With so many mental health specializations to choose from, it can be hard to decide what area of study you want to devote your career to. For many undecided psychology or counseling students, marriage and family therapy (MFT) is the perfect option; it’s broad enough so that you’re working with many demographics on a day-to-day basis, and there’s plenty of room to advance. Most statistics indicate that marriage and family therapy is due to grow exponentially over the next decade, especially in Pennslyvania. If you’re interested in getting started, the first step is enrolling in an MFT degree program.

2025 - Best MFT Programs in Pennsylvania

CounselingPsychology.org's Best MFT Programs in Pennsylvania rankings provide a vital resource for prospective students aiming to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. These rankings are thoughtfully compiled, evaluating key factors such as program completion rates, cost of living, institutional competitiveness, diversity of programs offered, and faculty experience. Each of these criteria offers a thorough assessment of the programs' overall quality and suitability for students. To understand the detailed methodology behind these rankings, please visit our rankings methodology page. This guide helps students make informed decisions in selecting the best MFT programs for their educational and professional aspirations.


Arcadia University

Glenside, PA

Arcadia University's Counseling, Child, and Family Therapy Master's program focuses on developing skilled therapists through a blend of theoretical knowledge and practical experience. The program offers specialized training in child and family therapy, preparing graduates for diverse counseling careers. Emphasizing a holistic approach, it equips students to address complex family dynamics effectively.


Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Kutztown, PA

Kutztown University's Marriage and Family Therapy programs offer comprehensive training in systemic therapy approaches. The curriculum combines theoretical learning with practical application, preparing students for licensure and effective practice in diverse settings. Graduates are equipped to address complex family dynamics and provide impactful therapeutic interventions.


La Salle University

Philadelphia, PA

La Salle University's Marriage and Family Therapy programs, offered through the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy, are highly regarded for their comprehensive curriculum and hands-on clinical experience. Located on the vibrant and diverse campus in Philadelphia, students have access to state-of-the-art facilities and expert faculty who prepare them to become competent and compassionate therapists in the field of marriage and family therapy.

What is an MFT Degree?

MFT degrees are most commonly geared toward clinical, client-facing practice. They go over therapeutic methods as they relate to couples and families or relationships in general and train students on how to treat common issues that come up within these demographics. Apart from the coursework, students are also given opportunities to work with clients firsthand and work with a team of trained marriage and family therapists to see what it’s really like to work in the field. Some MFT degrees also focus on the research side of marriage and family therapy to train students on how to develop therapeutic methods as educators or program directors.

Why is COAMFTE MFT Accreditation Important?

As you begin to research MFT degree programs and consider which type makes the most sense for you, it’s important to understand accreditation and how it will affect your ability to become licensed. Most MFT degrees are accredited but if they’re not, you will not be eligible for licensure. Look for programs that are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). If your program is accredited by this organization (or by CACREP if your MFT program is technically considered a counseling degree), you will be able to seek licensure upon graduation.

Can I Get an MFT Degree Online in Pennsylvania?

Online programs have become very popular in the last several years, especially those offering marriage and family therapy degrees. However, because of the licensure requirements associated with MFT graduate degrees, it’s good to be aware of several considerations.

While you may be able to take a majority of MFT courses online, you will most likely have to participate in some in-person training. Most MFT degrees require that their students take part in clinicals to get first-hand experience in the field. These are usually done in the last year of a master’s degree and for all years in a doctorate degree. Here are a few MFT doctoral degrees located in Pennsylvania:

Eastern University: If you’re looking for a flexible way to get your master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, Eastern University, located in St. Davids, PA, is a great option. The course is offered 100% online, and in-person requirements can be completed from a location close to home. Another draw is its affordability — for only $28,000 (including fees), you can receive your marriage and family therapy master’s degree and licensing in Pennsylvania.

Drexel University: If you’re looking to focus your doctorate on helping couples and families work through challenging issues through science-based, qualitative methods, Drexel University has a fantastic Ph.D. in Couples and Family Therapy program. This degree is mostly research-focused; however, there will be plenty of opportunities for clinical experience. You can access this program in person at Drexel University’s Philadelphia campus, or you can take advantage of their online learning option.

Short Length MFT Programs in Pennsylvania

There are several great MFT degree programs to choose from in Pennsylvania, but not all of them are timely. If you’re excited to start work as an LMFT, you may be looking to simply fulfill the mandatory educational and licensure requirements to get started. If this sounds like you, a master’s degree is the perfect choice. These programs typically only last three years or less and give you the minimum education required to become licensed. If you’re looking for an option that is on the lower end of that timeline, Thomas Jefferson University based in Philadelphia, offers a Master’s Degree program in Family Therapy that can be completed in two years.

Affordable MFT Programs in Pennsylvania

The cheapest education does not always mean a poor education. Many MFT programs based in Pennsylvania intentionally keep the cost of their program low so that it is more accessible to students looking to fill the highly in-demand role of a marriage and family therapist. If you are looking to maximize your savings, you’ll want to go with a master’s degree. Here are a few of the more affordable ones in Pennsylvania:

SchoolDegreeTuition & Fees
Drexel UniversityMaster’s Degree in Couples and Family TherapyDetails
Kutztown UniversityMaster of Arts in Marriage, Couple, and Family CounselingDetails
Eastern UniversityMaster’s Degree in Marriage and Family TherapyDetails

MFT Degree Levels

There are several levels of MFT degrees, but nearly all of them are at the graduate level. This is because you need to graduate with at least a master’s degree to get licensed as a marriage and family therapist. Doctorate degrees, while less common than master’s degrees, are also available to help students transition into research or educational roles. There are also graduate certificates, and while these aren’t degrees, they are a great option for the right career and educational goals, especially when licensure isn’t a priority.

Do I Need a GRE for an MFT Program?

Some schools measure their applicant’s graduate placement through an exam called the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE for short. However, this requirement isn’t necessary for some institutions. The best way to find out if you’ll be required to submit a GRE with your application is to check your school’s admissions page.

Master's Degree in MFT

As mentioned, MFT master’s degree programs are the lowest educational commitment you’ll need to make in order to become licensed as a marriage and family therapist. MFT master’s degree programs take two years to complete with a 60-credit requirement. On average, MFT master’s degree programs cost around $50,501 in Pennsylvania. Here are a few MFT master’s degree programs that are available in Pennsylvania:

La Salle University: The Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy offered by La Salle University is one of the most well-regarded programs offered in the State of Pennsylvania. This program splits their program into two parts. The first year focuses on coursework and in-class training. In the second year, students are placed in a clinical practicum arrangement where they will get thorough, first-hand experience serving the community through marriage and family therapeutic methods.

Thomas Jefferson University: This unique Master’s Degree program in Family Therapy is a collaboration between two institutions — Thomas Jefferson University and The Council For Relationships, both based in Philadelphia. The program will take students through the exciting roles that biology, psychology, and social factors all play in a family’s well-being. In their second year of study, students will be given the opportunity to further specialize in one of two areas of focus — Sex Therapy or Family Therapy, while still maintaining their track to becoming licensed as marriage and family therapists.

Graduate Certificate in MFT

As mentioned, graduate certificates are not degrees, but they are helpful if you already have a degree in psychology or social work and want to specialize in marriage and family therapy or simply want to expand your knowledge in this particular field. Graduate certificates take about a year (or less) to finish and typically cost a total of $1,000 to $1,500 for tuition. There is currently one MFT graduate certificate program located in Pennsylvania:

The Council For Relationships: If you have a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy or other related field, you will be eligible to further specialize in one of three MFT tracks (clergy track, clinical track, or sex therapy track) through The Council for Relationships’ Marriage and Family Therapy Postgraduate Certificate, based in Philadelphia. This unique opportunity allows students who are already licensed to focus their training in one niche area.

MFT Doctorate Degrees (Ph.D. or PsyD)

Some MFT students may find that after they’ve become licensed, they still aren’t ready to enter the field. If you’re looking to expand your education further as an MFT, an MFT doctorate degree might be the right move. MFT doctorate degrees come in two degree types. The first type is a Ph.D., which focuses on research and theory. The second is a PsyD. Though both degree types allow graduates to assume clinical roles, PsyD programs focus on MFT clinical aspects. MFT doctorate degrees take anywhere from 4-8 years to complete and can range between $35,000 and several hundred thousand in tuition, depending on the program. Here’s an example of MFT doctorates available in Pennsylvania:

Drexel University: If you’re looking to focus your doctorate on helping couples and families work through challenging issues through science-based, qualitative methods, Drexel University has a fantastic Ph.D. in Couples and Family Therapy program. This degree, based in Philadelphia, is mostly research-focused; however, there will be plenty of opportunities for clinical experience when enrolled.

Becoming an LMFT in Pennsylvania

Apart from your educational journey to becoming a marriage and family therapist, the next challenge will be to secure licensure. Every state has its own specific guidelines for doing this — here’s what you need to do in Pennsylvania:

  • Education: Obtain a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy or a related field from a program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) or another accrediting body recognized by the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors.
  • Supervised Experience: Accumulate postgraduate supervised clinical experience. In Pennsylvania, this typically entails 3,000 hours of supervised experience, with at least 1,500 hours of direct client contact. The supervision must be provided by a qualified licensed mental health professional.
  • Examination: Pass the National Marriage and Family Therapy Examination administered by the Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). This exam assesses your knowledge and competency in marriage and family therapy.
  • Application: Submit an application for licensure to the Pennsylvania State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Professional Counselors. This includes providing proof of education, supervised experience, examination results, and any other required documentation.
  • Background Check: Undergo a criminal background check as part of the application process.
  • Fees: Pay the required application and licensing fees.
  • Continuing Education: Once licensed, fulfill continuing education requirements to maintain licensure. In Pennsylvania, LMFTs must complete 30 continuing education credits every two years.

List of MFT Degree Programs in Pennsylvania

Glenside, PA

450 S Easton Rd
Glenside, PA 19038-3295
(215) 572-2900

Kutztown, PA

15200 Kutztown Rd
Kutztown, PA 19530-0730
(610) 683-4000

Philadelphia, PA

Master's Programs
1900 W Olney Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19141-1199
(215) 951-1000

Pittsburgh, PA

Administration Bldg 600 Forbes Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15282
(412) 396-6000

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