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Admissions Information

Application Deadlines

Degree Requirements


Financial Assistance






Epstein, Norman B., Full Member

Associate Professor

Leslie, Leigh A., Full Member

Assistant Professor

Mittal, Mona, Full Member

Assistant Clinical Professor

Barros Gomes, Patricia,

More FCFT Faculty Information

Couple and Family Therapy (FCFT)   

Program Title and Classification

Couple and Family Therapy

Graduate Degree Program

College: Public Health


The mission of the CFT Master’s program is to prepare competent, effective therapists for clinical practice and advancement of the marriage and family therapy discipline. The program seeks to train professionals who demonstrate superior therapeutic skills, ethical integrity, intellectual curiosity, and a sincere commitment to working with families from diverse populations.


The M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) provides students with the coursework and supervised clinical training typically required in states with Marriage and Family Therapy licensure. The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The Couple and Family Therapy M.S. program requires 48 credits for the non-thesis option and 51 credits for the thesis option. Completion of the program, which includes the 2-year internship, generally requires 2 years.


The Department of Family Science prepares students to describe, explain, and improve the quality of life through applied research, education, therapy, human services, policy analysis, and advocacy.  The approach is interdisciplinary, emphasizing individual, interpersonal, and social change.  The program of study is based on a systems or ecological paradigm, combining the perspectives of interrelated professional fields of family science, maternal and child health, couple and family therapy, family policy, behavioral science, and human services.  Graduates are prepared for careers in the public, non-profit and private sectors, including university teaching, research, family policy analysis, and administrative positions in human services and public health programs.


Admissions Information

General Requirements:

Program-Specific Requirements:

  • Letters of Recommendation (3)
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

For more admissions information or to apply to the program, please visit our Graduate School website:

Application Deadlines

Type of Applicant Fall
Domestic Applicants:
US Citizens and Permanent Residents
17 Jan
International Applicants:
F (student) or J (exchange visitor) visas
A,E,G,H,I and L visas and immigrants.
5 Jan

Other Deadlines: Please visit the program website at

Degree Requirements

Master of Science (M.S.)

Core Requirements

Thesis students must complete a total of 51 credits including six credits of FMSC 799: Master's Thesis Research and successuflly pass an oral examination of the thesis. Non-thesis students must complete a total of 48 credits including three credits of FMSC 789: Non-thesis Research and successfully pass the written and oral case presentation.

All students must complete the following core courses: 

FMSC 600: Family Theories (3 credits) FMSC 610: Research Methods in Family Science (3 credits)
FMSC 640: Family Therapy: Theory and Techniques (3 credits) FMSC 641: Couples Therapy, Theory, and Techniques (3 credits)
FMSC 642: Normal and Abnormal Individual and Family Development (3 credits) FMSC 645: Sexuality: Issues in Family Therapy and Service Delivery (3 credits)
FMSC 650: Ethical, Legal, and Professional Principles in Marriage and Family Therapy (3 credits) FMSC 651: Psychopathology in the Family Context (3 credits)
FMSC 652: Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental and Emotional Disorders in Family Systems (3 credits) FMSC 653: Advanced Application of MFT Models and Techniques (3 credits)
FMSC 654: Clinical Marriage and Family Therapy Practice (3 credits) FMSC 658: Supervised Clinical Practice of Marriage and Family Therapy (9 credits total)
FMSC 745: Gender and Ethnicity in Family Therapy and Service Delivery (3 credits) 45 credits subtotal


The CFT curriculum has three parts: didactic coursework, clinical practica, and supervised client contact. The minimum total credits required are 48 for the non-thesis option and 51 for the thesis option. Didactic coursework is taken in conjunction with 15 credits of clinical practicum seminars and 9 credits of supervision of clinical work. In the clinical practicum, theory is applied to specific case material, with faculty supervision providing support and oversight of assigned cases.

Supervised client contact begins in the student’s first semester. Clinical students are required to gain 400 hours of face-to-face client contact, and 250 of these hours must be relational (with couples or families). The Center for Healthy Families, the couple and family therapy clinic operated by the Department, offers the opportunity to gain these hours. Clinical students receive 100 hours of supervision, both individual and group, for their client contact hours. Supervision in the Department’s clinic is provided through a range of techniques including case discussion, one-way mirror observation, video review, co-therapy, and telephone consultation during live sessions. Students may choose to do some of their clinical work in a variety of available externship sites in the local area.

Couple and Family Therapy students may pursue the thesis or non-thesis option. For thesis option students, 6 semester hours are thesis research credits taken as FMSC 799. The thesis must be approved and then defended in an oral examination. Non-thesis option students take the 3 credit FMSC 789. Non-thesis students must complete a written and oral therapy case presentation.


Facilities and Special Resources

Center for Healthy Families: This Center is the training and research arm of the Couple and Family Therapy Program in the Department of Family Science. Departmental graduate students and faculty provide clinical and educational services to families from surrounding communities in this state-of-the-art facility. Master’s and doctoral students use data collected at the Center for research projects.


The University’s close proximity to the nation’s capital, the state capital in Annapolis, federal executive departments, and headquarters of national professional and public interest associations provide research and internship placements for studying family policy unmatched by any other graduate program in the discipline. The Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area offers rich opportunities for research on culturally and socioeconomically diverse families. The campus and department have excellent computer facilities. Students have ready access to the University’s extensive library systems, as well as holdings from the Library of Congress, the National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine, National Archives, and many other library collections.

Financial Assistance

Graduate Assistantships are available to students admitted into the CFT program.

Contact Statement

For additional information, please contact: Dr. Norman Epstein (CFT Program Director), or Dr. Kevin Roy (Graduate Director).

Department of Family Science

1142 School of Public Health, Bldg. 255

College Park, MD 20742

Phone: 301-405-3672

Fax: 301-314-9161



Program Director of the Couple and Family Therapy M.S. Program
Norman B. Epstein, Ph.D.

Department of Family Science
1142 School of Public Health, Bldg. 255
College Park

MD, 20740

Telephone: 301-405-4013

Fax: 301-314-9161


Associated Information


Couple Therapy; Ethnic Families; Family Therapy; Marriage and Family Therapy; Couple and Family Therapy; Mental Health