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Welcome to the Marriage & Family Therapy Program!

The Marriage & Family Therapy Program is a 2 year, 2 summer program beginning in summer. It is the most affordable program in San Diego.

 MFT Graduates

M.S. in Counseling with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy

"...Producing excellent Marriage and Family Therapists, who bring understandings, skills, and leadership to address the needs of today's diverse families and a commitment to social responsibility and change in mental health systems serving families and other relationships."
The purpose of the Marriage and Family Therapy program is to prepare students to practice as highly competent entry-level MFTs, capable of applying systemic-social constructionist ideas and practices in therapy and related change processes, such as between families and larger systems, in a multicultural society. The MFT program is founded on the beliefs that:
  • individuals, couples, and families function within a variety of intersecting social contexts, and
  • they struggle with increasingly complex developmental issues, unanticipated stressful events, and sociocultural, economic, and political factors that constrain achievement of successful social participation. Community providers need specialized training and multi-systemic therapeutic approaches to expand their resources for addressing relational problems that emerge from these factors.
The program training is guided by a philosophy that incorporates the following values and commitments:
  • A social constructionist-systemic orientation that regards knowledge as produced through social interaction and as, therefore, subjective rather than objective and true. Thus, therapists hold a tentative and inquiring stance in learning about clients' experiences and in considering the effects of their own perspectives on clients' lives.
  • Multicultural/cross-cultural development that invites examination of understandings of difference, language, history, and power and their effects in people's lives and advances the ability to address these factors in therapy and other relationships.
  • A community-focus to prepare for serving underserved and poorly served populations.
  • Social responsibility and change to consider the therapist's role in relation to social contribution, impact, and leadership for growth in mental health systems.
  • Personal growth, to support the exploration of one's own storied life, including cultural identities and experiences, consider the effects of experiences in social relationships, and open oneself to new personal behaviors and perspectives.
Learning Outcomes
  • Knowledge of theories, models, and methods of problem development and resolution from systemic and social constructionist perspectives.
  • Application of clinical skills based on culturally responsive systemic/social constructionist practices.
  • Incorporation of cultural and larger systems foundations into MFT Theory, practice, and research.
  • Defining one's role as a therapist in relation to social responsibility and change.
  • Reflection and practice of personal growth including development of the cultural self of therapist, that supports applying skills in the best interests of the clients.
  • Use of research to inform clinical practice.
  • Completion of the educational requirements for MFT licensure eligibility as defined by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS).
  • Completion of the educational requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).
Counseling Center
The Center for Community Counseling & Engagement (CCCE) is a non-profit community center providing low-cost counseling services to individuals, couples, and families within San Diego. CCCE is a training facility operated by San Diego State University which provides hands-on education for graduate students in the Masters degree programs in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology. Counseling services are provided by pre-licensed trainees in the fields of Marriage and Family Therapy and Community-based Counseling. Trainees are supervised by licensed therapists, psychologists and/or supervisors accredited by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) as well as members of SDSU's Counseling and School Psychology faculty.

Program Strengths

Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) Candidacy Status Accreditation.
COAMFTE is the national accreditation body for the profession of MFT. Program accreditation defines a program as having met nationally established standards for training in the field. Students benefit particularly with greater ease in gaining access to licensure across state lines and by recognition of the quality of the program. The program benefits from being defined as having met nationally recognized standards and qualifying for access to greater visibility and resources.
A diverse, intelligent, and compassionate student body.
A program is as much shaped by its student body as by its faculty and formal structures. Our students bring a rich array of life experiences and knowledge to the program. In keeping with our commitment to insure our students' readiness to work with the culturally diverse populations of our region and work from a socially responsible vantage point, we enroll a student body that reflects the local community. Currently about 70% of our students identify as students of color, including US born, Immigrants, and International status students. Our students are highly motivated and energetic. While faculty take responsibility for the basic content and structures of learning, reciprocal learning between faculty and students as well as student to student is considered vital to everyone's development.
Emphasis on teaching.
The MFT program and the University place teaching as the first priority. Faculty members are selected for their excellence in teaching and commitment to strong faculty-student relationships. Classes usually have 30 students or fewer in them. Learning processes are highly interactive, including emphases on both personal growth and professional knowledge and skills.
Active professional involvement of faculty.
As a major university, SDSU also selects its faculty members for their potential and actual contributions to research and other scholarship in their disciplines. The MFT faculty members actively publish in respected professional journals and present at major regional and national conferences. The program seeks diversity in its faculty membership and currently offers bilingual (Spanish/English) teaching and supervising faculty. Faculty members also take leadership in state and national professional organizations. Students are invited to participate in professional organizations and present at conferences with faculty.
Innovative curriculum.
The program's commitment to social change and diversity has produced a dynamic and multiculturally infused curriculum. In addition to specialized courses with multicultural content in MFT, faculty works to incorporate cultural considerations into all coursework. Specialty areas within the curriculum include family counseling in the schools and attention to relationships between families and other larger systems.
Quality clinical training.
The program provides a rich and varied clinical training experience with excellent supervision. Students first gain clinical experience within the department's clinical training facility under live supervision. All supervisors are either AAMFT Approved Supervisor designates or equivalent. Students participate in a second clinical experience in a program-approved community mental health agency or school. All sites must provide opportunities to work with a culturally diverse population of families, couples, and individuals, provide supervision by AAMFT Approved Supervisors or equivalents, and be able to provide supervision via audiotape, videotape, or live supervision. Students must complete 500 direct client contact hours, 250 of which are with families and couples. Students must additionally have a minimum of 100 hours of supervision, 50 hours of which must be via access to the live data of therapy (i.e. live, videotape, or audiotape supervision).
Student participation in professional conferences.
Students have the opportunity to link clinical understandings and research through the Master's project and other classroom activity. Several of our students are now presenting their work at national conferences and are authoring articles for publication based on their research.
Commitment to community.
The program has a long tradition of serving the community through its Traineeship placements and offering workshops and trainings. The Center for Community Counseling, the clinical training facility for the department, is located in the City Heights community of San Diego. This location provides targeted client populations with access to our services, outreach opportunities, and bridges to the schools in the community.
High rate of employment in the field.
Graduates of the MFT program at SDSU have been highly successful in securing employment in community agencies, private practices, hospitals, and school-affiliated programs. Graduates are regarded very highly by local employers and are recognized for the strength of their clinical training and cultural competency.

New Online Courses, Certificates and Masters Degrees offered by the Department of Counseling & School Psychology Starting 2015-2017. Please complete this survey and tell us what you want to learn.

Marriage & Family Therapy Program Admission Info

Please review our programs admissions page and the university's admission page for full details on our application process. Questions regarding program requirements can be directed to

MFT Facultu
SDSU Students Research
SDSU Students