BYU MFT Frequently Asked Questions
- How long is the program?
- What does the program entail?
- How many clinical hours does the program require?
- When, during the program, do we start therapy?
- Are students paid for the therapy they do in the program?
- Is the licensure a state or national license?
- Is the program clinically based or theoretically based?
- What is the difference between MFT, Psychology and Social Work?
- What if I am not LDS?
- Do I have to live in BYU approved housing?
- Where can I live if I have a family?
- What if I am not a typical/traditional student?
- Can I work while in the program?
- What resources are available for financial aid?
- What percent of the students find jobs within 6 months after graduating?
- How much can I expect to earn as a Marriage and Family Therapist?
- Where can I find more information about what marriage and Family Therapists do?
- What are the prerequisites for the program? Any specific classes I need to take?
- How can I prepare for the program?
- What GRE and GPA do I need to have to get into the program?
- What are the average GPA and GRE scores of students who are accepted in the program?
- Do I need to list a faculty mentor on the application?
- Do you accept transfer graduate credits?
- What do I put in the Additional Information section of the application?
- What are the additional documents MFT requires me to upload with my application?
- Do I need to send in my background check when I am applying?
- What do I do about the ecclesiastical endorsement?
- Where do I send my GRE Scores?
- What if I'm taking my GRE at the very end of November? Will my scores get there in time?
- What is a good 'Statement of Intent?'
- What if I'm not accepted to the program? What then?
How long is the program?
The master's degree program takes 24 months to complete and the doctoral degree program takes 3-4 years to complete. Students should expect to be involved in the program throughout the year, and maintain an active caseload throughout the Spring and Summer terms in addition to one required course each spring term.
What are the program requirements?
Students participate in classes and therapy sessions to prepare to practice therapy. Each student is assigned their own clients around the third month of the program so they can begin to progress through the 500 clinical hours required for graduation. Master's students are required to write a thesis or clinical project, and doctoral students are required to write a dissertation in addition to publishing 2-3 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Students will actively engage with professors for mentored research and will typically have an opportunity to present at a national conference.
For more information, please view this presentation.
For additional information regarding the program's details, there is a Letter to Prospective Students which can help explain more of the specifics about the program.
How many clinical hours does the program require?
For both programs, you must complete 500 face-to-face clinical hours with individuals, couples, families, or children. At least 251 of those hours must involve couples or families. You are also required to have at least 100 hours of supervision with a faculty member.
- When, during the program, do we start therapy?
Most students will expect to start seeing clients in about November of their first year. Prior to seeing clients, students will need to demonstrate competency in therapy situations (as determined by their practicum supervisor) as they observe other students in the program doing therapy from behind the one-way mirror.
Are students paid for the therapy they do in the program?
No, not directly. Clients who come to this clinic typically pay $15/session and the money that is received for therapy goes directly to funding programs and activities that will directly benefit the students such as travel to conferences, guest speakers, graduation banquets, etc.
Is the licensure a state or national license?
Licensure requirements vary by state. Graduation from our COAMFTE accredited program will enable you to meet the requirements necessary to obtain licensure in Utah (and transfer to most states). There is a national licensing exam required for licensure within 2 years of graduating from our program.
Most PhD students choose to become licensed during their time in the program and, therefore graduate "PhD, LMFT".
Is the program clinically based or research focused?
Our Master's degree program is designed to help students meet the requirements for licensure. Therefore, there are both clinical and theoretical and research aspects that meet the requirements for both COAMFTE and Utah Licensure. The PhD program emphasizes research, but there is also a clinical requirement, and the opportunity to utilize the 3rd and 4th year internship to pursue either end.
What is the difference between MFT, Psychology and Social Work?
These three treatment fields fit onto a spectrum ranging from psychology, which is more focused on the individual and assessment tools, to MFT, which is focused on the system or interactions between individuals, to Social Work, which is focused on the wider scope of the community.
All are recognizable, established, and credible mental health fields, and all allow reimbursement from insurance.
I am not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the sponsoring organization for BYU). Can I still attend BYU?
We regularly have students who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ attend the program. There will be a difference in tuition costs as required by the university. (Please note: All PhD students receive full tuition regardless of religion affiliation and cost. All MS students receive half LDS Rate tuition scholarship). All students who attend BYU must agree to abide by the BYU Honor Code and receive an Ecclesiastical Endorsement.
Do I have to live in BYU-approved housing?
Once you are a graduate student you are not required to live in BYU-approved housing. There are a variety of housing options available throughout Provo and in the surrounding communities (KSL, craigslist, Facebook Groups). There are resources available to help you find housing such as online housing sites, and the BYU off-campus housing search tool.
Where can I live if I have a family?
If you have a family, there are many apartments and houses available and the BYU off-campus housing search tool can be used to help accommodate your housing needs. We also suggest browsing KSL, Craigslist and utilizing other resources.
What if I am not a typical/traditional student?
We frequently have students who have decided to come back to school after working or raising a family and/or students who have not been in the school setting for several years. We also have students who make a career change mid-career. Our program is designed to fit all who are accepted.
Can I work while in the program?
We recommend that you do not work outside the program. With both clinical and academic workloads it is a very rigorous program and additional work might make it difficult for you to focus on your clients and studies. We do provide financial assistance to help offset the costs of graduate school.
What resources are available for financial aid?
In the Master's Program students receive 1/2 LDS rate tuition scholarships as well as a research assistantship of about 10 hours a week that will yield as much as $8,300/yr. In the Doctoral program, students receive Full Tuition stipends as well as a research stipend yielding as much as $21,000 each year. There are also research, college and university-level scholarships available. Our students also receive financial support for travel to conferences.
What percent of the students find jobs within 6 months after graduating?
In the past 5 years, all graduating students seeking MFT-related work have secured a position, most before their graduation. There has been some difficulty finding initial positions for students trying to find work as a clinician within Utah County (near BYU) because of high therapist saturation. Students willing to work outside of Utah County typically find work more quickly and have better job opportunities. Many of our students also choose to obtain a Ph.D. after graduating from our M.S. program and all are admitted to good programs throughout the nation.
The numbers below are roughly average for Master's and Doctoral graduates, but salaries will vary between states due to cost of living and saturation of mental health professionals in the area. For example, in Utah County the typical private pay therapy rate ranges from about $80-200/hour.
In recent alumni surveys, our Doctoral students reported earning about $70,000-100,000/year within just a few years of graduation. Our Master's alumni reported earning about $40,000-70,000/year within a few years of graduation. According to recent data, the mean salary for beginning LMFTs is roughly $53,000 with a median salary of roughly $49,600. The lower median is indicative of the high growth rate this field is currently experiencing, and indicates a large number of MFTs just starting to practice. This indicates a field with ample opportunity, and as insurance companies continue to prioritize MFT's relatively swift treatment times with higher payouts per visit, these salary numbers are likely to rise swiftly. The salary information above can be accessed here. MFTs can work in a variety of settings such as in academics, private practice, healthcare settings and other entrepreneurial arenas that will all affect actual salary.
Where can I find more information about what Marriage and Family Therapists do?
Though there are many ways to find information like this, the best way to actually know what MFTs do is to observe them. Due to patient privacy protections, this can be difficult, but the links below lead to various videos and video collections that show Marriage and Family Therapy and related therapies in action. These videos are possible only because the patients have given their permission for their release.
What are the prerequisites for the program? Any specific classes I need to take?
There aren't any specific prerequisites. There are some recommended courses you can take, but they are not required for admittance to our program. The list of suggested courses can be found here: http://mft.byu.edu/prerequisites.html. Similar courses can be found and taken at most undergraduate institutions.
How can I prepare for the program?
To prepare for this program, there are some things that will strengthen your application, but none of the items listed below are required:
- Research experience is very helpful because research is a focus in this program, and prior experience helps the professors see that you are prepared for this program's rigor.
- Any volunteer therapy experiences (psych tech, care tech, therapy-type, etc.) can show that you are already beginning to understand individuals and families from a therapist's perspective
- Human Service experience of any kind shows a dedication to helping others, which is at the core of the successful practice of therapy (NOTE: Do not include LDS mission service here.
What GRE and GPA do I need to have to get into the program?
Each years' applicants are exclusively considered in comparison to each other, so the only minimum score requirement is a 3.0 GPA. Historically, to be considered competitive you need to score about 310 on the GRE with a 4.5 on the writing section We will also calculate your GPA in upper division coursework from your transcript and generally expect roughly a 3.7 GPA by that metric. The acceptance process also takes into account letters of recommendation and intent, and other qualifications such as research, volunteer and human service experience, so these scores are not the only important consideration.
What are the average GPA and GRE scores of students who are accepted in the program?
To see the average scores of accepted students for the past 5 years, please follow the links below to the graduate studies website, and then click on the Statistics tab at the top right of the page.
Do I need to list a faculty mentor on the application?
No. It is best to leave this field blank unless you have already discussed this with the faculty member of your choice. You may list multiple faculty whose research interests appeal to you. For a summary of faculty research interests, please visit the Faculty Research Interests page.
Do you accept transfer graduate credits?
This is determined case by case after students are accepted. The program director will look at the courses that have already been completed to see if they line up with the courses required for our program and then determine transfer credits from there. The Office of Graduate Studies only allows 25% of the total credits required for the program to be transferred, so for the Master's program you can only transfer up to 15 credits, and for the Doctoral program you can only transfer up to 17 credits.
What do I put in the Additional Information section of the application?On the application you will get to a page that is titled "Additional Information".
Ignore what it says, we WOULD like you to upload a résumé or bulleted list experience here. We are sorry for the confusion. Please contact us if you have any questions.
What are the additional documents MFT requires me to upload with my application?
Under department documents, we ask you to upload a brief bullet point list of your previous experiences with research, therapy, and human service. For more information, please refer to question 2 "How can I prepare for the program?" above.
Do I need to send in my background check when I am applying?
We do not require the background check until after you are admitted to the program. This means you do not need to send in your background check with the application, but will instead provide it for us at the start of your first term.
What do I do about the ecclesiastical endorsement?
An endorsement is required for all applicants. Visit Endorse.byu.edu
Please note: Current BYU students need an additional applicant endorsement with both their stake president and bishop in addition to their current continuing student endorsement.
All persons wanting to attend BYU must complete and maintain a valid ecclesiastical endorsement in order to be enrolled at the university. The process can be started at endorse.byu.edu and depending on your situation the process may be different. Below are a few examples of how you can complete this process depending on your individual situation.
- As an LDS applicant applying for graduate admission (including currently enrolled BYU students), you must obtain a NEW ecclesiastical endorsement which requires an interview with both your local bishop and stake president.
- Currently enrolled BYU undergraduate students are instructed NOT to complete the "Continuing/Currently Enrolled" endorsement as this option is not relevant to graduate admissions and will cause you significant delays.
- Non-LDS applicants
- As a Non-LDS applicant you may elect to complete an ecclesiastical interview with either your local religious leader or a local LDS bishop in your area and then a final interview via phone or email with the our on campus BYU Chaplain.
- To find the name and phone number of the nearest LDS bishop in your area please click here.
Where do I send my GRE Scores?
Send them to BYU (#4019). They will go to the graduate school, where they will automatically be linked with your application and sent on to us.
What if I'm taking my GRE at the very end of November? Will my scores get there in time?
Regardless of when you take the GRE, your application is due December 1st, so make sure you submit the rest of the application whether your scores are included or not. Please try to have your GRE testing complete and your scores submitted prior to the application deadline. This will require completion of the GRE prior to November 15 to be certain we receive your scores in time.
If this is not possible for you, please contact us beforehand and inform us that your GRE scores are incoming, and then submit your application with the unofficial scores generated at the end of the computer based test. It will take at least two weeks for your Official GRE Scores to reach us, but we may begin evaluating applicants before they arrive, so you will be at a disadvantage in the early evaluations if your scores are not submitted on time.
What is a good 'Statement of Intent?'
A good statement of intent is typically about 1-3 double spaced pages and briefly describes your background (i.e. what has prepared you for grad school?), your reasons for pursuing the MFT program at BYU (i.e. how do you want to focus your study, why, and why here?), and your long-term research and clinical goals (i.e. how do you plan to use your degree?). It should focus on you, your goals, and how you see this program serving as a step towards them.
In addition to the guidelines, for applications submitted for the December 1, 2018 deadline, we would also like students to include the following prompt in their statement of intent:Which aspect of the BYU Mission and Aims is most compelling to you as you consider graduate work at BYU?
For helpful resources and an example statement of intent, follow these links:
What if I'm not accepted to the program? What then?
First, we congratulate you for your effort and hope you recognize this is no easy feat! There could be a number of reasons why you were not invited to interview for the program or not accepted. Many students who apply could be successful, but limited space allows only for those students who are most particularly suited for our program, the current faculty, and their research interests. While we do invite you to reapply, we also caution that those who have been interviewed and not accepted have a very small chance of getting another interview and being accepted. Should you decide to reapply, you will need to be specific about what you have done to improve since the last application and why you should be reconsidered.
We encourage you to reapply next year.