clinic, the Family Life Center, and in an approved community site that assists in family therapy training. Students receive individual and group supervision of their clinical practice using direct observation, videotape or audiotape review, and case consultation.

Applications for the doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy are due Nov. 1; however, some applications may be processed as late as Jan. 15 – APPLY NOW

Program of Study

The MFT doctoral degree can be completed in four years for those entering with a COAMFTE-accredited master’s and five to seven years for those with non-COAMFTE-accredited master’s degrees or a bachelor’s degree.

For more information on the Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral program and its degree requirements, see the Graduate Catalog.

MFT Doctoral Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

The MFT doctoral program is designed around an outcomes-based educational philosophy. All coursework and program experiences are intended to foster student development and contribute to the outcomes articulated below upon program completion. MFT doctoral students must also demonstrate MA program outcomes during the course of their program completion.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research
SLO#1 - Demonstrate an ability to advance the MFT field through the evaluation and application of outcomes of published qualitative and quantitative studies in the context of clinical practice and clinical administration.

SLO#2 - Demonstrate an ability to plan and conduct original quantitative and qualitative research, utilizing skills to develop a research design, gather and analyze appropriate data, and report findings to advance the MFT field.

SLO#3 - Demonstrate an ability to apply models of supervision and MFT concepts to facilitate the development and enhancement of clinical skills of trainees using a variety of modalities in supervision (individual, group, live, videotape review, case consultation).

SLO#4 - Demonstrate an ability to prepare and effectively deliver instructional materials, and identify and evaluate learning outcomes.

SLO#5 - Demonstrate knowledge of therapeutic, legal, financial, and ethical considerations for the establishment and sustaining a private clinical practice and/or agency-based clinical practice.

Integration of Theory and Practice
SLO#6 - Demonstrate advanced clinical competencies in the effective application of couple and family therapy models to assess and treat individuals, couples, and families from diverse sociocultural backgrounds.


Marriage and Family Therapy has been designated as one of the five core mental health disciplines by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The St. Mary’s University M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). The Veterans Administration now posts jobs specifically for family therapists graduating from accredited programs.

Our doctoral graduates are employed in mental health agencies, inpatient treatment centers, private practice, the Veterans Administration and Tricare facilities, and academic institutions.


Carolyn Tubbs, Ph.D.
Marriage and Family Therapy Program Director