2017-2018 Catalog 
    Oct 26, 2020  
2017-2018 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Doctor of Psychology in Marital and Family Therapy

School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): Semester

Program Description/Overview

This program provides the advanced training to pursue a career as a professional marriage and family therapist. To prepare for clinical practice, students receive intensive theoretical and practical skill-based training. Students gain real-world experience with a diverse clientele in community-based practicum and internship sites, under the oversight of supervisors who meet rigorous AAMFT professional standards. The program requires continuous active practice of marital and family therapy, including a doctoral internship.

Students may go either full-time or part-time in completing the program. The standard graduation program completion time for full-time students is five (5) years. The standard completion time for part-time students is six (6) years.

Program Learning Outcomes/Goals

Program Goals (PGs)

  1. PG 1 Practice: The program graduates students who are able to deliver MFT professional services competently
  2. PG 2 Diversity: The program graduates diverse students prepared to meet the needs of diverse communities.
  3. PG 3 Community: The program engages various communities through the application of the knowledge and skills of couple and family therapy.
  4. PG 4 Scholarship: The program contributes to both the understanding and creation of couple and family therapy scholarship

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

  1. SLO 1 Practice Foundational Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate MFT conceptual, perceptual, executive, evaluative, professional, and theoretical skills.
  2. SLO 2 Diversity Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate knowledge of human diversity with a multicultural and international emphasis.
  3. SLO 3 Community Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students comprehend and demonstrate knowledge of how to engage community behavioral health care resources.
  4. SLO 4 Scholarship Foundation Knowledge and Skills: Master’s and doctoral students demonstrate a basic knowledge of MFT research methodologies and scholarship.
  5. SLO 5 Practice Supervision Knowledge and Skills: Doctoral students comprehend models and methods of MFT supervision.
  6. SLO 6 Practice Specific Knowledge and Skill: Doctoral students articulate and demonstrate the application of a personal MFT model of therapy.
  7. SLO 7 Scholarship Application Knowledge and Skills: Doctoral students demonstrate the ability to understand and apply MFT research methods.

Training Model

The program is based on the scholar-practitioner model. Students are trained to work with individuals, couples, and families from a systemic perspective. Skills are developed in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of individuals and relationship systems. The program provides an integrative approach to the major systemic theories and interventions. The program provides the academic training for licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

Professional Behavior Expectations/Ethical Guidelines

AAMFT Code of Ethics


Students in the program can receive a licensable marital and family therapy master’s degree as part of their doctoral studies upon completion of the requirements for that degree.

All marriage and family therapists who offer direct services to the public for a fee must be licensed or certified by the state in which they practice. Applicants for licensure in the state of California must hold an MA or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from an approved or accredited educational institution. They also must have completed 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience (of which at least 1,700 must be post masters) and have taken and passed the national Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) and the California Psychology Supplemental Examination (CPSE). In addition, they must submit evidence of having completed coursework in human sexuality, child abuse, substance abuse, spousal abuse, psychological testing, psychopharmacology, California Law and professional ethics and aging and long-term care. Continuing education is required to maintain the license. The course requirements are designed to fulfill the programmatic requirements for licensure in California.

Every state has its own requirements for licensure. Therefore, it is essential that all students who plan to apply for licensure in states other than California contact the licensing board in those states for information on state requirements (e.g., coursework, practicum and internship hours, supervision, or nature of the doctoral project or dissertation). Students seeking licensure in other states should plan ahead to ensure they meet all of those states’ requirements.

For further information on licensure in California:

Board of Behavioral Sciences
1625 N Market Blvd., Suite S-200, Sacramento, CA 95834
BBS Main Phone Line: (916) 574-7830
BBS Main Fax: (916) 574-8626
General Questions and Information only: BBS.info@dca.ca.gov
Website Questions and Feedback: BBSWebmaster@dca.ca.gov

Programmatic Accreditation

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) - and is one of only two universities in the state of California with a COAMFTE-accredited doctorate program. As the national accrediting body for MFT programs, COAMFTE accreditation ensures that you are receiving the highest quality education in the field of marriage and family therapy.

Internship, Practicum, and/or Dissertation Information

Practicum: The MFT doctoral program includes the completion of COAMFTE accredited master’s program requirements. Practicum program requirements are described in the Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy  program description and in the Master’s Level Practicum Clinical Training Manual. The doctoral program requires that students are continuously involved in the practice of couple and family therapy.

Internship: to prepare doctoral level couple and family therapists to perform different professional functions competently in their future workplace, and to comply with COAMFTE accreditation requirements, doctoral students are required to choose two components to complete their pre-degree internship: clinical, teaching, scholarship, supervision, and policy and administration. Each of the following option is 50% of the total internship. The combination of the options is to be a minimum of nine (9) months. Students need to discuss their internship options with either their faculty mentor or Site Director.

Dissertation: the dissertation is the capstone for the program. As such, it is typically completed the last year of the program. Students may begin work on the dissertation at any time, though formal approval of the dissertation committee and proposal requires Advancement to Candidacy and registration in the dissertation course. Thus, while students may work with faculty before that time, they will not be able to schedule a proposal meeting until they are registered in the dissertation course and Advanced to Candidacy.

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 114

Total Core Credit Units: 105

Total Elective Credit Units: 9

Total Concentration Credit Units: N/A

Degree Requirements

MA Comprehensive Exam: Students should plan to take the exam in the summer of the second year. Entering doctoral students with a master’s degree from COAMFTE accredited programs do not have to take and pass the exam. Entering doctoral students with a master’s degree from non-COAMFTE accredited programs must take the December version of the exam whether they enroll in Fall or Spring. If the student passes, he/she will be treated as a student from COAMFTE accredited programs and can transfer in 50-55 units. If the student does not pass, then our current credit transfer policy stands (40 units). The student may take the exam once.

Doctoral Exam: Students must successfully complete a doctoral exam prior to advancement to candidacy and enrollment in the dissertation course. Students may begin a doctoral internship before passing the exam. Typically the preparation for the exam takes place in the fall of the fourth year. Students are required to attend a mandatory orientation.

Professional Development: Students must supplement their program with 100 hours of professional development activities; 25 of these hours may involve personal counseling or psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional who is not core faculty at the University.

Elective Requirements

Nine (9) elective units are required for completion of the program. Students may take their elective class online. The classes must be taken at the University. The courses (on-ground or online) must be pre-approved by the Site Director. Suggested electives:

  1. PSY8500 - Clinical Elective (0 to 3 units)  - take for 3 units
  2. PSY9310 - Advanced Seminar: MFT (1 to 3 units)  - take for 3 units
  3. PSY9321 - Supervision in MFT II (3 units)  

Curriculum Plan

Semester Calendar

Academic Year 1 - Semester 3 (8 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 1 (9 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 2 (9 units)

Academic Year 2 - Semester 3 (8 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 1 (9 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 2 (9 units)

Academic Year 3 - Semester 3 (6 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 1 (9 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 2 (9 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 3 (3 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 1 (6 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 2 (3 units)


  1. Students must enroll in PSY9388 the entire time they accumulate advanced professional experiences in areas such as clinical practice, teaching, research, supervision, and policy and public administration. Students are charged the full rate for the initial three units and a reduced rate for subsequent units. Only three units count towards graduation.

Gainful Employment

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program, please visit https://www.alliant.edu/media/gainful-employment-disclosure/Doctor_Psychology_Marital_Family_Therapy.html.