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Doctoral Program

Curriculum for the PH.D. Degree (Post-Master's option)

Brigham Young University offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Marriage and Family Therapy. Administratively this degree is housed in the School of Family Life. Students admitted to this program will have completed the Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy or equivalent at another accredited institution. The Ph.D. degree program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

Eleven full-time faculty have primary instructional responsibility for the graduate program with support from the School of Family Life faculty. Major courses and clinical practice are conducted in the BYU Comprehensive Clinic which houses clinical psychology, speech and language disorders, audiology, and social work in addition to the marriage and family therapy program.

Students are required to complete a minimum of 63 credit hours (listed below). In addition, a minimum of 500 hours of direct client contact (with at least 251 being relational) are required for the Doctoral degree. Additional practicum experience is also available in various inpatient and outpatient medical and mental health facilities in the community once 200 clinical hours are completed in the Comprehensive Clinic. An internship experience is required during the third year of the program while students prepare for their final dissertation defense.

Eligibility for admission to the Ph.D. (post-master's) program is based upon the applicant having an earned master's degree in MFT from a regionally accredited college or university. Some exceptions may be made for individuals who have graduated from a non-accredited program, but this is determined on a case-by-case basis under the direction of BYU's Graduate Studies, the MFT advisor, MFT Program & Clinical Directors. The Graduate School requires an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or above for the last sixty hours for admission. Competitive applicants typically have a 3.75 GPA or higher, a combined score near 300 on the verbal and quantitative tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and a score of 4.0 or higher on the written portion of the GRE. For now the GRE is recommended, but not required for applicants.

Financial assistance is offered to those in the PhD program. Full tuition & fees will be paid for at the LDS rate for all students. All PhD students will also be offered a research stipend of 20 hours a week, amounting to roughly $22,500 a year.

In addition to course work and supervised clinical practicum, each student is required to complete a Doctoral Dissertation as well as a Doctoral Portfolio. More information regarding what is included in the portfolio will be given after admission to the program.

Ph.D. Program Goals. As a program, we aim for the following goals:

  1. Be an international leader in conducting and publishing research, with an emphasis on process research that informs how change in relational therapy occurs.
  2. Focus education on the integration of theory, science, and the practice of systemic and relational healing.
  3. Develop professionals with effective teaching skills
  4. Foster an environment of compassion, inclusion, and diversity.

Students are expected to demonstrate the following student learning outcomes:

  1. Graduating students will be competent in research skills
  2. Graduating students will have submitted for publication at least 2 papers as a primary author
  3. Graduating students will be competent in designing and carrying out research related methodology
  4. Graduating students will be clinically prepared
  5. Graduating students will be ethically prepared
  6. Graduating students will be prepared to be licensed in the state of Utah
  7. Student teachers will receive positive evaluations from their students and observing faculty
  8. Graduating students will be competent in designing and implementing effective teaching strategies
  9. Graduating students will be competent in relating to clients with regards to gender diversity
  10. Graduating students will be competent in relating to clients with regards to cultural diversity

Demographics for the Ph.D. Degree

The following areas of study correspond to the curriculum prescribed by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the AAMFT.


(“Areas” of study refer to COAMFTE required areas of study.)

Area VII: Theory Credit Hours
MFT 751 Advanced Theory of Marital and Family Therapy 3

Area VIII: Clinical Credit Hours
MFT 753 Advanced Clinical Specialization in Marital and Family Therapy 3
MFT 754 Family Therapy for Children & Adolescents 3

Area IX: Clinical Supervision Credit Hours
MFT 750 Supervision in Marriage and Family Therapy 3

Area X: Research Credit Hours
MFT 700 Advanced Theory of Marital and Family Therapy 3
One Course:
MFHD 602 Experimental Design; MFHD 604 Ethnographic Research Techniques; SOC 706R Advanced Statistical Methods
One Course: STAT 512 Statistical Methods for Research; OR SOC 606 Intermediate Stats 3
MFT 793R Research Seminar in Marriage and Family Therapy 3

Area XI: Additional Courses Credit Hours
MFT 603R Research Practicum (6 Semester credits) 6
Ph.D. students are required to take any 6 semester hours of electives offered at the University and chosen in consultation with their graduate advisory committee. The purpose of these courses is to help each student build a unique specialization as part of their doctoral program. Courses may be chosen from course work offered in a variety of disciplines which might include university teaching, family life, human development, family sociology, education,and social work. Many select research and computer classes so that they can simultaneously fill the electives requirement of the standards and the “Tool” requirement of the University.

Area XII: Additional BYU Requirements Credit Hours
MFT 655R Intermediate Practicum in MFT (6 semester credits) 6
MFT 755R
Advanced Practicum in MFT (2 semester credits) 2
MFT 770R Clinical Internship (4 semester credits; 9-12 months) 4
MFT 799R Doctoral Dissertation (18 semester credits) 18


Suggested electives as determined by the student and advisory committee may include courses such as those listed below.
Area XII: Teaching Skills Credit Hours
MFHD 566 Family Life Education in the University 3
MFHD 567 Practicum in FLE 1
MFHD 665 Philocophy in Family Life Education (CFLE) 3
Advanced Research Skills
MFHD 604 Ethnographic Research Techniques 3
Psychology 3
Psych 711R Parent Education 3
Marriage Family & Human Development 3
MFHD 540 Family Economics 3
MFHD 551 Fathering: Scholarship & Intervention 3
MFHD 550 Contemporary Family Theories 3
MFHD 570 Paradigms in Family Process & Analysis 3
MFHD 660 Child & Adolescent Socialization 3
MFHD 692R Seminar in Family Relationships 3
Human Development
MFHD 510 Seminar in Intellectual Development 3
MFHD 511 Familial Influences on Social Development 3
MFHD 512 Emotional & Moral Development 3
MFHD 514 Theories of Human Development 3
MFHD 566 Family Life Education in the University 3
MFHD 567R Practicum in Family Life Education 1
MFHD 663 The Individual and Family Over the Life Course 3
MFHD 666 Health and Aging Process 2
Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT 760R Supervision Practicum in MFT 1
MFT 649 Addictions and Violence 3
Social Work
SocW 647R Special Topics in Advanced Clinical Practice 2
(Subjects that may be offered include; Object Relations Therapy; Play Therapy; Cognitive Therapy) 3
SOC/MFHD 561 Family as an Institution 3
SOC 667 Sociology of Gender 3
Educational Psychology/Counseling Psychology
CPSE 602 Child/Adolescent Psychopathology 3
CPSE 610 Consultation Within School & Family Systems 3
CPSE 614 Applied Behavior Analysis 3
CPSE 648 Group Counseling and Intervention 3
CPSE 649 Human Growth & Development 3

*Plus 500 direct face-to-face clinical hours (with at least 251 being relational)