Academic Catalog 2024-2025

Marital and Family Therapy

College of Health, Human Services, and Nursing
Department of Marital and Family Therapy

Program Description

The Department of Marital and Family Therapy (MFT) prepares students in systemic theory, research, and relational practice to critically and ethically engage concerns of intersectionality, equity, and social justice to improve systems of oppression and promote wellness among individuals, couples, and families of diverse and underserved communities. It offers a three-year, 64-unit MFT degree program structured to provide curriculum and clinical training that meets MFT licensure requirements, according to California Business and Professions Code (BPC) §4980.36. In addition, the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) evaluated this as a qualifying Master of Science (M.S.) required to pursue a marriage and family therapist license in California. The curriculum aligns with the educational and clinical standards outlined by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). 

This degree program consists of comprehensive educational experiences in the study of theories and techniques of marriage and family therapy (MFT), along with 300 client contact hours of supervised clinical practice that applies to the 3,000 supervised hours of experience required to be eligible for the MFT licensure. The Department permits enrollment in courses solely to students admitted to the M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy program.


The Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy at CSU Dominguez Hills is one of few publicly supported programs in Southern California offering an evening course of study to accommodate those who work during the day. The cohort-model allows students to attend full-time and complete the program requirements in 3 years. Options for a part-time plan of study is available with advisement.

Pre-Admission Disclosure for Academic Programs Leading to Licensure or Credentialing

Admission into this program does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by the California Board of Behavioral Science that is not controlled by or affiliated with the CSUDH. Requirements for licensure may change from time to time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., social security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. The CSU will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs, to students who determine subsequent to admission that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements. 

Academic Advisement

Students currently enrolled in the program receive advising from the faculty advisors. The MFT core faculty maintains current academic and clinical information on licensure guidelines and standards published by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and the Southern California Consortium of MFT programs.

Preparation (Prerequisite Courses)

The following prerequisite courses - Introduction to Research Methods, Theories of Personality, and Abnormal Psychology, or other course equivalents - are required to qualify for admission to the Marital and Family Therapy program. Status of admission is contingent upon the successful completion of all the necessary prerequisite coursework or equivalent course(s). Prerequisite courses must be completed within the last five years. 

Admissions Requirements

  1. Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better in the most recent 60-semester units of upper division course work undertaken as a student
  3. Completion of the Graduate Record Examination General Aptitude (GRE) Test. An average GPA of 3.5 OR attainment of a previous master’s degree waives this requirement
  4. Applicants are required to apply to the University via Cal State Apply
  5. Personal Statement
  6. Writing Sample
  7. Three letters of recommendation.
  8. Interview with the admission committee

Classified Standing and Conditionally Classified Status

Students must meet all Preparation requirements for the M.S. in the Marital and Family Therapy Department for consideration for admission with Classified Standing. See the Admission Requirements section for complete requirements for admission to the Marital and Family Therapy program.

Consideration for admission into the program with Conditionally Classified Standing may be available for students who are insufficient in any admission requirement. Acceptance with Conditionally Classified Standing permits students to enroll in the University to correct the deficiencies while allowing students to take up to nine-semester units of graduate course work towards their degree if granted. Please note that admission to Conditionally Classified Standing does not guarantee that a student will achieve Classified Standing required to complete the program.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy

Candidacy status requires the successful completion of all Required Courses before the last semester of study. Upon review of students' course completion, the program will authorize students who achieve Candidacy status to enroll in and take the Comprehensive Examination. Candidacy status and eligibility to enroll in the Comprehensive Exam require a successful review of all graduate work by the department administrative coordinator. Consult the section in the catalog entitled Graduate Degrees ( in General Information for complete requirements for Advancement to Candidacy.

MFT Coursework Open Only to those Admitted into the MFT Program

MFT courses are only accessible to students formally admitted into the MFT Program. The MFT Department evaluates and designs its coursework and curriculum to provide a strong foundation for individuals who are interested in a career in marital and family therapy, to satisfy the requirements for licensure as stipulated by the California Board of Behavioral Science (BPC §4980.36), and to meet accreditation standards, which results in comprehensive MFT training. As a result, students not admitted to the program are unable to use these courses as elective courses.

Required Course Sequence

As part of the admission to the MFT Program, all students agree to adhere to the program’s planned class sequence. The program organizes the curriculum to ensure that fundamental courses address foundational knowledge, and subsequent coursework is dependent on the prerequisite semester's experience. See Course Sequence. Failure to take classes in sequence may delay admission into Practica and or graduation. Under exceptional circumstances, students who are permitted to attend the program part-time understand that graduation will differ from the program's proposed plan of study.

Cohort Program

The CSUDH MFT program is a cohort program. The cohort model organizes students into peer learning communities to develop shared knowledge, gain better understanding in clinical skills, and progress professionally through the MFT program collectively. This model allows students to learn from a planned sequence of coursework as well as advances their professional and personal growth and development effectively.

B or Better Policy

The MFT department requires students to maintain a level of competence determined as "B or Better" in all courses, in addition to cumulative GPA requirements. The "B or Better" policy requires that students achieve an "A," "A-," "B+," or "B" in a class to receive credit and is a program requirement to advance to subsequent courses. If a student gets any grade less than a B (which includes B-, C+, C, or lower), the student will be required to retake the course. Failure to meet this standard may cause a delay in admission into practica, and could delay the student's graduation. Each class can only be retaken one time; failure to pass a course on a second attempt will result in dismissal from the MFT program.

Assistance to Students with Disabilities

The MFT department provides accommodations for students with disabilities recognized by the Student disAbility Resource Center. The department encourages students who require additional support beyond their identified accommodations to access the University's resources, such as the Writing Center and University Library Resources.

Professional Conduct 

Courses in the MFT Program can include controversial topics and perspectives that require in-depth, experiential, and reflective discussions and exercises. The nature of the program requires that students share personal beliefs and reveal aspects central to their cultural, ethnic, religious, or ability-status backgrounds. The program expects the students to maintain an environment of respect for professors and fellow students at all times. Students who are disruptive or disrespectful to the sensitive nature in a course may have their participation points deducted, given a lower grade, or even removed from the class.

Academic Dishonesty

The department does not permit academic dishonesty. Cheating, plagiarism, and other forms of unethical behavior will result in a student either being penalized by the professor, receiving a failing grade in the course, or dismissal from the MFT program.

Computer Literacy, APA Format, and Competence in Writing

Each course and syllabus in the MFT Program include requirements for computer literacy specific to graduate-level standards. The program expects that all students' papers to adhere to standards set by the American Psychological Association (APA). Furthermore, the program expects all students to submit current, comprehensive, and accurate documents, forms, or other materials required by the MFT Department. Failure to complete the materials needed may cause a delay in students' graduation.