MS in Marriage & Family Therapy Counseling master's program

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

Help support healthy relationships & families

Families and couples need the guidance of an expert in contemporary problems faced by families in challenging times. You have the strength, the confidence, and the passion to address crises and help make a difference where it counts most.

Capella understands your goals to become a licensed marriage and family therapist. That’s why we created a flexible, online master’s degree in marriage and family therapy. Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), this program features a combination of online education and face-to-face experiences to help prepare you to pursue state licensure eligibility.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations.

*Multiple factors, including prior experience, geography, and degree field, affect career outcomes, and Capella does not guarantee a job, promotion, salary increase, or other career growth.

In compliance with COAMFTE's policy on public disclosure, Capella University reports publicly expected program length, advertised time to complete the degree, and student achievement data including graduation rates, national exam pass rates, and licensure rates.

At a Glance

  • COAMFTE accredited
  • GuidedPath
  • Online & in-person
  • 16 courses, 2 with residencies
  • 4 quarters of internship
  • 16 transfer credits

Classes Start March 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo WINTER).

MS in Marriage and Family Therapy program highlights

Blended, flexible learning

Build marriage and family expertise with a combination of online courses, in-person learning experiences, and engaging curriculum.

Preparation to pursue licensure

The curriculum aligns to current marriage and family therapist education standards and is designed to help prepare you for state licensure eligibility.

All core faculty practice in the field

Our faculty is made up of scholar-practitioners who are practicing clinicians and AAMFT-approved supervisors, who bring real-world experience to the courseroom.


Apply your skills and knowledge in the field with direct client contact and supervision.

Learn more about internship »


Enhance the skills you develop in your program through face-to-face interaction with faculty and students in a supportive environment.

Learn more about residency »

Strategic alignment

Our curriculum is designed to incorporate the values, principles, and ethical standards of national, regional, and COAMFTE accreditation.

Meet your therapy faculty

Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach you critical knowledge and skills and to help enrich your education and career by bringing real-world relevance to the courseroom. View all core faculty.

Carol Messmore, PhD, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor

Faculty Chair and Program Director, Marriage & Family Therapy

Bill Utesch, PhD, LMFT, LMHC, AAMFT Approved Supervisor

Program Curriculum Lead, Marriage & Family Therapy

Leslie Guditis, PhD, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor Candidate

Core Faculty, Marriage & Family Therapy

Get the support you need for success

You’re never doing it alone at Capella. Our dedicated support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey:

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.

Academic coaches

Academic coaches know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Academic coaches have answers.

Career center

For this team, it’s more than resumes and interview tips. It’s about thoughtful and strategic career planning—beyond graduation.

Cost & learning format

A structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$487 per credit, 72 total quarter credits, 16 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Understanding professional licensure

It is important to understand all educational and individual requirements for licensing. Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, certification, or endorsement. State regulations vary regarding professional licensure. It is your responsibility to understand and comply with requirements for your state.

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

$5K toward your master's

Apply for a $5K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help fund your master’s degree.

10% military discount

If you're an active-duty military service member, spouse, or veteran, discounts may be available.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

MS in Marriage and Family Therapy sample courses

The curriculum for our marriage and family therapy master's degree program includes online and face-to-face experiences that focus on assessment, diagnosis, treatment, intervention, and clinical training.

Show course with description
Diversity and Social Justice in Systemic Family Therapy

This course introduces theory, research, and models that inform ethical, culturally competent clinical work, and social justice advocacy in a variety of settings. Learners use strategies to address the influence of heritage, attitudes, beliefs, and acculturative experiences on the therapeutic process. In addition, learners gain knowledge of effective systemic therapy and advocacy strategies with diverse individuals, couples, families, and groups and determine ways to advocate and promote social justice at multiple levels.

4 quarter credits
Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Treatment of Behavior Disorders

Learners in this course apply psychopathology principles and current issues associated with assessing mental disorders within a systemic, relational context. Learners critically evaluate diagnostic models, methods, and approaches used in diagnosing and treating individuals, couples, and families. Learners also assess psychopharmacological considerations and examine the current DSM classifications and diagnostic issues associated with multicultural populations.

4 quarter credits
MFT5822 *
Systemic and Group Interventions for Grief, Loss, and Trauma

In this course, learners continue to develop therapy skills using group and systemic interventions as they apply to grief, loss, and trauma. Learners assess group dynamics, group process, and multicultural issues in relationship to grief, loss, and trauma. Prerequisite(s): MFT5107, MFT5270, MFT5271, MFT5273, MFT5820, MFT-R5821. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
MFT5108 *
Impact of Addiction and Addictive Behavior on Family Systems

This course provides learners with fundamental knowledge of addiction from its historical roots through contemporary issues. Learners examine and apply systemic theory and research that guides treatment for substance use disorders and related addictive behaviors, including the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring mental health issues. In addition, learners analyze empirically supported interventions for individuals, families, groups, and diverse populations from systemic perspectives and assess emerging issues in the field based upon current research. Prerequisite(s): MFT-R5821.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. Discover your path to gaining real-world skills that you can apply to your passion for helping others and helping families achieve happiness.

  • Effectively integrate and apply research and theories in the practice of marriage and family therapy, including individual, systemic and relational theories; theories of individual and family development across the life span.
  • Demonstrates knowledge of culturally and ethnically sensitive matters in a variety of settings integrating concepts of advocacy and social justice.
  • Clinical application and practice of systemic theory relevant to family dynamics in the field of marriage and family therapy.
  • Effective use of a systemic perspective for client engagement, assessment and intervention
  • Understand and apply the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Codes of Ethics.
  • Identify as a marriage and family therapist, aligning systemic clinical practice with state and national standards for the marriage and family therapy discipline and engaging in community and scholarly activities.

MS in Marriage and Family Therapy career insights

How to Choose a Career in the Helping Profession

Help others access the support they need when you discover the helping profession that’s right for you.

Transforming Lives: Making a Career as a Marriage and Family Therapist

Help your patients better their lives. Start your career in marriage and family therapy and work with individuals, couples and groups.

4 Tips for Creating a Career Rooted in Purpose

Why do you work? It’s mostly about making money, right? Wrong. It’s about purpose.

MS in Marriage and Family Therapy—professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the job titles and employment settings to explore as you consider a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Family therapist
  • Marriage and family therapist
  • Couples therapist
  • Child/adolescent/youth therapist
  • Therapist or counselor
  • Substance abuse therapist

Employment settings to explore

  • Community mental health center
  • Family/social service agency
  • County health department
  • Department of social service
  • Residential treatment center
  • Mental health agency
  • College or university counseling center
  • Adoption agency
  • Family preservation agency
  • Private/group clinical practice
  • Employee assistance program
  • Hospitals

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.