Master of Science Degree in Counseling Option in Marriage and Family Therapy

Masters of Science, Counseling (MFT)

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Welcome to M.S Degree in Counseling, option in Marriage and Family Therapy 

Graduate Degree: Masters of Science in Counseling
Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)



The Master of Science Degree in Counseling, Option in Marriage and Family Therapy, is designed to train family systems oriented counselors who are eligible to apply for licensure in California as Marriage, Family and Child Therapists . Through the integrated School-Based Family Counseling program, candidates can also qualify for the Pupil Personnel Services Credential with Advanced Authorization in School Counseling and Child Welfare and Attendance Services. A minimum of 105 units are required depending upon prior coursework and culminating experience. 


The distinguishing feature of our program is the focus on School-Based Family Counseling, which aims to train marriage and family therapists to work directly in public schools and school-based related agencies. Coursework and fieldwork experience are geared toward the K-12 settings, although not exclusively. This is in contrast to the traditional family therapy model, in which the counselor is not trained to work in school systems. Our students, on the other hand, are trained to work with children and their families within the context of the educational system, utilizing a family systems theoretical orientation.

Another unique characteristic of our program is the implementation of the cohort model.  Each fall, we admit 36 candidates into our program. These students progress through the program together, taking a carefully constructed sequence of classes. The purpose of this is to insure that each student will be able to finish their program within the 2 ½ - 3 year timeline, but also as a means for building collegiality and support among the student body. 

Graduates from the SBFC program are eligible to:  

  • work as School Counselors in public and private K-12 level schools
  • work as Child Welfare and Attendance specialists in K-12 level schools.
  • work in agencies that send therapists into schools utilizing the school-based family counseling model.
  • work in mental health agencies.
  • Once licensed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences, work in a private practice setting.

Program Outcomes:

Students will

  • Students Practice Effectual Clinical Treatment and Intervention Skills
  • Students Demonstrate Knowledge of Various Systems-Oriented and Individual Counseling Theories and Strategies.
  • Students Utilize Cultural Competency in Clinical Settings.  

Program Application:

The program accepts one new cohort of students every year to begin in the Fall. Typically, betwen 200-350 program applications are received every year for 36 cohort positions. No specific undergraduate major is required, nor is a standardized test (e.g. GRE) required. All applications will be completed and submitted online.  The applicant must be accepted by the program through the Division of Special Education and Counseling application process. Applications are screened by the Admissions Committe and in-person interviews are scheduled for selected applicants. Every selected applicant is required to participate in a 20-30 minute in person interview with the Program Admissions Committee. 

Program Faculty:

As a part of the program, you will receive instruction from faculty members with extensive experience in school counseling and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS), Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA), Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), and Clinical Psychology.  For further information, contact the Program Co-Coordinators, Dr. Michael Carter or Dr. Emily Hernandez, and please leave a phone number where we can provide a detailed answer to your questions.

Dr. Michael J. Carter

Dr. Emily J. Hernandez
Dr. Deborah Ribera
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Also see our School-Based Family Counseling Program Page

​Master of Science Degree in Counseling Option in Marriage and Family Therapy