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Marriage and Family Therapy MS/MMFT

A degree in Marriage and Family Therapy is an applied degree designed to students training in working with individuals, couples, and families with a wide range of problems, including anxiety, depression, relationship issues, and parenting. USU offers both a Master of Science (MS) and Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) option for the Marriage and Family Therapy degree. Utah State University’s MFT program is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and meets all the requirements for licensure in the state of Utah.

Students are provided with opportunities to achieve the basic academic and initial clinical practice requirements for Utah state licensure as marriage and family therapists and for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.  This degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Graduates in the MFT specialization are competitive for positions as therapists in state and private therapy agencies and in residential treatment facilities for adults and adolescents

MS Program

A Master’s of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy means that a student participates in a Master’s thesis (Plan A). The MS and MMFT specializations complete the requirements to be a Marriage and Family Therapist. This specialization provides professional and research development for students who are primarily interested in marriage and family therapy as a career.

MMFT Program

Students who choose to pursue a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy are NOT required to write a thesis. Instead, these students complete a culminating experience in place of the thesis. Students who typically go through the MMFT program are those who will primarily go into professional practice.

Additional MFT Application Process

MFT students have additional requirements than the standard HDFS application process. The number of finalists for consideration will be determined by the number of applicants and available slots. Six students are admitted each year. Selected finalists will be invited to participate in an interview in February. The purpose of the interview is to provide an opportunity for candidates and faculty to get to know one another so that each can make informed decisions about the appropriate fit of the program and student. Students will then be invited into the program. All finalists must be approved by the Human Development and Family Studies Department's Graduate Admission and Finance Committee. The selected students will be notified as soon as possible following the interviews and will have one week to respond. A letter of acceptance is required as well as a telephone call. Alternates also will be selected.

The MFT Cover Letter

Your application should also include a cover letter that is one page, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font. The most important part of the cover letter is to include:

  • Which MFT-specific courses (MFT, Human Sexuality, Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology) you have taken (include the course name and number).
  • List the prerequisite course you have taken (university, course name, number, and semester taken). If you have not fulfilled the prerequisites, you need to explain how you intend to fulfill them prior to beginning the program (you do not have to have them completed before you apply).

Marriage and Family Therapy StudentsMFT Essay

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. Use your best writing skills to convey your thoughts. Make sure you proofread and have other people read it. Your essay should cover the following topics/sections:

  • Tell us about your journey to choosing MFT as a profession. Of all the possibilities, why did you choose MFT?
  • Talk about the experiences that you have (personal and professional) that you feel have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree in MFT. What specifically did you learn (skill-wise and about yourself)?
  • Highlight the personal skills and attributes that you will bring to our program. In doing this, make sure to address how you plan to cope with the rigors of a graduate degree in MFT, including how you have overcome specific challenges in the past. Also, discuss what you expect to contribute to an MFT student cohort of 6-7 students.
  • What do you most want to get out of an MFT graduate program? In addition, what are your professional goals? (You don’t have to have it all figured out, but we want to understand more about your direction).
  • How do you anticipate that the USU program and faculty members can help you accomplish your goals? Be specific.

Your essay should contain all of the information above, but feel free to use your own creativity and writing ability to decide how to organize your essay. Keep in mind that the MFT essay is the most important part of your application and is the most effective way for us to gain insight into who you are as a person. We strongly suggest you read the tips for applying to graduate school and follow them, which will make you a more competitive applicant.

If you have any questions about the basic components of the application, please call or email the contact Nancy Potter at

MFT CORE Credits
EDUC 6050 Applied Statistics 3
HDFS 6060 Human Development Theories 3
HDFS 6070 Family Theories 3
HDFS 6310 Survey of MFT 3
HDFS 6320 Foundations MFT 3
HDFS 6325 Cultural Diversity 3
HDFS 6330 MFT Practice I: Traditional 3
HDFS 6340 MFT Practice II: Contemporary 3
HDFS 6350 MFT Clinical Practice 3
HDFS 6355 Play Therapy 3
HDFS 6360 Ethics & Professional Development in MFT 3
HDFS 6370 MFT Assessment 3
HDFS 6380 Survey of MFT Research 3
HDFS 6390 MFT Practicum 8
Total MFT Core Credits 47
HDFS 6970 Thesis 6
47 Total Credits Required for MMFT Students
53 Total Credits Required for MS Students

Additional Course Information

For more information on when courses are offered, please see the Graduate Course Offerings page.

Financial Assistance

Admission to the program does not guarantee financial support, however, many of our MS students receive financial support while in the program, if they desire. 

Individuals admitted into the graduate program (including presently enrolled graduate students) interested in being considered for teaching and/or research assistantships must complete and return the form emailed by the Graduate Program Coordinator in the prior semester.


Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantships (RA) are available for Master’s students who wish to perform teaching or research services to the department, in return for salary.

Our department commits to supporting interested MS students .25 time (10 hours a week) during the first year of study. In Year 2 the student may receive a TA or RA as well, but this is dependent on available funds.

Fellowships and Scholarships

Fellowships and scholarships from both the department and college are also available for well-qualified doctoral-level students. Fellowships are financial awards and recognition that require no service from the recipient. Students are encouraged to establish residency (after the completion of 18 graduate credits) within the first 12 consecutive months in Utah, as they may be eligible for additional scholarships if they are in-state residents.

Awards are given on an annual basis typically these scholarships range in awards of several hundred to several thousand dollars.