PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy


Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral programAntioch University New England is excited to offer a COAMFTE-Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral program dedicated to training the next generation of marriage and family therapists in social justice approaches to MFT teaching, research, supervision, and practice.

We train advanced clinical supervisors, teachers skilled in teaching MFT, and researchers proficient in using both qualitative and quantitative research methods with a particular focus on qualitative clinical research. Our students are provided with clinical and supervision experiences in our training clinic.

Acquire advanced training in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)

You receive advanced training in MFT supervision, teaching, research, and clinical work, from a social justice perspective. Courses prepare you for academic work in MFT or for advanced supervision or research.

Get experience during your program.

You will receive up to 1,000 clinical hours in the program (500 of which can be applied from a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree) in our training clinic and on internship. Individualized internships will be developed in clinical, teaching, and research areas.

Program Delivery

  • Program starts in Fall semester
  • Classes meet throughout the week
  • The first two years (3 semesters per year, including Summer) are devoted to coursework.
  • Years three and four are devoted to internship and dissertation work

Coursework at the doctoral level generally takes two years for students who have graduated from a master’s program in MFT. In addition to the coursework, doctoral level students in MFT must also complete a twelve month clinical or research internship off campus. Dissertation and Internship require two years of registration and the program cannot be completed in fewer than four years.

Total credits: Number of credits needed depends upon the background of the student. A total of fourteen courses must be taken at the doctoral level. A total of 1000 direct client contact hours are required for graduation. Students from accredited programs may bring forward their 500 client contact hours.

As a Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) accredited doctoral program, we are required to report a number of student achievement criteria on our website. As a newly accredited program (initially accredited in May of 2011) or official data (which can be found here: do not show any results from cohorts who entered prior to accreditation, which means that those students we report on have not yet graduated. However, we do have data from other cohorts.

Antioch University New England is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Social Justice Focus

Social justice informs our thinking about training in the PhD program. We see social justice in Marriage and Family Therapy education as involving the following key concepts:

  • Social justice implies an explicit action orientation.
  • Social justice involves understanding diversity of people and families:
    • Diversity includes ability, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity and country of origin, age, social class, religion, and gender (that is, systems that affect individual and family access to power and resources). Particular focus is on underserved and high-risk families.
    • Diversity also includes diverse family structures, including extended kinship networks, gay and lesbian families, step-families, etc.
  • Social justice has policy implications-therapists working from a social justice perspective work to effect supportive family policy that recognizes diversity and improves resiliency, and have a responsibility to participate in social and political systems affecting families.
    • Social justice involves recognizing that social and legal systems affect people we work with
  • Social justice researchers have a responsibility to do socially informed research, which is sensitive to diversity.
  • Social justice clinical practice is focused on helping diverse families and contributes to the positive development of these families and their communities.


The mission of the Antioch University New England PhD program in Marriage and Family Therapy is to develop highly competent advanced clinicians in MFT and to develop students who are competent in teaching MFT, in providing clinical supervision in MFT, and in conducting MFT-related research utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. MFT doctoral students will also develop a focus on social justice and human diversity issues across all areas of the curriculum.

Educational Goals and Learning Objectives

  1. Student will demonstrate advanced clinical skills in marriage and family therapy. Specifically students will demonstrate the ability to:
    • apply a range of MFT models and theories to clinical practice
    • apply these MFT models to specific areas of family life (e.g., trauma, grief/loss, aging, health/illness and coping, etc.), and specific diagnoses
    • recognize others’ cultural ways of healing
    • develop personal models of clinical practice integrate multiple theoretical perspectives
    • develop effective and theoretically consistent treatment plans for both clinical work and training purposes
    • assess treatment progress and alliance and implement developmentally appropriate systemic assessments
    • understand the theory construction process and to critique and evaluate current theories and models in MFT.
  2. Students will demonstrate competency in teaching MFT. Specifically, students will demonstrate the ability to:
    • teach course content from the COAMFTE Educational Guidelines master’s level curriculum linked to AAMFT Core Competencies and other competencies
    • construct safe, constructive, and challenging learning environments
    • develop and implement syllabi, in-class learning exercises, and basic lesson outlines
    • demonstrate an understanding of content and process match in adult learning and attend to issues of student diversity
    • construct learning assignments geared towards different adult learning styles
    • construct and constructively assess learning assignments that facilitate understanding and application of course material, including the development of specific teaching and learning objectives
    • demonstrate a plan for continuing education for continued updating and enhancement of a course
    • infuse courses with various content including social justice, human and family development from diverse cultures, international trends in family policy and law, and both classic and new research in the MFT literature.
  3. Students will demonstrate competency in MFT supervision. Specifically, students will demonstrate the ability to:
    • integrate clinical models in a theoretically consistent manner
    • develop a personal model of supervision grounded in clinical theory
    • apply social justice perspectives to clinical supervision and models of supervision
    • provide competent supervision as defined by the AAMFT Approved Supervisor Handbook
    • provide supervision that is consistent with developmental level of clinical trainees
    • effectively utilize various forms of supervision, including case report, videotape, and live modalities
    • consider and address ethical and legal issues associated with supervision
    • recognize isomorphic process and use it effectively in the supervision process
  4. Students will demonstrate competency in researching MFT, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Specifically, students will demonstrate the ability to:
    • effectively and appropriately utilize a range of statistical and research methods in quantitative MFT research
    • effectively and appropriately utilize a range of qualitative traditions and methods and apply these to areas of MFT research
    • understand the extant MFT research literature and basis for evidence-based practice
    • understand and evaluate extant research literature
    • design and carry out research in the field of MFT that adds to the extant literature, including formulating research questions, data collection, analysis, and reporting of results
    • execute and conceptualize professional writing skills
    • understand the ethical issues involved in both quantitative and qualitative research
      recognize how culture influences research design and interpretation and be sensitive to cultural, ethnic, and gender-related issues in conducting research in MFT
    • link theory and research.
  5. Students will demonstrate competency in social justice approaches to MFT teaching, research, supervision, and practice. Specifically, students will demonstrate the ability to:
    • apply a range of theories of social justice to clinical practice, clinical training, and research
    • critically evaluate models/theories, teaching methods, and research from a social justice perspective.

First Year Students Entering 2013/2015

  • Fall:
    • Grant and Professional Writing in MFT (MFT 712, 3 credits)
    • Appraisal and Assessment in MFT (MFT 711, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral MFT Practicum I (MFTC 760, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral ProSem MFT I (MFTC 740, 3 credits)
  • Spring:
    • Teaching in MFT (MFT 700, 3 credits)
    • Statistical Methods in MFT (MFTR 705, 3 credits)
    • Outcome Research in MFT (MFTR 723, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral MFT Practicum II (MFTC 762, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral ProSem MFT II (MFTC 742, 3 credits)
  • Summer:
    • Theories of Social Justice in MFT (MFTT 701, 3 credits)
    • Supervision in MFT I (MFTS 709, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral MFT Practicum III (MFTC 764, 3 credits)
    • Doctoral ProSem MFT III (MFTC 744, 2 credits)

Second Year

  • Fall:
    • Qualitative Research Methods I (MFTR 719, 3 credits)
    • Quantitative Research Methods (MFTR 711, 3 credits)
    • Supervision in MFT II (MFTS 729, 3 credits)
    • MFT Supervision Practicum I (MFTS 730, 3 credits)
    • MFT Supervision ProSem I (MFTS 720, 3 credits)
  • Spring:
    • Qualitative Research Methods II (MFTR 724, 3 credits)
    • Seminar in Current MFT Topics I (MFT 705, 3 credits)
    • Trauma, Grief and Loss in Families (MFT 715, 3 credits)
    • MFT Supervision Practicum II (MFTS 731, 3 credits)
    • MFT Supervision ProSem II (MFTS 721, 3 credits)
  • Summer:
    • Seminar in Current MFT Topics II (MFT 707, 3 credits)
    • Dissertation Seminar (MFTR 800, 2 credits)
    • MFT Supervision Practicum III (MFTS 740, 2 credits)
    • MFT Supervision ProSem III (MFTS 741, 1 credit)

Third and Fourth Years

  • Dissertation & Internship (3 semesters each)
    • Dissertation (MFTR 899, 3 semesters starting in Fall)
    • Internship (Fall ; MFT Doctoral Internship I, MFTC 780; Spring ; MFT Doctoral Internship II, MFTC 782; Summer ; MFT Doctoral Internship III, MFTC 784)

Student Assessment

Student learning outcomes are assessed in a variety of ways, and at multiple levels. Each course has specific outcomes-based learning objectives that students must meet to achieve passing grades. Doctoral students meet educational outcomes through a variety of means, including through the use of papers, presentations, observed clinical work, observed supervision, and so forth.

Outcomes are evaluated through the use of specific assessment tools designed to measure core competencies. AAMFT, in December of 2004, published Marriage and Family Therapy Core Competencies, and this program focuses on clinical, supervisory, teaching, and research competencies. Teaching will be evaluated through summative and formative teaching evaluations.

We have admitted a total of 19 students from 5 cohorts into the doctoral program. Two of those cohorts (8 students altogether) have reached the minimum time to complete the degree of 4 years, and 2 students have graduated in the minimum time. No students have yet reached the maximum time to completion, and all but one of the students admitted into our program are either still enrolled or have graduated. Our first graduate was already licensed upon entering the program, and we’ve had one other student admitted who was already licensed. Three other students have taken and passed the licensure exam while enrolled in the program.

COAMFTE also requests that we publish information about the cultural background of our students. Of the 19 students who entered the program, 4 have been African American (one born in Africa), 3 have been Asian American (2 Korean-born and 1 Vietnamese-American), while 4 others were born in other countries (Iran, Italy, South Africa, and Turkey). Several others have studied or lived abroad (in Australia, Ireland, and Mexico, for example). We have had students of diverse sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds as well.