Apr 23, 2021  
2020-2021 SGPP Catalog and Handbook 
2020-2021 SGPP Catalog and Handbook

Marriage and Family Therapy, M.A.

Program Description

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, www.aamft.org, 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 Goals

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 MFT program goals 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.  Student Learning Outcomes are indicators of program goals. 

Upon completion of the program, students are expected to be able to do the following:

Program Goal 1:  Reflect an understanding of and respect for cultural diversity through professional relationships and communication with diverse clients, peers, and organizations by

SLO 1.1:  articulating effects of their own social identities and power (social location) and experiences in professional relationships and practice.
SLO 1.2:  analyzing sociopolitical, socioeconomic, and historical factors that can shape clients’ lives.
SLO 1.3:  integrating cultural diversity-centered assessment and intervention into clinical practice.

Program Goal 2: Integrate knowledge of MFT theory and models to clinical practice by

SLO 2.1:  demonstrating knowledge of a variety of systemic/relational theories and models of C/MFT practice.
SLO 2.2:  applying systemic/relational theory and models to clinical case conceptualizations.
SLO 2.3:  integrating systemic/relational theories and models with other conceptual frameworks (e.g. biological, psychological, sociological).

Program Goal 3:  Develop a systemic perspective for the treatment of mental health issues of individuals, couples, and families by

SLO 3.1:  demonstrating knowledge of a variety of systemic/relational assessment methods.
SLO 3.2:  demonstrating knowledge of the DSM-V diagnostic framework.
SLO 3.3:  integrating systemic/relational assessment and DSM-V diagnostic systems into clinical practice.
SLO 3.4:  designing treatment plans derived from integrative systemic/relational and DSM-V diagnostic assessment.

Program Goal 4:  Create effective interventions to promote well-being in clients through preventative, developmental, systemic and/or remedial services by

SLO 4.1:  constructing interventions that derive from conceptualization and treatment planning.
SLO 4.2:  applying a wide variety of developmental, systemic, preventative, and/or remedial services interventions.

Program Goal 5:  Conduct clinical practice within an ethically-informed framework based on the AAMFT Code of Ethics, legal requirements, sound judgment, and professional compassion by

SLO 5.1:  evaluating clinical situations for ethical, legal, and professional issues affecting therapy.
SLO 5.2:  intervening with clinical situations to maintain ethical, legal and professional standards of behavior.

Program Goal 6:  Demonstrate familiarity with MFT research literature and the relationship between MFT literature and practice by

SLO 6.1:  analyzing MFT research literature for its strength and limitations and sociocultural implications.
SLO 6.2:  applying relevant research findings to clinical practice.

Program Goal 7:  Develop and articulate their professional development plans and skills by

SLO 7.1:  articulating steps for future professional development.
SLO 7.2:  demonstrating written, verbal, and nonverbal communication skills with clients and professionals.

Additionally, the MFT program will annually attain accreditation achievement levels:

Program Goal 8:  The Student Achievement Criteria reflecting student/graduate achievement data will meet COAMFTE requirements by

SLO 8.1:  Student cohorts’ graduation rates will comply with COAMFTE reporting requirements for

- Minimum rate of graduation (2.3)
- Advertised rate of graduation (3 years)
- Maximum rate of graduation (5 years)

SLO 8.2:  Student cohorts’ job placement rate will comply with COAMFTE reporting requirements.
SLO 8.3:  Student cohorts’ licensure exam pass rate will comply with COAMFTE reporting requirements.

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 at any time during the year. The program admits students to begin classes in either the summer or fall. The number of students admitted each year is limited. Admission decisions are based on the applicant’s ability to meet the expectations for academic performance outlined in the Program Handbook. Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not ensure admission to the program. 

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.

2021 Summer or Fall Admission

Applications for the Summer 2021 and Fall 2021 cohorts are due by Dec. 15. Applications completed prior to Dec. 1 will be guaranteed an admission interview. Applications completed after the Dec. 15 deadline may be considered for the 2021 cohorts only if there is still space available in the program.

Note: Applications are considered complete when they have been submitted with the $25 application fee and all required materials, including official transcript(s) with the applicant’s degree and three letters of recommendation, have been received.

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, www.wes.org, or Educational Credential Evaluators, www.ece.org, 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.

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota
2500 Park Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55404