Marriage and Family Therapy (M.S.)

Mission and Goals

The Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Master of Science degree is a training program that prepares individuals for a career in mental health delivery service to individuals, couples, and families grounded in Systems and Developmental theories. Accredited by COAMFTE, the program maintains high ethical standards, academic prowess, and fosters cultural curiosity.


The mission of the Marriage and Family Therapy program is to foster highly qualified professionals in possessing the knowledge, skills, and systems-oriented dispositions necessary to improve the quality of life for individuals, couples, families, and larger social systems within and across diverse and intersectional contexts.


Program faculty hold the philosophy that education in Marriage and Family Therapy must occur in a context that is systematically oriented. Experiences in this program emphasize family therapy as integrated with practice and research in family and human development. Gender and cultural perspectives that are presented throughout all coursework and practicum also inform this context.

The faculty believe that theory and practice in marriage and family therapy are best accomplished in synergy; that is, the elements of theory, research, and practice are intertwined and emphasized in all coursework and clinical experiences throughout the student's training. Since the program resides within an academic setting, it is recognizes that the courses must be somewhat discrete and independent. However, courses cannot be undertaken independently without consideration of their systematic position in the entire program. It is the aim of the program for students to be challenged and encouraged to integrate their learning throughout their entire time in the program.

The curriculum consists of substantive courses in family relations and human development, statistics and research methods courses, marriage and family therapy emphasis courses, and internship. Substantive content/theory courses and clinical practicum must be completed simultaneously. Students must be provided with experiences that enhance their training and practice with a variety of therapy models, family types, presenting problems, therapy settings, and supervisory modes.


The primary goal of the Marriage and Family Therapy program is to systemically train competent therapists to provide therapy to a population that includes a wide range of mental health issues. Therapists are trained to treat client concerns with individual, relational, and social issues. 

Overarching Goals of the MFT Program

  • Goal 1: The SCSU MFT program prepares graduates to become licensed in the State of Minnesota as Marriage & Family Therapists and ready for employment in an entry level mental health/clinical job
  • Goal 2: Students will demonstrate competent clinical skills at their developmental level defined as: a) practice from a research based foundation, including common factor and evidence based practice literature; b) demonstrate reflective and ethical practice by following AAMFT Ethical Code and Minnesota State Statutes pertaining to the practice of MFT including paperwork requirements
  • Goal 3: Students utilize Family Systems Theory and Developmental Theories in their approach to clinical practice
  • Goal 4: Students will be competent to work from a multicultural lens (e.g., family types, ethnicities, gender, sexual minorities, individual abilities, religious background, geography & SES


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  • SLO 1.1: Full-time students will graduate within 2 years of entry and PT students will graduate within seven years of entry
  • SLO 1.2: Students meet the necessary clinical hour requirement set by the Minnesota MFT Licensure Board within 4 semesters of practicum/internship courses
  • SLO 2.1: Students will demonstrate empathic and respectful interpersonal skills when working with individuals, couples, and families from all backgrounds, including cross-cultural populations
  • SLO 2.2: By time of graduation, students will skillfully assess and evaluate individuals, couples, and families of diverse backgrounds in order to create appropriate diagnostic assessments, build relevant treatment plans, and manage crises
  • SLO 2.3: By time of graduation, students will be able to communicate effectively through oral and written clinical paperwork
  • SLO 2.4: Students will be ethical in their clinical practice, including seeking appropriate supervision when making ethical decisions pertaining to clinical practice
  • SLO 3.1: By time of graduation, students are able to apply family therapy and systemic theories to conceptualizations and clinical practice
  • SLO 3.2: By time of graduation, students are able to apply developmental models or theories appropriate strategies to individuals, couples, and families
  • SLO 4.1: Students and alumni will be attentive to multicultural and diversity concerns when practicing in the field of marriage and family therapy
  • SLO 4.2: By time of graduation, students will be able to apply multicultural theories to case conceptualizations

Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

This program is committed to diversity and inclusion throughout the student experience. This program defines diversity as the vast range of varied human experience and its dynamic influence over the creation of subjective beliefs that inform our very notions of reality. As diversity is often observed/interpreted objectively through age, gender, race, ethnicity, sex, ability, religion/spirituality, political leanings, geographic influences, socioeconomic status, and other demographic identifiers (i.e., diversity between), our program emphasizes the relative uniqueness of each individual (i.e., diversity within) in ways that transcend the objective classification of human experience that too often obscures the actualization of subjective identity and expression.