The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy is no longer accepting applications to the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy or Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy Program.
Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Program
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.
The master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 54-hour program of study that includes an intensive 12-month internship. Students are able to meet the requirements for 500 direct client contact hours and receive live supervision by AAMFT approved clinical supervisors at the Family Life Center, which offers counseling services for the public, and at local community agencies.
Graduates of this program meet all academic requirements for licensing by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT). In addition, students may take additional courses (beyond the 54-hour program) in order to qualify their program of study to meet the license requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (LPC). Students can also increase their knowledge of play therapy by taking additional courses beyond their 54-hour program.
This degree can be completed in two years for full-time student and three years for part-time students.
Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy Program
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 educates 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 80 credit hour program is structured for full-time study of about 4 to 5 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 counseling clinic 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.
The academic requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in the State of Texas and for Clinical Membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy can be met by completion of the appropriate program. Students desiring licensure should ask the graduate program director to design their degree plan to ensure that they meet the academic requirements for licensure.
The field of counseling is concerned with helping individuals and people in organizations, schools, and groups gain their optimal level of personal, social, and vocational functioning.
Prior to graduation, students are expected to:
The goals/objectives for the doctoral program in counseling build on the goals established for the entry level program. Goals for the doctoral program in counseling include all of the goals for the masters program, plus the following:
Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)
The Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) master’s program is dedicated to educating therapists to provide direct, systemically-oriented clinical services to individuals, couples, and families. The program design flows from a competency-based educational philosophy, with the goal of supporting students’ development of clinical competence and theoretical knowledge essential to obtaining licensure as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT).
All coursework and program experiences are intended to foster student development and contribute to the following student learning outcomes upon (SLOs) program completion:
Knowledge of Historical Evolution of Marriage and Family Therapy
Sensitivity to Contextual Issues
Intentionality in Treatment Planning and Execution, and Ethical Conduct
Identity as Marriage and Family Therapy Scientist-Practitioner
Professional counselors work as clinicians in public and private schools, community and mental health agencies, alcohol and drug abuse programs, family counseling centers, child and adolescent programs, social service agencies, or in private practice.
Marriage and family therapists are employed in social agencies, churches and counseling offices. Many have entered private practice. Some are using their skills in careers such as nursing, teaching, ministry, personnel management or social work. Others have created new positions for themselves in areas which previously were without a marriage and family therapist. Since the field of marriage and family therapy is relatively new, career opportunities are still developing.
Teaching is another option available to those who receive graduate degrees. Most college and university positions are restricted to those with doctoral degrees.
As part of the accreditation process, the Marriage and Family Therapy master’s and doctoral program are required to collect data from their alumni, called an Alumni Feedback Survey. Once data are collected and aggregated, the Marriage and Family Therapy faculty use the results to identify program limitations and areas of strength. In order to facilitate the data collection process and provide adequate anonymity to provide honest feedback, the alumni feedback survey can be taken online and will require no more than 10 minutes of your time. Please contact Jason Northrop, Ph.D., Marriage and Family Therapy Program Director, for the URL link to the survey.
If you are a graduate of St. Mary’s Marriage and Family Therapy master’s program and would like to have your information updated in our directory, you may do so here.
Advertised Program Length — Two Years
Maximum Time to Complete Program — Seven Years
The St. Mary’s master’s program in Marriage and Family Therapy has an 82 percent average graduation rate.
|Cohort||Students Sitting for Exam||Students Passed Exam||Exam Pass Rate||Licensure Rate*|
|Fall 2005-Spring 2006||2||2||100%||10%|
|Fall 2006-Spring 2007||13||10||77%||50%|
|Fall 2007-Spring 2008||3||3||100%||38%|
|Fall 2008-Spring 2009||8||3||38%||28%|
|Fall 2009-Spring 2010||34||4||100%||0%|
*Students sit for either a Marriage and Family Therapy or Professional Counselor license.
|Number of Students by Ethnicity||Number of Faculty by Ethnicity||Number of Supervisors by Ethnicity|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||0||0||0|
|Asian or Pacific Islander||2||0||0|
*Minimum length of time is the shortest time possible that a student could complete the program (i.e., a student doubled up on coursework one semester and was able to graduate early). Advertised length of time is how long the program is designed to complete as written. Maximum length of time is the maximum allowable time in which a student could finish the program (i.e., if a student needed to take time off due to illness, family responsibilities, etc.).
**Program are only required to provide data on the past 10 years/cohort or since the program was initial accredited, whichever is shorter
***This is defined as the percentage of graduates from the cohort year listed that are employed within 3 years of their graduation utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program. Masters and Doctoral programs are required to provide this information. Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. The numbers reflect data collected from alumni surveys. Not all alumni reply to surveys.
**** Master programs are required to provide this information. Doctoral and Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% pass rate for each cohort.
|Number of Students by Ethnicity||Number of Faculty by Ethnicity||Number of Supervisors by Ethnicity|
|American Indian or Alaska Native||0||0||0|
|Asian or Pacific Islander||3||0||0|
At Candidacy, the Department affirms your clinical potential and declares that you are a candidate for the degree. A student must have completed Candidacy before beginning Internship. There are several components to the Candidacy step:
Determination of Candidacy
AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) Code of Ethics (July, 2001):
While a certain number of hours are required for graduation, one of the major areas of emphasis is professional competence. Mere accumulation of credit hours does not entitle a student to receive a graduate degree. Students are required to demonstrate a breadth of knowledge in the counseling field as well as depth in specific areas with the ability to integrate what has been learned.
Comprehensive examinations are offered three times a year during the fall, spring and summer semesters. A mandatory pre-comp orientation is scheduled at the beginning of each semester.
To be eligible to take the MFT exam the student must:
The MFT Master of Arts program requires students to submit a Comprehensive Review Portfolio in lieu of a comprehensive examination. Graduation from the program is contingent on satisfactory evaluation of the Comprehensive Review Portfolio along with completion of required clinical contact hours. The Comprehensive Review, in combination with the internship process, serves as a summative evaluation of students’ demonstration of clinical competence and all Student Learning Outcomes.
Required products for the MFT Theory and Practice Portfolio at Comprehensive Review are:
Clinical Video Demonstration and Position Paper
The Clinical Video Demonstration and Position Paper is an opportunity for students to describe and demonstrate their personal approaches to clinical practice. The paper should be no more than 20 pages and written in accordance with current APA Publication Manual standards (currently sixth edition). The paper should clearly describe , in a broad manner, how the student approaches therapy, and specifically what this looks like with two selected clients. A video demonstration should then complement the written description of the student’s approach to therapy. In the Position Paper, students should specifically speak to the following points in order to demonstrate the outcomes evaluated at Comprehensive Review:
Satisfactory evaluation by the Portfolio Review Committee is necessary for students to be endorsed by the program for graduation. Documentation of the satisfactory evaluation is forwarded to the Graduate Council for approval. Upon completion of all academic and clinical program requirements, the student is approved for graduation.
A student who received an unsatisfactory evaluation by the Portfolio review Committee at Comprehensive Review must promptly schedule a meeting with the MFT Program Director to gather information necessary to develop a Remediation Plan. Details of a Remediation Plan will be developed based on the specific deficiency areas identified by the Portfolio Review Committee, and may include additional coursework and/or additional supervised clinical experience. The Remediation Plan will include a timeline for re-submission of a complete, revised Comprehensive Review Portfolio.
For many, the primary reason for a thesis is the research and writing experience prior to entry into a doctoral program. The thesis is a cumulative experience which provides a record for student achievement in the program. This record may be consulted for reference and program evaluation.
The student who wishes to write a thesis obtains approval from the Program Director. The student confers with the Program Director concerning the appointment of a supervising professor and other committee members.
Research involving human subjects must be conducted in accordance with University policy. See the manual for Policies and Procedures for Research Involving Human Subjects. A thesis based upon human subjects’ research which was not conducted in accordance with university policy will not be approved.
The student must submit two copies of the thesis to the Graduate Dean in accordance with “Instructions for Master’s Theses,” July 19, 1993 or latest edition, free of punctuation, spelling, and other grammatical errors by the deadline established for graduation. The thesis grade and degree will not be approved until this requirement is satisfied. The student must matriculate each semester by registering for thesis extension until the thesis is approved.
The Thesis Supervisor directs the research design, data gathering, literature search, and writing of the thesis. The supervising professor will not approve the thesis until it is free of research and grammatical errors and meets the Graduate School standards specified in “Instructions for Master’s Theses.”
The Thesis Supervisor and a minimum of two other faculty members comprise the thesis committee. The committee members assist the Supervising Professor with suggestions concerning research design, data collection, literature search, and editing of the manuscript. Students must satisfactorily complete the thesis prior to graduation.
After orientation to the Marriage and Family Therapy Program, students should complete a degree plan. The Marriage and Family Therapy Program Director serves as program adviser for Marriage and Family Therapy students.
Students may use the suggested schedules. If a student has specific needs for a custom degree plan, they can make an appointment with their program advisor.
Degree plans serve several purposes. First, they enable the department to make course projections for semester schedules. Second, they facilitate in student progress toward the degree, and third, they are used by the student in registration each semester.
Students who have a degree plan on file can register for the courses on the degree plan by returning a completed registration authorization to the department secretary. Students who need to make changes from their degree plan can make an appointment with their Graduate Advisor to revise their degree plan.
Changes to the degree plan must be forwarded to the Program Director. It is required that these are kept up to date.
Graduates of the Marriage and Family Therapy program meet all academic requirements for licensing by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT). In addition, students may take two electives that qualify their program of study to meet the licensure requirements for the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors (LPC). This is a 48 credit hour program of study which includes an intensive 12 month internship which includes 500 client contact hours. Marriage and family therapists are employed in social service agencies, churches, and counseling offices. Some are using their skills in careers such as nursing, teaching, ministry, personnel management or social work. Since the field of Marriage and Family Therapy is relatively new, career opportunities are still developing.
|Department Courses||Credit Hours|
|CN 7333 Mental Health and Psychopathology||3|
|CN 7377 Human Sexuality||3|
|CN 6361 Crisis Counseling||3|
|MFT Specialization Courses||Credit Hours|
|CN 6370 Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy
CN 6371 Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy II
|CN 7370 Marital Therapy||3|
|CN 7371 Strategies of Family Therapy||3|
|CN 7374 Professional Issues in MFT
CN 7375 Child Development & Play Therapy
|CN 7373 Marriage and Family Life Development
CN 7384 Crisis Counseling
CN 7385 MFT Outcome Research
CN 7287 Relationship Education Workshop
CN 8375 Working with Latino Families
|Clinical Courses||Credit Hours|
|CN 7372 Clinical Practicum in MFT||3|
|CN 7380 MFT Internship I||3|
|CN 7381 MFT Internship II||3|
|CN 7382 MFT Internship III
CN 6283A MFT Seminar – POTT
TOTAL PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS = 54 HOURS
Note: Students writing a thesis, CN 7399 Thesis Direction, may take it as a 3-hour elective credit.
Each specialization has suggested schedules for Full-Time enrollment, based on Fall, Spring, or Summer admission. If you need to adapt the schedules to your personal needs, please see your program advisor.
|Fall – Year 1 (9)||Spring – Year 1 (9)||Summer – Year 1 (8)||(26)|
|CN6370 Foundations I
CN7372 Clinical Practicum in MFT
CN7373 Marriage and Family Life Development
|CN6371 Foundations II
CN7374 Professional Issues
CN7375 Child Development and Play Therapy
CN7370 Marital Therapy
CN7287 Relationship Education Workshop
|+ any undergraduate prerequisites||Apply for internship||Apply for candidacy|
|Fall – Year 2 (11)||Spring – Year 2 (11)||Summer – Year 2 (6)||(28)|
|CN7385 MFT Outcome Research
CN8375 Working with Latino Families
CN7380 MFT Internship I
|CN7333 Mental Health and Psychopathology
CN7384 Crisis Counseling
CN7381 MFT Internship II
CN6283A MFT Seminar – POTT
|CN7377 Human Sexuality
CN7382 MFT Internship III
CN6283A MFT Seminar – POTT
|Submit LMFT exam application||Take LMFT exam||Sign blue card for graduation|
|Fall – Year 3||(54)|
MFT Internship (if needed)
Note: When enrolling for courses, master’s students should register for “A” classes. The “P” sections are for doctoral students.
Students graduating from our Marriage and Family Therapy programs are eligible for professional licensure by the Texas State Board of Examiners for Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT).
Students are expected to become actively involved in the professional organizations most closely associated with their interests and program of study. Counseling students are encouraged to join the American Counseling Association (ACA). This organization acts as an advocate for special interests of their members. It is in the students’ best interest that their professional organizations be strong, purposeful, and effective in order to advocate for members, the profession, and public interests. Students will also very likely purchase their professional liability insurance coverage through their student memberships in ACA (actually, ACA provides master’s students with liability insurance at no cost). Faculty members encourage students to become active, contributing members within their professional organizations.
The mission of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy is to produce clinician-scholars who provide quality clinical services in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. Specific to this mission, the Marriage and Family Therapy programs work to educate culturally sensitive and socially just Marriage and Family Therapy clinician-scholars prepared to meet the needs of diverse populations in South Texas and nationally.