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Doctorate of Marriage
and Family Therapy
(DMFT)

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100% ONLINE DMFT

Complete your studies on your own time.

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NEW START DATE EVERY MONDAY

Start your first course when it’s convenient for you.

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54 MONTHS TO YOUR DMFT

Finish your DMFT in just 20 courses.

National and Northcentral have merged, and this program is now offered by NU. Learn more.

Home » Programs » Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy

Prepare for a Marriage & Family Therapy Career

Bring families together with the 100% online Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) degree program at National University. As a student, you’ll receive a high-quality education and training experience as you prepare for a career in marriage and family therapy.

NU’s DMFT program gives you the skills needed for effective relational and systemic practice. You’ll study program development and evaluation, grant writing, advanced clinical education, research coursework, and supervision. 

As a graduate of National University’s DMFT, you’ll be prepared to provide clinical services, supervise other clinicians, serve in administrative positions, and oversee mental health practices. 

Tailor your NU online DMFT to match your interests with one of these specializations: 

  • Child and Adolescent Therapy
  • Couple Therapy
  • General Family Therapy
  • Systemic Administration and Entrepreneurship
  • Systemic Organizational Leadership
  • Therapy with Military Families
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Course Details

Credit Hours: 60

Courses: 20

Estimated Time to Complete: 54 months

The Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) degree program can be completed in 60 credits. Core and specialization courses are 8 weeks; practicum and dissertation courses run 12 weeks for this program.

Course Sequence

This program can be completed with a minimum of 60 credit hours, but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time required to complete the doctoral project. If granted, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies. Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

CORE AND RELATIONAL/SYSTEMIC THEORIES & APPLICATIONS COURSE OPTIONS

*Core Course Options

Students may choose one of the following:

**Relational/Systemic Theories & Applications Course Options

Students may choose one of the following:

Program at a Glance

8 professionally relevant specializations
Total Credit Hours: At Least 63 Credit Hours
Courses: 21 Courses
Recommended Completion Time: 52 Months
Next Start Date: Every Monday
Classroom Size: One

The DMFT degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the master’s degree.

NU may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for coursework that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required coursework for the DMFT program.

The Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (all specializations) has the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NU
  • Successful completion of all required degree program courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred master’s degree from an accredited academic institution
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University
  • All financial obligations must be met before the student will be issued their complimentary diploma and/or degree posted transcript 

Beyond these standard graduation requirements, the DMFT program has the following degree requirements:

  1. Online Video Conferencing. In order to complete some of the course requirements, students are required to participate in online video conferencing meetings throughout their time in the program. In order to participate in these video conference sessions, students are required to own or otherwise have access to a computer, a webcam, a headset, a video recording device, and a high-speed Internet connection.
  2. Doctoral Internship. DMFT students are required to complete a 9-month, 20 hour a week, doctoral internship that aligns with their doctoral specialization. Students are required to have a local supervisor with whom they can meet in-person for a minimum of 4 hours per month (i.e., one hour per week). For more information, please read the practicum and internship course descriptions.
  3. Liability Insurance. Prior to beginning any clinical experience, DMFT students are required to submit proof of professional liability insurance.
  4. Supervision Coursework. In addition to advanced coursework in marriage and family therapy, students in the DMFT program must complete a course in MFT supervision methodology. Students seeking to qualify for the Approved Supervisor designation will have to complete the direct supervision and supervision mentoring requirements outside of the program.
  5. Doctoral Comprehensive Evaluation (Portfolio). In pursuit of an applied doctoral degree at NU, students will gain expertise in their academic discipline and in one or more specializations that complement their academic discipline. The three doctoral portfolio courses are intended to assure that students provide artifacts indicating that they have acquired competencies in the following domains: program and professional goals, a relevant course of study, professional experience and plans, research experience and plans, clinical experience and plans, internship outcomes, documentation of academic growth, and the first draft of a dissertation prospectus. The DMFT Portfolio is a living document with major updates throughout the program.
  6. Doctoral Project. The capstone of applied doctoral training is the completion of an applied project process. The DMFT program uses a facilitated capstone process that is purposefully designed to help students follow a step-by-step sequence in the preparation and completion of a doctoral project. For students in the DMFT program, the applied project must be related to marriage and family therapy and be consistent with the student’s selected area of specialization. (Note: The applied project portion of the DMFT program can be completed with a minimum of 12 credit hours in Applied Doctoral Experience [ADE] Courses, but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time the student takes to complete the project).

Career Potential*

  • College / University Administrator
  • College Professor / Instructor
  • Family / Behavioral Therapist
  • Family / School / General Social Worker
  • Medical Office / Practice Manager
  • Mental Health / Behavioral Counselor
  • Researcher / Research Associate
  • And many more, in public and private facilities of all different sizes!

*Positions may require additional experience, training, and other factors beyond successfully completing this degree program. Depending on where you reside, many positions may also require state licensure, and it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that all licensure requirements are met. We encourage you to also review program specific requirements with an NU advisor. Any data provided on this page is for informational purposes only and does not guarantee that completion of any degree program will achieve the underlying occupation or commensurate salary.

Specializations

The Child and Adolescent Therapy Specialization is designed to prepare students to work in therapy settings with children and adolescents from a family therapy/systems perspective. Students in this specialization are required to focus their course projects, internship work, and doctoral project on issues related to working with children and adolescents. Twelve (12) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Child and Adolescent Therapy.

Specialization Courses – 12 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

The Couple Therapy Specialization is designed to prepare students to work primarily with couples in therapy settings from a family therapy/systems perspective. Students in this specialization are required to focus their course projects, internship work, and doctoral project on issues related to working with couples. Twelve (12) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Couple Therapy.

Specialization Courses – 12 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

The General Family Therapy specialization allows students to select courses from a broad range of electives to fit their personal and professional ambitions. In this specialization, students select four courses (12 credit hours) from the Marriage and Family Therapy curriculum at the 8000 level. Courses from the Department of Psychology may be considered to fill this requirement with approval on a case-by-case basis. Students in this specialization are required to focus their course projects, internship work, and doctoral project on issues related to marriage and family therapy. Four additional courses (theory or treatment-focused) chosen from any of the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences (DMFS) specialization courses (or from Psychology with approval) listed in the Catalog that will help the student develop the desired expertise.

Learn More

The Therapy with Military Families Specialization is designed to prepare students to work primarily with individuals, couples, and families who are affiliated with the military using a family therapy/systems perspective. Students in this specialization are required to focus their course projects, internship work, and doctoral project on issues related to working with military personnel and their families. Twelve (12) credit hours of coursework are devoted to Therapy with Military Families.

Specialization Courses – 12 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

The Systemic Administration and Entrepreneurship is designed to prepare students to use their relational/systemic skills in a variety of contexts such as, private practice, mental health agencies and organizations, business or schools. Students can focus their specialization on the leadership, managerial, or practitioner role in such settings. Students in this clinical specialization are required to focus their course projects, internship work, and doctoral projects on issues broadly related to administration and/or entrepreneurship. Twelve (12) hours of coursework are devoted to systemic administration and entrepreneurship. A unique aspect of this specialization is that students may select up to two of their four specialization courses from the School of Business or the Department of Psychology. 

Specialization Courses – 12 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

The Systemic Organizational Leadership is designed to prepare students to assume leadership roles in agencies and organizations. Students will be taught to apply systems theory to leadership roles and functioning within organizations. This is a non-clinical specialization in that students will complete their practicum and internship in organizational settings and activities, rather than clinical work. Students in this specialization will also focus course assignments and doctoral project on issues related to systemic leadership. Twelve credit hours of coursework are devoted to systemic organizational leadership. Up to two of four specialization courses can be taken outside of the Department of Marriage and Family Sciences. 

Specialization Courses – 12 Credit Hours Total. Each course is 3 semester credits and runs 8 weeks.

Learn More

Program Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of National University’s Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) degree program, you’ll be able to:

  • Cultivate competence in working with diverse populations in professional settings
  • Appraise ethical conduct in professional contexts
  • Prepare applied projects designed to make a measurable difference
  • Develop relational/systemic knowledge and skills

Admissions

Enrolling in a university is a big decision. That’s why our dedicated admissions team is here to guide you through the admissions process and help you find the right program for you and your career goals.

To that end, we’ve simplified and streamlined our application process, so you can get enrolled in your program right away. Because we accept and review applications year round, you can begin class as soon as next month, depending on your program and location of choice.

Learn more about undergraduate, graduate, military, and international student admissions, plus admissions information for transfer students. You can also learn more about our tuition rates and financial aid opportunities.

To speak with our admissions team, call (855) 355-6288 or request information and an advisor will contact you shortly. If you’re ready to apply, simply start your application today

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Program Disclosure

Successful completion and attainment of National University degrees do not lead to automatic or immediate licensure, employment, or certification in any state/country. The University cannot guarantee that any professional organization or business will accept a graduate’s application to sit for any certification, licensure, or related exam for the purpose of professional certification.

Program availability varies by state. Many disciplines, professions, and jobs require disclosure of an individual’s criminal history, and a variety of states require background checks to apply to, or be eligible for, certain certificates, registrations, and licenses. Existence of a criminal history may also subject an individual to denial of an initial application for a certificate, registration, or license and/or result in the revocation or suspension of an existing certificate, registration, or license. Requirements can vary by state, occupation, and/or licensing authority.

NU graduates will be subject to additional requirements on a program, certification/licensure, employment, and state-by-state basis that can include one or more of the following items: internships, practicum experience, additional coursework, exams, tests, drug testing, earning an additional degree, and/or other training/education requirements.

All prospective students are advised to review employment, certification, and/or licensure requirements in their state, and to contact the certification/licensing body of the state and/or country where they intend to obtain certification/licensure to verify that these courses/programs qualify in that state/country, prior to enrolling. Prospective students are also advised to regularly review the state’s/country’s policies and procedures relating to certification/licensure, as those policies are subject to change.

National University degrees do not guarantee employment or salary of any kind. Prospective students are strongly encouraged to review desired job positions to review degrees, education, and/or training required to apply for desired positions. Prospective students should monitor these positions as requirements, salary, and other relevant factors can change over time.

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