Academic Catalog 2021-2022

Marital and Family Therapy

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College of Health, Human Services, and Nursing
Division of Human Development

Program Description

The Department of Marital and Family Therapy aligns with the educational and clinical standards outlined by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). It offers a qualifying Master of Science (M.S.) degree program evaluated by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) required to pursue a license as a marriage and family therapist in the state of California. The department permits enrollment in courses solely to students admitted to the M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy program.

This 2.5 to 3-year degree program consists of comprehensive educational experiences in the study of theories and techniques of marriage and family therapy, along with 300 client contact hours of applied supervised clinical traineeship that applies to the 3,000 supervised hours of experience required to be eligible for MFT licensure.


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 structured 63-unit program allows for students to attend full-time to complete the program requirements in 3 years. Options for a part-time or accelerated plan of study is available with advisement.

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

Admission into programs leading to licensure and credentialing does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with the CSU and requirements can change at any 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 tax payer 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. Information concerning licensure and credentialing requirements are available from Michael Laurent: EAC 801 - (310) 243-2032.

Academic Advisement

Students currently enrolled in the program receive advising from faculty advisors and the department's administrative assistant. The MFT department's core faculty maintains current information on licensure guidelines and standards published by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS), American Association for Marital and Family Therapy (AAMFT), California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), and the Southern California Consortium of MFT programs.


Prerequisites in Research Methods (PSY 235 Intro To Research Methods), Theories of Personality (PSY 360 Theories Of Personality), and Abnormal Psychology (PSY 363 Abnormal Psychology), or 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).

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. Written statement and sample
  6. Three letters of recommendation.
  7. Interview with the admission committee

Classified Standing and Conditionally Classified Status

Students must meet all Preparation requirements for the M.S. in Marital and Family Therapy Department for consideration for admission with Classified Standing. See the Preparation 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 Classified Standing. 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 Written Comprehensive Exam requires a successful review of all graduate work by the department administrator. Consult the section in the catalog entitled the Graduate Degrees and Postbaccalaureate Studies 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 Department. The MFT Department evaluates and designs its coursework and curriculum to satisfy the program, BBS, and accreditation standards, which results in a 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 Department, 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 the graduation. Under exceptional circumstances, students who are permitted to attend the program part-time accents that graduation will differ from the program's proposed plan of study.

Cohort Program

The CSUDH MFT program is a cohort program. The cohort program model brings students together, with shared goals and skills to learn, develop skills, and progress through the MFT program collectively. This model allows students to learn from a planned sequence of coursework as well as monitor their personal growth and development effectively.

Mentoring Program

The MFT Department offers a mentoring program, where second and third-year students in the program mentor first-year students. The program pairs students together, mostly dependent upon availability. Students who have completed their first year successfully become a mentor to continue the process of "giving back."  

B or Better Policy

The MFT program 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 program provides accommodations for students with disabilities recognized by the Student disAbility Resource Center. It is the student's responsibility to inform their professor and or department about their ability status as soon as possible. The department encourages students who require additional supports beyond their identified accommodations to access the University's resources such as the Writing Center and university library resources.

Student Conduct in MFT Classes

Courses in the MFT Department can include controversial topics and perspectives that require in-depth, experiential, and reflective discussions and exercises. The nature of the program also may ask that students share personal beliefs and reveal aspects central to their cultural, ethnic, religious, or ability-status backgrounds. The program expects its 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 be demoted in participation points, given a lower grade, or even removed from the class.

Computer Literacy, APA, Competence in Writing and Other Important Requirements

Each course and syllabus in the MFT Department includes 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 student's graduation. 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.