Marriage and family therapy (MFT), as the name implies, involves helping people who are having trouble with marital and family relationships. Often, counseling sessions involve at least two people, and the entire family may partake at some point. This makes the dynamic between the patient(s) and the therapist much different from standard psychological counseling, which is typically done on a one-to-one basis.

An online doctorate degree in MFT, in the form of a Ph.D. or PsyD, is an extension of the master’s, and provides more in-depth knowledge. At the master’s and doctorate level, licensure is possible. A Ph.D. or PsyD in marriage and family therapy is the ideal route for those who wish to pursue academic or research careers within the field.

It is important to check the accreditation of the programs you’re interested in. Online Ph.D. and PsyD degrees in MFT are typically nationally accredited, but some programs only have regional accreditation. These regionally-accredited programs may only qualify you for licensing in the state the school is in, and in some cases, they may leave you ineligible for licensure. With some regionally-accredited programs, you may also have difficulty transferring credits from one program to another if you decide to change schools. Learn more about all of these important steps to becoming an MFT below.

2024 - Best PhD/PsyD in Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) is the premier source for rankings of Doctorate Degrees in Marriage & Family Therapy. Our methodology is based on factors including completion rates, cost of living, selectivity of the institution, breadth of programs offered, and faculty experience. All of these criteria are given equal weight in determining the rankings. To view the full methodology behind our rankings, visit's Methodology Page. With this data, you can find the best program for your unique needs.


Alliant International University

Alliant International University-San Diego is a private university located in downtown San Diego. With over 5,000 students, it offers a wide range of degree programs, from undergraduate to doctoral level. One of the most popular programs offered is the Doctorate Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. With its convenient location and wide variety of degree programs, Alliant International University-San Diego is a great option for students looking to further their education.


The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago

Chicago, IL

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago is a private, accredited institution located in the heart of the city. With an enrollment of over 5,000 students, it offers a wide variety of programs from undergraduate to doctoral degrees. It is particularly well known for its Doctorate Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy, which is highly respected in the field. It also offers other programs in psychology, business, and education, making it a great choice for those seeking a comprehensive education."


Brigham Young University

Provo, UT

Brigham Young University (BYU) is located in Provo, Utah and is a private, non-profit university. The school is the largest religious university in the nation with over 32,000 students enrolled. BYU offers a Doctorate Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy. With over 250 programs of study, there is something for everyone. BYU is a great university to pursue higher education.

What Will I Learn in an Online MFT Doctorate Program?

The number of credit hours required for online Ph.D. and PsyD degrees in MFT is on the high side when compared to other types of psychology-focused doctorates. Depending on your prior studies, you may need between 75-108 credit hours of coursework. Some schools also have limits on how long you can take to finish the degree. At the usual speed of taking and passing courses, most students can expect to have their doctorates within two to three years, assuming you’re starting with a master’s degree.

Subjects taught include a variety of courses on the theory and practice of marriage and family therapy. You’ll also learn how to do quantitative analysis and other practices involved in research projects. Finally, you can expect to have to create a thesis, defend a dissertation, or do a similar capstone project prior to graduation. Depending on the school, you may also have to get a certain number of practicum hours.

Some of the courses you may encounter in an MFT Ph.D. or PsyD program may include:

  • Introduction to Systems Theory
  • Systemic Family Therapy
  • Crisis Management
  • Grant Writing and Funding Opportunities
  • Qualitative Action Research
  • Practicum Hours
  • Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention

Admissions Requirements for a Doctorate in MFT

Every school has somewhat different admission requirements. These vary depending on the state, the competitiveness of the program, and whether or not the program is meant to follow a master’s program at the same university. Some things, however, are much the same between institutions. This allows you to be ready to submit certain documents well in advance of the semester’s cutoff date. Typical MFT doctorate requirements include:

  • Application
  • Fee (if applicable)
  • Official transcripts
  • Master’s degree in a relevant subject
  • Minimum GPA
  • Letter(s) of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

Some programs may also require GRE scores. As always, you should check with your prospective college about any specifics. This will ensure you are as prepared as possible before enrolling.

List of MFT Doctorate Degree Programs

Find an online or campus-based doctorate program in MFT today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.

Jump to Your State Listings


1200 Taylor Rd
Montgomery, AL 36117-3553
(334) 387-3877 x7550


10455 Pomerado Road
San Diego, CA 92131
(858) 635-4000

135 N Oakland Ave
Pasadena, CA 91182
(626) 584-5200


PhD Programs
222 S. Copeland Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306-1037
(850) 644-2525


3140 Waialae Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96816-1578
(808) 735-4711


325 N Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 329-6600


101 Jessup Hall
Iowa City, IA 52242-1316
(319) 335-3500



PhD Programs
190 N. Oval Mall
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-6446


1120 N Ocoee St
Cleveland, TN 37311
(423) 614-8000


6425 Boaz St
Dallas, TX 75275-0221
(214) 768-2000


Main Campus
Provo, UT 84602
(801) 422-4636


1000 Regent University Dr
Virginia Beach, VA 23464
(757) 352-4127

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Liz Norris, LPCC
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