Program: M.S., Marriage and Family Therapy
The Master of Science (M.S.) in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) prepares students for licensure as both a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in California and in most other states. The program is accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE; see program website for the status of accreditation) and the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE; see program website for status of accreditation), ensuring recognition in all other states as well as most countries internationally. The state-of-the-art curriculum prepares students to work in public mental health, community agencies, rehabilitation centers, schools, private agencies and private practice, and/or to pursue doctoral study in family therapy and related fields. The curriculum emphasizes strengths-based approaches, social justice, evidence-based practices, community mental health and development of the person-of-the-therapist, while providing foundational training in several areas of specialization, including children, adolescents, couples, groups, trauma, substance abuse and severe mental illness. Well prepared with extensive practicum experiences in the first year, students begin intensive training in the field during the second year at community mental health agencies, public mental health agencies, school-based and other mental health-related placements. Finally, the program’s culminating experience enables students to further develop their areas of interest.
Students must successfully complete all prerequisite courses before formal admittance to a master’s degree program. Only students admitted to a Master of Science in MFT may take classes in that program unless explicit permission has been given in writing by the program coordinator.
A. Admission Requirements for Classified Standing
- University Application: Complete a general application to the University meeting the following requirements.
- Earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and have been in good standing at the last institution attended.
- Have at least a 2.75 GPA overall or in the last 60 semester/90 quarter units attempted.
- Submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores; test must be taken within past three (3) years. The program does not have a required minimum score for entrance; these scores are used in addition to GPA to assess academic preparation. Additionally, the analytic writing score may be used as an equivalency to the required CSU Upper Division Writing Exam (see current university policy).
- Department Application: Complete an additional department application for admission to the Marriage and Family Therapy program, which includes the following:
- Submit a statement of purpose as outlined in the department application.
- Submit two professional recommendations using the EPC departmental Recommendation Form.
- Submit a professional resume or curriculum vitae.
- Participate in the program’s interview process.
- Complete all required prerequisite courses with a grade of “B-” or better. Courses must have been completed during the past seven (7) years. Equivalent courses may be substituted with approval from the admissions or program cordinator. Progress in competing the prerequisite courses is considered when making admission decisions.
B. Special Requirements
To be classified as a graduate student in the program, candidates must:
- Complete the above-referenced requirements for admission.
- Pass the CSU Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam.
- Complete 12 units including EPC 659MFA and EPC 670MFA with a grade of “B-” or better.
All students must complete a fieldwork experience that meets current licensing and accreditation standards. See program webpage for current requirements.
C. Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy
1. Marriage and Family Therapy Foundations (18 units)
EPC 643MF Diversity in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 670MFA Systemic Family Therapy Theories (3)
EPC 670MFB Postmodern and Cognitive-Behavioral Family Theories (3)
EPC 670MFC Psychoeducational and Process Groups in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 671MF Law, Ethics, and Professional Issues in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 674MF Family Development Across the Lifespan (3)
2. Advanced Intervention with Specific Populations (16 units)
EPC 656MF Therapy with Children, Adolescents, and Their Families (3)
EPC 657MF Career Interventions in Mental Health Counseling (3)
EPC 673MF Trauma-Informed Community Mental Health (3)
EPC 675MF Substance Abuse and Addiction Treatment in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 677MFA Couples and Sex Therapy (3)
EPC 677MFB Gender and Sexuality in Marriage and Family Therapy (1)
3. Clinical Assessment and Research Courses (15 units)
EPC 603MFA Clinical Research and Program Evaluation (3)
EPC 603MFB Introduction to Professional Writing (2)*
EPC 672MFA Mental Health Assessment and Diagnosis in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 672MFB Neurobiology and Treatment of Trauma (1)
EPC 678MF Psychopharmacology and Neurobiological Foundations in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 679MF Clinical and Outcome-Based Assessment (3)
*Note: See Program Graduate Writing Requirement below.
4. Practicum and Fieldwork Courses (17 units)**
EPC 659MFA Introduction to Counseling Theory and Practice (3)
EPC 659MFB Practicum in Family Therapy (3)
EPC 659MFC Fieldwork in Marriage and Family Therapy (3)
EPC 659MFD Fieldwork in Marriage and Family Therapy (3)
EPC 690MF Advanced Fieldwork and Professional Development in Family Therapy (5)***
**Note: See the Fieldwork Enrollment Policy below.
5. Culminating Experience (6 units)
To complete their culminating experience, students will choose in consultation with their culminating experience chair:
a. Comprehensive Exam
b. Master’s Thesis or Project
†Note: See the Culminating Experience Policy below.
Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 72
D. Course Sequencing and Cohorts
All students move through the program with their assigned cohort following the same sequence of courses. The program makes every attempt to ensure students are placed in their preferred cohort; however, the program cannot guarantee that preferred days and times of course offerings will always be available. The program is offered only in a full-time format. Students who experience unexpected extraordinary circumstances may be approved to take courses out of sequence. However, in most cases, general requests for part-time enrollment cannot be accommodated. Students must seek approval in writing from the Program Coordinator to take classes apart from their assigned cohort.
E. Minimum Grade Requirement
Students must earn a “B-” or better in all courses required for the degree except EPC 603MFB, in which students must earn a “B” or better to pass the program’s Graduate Writing Requirement (see F. Program Graduate Writing Requirement). Students who earn a “C+” or lower in any required course will be given the option to retake the course one more time to earn a “B-” or higher.
F. Program Graduate Writing Requirement
The program’s Graduate Writing Requirement is met by passing EPC 603MFB with a “B” or better. Students may retake the course up to three (3) times to pass this requirement. Additionally, students may be required to take the writing seminar EPC 695MF or other assigned course as necessary to complete their culminating experience or other courses if writing skills are significantly affecting academic performance. Students will be notified by the program coordinator, Student Affairs Committee or culminating experience chairperson if additional semesters of writing are required. This graduate writing requirement is in addition to the CSU Upper Division Writing Proficiency Exam required for admission to the program.
G. Fieldwork Enrollment Policy
Students must complete a multi-semester fieldwork requirement that requires several hundred hours of direct client service, as well as additional hours for supervision, clinical paperwork, training, etc. State regulations require that any family therapy trainee who provides mental health services be enrolled in a university practicum course. This requirement applies even after the minimum number of hours for the degree have been accrued or if a trainee is accruing licensing hours at the student’s place of employment. Students who see clients beyond the minimum required fieldwork courses will be required to enroll in additional fieldwork classes whenever seeing clients in the field. For this program, qualifying courses include EPC 659MFB, EPC 659MFC, EPC 659MFD and EPC 690MF.
H. Professional Conduct Policy
As a professional training program that by definition involves working with vulnerable populations, students are required to adhere to all relevant professional codes of conduct, state and federal laws and licensing board regulations. These professional codes, laws, and regulations apply not only to conduct when in a professional role but also to public behavior, such as social media. Failure to do so may result in dismissal from the program.
I. Online and Hybrid Courses
Some of the classes in the MFT program are offered in a hybrid (partially online) and/or online format. Consult the Schedule of Classes for current offerings, which are indicated in the notes for specific sections.
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling
Chair: Alberto Restori
Education (ED) 1218
Graduate Coordinator: Shyrea Minton
Student Learning Outcomes
CSUN’s MFT program has six student learning outcomes (SLOs) designed to enable students to successfully begin their careers in contemporary mental health positions:
- Knowledge: Students and graduates demonstrate knowledge of family therapy theories and intervention.
- Ethics: Students and graduates demonstrate a practical understanding of the legal and ethical standards of MFT practice in California.
- Research: Students use research to implement best practice strategies with diverse clients and issues.
- Diversity Awareness: Students demonstrate reflective practices that promote personal growth and self-awareness, enabling students to critically and accurately evaluate how their beliefs, behaviors and cultural context affect clients and shape their practice.
- Assessment: Students conduct psychosocial, family, clinical, diagnostic, crisis and progress assessments of clients that account for individual as well as family system dynamics and larger sociopolitical and cultural contexts.
- Clinical Intervention: Students and graduates demonstrate effective, evidence-based and culturally responsive therapy interventions with clients.