Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

The doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) has a long and rich history. The program addresses family processes and empirically-supported relational interventions for today’s diverse families through the engagement in programmatic research and advanced clinical preparation. Our emphasis is on providing the training necessary to become a scholar well-equipped for an academic position while advancing clinical expertise. The program is designed to produce MFT leaders who are invested in contributing to scientific knowledge through sophisticated programs of research.

The MFT clinical faculty include Drs. Lenore McWey (Director), Jon Kimmes, and Kristen Greene. The MFT program is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation on Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

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Application Process & Deadline

For application requirements, deadlines, the MFT curriculum, and more, please visit the Admission Information page. Students are only admitted to the doctoral program following completion of a clinical Master's program degree. We do not offer a Master's degree in MFT. Applications are due December 1.

Research Training

Our strengths involve research on family processes, distressed families (e.g., families involved with the foster care system, families experiencing homelessness, military families), intimate relationships, mindfulness and attributions. Our expertise includes implementing and evaluating best practices in psychoeducation and therapy.

The MFT program is well integrated into the Department of Family and Child Sciences. Doctoral students have access to the entire departmental faculty as part of their education and professional development. Students select their major professor and supervisory committee based on areas of scholarly interest and expertise. The doctoral supervisory committee provides mentorship throughout the doctoral experience. Doctoral students have access to computer laboratories, statistical software, and on-campus and remote access library resources.

Clinical Training

The program’s clinical training is geared toward advancing students’ clinical competencies and supervisory skills necessary to meet the needs of diverse individuals, couples, and families. During the first two years of doctoral studies, students provide therapy at the Center for Couple and Family Therapy (CCFT). The CCFT is an on-campus facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology and is a participating member in the Practice-Research Network clinical assessment consortium. Therapists at the CCFT are supervised by licensed MFT faculty who are AAMFT-approved supervisors. Supervision operates under a clinical practicum framework involving didactic content, group and individual supervision, live observation, video, and case report.

After the completion of requisite CCFT clinical hours, doctoral students engage in an internship experience in community mental health agencies, hospitals, and clinical research settings. Students are encouraged to select internship placements that align with their area of scholarship.

Degree Completion

The advertised MFT PhD program completion length is four years. The minimum program completion length is 3 years. There are a number of advantages to staying the fourth year and these advantages are discussed with each student on an individualized basis. Students without a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree can take up to five years to complete the MFT PhD due to extra coursework and clinical contact hours needed. All coursework must be completed within 5 years of enrollment in the program. When students have completed coursework, they must then complete a preliminary examination with an oral defense. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student enters into “candidacy.” The period of candidacy is limited to 5 years. Thus, the absolute maximum time to complete the MFT PhD program is 10 years.

Student Achievement Data:
COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data  

Tallahassee Living

Tallahassee is a beautiful and exciting place to live. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Big Bend Region and one of the fastest growing cities in Florida. The area is surrounded by national forests, natural springs, and wildlife preserves. The Gulf of Mexico is only a 45 minute drive from campus and within 2 hours, you can be on some of the most pristine beaches of the Emerald Coast. The area is famous for its abundance of live oak trees that extend over roadways to form picturesque canopy roads. There are cultural and recreational activities for everyone: ACC sports and nationally recognized music, theatre, dance and film events.