Dec 07, 2022  
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2016-2017 SGPP Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marriage and Family Therapy, M.A.

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Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) are mental health professionals trained in psychotherapy and family systems, and licensed to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders within the context of marriage, couples, and family systems. Marriage and family therapists treat a wide range of serious clinical problems including depression, marital problems, anxiety, individual psychological problems, and child-parent problems. Marriage and family therapists take a holistic perspective to health care; they are concerned with the overall long-term well-being of individuals and their families.

Saint Mary’s University offers a Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy program prepares graduates for professional work in human services. Courses are designed to enhance the professional’s understanding and use of systemic and relational interventions with diverse individuals, couples, and families who are dealing with mental, emotional, and relational issues. The curriculum meets the educational requirements for licensure with the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family Therapy.

  1. From FAQs on MFTs,, June 2006

Professional Accreditation

The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), 112 S. Alfred Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, (703) 838-9808.

Program Mission and Educational Outcomes

Mission: Recognizing the relational and systemic qualities of all life, the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Saint Mary’s University exists to aid students in deepening their own understanding of relational health and their own skills in facilitating relational health in all kinds of human systems.

The Marriage and Family Therapy program uses three sets of educational outcomes to outline the scope, emphasis, and rigor of the program and to assess its quality: program outcomes, faculty outcomes, and student learning outcomes.

The MFT program outcomes reflect both the professional skills and practice required of program graduates and embody the result of effective core learning outlined for programs in the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs and the requirements of the Minnesota Board of Marriage and Family.

  1. MFT alumni achieve professional development markers: obtain MFT jobs, pass national and state MFT exams, and receive MFT licensure.
  2. MFT alumni contribute to the profession through professional presentations and publications, advocacy activities and leadership, and teaching.
  3. MFT alumni serve clients with diverse backgrounds and presenting issues in a variety of settings.

The MFT faculty outcomes articulate teaching and professional/scholarly/service requirements aligned with the university and program missions. MFT faculty members are expected to do the following:

  1. Encourage diversity of thought and experience in teaching.
  2. Demonstrate current knowledge in the subject area taught.
  3. Develop effective teaching plans and assessments and updated and innovative classroom experiences.
  4. Maintain an area of expertise through continuing education, community service and/or scholarly contributions.
  5. Participate in program faculty meetings and faculty development workshops.

Student Learning Outcomes

MFT student learning outcomes state what students in the Marriage and Family Therapy program are expected to be able to do upon graduation:

  1. Reflect an understanding of and respect for cultural diversity through professional relationships and communication with diverse clients, peers, and organizations.
  2. Integrate basic knowledge of marriage and family theory to clinical practice.
  3. Integrate knowledge of marriage and family therapy models to clinical practice.
  4. Develop a systemic perspective to diagnose and treat mental health issues of individuals, couples, and families.
  5. Evaluate professional practice issues to act in an ethical manner based on the marriage and family therapy codes of ethics, legal requirements, sound judgment, and professional compassion.
  6. Analyze research for use in couple and family therapy.
  7. Demonstrate written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills with clients and professionals.
  8. Create effective interventions to promote well-being in clients through preventative, developmental, systemic, and/or remedial services.
  9. Articulate plans for future professional development.

Program Structure and Delivery

Students complete a supervised practicum experience in a counseling or mental health setting under direct supervision. This experience consists of a minimum of 500 clinical contact hours. This experience must include at least 200 hours of direct clinical service with couples and families.

Courses in the program are delivered in a blended format, integrating face-to-face classroom meetings and online activities or interactions in a planned, instructionally valuable manner.

Degree Requirements

Human Development 9 cr.
Marital Studies 14 cr.
Marriage and Family Therapy (including Contemporary Issue courses) 9 cr.
Research 3 cr.
Professional Issues 4 cr.
Practicum 8 cr.
Capstone Course 1 cr.
Theory of Change Paper and Oral Examination 0 cr.
Total 48 cr.

Contemporary Issues in MFT (1 cr. per course, min. 3 courses)

Final Requirements

Final requirements of the program include the following:


The faculty members and advisers for the Marriage and Family Therapy programs have earned doctorate or master’s degrees. Faculty members are selected for their educational and professional experience and expertise. All Marriage and Family Therapy faculty are expected to engage in clinical practice.

Admission Requirements

Applicants may apply for admission to the Marriage and Family Therapy program during the summer and fall semesters, and applications are due by February 1 of that year.  Applicants must have completed an undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution and maintained an overall grade point average of 2.75 on a 4.00 scale. Applicants must demonstrate the language proficiency necessary for successful graduate coursework. Applicants must complete an interview with a program administrator as part of the admission process.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:

  1. Completed application form with the nonrefundable application fee (fee not required for alumni or students seeking readmission or veterans and active military personnel) and,
  2. An official transcript issued to Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota from the institution posting the applicant’s completed bachelor’s degree and other relevant transcripts documenting program prerequisites and potential transfer credits. (An official transcript is one that is sent or carried to the university in an envelope sealed by the granting university. Transcripts from countries other than the U.S. must be evaluated by a university accepted evaluation source, such as World Education Services,, or Educational Credential Evaluators,, and be deemed equivalent to accredited U.S. university standards.) and,
  3. A personal statement which includes:
    1. brief description of the applicant’s background, training, and experience and,
    2. statement indicating the career goals of the applicant and his or her reasons for seeking admission to the program and,
    3. description of the areas the applicant considers to be his or her strengths and areas in which the applicant wishes to develop greater strengths and abilities and,
    4. personal information the applicant wishes to share.
  4. Letter(s) of recommendation that verify professional and/or volunteer experience and academic ability and,
  5. A current résumé listing educational background and work experience

Please Note: We do not require that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Miller Analogy Test (MAT). Research suggests that these examinations are not the best predictors of graduate student success or success after graduate school.

Please Note: Application materials should be sent to the attention of the Office of Admission on the Twin Cities campus.

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