Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy

Mission Statement

The MFT program is dedicated to the education and training of competent, self-aware, and culturally sensitive family therapists. Using a foundation in Christian faith, a systemic family psychology approach, and an integration of theories of psychotherapy, students explore personal, ethical, and social values as they prepare to serve the needs of their communities.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) Option

The MFT program offers one additional course that provides for students interested in dual licensure as an LPCC and an MFT. Coursework meets California education requirements for both licenses.

Gottman Couples Therapy Level 1 Certificate

The Couples Therapy course includes the completion of Gottman Level 1 training, which equips students with new insight into couples’ struggles using research-based assessments and effective interventions based on the Gottman Sound Relationship House Theory. Students receive a certificate of completion and are then eligible to take the Level 2 training.

Substance Use Disorders Concentration

Upon completion of the MFT program, students may choose to take nine additional units that fulfill the requirements for a concentration in substance use disorders, qualifying the student to sit for the certification examination of the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE), and designation as a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor, Masters Level (CATC IV).

Program Goals

Student Learning Outcomes

Diversity. Students will recognize the importance of diversity and its impact on clinical practice. Students will be equipped with awareness of beliefs and customs of diverse cultural groups and how to implement this knowledge when treating clients and interacting with agency personnel.

Identity Formation. Students will articulate their personal narrative inclusive of values, beliefs, behaviors, and traditions of faith that inform their worldview.

Ethical practice. Students will understand the ethical guidelines and legal requirements within the field of marriage and family therapy. Students gain knowledge of when to use resources and seek consultation if faced with ethical or legal dilemmas in the context of therapy.

Competency. Students will be trained to become practitioners in marriage and family therapy with professional competencies in relationship, intervention, diversity, integration of faith and practice, and systemic family psychology.

Program Outcomes

Diversity. The program will produce graduates who can apply their knowledge of family therapy in a culturally appropriate manner to a wide range of demographic groups.

Identity Formation. The program will produce graduates who demonstrate an awareness of their personal narrative and how it impacts their contribution to the field of marriage and family therapy.

Ethical practice. The program will produce graduates who will become clinicians who are ethically grounded, demonstrate integrity, and operate within the laws of the profession.

Competency. The program will prepare graduates to effectively utilize a variety of theoretical approaches to marriage and family therapy.

Admission

Admitted students typically begin in the fall semester. To be considered for fall enrollment, the deadline for submission of a completed application is March 1. Students who apply earlier will be given priority consideration for admission.

Applicants may also apply to begin in the spring semester. The deadline for submission of a completed application for spring enrollment is October 1. Applicants for the spring semester will be considered based on space available at the Azusa campus and the Orange County, San Diego, and Inland Empire regional campuses.

Admission to the program does not guarantee that students will obtain a license or credential in marriage and family therapy or as an LPCC. Licensure and credentialing requirements are set by agencies that are not controlled by or affiliated with Azusa Pacific University and requirements can change at any time. For example, licensure or credentialing requirements can include evidence of the right to work in the United States (e.g., Social Security number or taxpayer identification number) or successfully passing a criminal background check. Students are responsible for determining whether they can meet licensure or credentialing requirements. Azusa Pacific will not refund tuition, fees, or any associated costs to students who determine, subsequent to admission, that they cannot meet licensure or credentialing requirements.

Application Requirements

  • To be admitted into the program, students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university or college (or an equivalent degree from a college or university in another country) with a minimum 3.0 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale. At the discretion of the university, a higher professional degree such as an M.D. or D.C. may be accepted as a substitute for the bachelor’s degree. A limited number of applicants with a GPA of 2.7-2.99 may be admitted provisionally at the department’s discretion by providing adequate supporting documentation including a statement of explanation and/or 12 units of upper-division, post-B.A. coursework with grades of B or better (extension courses excluded).
  • Students who enter the program with a bachelor’s degree in a major other than psychology will be required to take Abnormal Psychology with a grade of B or better before beginning the program. Prerequisites may be waived on an individual basis.
  • International applicants whose first language is not English must submit an iBT (internet-based TOEFL) score of 90 minimum; the minimum subsets are: Reading 22, Speaking 22, Listening 22, and Writing 24. Students may also submit results of the Test of Written English (TWE) and the Test of Spoken English (TSE). Because written and verbal English language skills are crucial to the education, training, and practice of psychology, further testing for spoken and written English will be required for all international students upon entrance to the program or as deemed necessary at any point in the program. If applicants do not meet the minimum requirement, they must go through the American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) first to raise their proficiency. Students may be mandated to go to ALCI if they are not meeting the language and writing standards for the program.

Course Requirements

The degree must be completed in a minimum of two years and a maximum of six. Any extensions beyond six years must be requested as an exception to APU policy and must be submitted in writing on an Academic General Petition. A three-year course of study is recommended for most working students. The master’s program is composed of 66-69 units of coursework. A maximum of 12 units of selected coursework, which meet the following criteria, may be transferred:

  • Taken within the past eight years and completed with a grade of B or better
  • Obtained at a regionally accredited institution
  • Received from a graduate program in clinical psychology, counseling psychology, or marriage and family therapy
  • Acceptable for California MFT licensing requirements
  • Approval by the program director

Students in the program must maintain a 3.0 GPA with no course grade lower than a C-. Course resulting in grades lower than a C- will be retaken. In order to graduate, students may not have more than two instances of a C+/- on their transcript. If a student receives a third C+/-, the student will be required to retake one of the courses and receive a B- or better.  

Personal and Group Psychotherapy

During the course of the program, students must complete 40 hours of individual psychotherapy. Students have the option of completing 20 sessions (40 hours) of group therapy in lieu of 20 of the 40 required individual psychotherapy hours.

Clinical Placement

Students develop therapeutic skills through required hours of direct clinical experience. Clinical placements may range from 12-30 months depending upon course track sequences.

While students are responsible for securing a placement site, assistance is provided by the director of clinical training, site directors, and in the Introduction to Clinical Practice courses. In addition, students receive support from and opportunities to discuss clinical issues and problems with supervisors and faculty in clinical placement and supervision courses.

For students seeking licensure, the clinical placement sequence meets MFT and LPCC requirements in California. To ensure the highest quality in clinical placements, the director of clinical training maintains contact with offsite supervisors and evaluates the student’s experience. Any violations of professional ethics codes may be grounds for dismissal from the degree program.

Students are required to obtain 300 hours of direct client experience for the MFT license, and 300 hours of direct client experience for the LPCC license. To meet graduation and licensure requirements, the student must receive one hour of individual or two hours of group supervision for every five hours of direct client experience. These hours count toward the 3,000 hours required for MFT licensure in California. Hours for the LPCC license begin postgraduation.

Comprehensive Examination

As a final evaluative component of the MFT program, each student must pass the Comprehensive Examination, which includes two elements:

  1. A law and ethics exam
  2. A clinical exam

Failure to pass the Comprehensive Examination may prevent graduation from the program.

Program Locations

The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy offers its master’s degree program on APU’s Azusa campus as well as at the Orange County, San Diego, and Inland Empire regional campuses. More information may be obtained by contacting the program director, the local site administrator, or a program representative.

Azusa Campus
Program Administrator and Director: Vicki Ewing, M.A., MFT
vewing@apu.edu
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
(626) 815-6000, Ext. 5523

Orange County Regional Campus
Director: Melissa Zwart, M.S. M.A., LMFT
mzwart@apu.edu
1915 Orangewood Ave., Suite 100
Orange, CA 92868-2046
(714) 935-0260

San Diego Regional Campus
Director: Aimee Vadnais, Psy.D., MFT
avadnais@apu.edu
5353 Mission Center Rd., Suite 300
San Diego, CA 92108-1306
(619) 718-9655

Inland Empire Regional Campus
Director: Hilary Catling, M.A., LMFT
hcatling@apu.edu
375 W. Hospitality Lane
San Bernardino, CA 92408
(909) 888-9977

Course Requirements

Foundational Coursework
PPSY 551Theories of Psychotherapy3
PPSY 558Advanced Developmental Psychology3
PPSY 563Psychopathology3
PPSY 572Research Methodology3
Professional Coursework
PPSY 510Psychotherapy and Cultural Diversity3
PPSY 511Addictions, Assessment, and Interventions 13
PPSY 512Legal, Ethical, and Moral Issues in Therapy3
PPSY 525Crisis and Trauma in Community Mental Health3
PPSY 552Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy3
PPSY 557Couples Therapy3
PPSY 561Child and Adolescent Therapy3
PPSY 571Family Therapy3
PPSY 577Psychological Assessment3
PPSY 580Introduction to Clinical Practice: Basic Skills3
PPSY 581Introduction to Clinical Practice: Advanced Skills3
PPSY 582Group Skills3
PPSY 585Psychobiology and Psychopharmacology3
PPSY 597Clinical Placement I3
PPSY 598Clinical Placement II3
Interdisciplinary Coursework
PPSY 531Moral Identity Formation and Psychotherapy3
PPSY 533Christian Spiritual Formation and Psychotherapy3
PPSY 534Interdisciplinary Integration and Psychotherapy3
Optional Courses
Substance Use Disorders II: History, Support, and Promising Practices 1
Substance Use Disorders III: Co-Occurring Disorders, Co-Morbidity, and Integrated Treatment 1
SUD IV: Families and Other Special Populations; Confidentiality and Evidence Based Practices 1
Career Development Theories and Techniques
Total Units66
1

Students who elect to take the optional concentration in substance use disorders must complete the master’s degree prior to enrolling in the concentration coursework. Additionally, PPSY 511 must have been completed with a grade of B- or better, and students must have completed their practicum at an APU-affiliated substance use disorder clinical placement site.