May 23, 2024  
NCU Catalog - June 2017 
NCU Catalog - June 2017 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marriage and Family Therapy, Couple Therapy Specialization, MA

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Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Description of Program

The Masters of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) degree program is focused on developing the skills and personal and professional growth that are required for effective practice in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy. The program is designed to provide an integrated learning experience for adult students seeking specific training in the profession of Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). Students in this program will critically analyze a broad range of theories and practical knowledge in MFT. Degree requirements also include involvement in ongoing clinical work and supervision. This training prepares students for therapeutic and educational work in a variety of settings including mental health centers, public service agencies, correctional institutions, industry, medical settings, and private practice. Additional program description, requirements, policies, and procedures are further described in the MFT Program Handbook.

Graduates of the master’s level program will be well prepared to begin the process of seeking licensure in their home state or area.

Learning Outcomes

The goals (referred to as Student Learning Outcomes) of the (MAMFT) program are:

  1. Employ competence in working with diverse populations in clinical settings. (SLO #1).
  2. Apply family systems oriented clinical skills across a variety of contexts. (SLO #2).
  3. Contrast family systems theory oriented models of therapy (SLO #3).
  4. Formulate a decision-making process for ethical dilemmas congruent with the AAMFT Code of Ethics. (SLO #4).

The MAMFT degree is structured to assist students to seek licensure in the state or jurisdiction of their choice. To allow this, courses can be added to the standard 45 credit program (up to a total program requirement of 60 credits) to assist with meeting licensure requirements. Eligible transfer credits can be applied to the program to support the respective state licensure requirement.

A core goal of the Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MAMFT) degree is to qualify students to become licensed as Marriage and Family Therapists and pursue a career within this field. NCU recognizes that today’s professionals are much more likely to move, live and work in multiple states during their professional careers. With over 25% (n=14) of states now requiring 60 credit degrees to qualify for MFT licensure, and with more states proposing this change, It is recommend that students consider a degree plan and electives that maximize portability of the degree throughout the U.S.

NCU recognizes that a majority of states do not yet require 60 credit hour degrees and thus desire to allow students to keep the cost of their education as low as possible while still balancing the need of having a degree that allows for transportability between states during their professional career. Due to the nature of the MFT profession and differences that exist today in state licensing requirements, NCU allows students the ability to select additional electives above the required 45 credit degree plan, up to 60 credits.

Basis for Admissions

In addition to evidence of a conferred bachelor’s and/or a conferred master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally or nationally accredited academic institution, applications for admission to the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences Master’s programs require prior to the first date of attendance:

  • Current resume or CV
  • Statement of Intent
  • Licensure plan
  • Statement of professional ethics and conduct
  • List of clinical site possibilities in the area of residence
  • Course transfer/waive request (if applicable)
  • Interview with an MFT faculty member
  • Background check - All students in the MFT program that currently live or who have ever lived in the United States are required to complete a background check through NCU’s designated provider before they begin clinical training. International students and students holding a current MFT license are exempt from the requirement. Some students will do this as part of their application process, all students will have this completed before starting clinical training. (See the MFT application packet for further details)

Degree Requirements

The MAMFT degree requires a minimum of 45 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the bachelor’s degree. While not required for graduation, students who need to complete a program requiring more than 45 credits and up to 60-credits or who need specific additional courses for their state licensure requirements will be allowed to complete optional elective courses to meet these requirements, which will constitute the total credit requirements for graduation from the program.

NCU may accept a maximum of 15 semester credit hours in transfer toward the master’s degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred graduate degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content to the required course work in the MAMFT program. See the Transfer Credit Policy  for additional information.

The MAMFT program has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NCU.
  • Successful completion of all required degree program courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher.
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution.
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University.
  • All financial obligations to the University paid in full.

Beyond these standard graduation requirements, the MAMFT program has the following degree requirements:

  1. Online Video Conferencing – In order to complete some of the course requirements and to participate in the online supervision process that is used during the practicum and internship courses, students are required to participate in several online video conferencing meetings throughout their time in the program. In order to participate in these video conference sessions, students are required to own or otherwise have access to a computer, a web cam, a headset, a video recording device, and a high speed internet connection.
  2. Client Contact – MAMFT students will be required to complete 500 hours of direct client contact, which includes conducting face-to-face therapy with individuals, couples, families, and groups. At least 250 hours of client contact must be relational (e.g., couple or family). For more information, please read through the practicum and internship course descriptions.
  3. Supervision – In conjunction with client contact, MAMFT students must receive a total of 100 hours of supervision, at least fifty (51) of which must be individual, in-person supervision conducted by an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, AAMFT Supervisor Candidate, or state-approved supervisor.  Fifty hours of supervision must also involve the supervisor’s review of the student’s therapy with clients via video/audio recording or live observation.  In some cases, students may be required to pay for local supervision.  This will depend on the clinical placement location and/or local supervisor they contract with to complete their practicum and internship requirements. The decision and responsibility to pay for local supervision is entirely up to the student and not a requirement of NCU.
  4. Liability Insurance – Prior to beginning any clinical experience, students are required to submit proof of professional liability insurance. This is included with a student membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (for California students it is also included in the student membership in the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists).
  5. Clinical Hours Tracking – the MAMFT program uses Time2Track (T2T) to document completion of clinical hours. Students, local approved clinical supervisors and NCU faculty supervisors all have access to the system in order to support the successful completion of the clinical training requirements for the program. Students will be provided with an authorization code.

Time to Completion

NCU allows 6 years to complete Master’s programs requiring more than 36 credit hours.

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limits (6 years) are dismissed. If a student believes they have extenuating circumstances they may document the circumstances and send a request for consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to the policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 59 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most NCU students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 33 months.

Elective Courses

While the Marriage and Family Therapy program requires only 45 Credit Hours to graduate, some students may need additional specific courses or additional credit hours in order to meet state licensure requirements. These courses can be selected from relevant Marriage and Family Therapy courses as needed. Any additional courses required for licensure will become a part of the total credit requirements for the student’s degree plan.

To assist students in taking courses that align with their state licensing requirements, if needed students can select from a predetermined list of courses to fill their two elective course requirements or they can request approval to take any of the specialization courses in the MAMFT curriculum. If there are not state specific requirements for certain courses, we recommend students take MFT6104 - Family Therapy with Children   and MFT6106 - Families in Crisis  . Students should review their state educational requirements and speak with their Academic Finance Advisor or faculty member to determine the best fit.

Foundational Curricular Areas

The Master’s degree plan curriculum covers the knowledge and skill required to practice as a MFT. The Foundational Curricular Areas include:

Foundation Curriculum* - All Foundation Curriculum Areas (FCA) below must be met
Content Area Number of required Credit hours
FCA 1: Foundations of Relational/Systemic Practice, Theories & Models 6
FCA 2: Clinical Treatment with Individuals, Couples and Families 6
FCA 3: Diverse, Multicultural and/or Underserved Communities 3
FCA 4: Research & Evaluation 3
FCA 5: Professional Identity, Law, Ethics & Social Responsibility 3
FCA 6: Biopsychosocial Health & Development Across the Life Span 3
FCA 7: Systemic/Relational Assessment & Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment 3
FCA 8: Contemporary Issues Some Coverage
FCA 9: Community Interactions & Collaboration Some Coverage
Clinical Experience Minimum of 500 client contact hours with individuals, couples, and families
Must include face-to-face client contact under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional.  
* Courses must have been completed at a regionally accredited institution and passed with a B or higher, and be approved by NCU MFT faculty

Additional Specializations

Obtaining a specialization at the master’s level offers students the opportunity to focus their studies in a specific content area. By focusing on this specialized area, students gain both content and application knowledge that enables them to become an “expert” in the particular area.

Students in the MAMFT program may elect to complete a specialization in one of the six areas described below. The following requirements must be met to receive the selected specialization:

  1. All courses required for licensure in the selected state
  2. Completion of the customized research course (MFT 5106 )
  3. Completion of the two specialization courses as listed below
  4. Completion of at least 100 hours of client contact with clients focused in the selected specialization (supervised by a qualified MFT supervisor)

Note: Students may receive a certificate if all coursework is completed but the 100 hours of supervised experience cannot be completed.

Couple Therapy Specialization

The Couple Therapy specialization is designed to prepare students to work primarily, using a family therapy, systems perspective, with couples in therapeutic settings. Students in this specialization are required to complete the two content courses listed below, the research course (MFT 5106 ) focusing on issues related to working with couples, and at least 100 hours of clinical experience in an approved setting with a qualified local clinical supervisor.

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