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Top Schools for a Marriage & Family Therapy Master's Degree

Graduate programs in marriage and family therapy provide the necessary education to become a licensed family therapist, as well as clinical experience working with groups and individuals. Get ranking information and program details for the nation's top universities with master's-level study in marriage and family therapy.

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In master's degree programs in marriage and family therapy, students take lecture-based courses and get the clinical experience they need to lay the groundwork for pursuing licensure in the field.

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School Overviews

Some of the schools that achieved high rankings on U.S. News and World Report's list of the best national universities offer master's degree programs in marriage and family therapy. Each of these schools' programs is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Read on for further details about three of these schools.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

School Highlight: The marriage and family therapy master's program is offered in collaboration with Northwestern's Family Institute, which features numerous research laboratories, such as the Dan J. Epstein Family Foundation Center for Psychotherapy Change, the Anxiety and Panic Laboratory, and the Depression, Anxiety, Relationship Distress and Couples project.

Northwestern University, a private research institution, was ranked 12th in the nation among all universities by U.S. News & World Report for 2017. Students pursuing a Master of Science (MS) in Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) degree at Northwestern attend class and complete 500 hours of hands-on training at the university's Family Institute clinic. The graduate program in marriage and family therapy is a full-time, 2-year program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), which is affiliated with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Graduates of the program are eligible to obtain licensure to practice psychotherapy as family therapists.

The University of Rochester in New York

School Highlight: The department at Rochester has several OMH-approved mental health care settings where students can gain necessary experience working with marriage and family therapy.

For 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked the University of Rochester 32nd among all national universities. The family therapy training program is offered through the University of Rochester's Department of Psychiatry. Graduate students may earn a MFT master's degree through a 2-year, full-time program, or a part-time program which may take between 3-5 years to complete. In addition to attending classes, students spend up to 15 hours per week participating in a clinical practicum at the University of Rochester Medical Center and several community health centers beginning their second year. The program is accredited by the COAMFTE.

Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah

School Highlight: Students get 500 hours of clinical contact while pursuing the MS in MFT.

U.S. News and World Report ranked BYU 68th among all national universities for 2017. The two-year MS program in MFT at Brigham Young University combines studies in theory, clinical practice and research. Students also learn to respect cultural diversity so that they can work with a wide variety of clients. This small program admits only about 15 students per year, and it's accredited by the COAMFTE. Most earned their undergraduate degrees at BYU. Upon completion, graduates may pursue licensure so that they can become practicing therapists, or they apply to a Ph.D. program in the field, which is also available at BYU.

Top Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Schools

Here are some more well-regarded universities that provide master's degrees in MFT:

  • Students in the MFT master's program at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, have access to numerous internship opportunities, including 500 hours of clinical work both through the university's clinic and at outside facilities.
  • Florida State University in Tallahassee has a master's program in family and child sciences, but it is important to note that the program is not clinical in nature and won't prepare students for licensure or doctoral study in family therapy.
  • Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, offers an MS degree in family therapy that can be earned in a full-time 2-year or part-time 3-year format.
  • Treating addictions within the context of family relationships is the major focus of the MFT master's program of Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX.
  • The marriage and family counseling therapy master's-level program at the University of Akron in Akron, OH, is the only one of its kind in the state that has been accredited by the COAMFTE.
  • At the University of Maryland in College Park, the MS program in couples and family therapy gives students the opportunity to get 400 hours of direct client contact at facilities like the university's Center for Healthy Families.
  • At the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, the MS in MFT program prepares students to seek state and national licensure.

For students who want to get a master's degree in MFT, there are prominent universities around the country that provide relevant programs. Students often have the opportunity to get clinical experience or pursue research in the field while earning this degree.

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