Academic Catalog

Marriage and Family Therapy, M.A.

Program Description

The Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program is designed to prepare students to work with couples and families in a variety of settings, by providing both theoretical and practical skills in this highly specialized field. The emphasis is to train competent clinicians who conceptualize individual and family issues from a systemic perspective. The program is a 51-credit course of study that meets New York State educational requirements for licensure as an MFT. Students take courses that prepare them to work with families, couples and individuals. In addition, students complete a 500-hour Marriage and Family Practicum and prepare a Capstone Project.

Upon completion of the program, graduates may seek employment in public and private sectors, where they work under supervision to complete the 1,500-hour NYS experience requirement for licensure. Clinicians have up to 2 years to fulfill the experience requirement and must pass a national qualifying exam in order to be eligible for licensure as an MFT. Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists deliver services that focus on interactional and systemic issues affecting relationships within an individual, couple and/or a family system.

Program Objectives

Students who complete the M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy will:

  • Have a solid research-based clinical knowledge in the areas of family, group, couples, and individual therapy techniques
  • Have a thorough understanding of the professional, legal and ethical issues related to the field of marriage and family therapy
  • Develop therapeutic skills to work with diverse populations in a wide range of clinical settings
  • Have received the educational requirements needed to obtain NYS licensure as an MFT
  • Have completed 500 client contact hours
  • Graduate from a program of study that includes the breadth and depth of knowledge needed for preparation for the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Exam

Program Design

Students are admitted once per year, in the fall. All students participate in a Program Orientation a minimum of two weeks before the start of the first class. Orientation will include the Program Director, the Clinical Director, and faculty who will provide an overview of the program, internship, and capstone project requirements. This forum will encourage students to ask questions and obtain clarification regarding their upcoming academic and training experience.

Coursework

The MFT Program consists of twelve required, 8-week courses. Courses are taken one at a time. Students must complete a 500-hour supervised MFT Internship (with a minimum of 500 client contact hours; 250 of these hours must be relational – more than one client in the room) and must complete a capstone project. Each 8-week course includes 30-in-class hours (split between the fourth and eighth weekends of the course) with 4-week intervals of online learning (which equal 8 hours of seat time) and independent study with faculty support as needed.

Each of the Twelve 8-Week Courses Will Proceed as Follows:

Week 1: Students receive all learning materials, including course syllabus, reading assignments, research paper topics, and/ or project assignments. Begin online assignments such as journals, article summaries, discussion boards, videos and reflections.

Week 2 & Week 3: Students work independently on assignments with faculty support as needed. The students also continue with online assignments.

Week 4: Students spend 15 hours in class (8 hours Saturday, and 7 hours Sunday)

Week 5 Week 6 & Week 7: Students work independently on assignments with faculty support as needed. Students continue online assignments such as journals, article summaries and reflections.

Week 8: Students spend 15 hours in class (8 hours on Saturday, and 7 hours on Sunday.). At the end of weekend 8, students receive all learning materials for the next class in the sequence, hence marking that course’s week 1.

Practicum

The supervised practicum experience requires a substantial time commitment on the part of the student of at least 20 hours during the week in a clinical setting. This is in addition to weekend courses taken simultaneously in those five semesters. Accordingly, students will be advised by both Admissions counselors and faculty (during the admission interview) prior to starting the program that they must adjust other time commitments during the clinical phase of their training.

The MFT program’s rigorous requirements for supervision and clinical experience include:

  • Clinical Experience
    • The clinical experience starts January of the student’s first year. Students interview for placement settings starting in October. Students are required to be at their placement for a minimum of 15-20 hours a week. These hours may be during the day hours as well as evening. There are some placements that offer weekend hours, but this is not typical.
    • Students must accumulate a minimum of 500 clinical hours. To adhere to accreditation guidelines for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, 250 of the 500 hours must be relational (more than one client in the room). No more than 100 clinical hours can be obtained via observing other clinicians.
    • Students will be expected to write accurate case notes, diagnosis, attend staff meeting, meet weekly with their site supervisor and behave professionally during their time at their site.
  • Supervision
    • Faculty Supervision is provided by the faculty member teaching the practicum course. Faculty Supervision is a weekly commitment. The majority of faculty supervision is face-to-face. To adhere to accreditation guidelines for the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, students are required to accumulate 100 hours of Faculty Supervision. Fifty of the 100 hours must be “live supervision”. Live supervision can be accomplished by watching a video of a therapy session, listening to an audio of a therapy session or watching a therapy session live.
    • Site Supervision is a minimum of one hour each week with the supervisor employed by the practicum site. This is established by the Site Supervisor.
  • Recording Hours
    • Students will use the MFT Monthly Record of Practicum Hours and Supervision Form to record their practicum hours (attached with Practicum Syllabus). Three signatures will be required on this form—the student’s, the site supervisor’s, and the faculty supervisors. The Program’s Clinical Director will be responsible for maintaining records of training hours.

Degree earned: M.A.
Total number of credits: 51
Delivery format: On-ground (day and evening), Hybrid (online and on-ground)
Locations: Buffalo

Licensure-Qualifying Curriculum Content Areas

Required Content Areas Course and Semester Hours

  • Study of human development, including individual, child and family, at least 3 semester hours:
    • MFT 690 Human Development And The Family Life Cycle
  • Marriage and family clinical knowledge, including but not limited to psychopathology, at least 12 semester hours:
  • Marriage and family theoretical knowledge, at least 6 semester hours: 
    • MFT 620 Structural, Strategic & Systemic Family Therapies
    • MFT 651 Social Constructionist Theory 
    • MFT 661 Transgenerational Theories
  • Family law:
    • MFT 670 Family Law & Ethical Issues In Family Therapy
  • Research, at least 3 semester hours:
    • MFT 720 Research Methods In Marriage And Family Therapy
  • Professional ethics, at least 3 semester hours: 
    • MFT 670 Family Law & Ethical Issues In Family Therapy
  • Recognition and reporting of child abuse and maltreatment; and:
    • MFT 671 Child Abuse Prevention Workshop
  • Supervised practicum in marriage and family therapy of at least 300 client contact hours:
    • MFT 701 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum I
    • MFT 702 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum II
    • MFT 703 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum III
    • MFT 704 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum IV

Sample Course Sequence

Plan of Study Grid
First Year
First SemesterHours
MFT 620 Structural, Strategic & Systemic Family Therapies 3
MFT 640 Psychopathology In The Family System 3
 Hours6
Second Semester
MFT 670 Family Law & Ethical Issues In Family Therapy 3
MFT 671 Child Abuse Prevention Workshop 0
MFT 701 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum I 3
MFT 690 Human Development And The Family Life Cycle 3
 Hours9
Third Semester
MFT 702 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum II 3
MFT 651 Social Constructionist Theory 3
MFT 762 Child & Adolescent Therapy 3
 Hours9
Second Year
First Semester
MFT 761 Trauma And The Family 3
MFT 680 Treating Diverse Populations 3
MFT 704 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum IV 3
 Hours9
Second Semester
MFT 680 Treating Diverse Populations 3
MFT 761 Trauma And The Family 3
MFT 704 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum IV 3
 Hours9
Third Semester
MFT 705 Marriage And Family Therapy Practicum V 3
MFT 661 Transgenerational Theories 3
MFT 720 Research Methods In Marriage And Family Therapy 3
 Hours9
 Total Hours51