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Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT Degree)

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Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program Overview

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The Master of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) at Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) prepares practitioners to assist with mental health concerns in family and social contexts using relational strengths-based approaches to psychotherapy. 

In coursework and practice, students learn to work with clients from a wide variety of ethnic, economic, educational and religious backgrounds and develop proficiency in providing psychotherapy services to individuals, couples, families and groups.

The MFT program prepares culturally competent mental health professionals through a program focused on:


The program meets the academic requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, and licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

Program Design

Courses in the MFT program are offered in the evenings. The program brings together students from the San Antonio and Rio Grande Valley campuses through the use of technology to provide them with a collaborative learning experience. Students will attend courses synchronously via videoconference and work with colleagues from each campus on group assignments. This collaboration allows students to build their professional network. 

The 60-credit hour program can be completed in two years for a student attending classes full time during the fall, spring and summer semesters.


The San Antonio Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education  (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy  (AAMFT) . The COAMFTE is responsible for establishing standards for competence in clinical education for the profession of marriage and family therapy, and for the review and recognition of programs successfully meeting these standards.

OLLU is one of only a few universities in Texas with a COAMFTE accredited master’s program. COAMFTE accreditation also allows graduates to seek employment as Marriage and Family Therapists within the federal government.


Program Benefits

COAMFTE Accredited

Practitioner Focused

University-Based Clinic


Why Earn a Marriage and Family Counseling Degree?

Getting a MFT degree from Our Lady of the Lake University offers numerous benefits, especially for students passionate about pursuing a career in this field. The Master of Science degree in Psychology with a concentration in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a comprehensive program designed to equip future practitioners with the necessary skills and knowledge to assist individuals and families with mental health concerns within diverse social contexts. Here's why opting for an MFT degree can be an excellent choice for students:

Flexibility Tailored to You
At our university, we understand that our students have diverse life commitments. That's why our MFT program offers evening classes allowing you to balance your studies with your other responsibilities. 

Access to a Diverse Learning Community
One of the strengths of our program is the opportunity to interact with a wide range of peers on our San Antonio, Houston and Rio Grande Valley campuses. Our students come from various backgrounds, including ethnicities, economic statuses, and religious affiliations. This diverse learning environment enriches your education and equips you to work effectively with clients from diverse backgrounds.

Emphasis on Relational Strengths-Based Approaches
Our MFT program places a strong emphasis on relational strengths-based approaches to psychotherapy. As a student at our university, you'll learn how to harness the inherent strengths within individuals, couples, families, and groups to promote mental health and well-being. This approach aligns with contemporary therapeutic practices and prepares you for real-world challenges.

Professor speaking with group of studentsWhat Will You Learn in Our Marriage and Family Therapist Degree?

Our MFT program focuses on preparing practitioners to address mental health concerns within the context of families, couples, and individuals, all while utilizing strengths-based approaches to psychotherapy. 

We understand the importance of meeting the academic requirements for licensure, and our program aligns with the Texas State Board of Examiners of Marriage and Family Therapists, as well as licensure as Professional Counselors through the Texas State Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors.

This is what our students can expect to learn in this program:

  • Research Design and Procedures (PSYC 6380)
  • Psychopathology: Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment Planning (PSYC 7333)
  • Life Span Developmental Psychology (PSYC 7351)
  • Group and Family Processes (PSYC 8301)
  • Professional Practice: Skills and Issues (PSYC 8303)
  • Theoretical Foundations of Psychotherapy (PSYC 8345)
  • Strengths-based Approaches to Contemporary Issues (PSYC 8348)
  •  Introduction to Systemic Approaches to Psychotherapy (PSYC 8351)
  • Pre-practicum Psychotherapy Laboratory: Basic Interviewing Skills (PSYC 8352)
  • Psychotherapy with Children Adolescents and Their Families (PSYC 8355)
  • Family Processes Across Cultures (PSYC 8356)
  • Advanced Systemic Approaches to Psychotherapy (PSYC 8357)
  • Couples and Sex Therapy (PSYC 8359)
  • Practicum I, II, III, and IV (PSYC 8190, 8390, 8391, 8392, 8393)


Is an MFT Degree Worth It?

The MFT degree program our university offers is specifically tailored to prepare our students for highly rewarding careers with excellent salary potential and promising job outlooks. Pursuing this degree is an investment in a bright future.

One of the key factors that make pursuing this degree worthwhile is the potential for high salaries. By enrolling in our program, you are setting yourself up for a career with competitive earning potential, reaching up to $98,700. The field is projected to grow by 15% from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. Our university's commitment to providing a quality education ensures you are well-prepared to secure positions with attractive compensation packages

Program Focus

Cultural Competence Focus

The MFT program mission is to prepare culturally competent professionals who are skilled in providing psychotherapeutic services to a diverse community and that have a deep and abiding respect for individual and cultural diversity, has long been one of its greatest strengths. A hallmark of our program is its emphasis on cultural as well as linguistic diversity. Our focus on cultural diversity evolved as a consequence of the university’s location in a predominately low-income, Mexican American neighborhood, OLLU’s status as a Hispanic Serving Institution, and the long-standing commitment by the program’s faculty members to infuse this focus at all levels of the program.

Practitioner Focus

Faculty members focus on designing classroom experiences that are relevant to the practice of systemic psychotherapy. Students are required to apply their knowledge in several courses that have a practical component. Thus, many courses go beyond awareness and knowledge and focus on skill development. Students begin their practicum training after completing a minimum of 18 hours of specified courses. Full-time students generally begin practicum in the summer of their first year. This experience begins with clinical teams at the Psychology Department’s training clinic, the Community Counseling Service (CCS). The team approach provides a supportive environment. Up to six students and a faculty supervisor meet weekly as a team to deliver psychotherapy services. After the first semester, and with the approval of their supervisors, students may complete a portion of their required practicum hours at approved off-campus sites. Students are required to obtain a minimum of 500 hours of supervised, direct delivery of services.

Students in the MFT concentration are taught a variety of theories and professional skills. However, the program emphasizes a particular set of systemic therapy models. These models are described in various ways, such as: Relational Strengths-based, Postmodern, and Social Constructionist. While there are variations among these collaborative models, all of them have in common:

These Collaborative, Social Constructionist, and Competency-Based models include:

These theoretical models are taught in our Systemic Approaches to Counseling courses, and strongly influence the perspective of many of our other courses.

In addition to these emphasized theories, students are provided a working knowledge of several other common and classical models of family and individual therapy and are taught necessary diagnostic skills to allow them to function as independent therapists.

Students are urged to become Student Affiliates of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Applications are available online at

Students conducting patient interview


Marriage and Family Therapy students take four semesters of practicum, which consists of intensive training in the university’s Community Counseling Service (CCS) and off-campus sites. In the CCS practicum, students participate on treatment teams under the supervision of licensed professionals and use video recording and live supervision to enhance feedback and client services. Students in off-campus practicum sites are supervised by OLLU faculty or qualified professionals.



Courses in the Marriage and Family Therapy Degree

The MS in Psychology - Marriage and Family Therapy concentration is a 60 credit hour program. It includes the following courses plus 9 credit hours in electives from approved Graduate Psychology courses. 

Addresses research methodologies used in psychotherapy research. Data gathering and analysis related to data-based decision making for intervention and service delivery is addressed. The use of evidence-based practices in community organizations, and marriage and family therapy is also covered. Students examine qualitative and quantitative methods, evaluate and design research, and learn to translate research findings into clinical practice.

Definition, description and diagnosis of mental disorders according to DSM and other classification systems. Focus on the individual in family and cultural contexts. Will cover the administration of mental status exams and the development of treatment plans based on diagnostic categories. 

Social development of the individual as a process; ecological and familial settings for development as they interact with genetic and physiological patterns of growth and change. 

Focus upon understanding group process and facilitation. Review of strategies for prevention of interpersonal and systems dysfunction utilizing communication groups, family enrichment, parenting groups, etc.

Investigation of professional issues relevant to ethics, professional organizations, family law, certification and licensure, and finance relative to practice. 

Exploration of foundational theories of individual and systemic psychotherapeutic approaches. Review of key concepts, techniques and therapeutic process and ethical considerations. 

Application of strengths-based approaches to the identification and treatment of contemporary issues such as addictive behaviors, eating disorders, homelessness, trauma, geriatrics and other. Course will examine evidence-based practices and practice-based evidence for strengths-based interventions in working with individuals, couples and families experiencing these issues.

Introduction to strengths based approaches to psychotherapy to work with individuals, couples, families, and larger systems. Emphasis on solution-focused, narrative, collaborative, and brief systemic approaches.

Approaches to strengths-based interviewing with families, couples, and individuals. Special attention to the beginning stages of therapy common presenting concerns, and utilizing client feedback. Laboratory preparation of students to begin practicum.

Application of systemic therapies to individual and family psychotherapy with children and adolescents. Emphasis on cultural context and working with larger systems including schools, child protective services, and the court system. Examines areas that frequent need to be addressed when working with children and adolescents including family violence and abuse, substance abuse, gang violence and bullying.

Familiarization with systems on a variety of levels and across a diversity of cultures. Emphasis on the cultural and contextual aspects of normalcy. Issues in healthy family functioning and assessment.

Presentation and analysis of contemporary methods in systemic therapy. Emphasis on development of a meta-theoretical perspective in psychotherapies in general and systemic therapies in particular. 

Systemic approaches to working with same-sex and different-sex couples. Emphasis on understanding sexual and gender dilemmas in sociocultural contexts. Review of research literature on theory, assessment and treatment. 

Practicum I
PSYC 8190 | 1 CREDIT HOUR (Repeated three times)

Under direct supervision of psychology faculty, students will provide psychological services to individuals, couples, and families in the department-sponsored clinics.

Practicum II, III and IV


Placement at approved department sponsored clinics and approved community sites.

Admission Requirements

After a review of the completed admissions files, selected applicants will be invited to a group interview with psychology program faculty. 
NOTE: Due to limited spaces available, meeting minimum standards does not guarantee admission.

  • Application (no application fee)
  • An earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited university with an overall grade point average of 2.50 or a 3.00 grade point average for the last 60 semester hours.
  • An undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • Official transcripts from all regionally accredited colleges and universities where degrees were conferred.
  • At least 12 undergraduate semester hours in psychology including one course in statistics and a cumulative average of a “B” or better.

  • Two letters of recommendation not more than one year old from former instructors or employers (forms supplied by the University).

  •  Submission of a satisfactory score on the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last five years.

  • Personal statement addressing background in Psychology, expectations of the MS program, and professional goals.

  • As felony convictions may limit practicum placements and the ability to obtain professional licensure after graduation, all students who enroll in the MS program must submit criminal background checks. A national criminal background check, no older than 6 months prior to enrolling in the MS program must be submitted by the last day of the first semester in the program. All admissions are conditional pending the submission of the national criminal background check.
  • Admission Deadlines

    Deadlines for completing application to the Master of Science degree program are:

    • Fall admission - Early decision - March 1
    • Final deadline - April 1

      Completion of admission file by the appropriate deadline.




Full-time faculty members in the Psychology Department teaching Marriage and Family Therapy program courses have extensive academic and professional practice experience. Faculty hold doctoral degrees and many hold additional licenses and certifications certifications. View MFT Faculty

Deborah HealyDeborah Healy

 Professor and Chair 


Professor talking with student

What Can You Do With a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy?

With a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, our graduates can make a meaningful difference in the lives of their clients by fostering healthier relationships, facilitating communication, and promoting emotional well-being. This degree opens up a range of career paths, each offering its unique focus and specialization within mental health and therapy, including: 

  • Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Couples Counselor
  • Family Counselor
  • Child and Adolescent Therapist
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Supervision and Consultation
  • Healthcare Settings Therapist
  • Nonprofit and Community Organization Counselor

Tuition & Financial Aid

The COAMFTE accredited master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy program opens doors to employment with the federal government and other providers of mental healthcare. As one of the few COAMFTE accredited programs in Texas, it is an investment in your career and signals the quality of the preparation that you will receive.

Tuition Costs
Our Tuition (2023–2024 rate) $2,943 per three credit hour course
Average Tuition of Peer Online Institutions $4,330 per course

You should begin the Financial Aid application process at the same time that you apply to the graduate program.  To be considered for financial aid, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at . Please list Our Lady of the Lake University, federal school code #003598, as one of the schools to receive your application information. OLLU will receive your results electronically and use them to award your financial aid.

Please note:  You must be officially accepted for admission to the university before a financial aid award can be processed.


An MFT Degree is a graduate-level program that prepares students to become licensed marriage and family therapists. 

In addition to the requirements for graduate admission into Our Lady of the Lake University, applicants will provide:

  • Official transcripts from attended accredited universities.
  • Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.50 (or 3.00 in the last 60 semester hours).
  • 12 undergraduate semester hours in psychology, including statistics, with a "B" or better average.
  • Two recent recommendation letters.
  • Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or GRE scores within five years.
  • Criminal background check within six months of enrollment.
  • Personal statement on psychology background, program expectations, and goals.
  • Complete the admission file by the deadline.
  • Selected applicants attend a faculty group interview.

Our MFT degree program consists of 60 credit hours and can typically be finished within two years if a student enrolls full-time and attends classes during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Graduates with an MFT degree can pursue careers as licensed marriage and family therapists, working in private practice, mental health clinics, hospitals, schools, or other healthcare settings. They can also work as counselors, therapists, or consultants, specializing in helping individuals and families with relationship and mental health issues.

Graduate Achievement Data

From the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website

The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Consistent with the CHEA Recognition Standards, accreditation organizations must establish standards that require accredited programs “to provide quality and consistent information about academic quality and student achievement and thus to foster continuing public awareness, confidence, and investment.” COAMFTE has established Accreditation Standards that require programs to report on student achievement. Additionally, COAMFTE collects student achievement data on graduation rates, exam pass rates, and licensure rates. Accredited programs are required to report student achievement criteria data on an annual basis.

Accredited programs report student achievement criteria data for each cohort in the program. A cohort is defined as the students who entered a program between a given time period (example: the students in the fall 2015-spring 2016 cohort, entered their respective programs between the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016).

Data for the Marriage and Family Therapy program shows in the 2023 Graduate Achievement Data for the San Antonio campus program document.