Marriage and Family Therapy

Degree: Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Important Documents


The MFT program is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation on Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

The doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy has a long and rich history. Our emphasis is on maintaining students’ clinical training while giving added knowledge and skills to become a scholar ready for an academic position at one of the best universities. Our strengths are in research regarding intimate relationships, family processes, and distressed families (e.g., divorced families, foster care families, families experiencing homelessness, military families). Our expertise also includes implementing and evaluating best practices in psycho-education and therapy.

Admission Requirements

  1. An upper-division undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The same scale applies for graduate-level work.
  2. A competitive Graduate Record Examination revised General Test (GRE) score; recommended score of above the 50th percentile in both verbal and quantitative sections with a 4.0 or higher on the writing section.
  3. International students must have a TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 80 (internet-based).
  4. Completion of a clinical master’s degree program before enrolling in this doctoral program.
  5. Selected applicants are invited to on-campus interviews during February to determine the fit.

Attainment of these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission decisions are based on assessments of all aspects of the student’s application materials. The department reserves the right to increase standards if warranted by enrollment limitations and by the number and quality of applicants. Financial aid is a separate process from the admission to a graduate program.

Application Process and Deadlines

This program only admits in the fall. All application materials must be received by the December 1st deadline.

  1. Apply Online and pay the application fee.
    • Upload a personal statement outlining your research interests, career goals, and why Florida State University is a good fit for you. We strongly encourage applicants to familiarize themselves with the research interests of the faculty in their area so the statement can specifically address those faculty members. The statement should include how your background and prior training make you a good candidate and should include your top three (3) choices of faculty members with whom you would like to work.
    • Upload a resume or vita (information should be current).
    • Upload contact information for three recommenders. The recommenders should be professionals you have worked with who are familiar with your academic performance and can speak directly about your qualification for this degree. Academic recommendations are preferred, but relevant professional recommendations will be accepted. No personal recommendations or letters from peers will be accepted.
    • Upload a writing sample.
  2. Submit official test scores (GRE and, if required, TOEFL) and official transcripts to the FSU Office of Admissions. The school reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required. We require transcripts from EVERY post-secondary institution you attended (even if those courses are posted to another institution’s transcript).

Anticipated Timeline

The minimum time to complete the Marriage and Family Therapy Ph.D. is 3 years. (There are some advantages to staying an optional fourth year which are discussed with each student on an individualized basis)  Students without a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree can take up to 5 years to complete the MFT Ph.D. due to extra coursework and clinical contact hours needed. 

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 maximum length of the program is 10 years.

Students are only admitted to the doctoral program following completion of a clinical Master's program degree. We DO NOT offer this Master's degree.

The doctoral program requires a minimum of 83 credit hours of which 21 are clinical/supervision and 24 are dissertation.

Graduates of Non-COAMFTE Master's Programs

Graduates of mental health masters programs that are not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) must complete specified coursework (the “Standard Curriculum”) before taking the preliminary doctoral examination. (Additional information on the “Standard Curriculum” can be obtained from the Director of MFT Program.)

Before students enroll for coursework in their first  semester, the clinical faculty reviews their master’s transcript to determine whether additional coursework is needed. Based on the review process, students prepare an initial Program of Study before registering for their third term that includes these additional required courses which may not be counted toward meeting the required minimum credit hours for the doctoral degree.