M.S. in School-Based Family Counseling

lady with her child
lady with her child

The School-Based Family Counseling Program is designed to understand - 

  • The clinical skills of an independent marriage/ family therapist and a wide range of competencies of an effective school counselor.  
  • The ability to work with adults, families, and children from a variety of systems-oriented perspectives and environments.
  • The strategies to develop a collaborative effort between the family and school to maximize the academic and social success of the child.  
  • The challenges of increasing parental involvement in their child’s educational process to assist the child to become successful in school and in the community. 

Application Process

  • The application deadline for the 2024 Cohort will be January 15, 2024. 
  • NO late applications will be accepted. 
  • Applications for Fall 2024 will open up on October 1st, 2024.  

Note: On the application, the SBFC program is listed under “Graduate Degree programs - Cal State Los Angeles” under “Counseling”- (School-Based Family Counseling - Marriage and Family Therapy and School Counseling).

Please follow the instructions provided by Cal State LA Admissions and Recruitment regarding transcripts- Submitting Transcripts
Be sure to complete the application and upload ALL required documents, including personal statements, transcripts, and letters of recommendation by January 15, 2024.  Incomplete applications will NOT be reviewed. 
The personal statement in the application should be double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, in 12 pt. Times New Roman font. 

M.S. in Counseling Option in School-Based Family Counseling


Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)
Pupil Personnel Services Credential (PPS)
Advanced Authorization in Child Welfare and Attendance (CWA)

A fully integrated program with an emphasis on clinical training in multicultural conjoint family therapy and social justice that also includes the PPS in School Counseling and Advanced Authorization in Child Walfare and Attendance. The program satisfies all the academic requirements for the California MFT license, LPCC license, PPS and CWA credentials, and qualifies our graduates for employment in mental health agencies and in schools.

The SBFC program is an in-person, late afternoon, full-time graduate program that is highly structured and typically takes between 2 ½  to 3 years to complete, depending on the life circumstances of each student. In the first year, students typically take 5 classes that meet once per week each semester, with 2 classes on Monday nights, from 4:30 pm until 10 pm, one course on Wednesday night from 4:30-7:15pm and 2 additional courses taken either on Tuesday or Thursday from 4:30-10 pm, depending on which Clinic courses they are assigned. These Clinic courses provide the opportunity for students to work in the Cal State LA’s School-Based Family Counseling Clinic with families from the community who are referred for family and school-related problems. Students work in co-therapy teams under the direct supervision of licensed faculty members. In the second year, students are eligible to begin their fieldwork courses in Marriage and Family Therapy and School Counseling while taking 4 courses each semester over 2-3 days in the same time slots as above. Upon completion of their coursework, students must pass comprehensive exams or complete a thesis or project. 

The SBFC program at Cal State LA currently accepts two cohorts of 12 students each, once a year for the Fall semester. Acceptance to the program is usually a very competitive process with over 300 applicants for 24 positions, so it is very important to get experience in the mental health field and to know what an MFT and School Counselor do in their work settings.  

Historically, applicants with a grade point average of 3.0 or better are selected for interviews, although this depends on the quality of the applicants for each year's cohorts.  Those applicants selected receive a 20 minute individual interview with at least two faculty members.  The purpose of the interview is to assess the applicant's knowledge and experience of the Marriage and Family Therapy and the School Counseling professions, and the ability to demonstrate the interpersonal skills and self-awareness necessary for these professions.   

No specific undergraduate major is required nor is a standardized test (e.g. GRE) required.    

There is only one prerequisite, which is a course in Counseling or Psychological Theories (This does not have to be completed before applying to the program, but it must be completed before beginning the program in the Fall). 

COUN 4500-Counseling Theories is offered at Cal State LA in the 10-week Summer semester before the program begins if you have not taken a similar course beforehand. A satisfactory course for the prerequisite in Counseling Theories (COUN 4500) must include specific coverage of the major theories of counseling or psychology (i.e., psychoanalytic, behavioral, gestalt, Rogerian, cognitive, etc.). An introductory course in psychology will likely not have enough coverage of theories. A Theories of Personality course may be appropriate.  If you think you have taken a satisfactory course, then email Dr. Carter a syllabus from the course so that he can evaluate it for adequate coverage of the theories. You must have earned a “C” or better in the course. There are no other courses that can be taken before beginning the program.

After reading all of this and the information on the links, if you still have questions about the program application itself, contact Nazriah Noor at [email protected]

For other program related questions not already addressed here, please contact the program faculty. 

We wish you all the best in your journey towards becoming a mental health professional and we hope to see your application in January.

Due to COVID restrictions, interviews for admission for those who qualify will be held through Zoom during the last 2 Fridays and Saturdays of February 2023.  For those applicants who are accepted, an orientation and group advisement meeting are held in April.

*We have returned to in-class instruction for Fall 2022, per university directives. This is subject to change and depends on safety and any changes in the COVID situation, but students need to be living in the Los Angeles area in order to start the program. There is NO on-line option for this program.

As per University requirements

ALL STUDENTS MUST BE FULLY VACCINATED. The CSU now requires COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. All students must complete the COVID-19 Self-Certification process in MyCalStateLA portal. Students who are eligible to receive boosters must do so and upload proof asap. Face masks are required indoors on campus and are strongly recommended outdoors in many settings. Learn more about University COVID-19 requirements.

The total cost of the degree depends on when you are able to complete your fieldwork. Students are allowed to begin fieldwork during the second year and most finish it in the 3rd year. This would result in 4 semesters at the full-time rate (currently = $4200 per semester) = $16,800; PLUS 1 summer semester at the end of the first year with 2 classes through Open University (currently $990 per class) = $1980; Plus 2 semesters of 3-6 units of fieldwork in the third year (part time rate currently at $2800 per semester) = $5600 for a Total = $24,380. It is not known if there will be an increase in tuition over the next 3 years.  For Financial Aid information, contact Cal State LA's Financial Aid Office. 

Information Session

students speaking

Cal State LA SBFC Program Information Session Link
Date : Oct 20, 2022, 4:30pm
Meeting Recording is available
Program Information Session Slides

The program information session from October 20, was recorded. The recorded session and the slides can be found above. 

Program Faculty

Missing media item.

Michael J. Carter
Ph.D.- SBFC Faculty
Office Location: KH C-1067J
Phone: x34438
Email: [email protected]

Missing media item.Emily J. Hernandez
Ed.D.- SBFC Faculty
Office Location: KH A2049
Phone: 323-343-4424
Email: [email protected]