2022-2023 Catalog 
    Mar 22, 2023  
2022-2023 Catalog

Doctor of Psychology in Marital and Family Therapy (114-unit)

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School: California School of Professional Psychology

Modality(ies): On-ground

Calendar(s): Semester

CIP Code: 51.1505

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 Medical Family Therapy (MedFT) Concentration

This concentration will prepare students to work in and with the medical health care system to help individuals, couples, and families struggling with medical issues. Students are taught to work systemically with the complex biological, psychological, relational, social, and spiritual dimensions of health care. They are trained to work with a variety of health care professionals and health care systems using collaborative, multidisciplinary, and multidimensional approaches to treatment. Graduates work in diverse settings including hospitals, clinics, and group and private practices. The curriculum includes three courses, which are to be taken as electives. The complete curriculum is offered online so students in all locations may take the courses. Students may take courses on-ground if offered.

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 Marriage and Family Therapy (must pass both components of Law and Ethics and the Clinical Exam). 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 program includes all of the requirements in the CFT master’s program, including passing the MA comprehensive exam. Practicum program requirements are described in the Master of Arts in Marital and Family Therapy  program description and in the CFT Master’s Level Practicum Clinical Training Manual. The doctoral program requires that students are continuously involved in the practice of couple and family therapy. 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 Alliant.

Three consecutive semesters of practicum are required for a minimum total of 9 units. If all clinical requirements are completed in three semesters, the fourth semester of practicum is not needed. In that instance, students are able to take an elective class. Some students may need to take 4 practicum classes to complete their hours*.

During the program, the student must supplement his or her academic and clinical work with 100 hours of professional development activities. These include approved workshops, colloquia, and seminars. Twenty-five of these hours may involve personal counseling or psychotherapy with a licensed mental health professional who is not core faculty at Alliant.

Students who completed a non-COAMFTE accredited MA program need to submit a Request for Waiver of Practicum Hours and may have some practicum hours/practicum courses to take, which must be taken in place of elective credits.

Waiver of Practicum Hours

  1. Should transfer students request to waive practicum hours, they must submit a completed Request for Waiver of Practicum Hours form (located on the CFT Student Hub) to the CTC.
  2. The decision to waive practicum hours will be based on the completion of this form with necessary documentation attached.
  3. Doctoral students who are either licensed MFTs or who have obtained master’s degrees from ALLIANT or other COAMFTE approved programs will not be required to do a practicum if their experience is evaluated to be equivalent to the practicum experience. Students will need to confirm with CTC and Branch Director the number of remaining units to be completed if a waiver of hours is granted.
  4. Requests for Waiver of Practicum Hours must be submitted prior to matriculation in order for the Student Advisor to create an accurate program plan. No more than 18 doctoral units may be completed prior to the practicum hours being completed.


* PSY73690 - Practicum Extension (0 units) : If a student has taken three consecutive semesters or 6 consecutive terms of PSY73600 , their elective, has 50 or fewer hours to complete the 300-hour requirement and the student, site and CTC believe the remaining hours will be completed in a semester or two terms, then the student can request to be registered for PSY73690 - Practicum Extension (0 units) . Students are only permitted to register for one semester or two terms of Practicum Extension.

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, Alliant CFT doctoral students are required to choose two components to complete their pre-degree internship: clinical, teaching, scholarship, supervision, and policy and administration. Each of these options 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 their internship faculty supervisor.

Dissertation: The dissertation is the capstone for the doctoral program. Students will take at least four dissertation classes (PSY 99100 PSY 99110 PSY 99120 PSY 99130 ), and will meet with the core faculty dissertation chair regularly during these classes in order to complete the dissertation.

Credit Units

Total Credit Units: 114

Total Core Credit Units: 102

Total Elective Credit Units: 12

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 successfully pass the exam.

Doctoral Exam: Students must successfully complete a doctoral exam. Students may begin a doctoral internship before passing the exam. Students are required to attend a mandatory orientation before taking the exam.

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.

Emphasis/Concentration/Track Requirements

Elective Requirements

Twelve (12) 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.

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 3 (6 units)

  • Elective (3 units)
  • Elective (3 units)

Academic Year 4 - Semester 3 (6 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 1 (2 units)

Academic Year 5 - Semester 2 (4 units)

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