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December 15 - Applicants to all graduate programs must submit a complete application (including application letter, transcripts, academic writing sample, and contact information for references) to the School of Graduate Studies.

March 15 - Department informs students regarding admission and financial aid decisions.

April 15 - Student applicants must notify the Department regarding their decision to enroll (as per the Council of Graduate Schools resolution).

How to Apply

Important Note for all students looking for Marriage and Family Therapy Master's level programs; if you would like to apply for either the MS Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization or the MMFT program, specific instructions can be found on the How to Apply - Marriage and Family Therapy page.

Applications for admission are processed online by the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies forwards completed applications to the department for review. Please contact the School of Graduate Studies for questions specific to the application process.

Material Needed to Complete the Application

  • Contact information (e-mail addresses) for three people who can write about your academic and professional abilities. These individuals will be contacted via email, and will be prompted to upload their letter of recommendation to a link sent to them from the graduate school.
  • Your application letter, also called a letter of interest, letter of intent, or statement of purpose. It is recommended that applicants address the following:
    • Fit with department emphases, content areas, and areas of faculty expertise (see Faculty page)
    • Educational and occupational goals
    • Short- and/or long-term professional goals following graduation.
    • For more information, see “Tips for Applying to Graduate School” (see below).
  • A curriculum vita or resume
  • In addition to the above materials, applicants for the Doctoral Concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy must also submit the following items:
    • Your essay should be 4-5 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font. Use headers. 
    • Please include your current address, email, and telephone number at the beginning or end of your essay.
    • Describe your clinical interest areas and expertise. What presenting issues/problems are you most drawn to and what specific populations do you prefer working with? How have you developed expertise and knowledge in these areas (trainings/education, conferences/workshops, publications, etc.)?
    • How do the above expertise and interest areas tie in with your research (basic and applied)? Where do you see your research going over the next few years?
    • What attracts you to applying for the PhD program at Utah State University? What are your career goals over the next ten years?
    • Name one or two faculty members that you want to work with, specifically how you see their experience/interest area helping you to reach your research and academic goals.

Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to a graduate degree program at Utah State University, you must meet these minimum requirements:

  • Overall GPA of 3.0 for last 90 quarter credit hours or 60 semester credit hours.
  • Applicants to our PhD, MS, and MMFT programs are required to submit an academic writing sample of at least five double-spaced pages in length.  Examples may include a class paper, literature review, undergraduate or master's thesis, or an in-progress or published scholarly manuscript.
  • Students for whom English is a second language must demonstrate English proficiency on the TOEFL exam.
  • In addition to these minimum standards, the applicant's undergraduate education should include at least one research methods and one statistics course.  We recommend that these courses are in the social sciences and at the upper-division level.

Tips for Applying to Graduate School

Do Your Research

  • Decide what you want from graduate school: training in research, clinical training, preparation for doctoral programs, teaching in a university.
  • Consider geography, costs, and the populations with whom you would like to work.
  • Talk to professionals in the field as well as faculty in programs. Know why and be able to articulate your preferences.
  • Find a list of current graduate students and their email addresses. Email them and ask a few specific questions.
  • Find out where recent graduates are working.
  • Get to know the research interests and publications of the faculty to which you are applying.
  • Demonstrate your similar interests and specify the faculty with whom you would like to work.
  • Read materials carefully and respond to each part exactly; limit extra material.

Satisfy Requirements

  • Get letters of recommendation:
    • Ask program directors about their preferences. We require three letters.  For the PhD, these three should come from faculty or researchers in academia who can speak to your educational and research skills. For grad programs in MFT, two must be from people who can speak to your academic ability, and one should be from someone who can speak to your clinical skills and/or aptitude as a "people" person. Four letters are acceptable. Some programs prefer letters for which the candidate has waived rights to read; others are the opposite.
    • Ask the person if they are willing to write you a "good," "solid," or "excellent" letter. If they can't write a terrific letter, thank them nicely and find someone else.
    • Give potential referees information that will help them: GRE or other entrance scores, GPA on last 2 years of coursework, copies of papers you have written for them, copy of resume, etc. Ask them what they would like. This is especially important if you did not get to know any professors well or if it's been a long time since they saw you in class.
    • If you want them to speak to particular interests, accomplishments, or abilities, tell them so. We look for people who are smart, grasp new concepts quickly, are able to apply and integrate information, are enthusiastic about human development, family relations, family finance, marriage and family therapy, and relate well to people
    • Give recommenders plenty of time to write the letter, but remember that most people are very busy from late November through December. It is a good idea to ask them if they have written the letter about a week before the due date. If they have not, ask them nicely if they think they are going to be able to and be ready to find someone else
  • Get research experience. With our research emphasis, we want to know about your research interests, experience, and abilities.
  • For Master's programs, get practical experience with children, youth, older adults, and/or families.

Follow the Etiquette

  • Type everything you send, using a font no smaller than Times New Roman 12; Do not use fancy fonts.
  • Personal contact is a good thing, but not necessary in all cases.
  • Write the personal statement as requested. It is obvious when essays have been written for other schools, then copied.

Think It Through

  • Remember that the foundational education you get in graduate school is very important. You should feel good about the quality of the education you are receiving as well as the experience itself. Are the faculty available, friendly, professional? Does it feel like a place you can do this very hard work and feel supported?
  • Some people look at geography, wanting to stay near home or in the east or west, etc. Remember that grad school is just a few years out of your lifetime and balance geography with quality of program and fit between you and the program.

Follow up on Your Application

  • Check with the places you have sent the materials to see if they have arrived. Note that some programs want materials sent to more than one place (e.g., the graduate school or admissions committee; the program director). Graduate schools and admissions committees at larger universities are very busy around due dates; be patient when you call. Many let you check your status online. 

MFT Tips

  • Know the difference between MFT, social work, counseling, and psychology. Fit is very important because clinical professions are different.
  • Look on the AAMFT website for possible accredited schools:
  • Email or call the program director with your questions after you have read the materials.
  • Don't list John Bradshaw or John Gray as great MFTs that you've read. Learn something about MFT if you haven't had a course of introduction. Read Nichols & Schwartz, The Contemporary Context of Family Therapy (undergraduate) or Family Therapy Concepts and Methods (graduate) for an excellent overview.
  • Don't be discouraged if you are not selected for your first choice program. Remember that this field is competitive and there are many reasons good applicants are selected or deselected for programs: fit with marriage and family therapy, fit with the particular program, qualifications relative to the rest of the pool of applicants. If you are not selected and your passion is MFT, be persistent! Ask what you can do to improve your application, then do it; try again; try elsewhere.
  • If you have any other tips, please share them!