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MS in Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy Counseling Masters Programs

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy

Help support healthy relationships & families

Families and couples need the guidance of an expert counselor 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 counseling/therapy. Accredited by COAMFTE, this program features a combination of online education and face-to-face experiences to help prepare you to pursue state licensure eligibility.

Employment of marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

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

  • GuidedPath
  • Online & in-person
  • 9 Core courses
  • 8 Specialization courses
  • 2 Residencies
  • Practicum
  • 3 Internships
  • COAMFTE accredited

Classes Start February 10th

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 Counseling/Therapy program highlights

Blended, flexible learning

Build marriage and family counseling 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 hold doctorates

Our faculty is made up of scholar-practitioners who are active within their professions and bring real-world experience to the courseroom.


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

Learn more about practicum/internship »


Enhance the skills you develop in your program through 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 state professional counseling associations and honor societies.

Meet your counseling 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 Counseling/Therapy

Roxanne Bamond, PhD, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor

Program Lead & Core Faculty, Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy

Leslie Guditis, PhD, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor Candidate

Core Faculty, Marriage & Family Counseling/Therapy

Get the support you need for success

You’re never going 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.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors 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 more 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, 92 total quarter credits, 12 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

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. 

$3K toward your master's

Apply for a $3K 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 Counseling/Therapy sample courses

The curriculum for our marriage and family counseling/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
COUN5232 *
Systemic Approaches to Gender and Sexuality

This course presents historical and contemporary perspectives of gender and sexuality and their cultural influences. Learners develop a systemic view of gender and sexuality and apply it to the assessment and intervention process with individuals, couples, and families. Learners also explore and challenge their personal beliefs, attitudes, and values associated with gender and sexuality and the ways they may impact the therapeutic process. Prerequisite(s): COUN5220, COUN5222, COUN5270, COUN-R5821.

4 quarter credits
Marriage and Family Systems

Learners in this course study families as systems from theoretical, clinical, and research perspectives. The course emphasizes family development, transitions, assessment, and intervention, including consideration for diversity and sociocultural factors. Learners also apply systems-oriented assessment models and strategies for initial interviews, hypothesis formulation, and designing a strategy for intervention.

4 quarter credits
COUN5273 *
Couple and Marital Therapy

In this course, learners investigate systems-based couples counseling/therapy theories, methods, and practices and focus on therapeutic treatment planning and intervention. Learners also examine and interpret couples counseling/therapy literature and examine ways to apply it to clinical practice. Prerequisite(s): COUN5220, COUN5270.

4 quarter credits
COUN5275 *
Utilizing Systemic Approaches: Infancy Through Adolescence

This course is a comprehensive overview of systemic approaches used to diagnose, assess, and treat children and adolescents experiencing a variety of symptoms. Learners demonstrate an understanding of standard and systemic best practices, design interventions based on relevant research, and apply an ethical framework that is developmentally informed and culturally sensitive.  Prerequisite(s): COUN5220.

4 quarter credits
COUN5820 *
Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy Theory and Practice

This course provides learners with the clinical marriage and family therapy skills they will need for their first residency, including building and maintaining therapeutic relationships, conceptualizing cases from a systemic perspective, conducting couple and family sessions, performing therapeutic assessments, applying ethical and legal standards of practice when working with couples and families from diverse backgrounds, and understanding diagnosis. Learners continue to integrate marriage and family counseling/therapy theories with clinical practice. COUN-R5821 must be taken the quarter immediately following COUN5820. Prerequisite(s): COUN5004, COUN5220, COUN5222, COUN5270. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

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.
  • Uses a systemic perspective for client engagement, assessment and intervention
  • Understand and apply the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the American Counseling Association 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 Counseling/Therapy career insights

Marriage and Family Therapy vs. Social Work

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Education in the Field: Practica and Internships at Capella

Learning options like practica and internships provide hands-on, in-person experiences to solidify knowledge.

MS in Marriage and Family Counseling/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 counseling/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?

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