Marriage and Family Therapy addresses the interpersonal and social context of mental health and emotional problems. To qualify students to practice MFT, the curriculum for the master’s degree program in marriage and family therapy focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary to assess and intervene in the interactions among people. It prepares students to use an active, positive approach to therapy that will help individuals and their families build on their strengths, improve communication, and develop solutions to their problems.

The Master of Science degree with a Major in Marriage and Family Therapy prepares students for licensure in Georgia as Marriage and Family Therapists and for Associate membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The curriculum, developed to meet national accreditation standards, links theory and practice throughout training. A twelve-month clinical practicum is required. Students receive a minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of AAMFT-approved supervision. Practicum experience is provided at the on-site Marriage and Family Therapy Training Clinic and through community placements. Course work includes some assignments and activities that encourage self-exploration and personal growth.

MFT Program Mission Statement

The mission of the Valdosta State University Marriage and Family Therapy Program is to provide students the academic and clinical training required to practice relationally informed clinical work and to ready graduates for work in a variety of mental health settings.

MFT Program Philosophy

The philosophy of the Valdosta State University Marriage and Family Therapy Program is guided by a commitment to diversity and the belief that the differences that make up the weave of humanity must be embraced and cherished; a relational understanding that all human behavior and meaning-making are context-dependent, and so a deep appreciation of each client’s context is a prerequisite of respectful treatment; and the belief that the students’ uniqueness should be respected and developed through active, engaged learning with an accessible and supportive faculty.

Selected Educational Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the MFT program, students will:

  1. Practice from a culturally sensitive lens.
  2. Practice from a systemic lens.
  3. Be prepared to obtain entry-level employment in mental health agencies.
  4. Claim the professional identity of Marriage and Family Therapist.
  5. Recognize the way research shapes the field of Family Therapy.
  6. Practice informed by ethics.

Examples of Outcome Assessments

  1. Faculty assessment of student performance in all courses includes requiring students to demonstrate their ability to integrate course content and translate their coursework to clinical practice.
  2. The comprehensive exam taken by students prior to graduation evaluates the students’ ability to integrate and apply information from the training program as a whole. It also measures effectiveness of the program in teaching essential concepts.
  3. Practicum supervisors will evaluate the clinical performance of each student. Community practicum site directors will also complete a form evaluating their impressions of the training program.
  4. The ability of graduates to pass the national MFTH exam and obtain licensure is another measure of outcome.

Prior to admission to any graduate program at Valdosta State University, applicants must first submit a completed application to the Graduate School. A completed application packet includes official transcripts from all institutions previously attended, official test scores (GRE or MAT), completed application form, fee, and any additional program requirements, submitted by the admission deadline. To be considered for your preferred term, all required materials must be received by the Graduate School no later than the close of business on the deadline. It is the responsibility of the applicant to allow adequate time for document submission and to ensure receipt of documents.

Admission Deadlines

Fall Deadline: July 15

Go to the Graduate School website and click on Our Programs, then click on Marriage & Family Therapy for information on:

  • Specific MFT Program Admission Requirements
  • MFT Program Retention, Dismissal, and Readmission Policies
  • MFT Program Graduation Requirements

To Apply Online, click here

Required Course Work

Area I: Theoretical Foundations8
Foundations of Family Therapy
Family Systems Theories 1
Advanced Theories Seminar
Area II: Clinical Practice15
Interventions in MFT
Psychopathology & Pharmacology in MFT
Treatment Issues in Family Therapy
Couples and Sex Therapy
Assessment in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Area III: Individual Development & Family Relations6
Development in the Family System
Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
Areas IV: Professional Identity & Ethics5
Relational Theory, Practice, and Ethics
Legal Issues in MFT
Professional Ethics Seminar
Area V: Research3
Research in Marriage and Family Therapy
Area VI: Electives (minimum 5 hours)5
Family Sociology
Statistical Applications in Sociology
Human Sexuality and Gender
Family Stress and Crisis
Special Topics in MFT
Other approved courses
Area VII: Supervised Clinical Practice18
1 year, minimum 500 hours direct client contact
Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy
Total Required for the Degreeminimum of 60

A minimum of 60 semester hours required for the degree.

The degree requires a minimum of two years to complete and requires summer study. Three-year and four-year plans are also available.