Online Master of

Marriage and Family Therapy

Connections strengthen our society, from the bond between couples and their children to the relationships that form supportive, collaborative communities. Yet, multiple factors can disrupt these structures, resulting in a rippling effect. Therapy helps couples work through these rough patches to reinforce and refine their own relationships and learn better coping strategies in the process. A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) guides them on this journey, using an evidence-based approach and knowledge of these specific interpersonal dynamics.

As demand for MFT professionals grows, Abilene Christian University offers an online Marriage and Family Therapy degree program. Providing convenience and flexibility, this Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE)–accredited program prepares you to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy National Examination to obtain licensure while equipping you for leadership and Christian vocational service in the process.

Connections strengthen our society, from the bond between couples and their children to the relationships that form supportive, collaborative communities. Yet, multiple factors can disrupt these structures, resulting in a rippling effect. Therapy helps couples work through these rough patches to reinforce and refine their own relationships and learn better coping strategies in the process. A licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) guides them on this journey, using an evidence-based approach and knowledge of these specific interpersonal dynamics.

As demand for MFT professionals grows, Abilene Christian University offers an online Marriage and Family Therapy degree program. Providing convenience and flexibility, this Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy (COAMFTE)–accredited program prepares you to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy National Examination to obtain licensure while equipping you for leadership and Christian vocational service in the process.

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Prepare for Licensure and a Rewarding Career

Grow your skills and prepare for a rewarding career with ACU’s online MFT program, crafted for busy working adults just like you. Balance work, life and other commitments while thriving in a vibrant, virtual, Christ-centered community.

Locked-In Tuition

Introducing
Locked-In Tuition.

Our Locked-In Tuition program guarantees you’ll pay the same price for your entire undergraduate degree.

About the Program

And how does that make you feel? Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Our COAMFTE-accredited 60 credit–hour online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program combines practical training in couple, family and child therapy, mental illness, substance abuse and addiction, with emphasis placed on assessment and diagnostic processes. Specialize your degree with one of four concentrations, and gain real-world experience that prepares you to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy National Examination through an internship with 100-plus hours of supervision. 

Program Structure

All the Details on Your Degree

This degree prepares you to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy National exam administered by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB). The Master of Marriage and Family Therapy is also available as a residential program in Abilene.

Professional Licensing Disclosure for the Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy through Abilene Christian University’s Online MFT Graduate Degree.

Required Hours

60 hours
33 months minimum, including at least 12 months of Internship

Example Coursework

Family Theory
Systemic Diagnosis & Assessment
Addictive Disorders
Cultural Diversity in Family Therapy
Couples Therapy

Upcoming Start Dates

June 25, 2024
August 20, 2024

COMMON PLACES OF PRACTICE

Private and group practice
Non-profit agencies
Community mental health clinics
Churches
Hospitals
Adoption agencies
Residential treatment
Recovery centers

Concentrations

marriage and family therapy

Child and Adolescent Therapy

Children and teens occupy a specific and evolving role within the family structure. This concentration focuses on their needs and conducting age-appropriate interventions through courses in play therapy, child- and adolescent-specific issues, and related treatment and assessment strategies.

 

 

 

 

marriage and family therapy

General

You’ll explore individual and family development for youth through adults and learn to apply these theories to uplift and better assist your patients through interventions. At the same time, you’ll grow your understanding of crisis theory and trauma and their influence on the family structure. Students enrolled in the general track then select electives from other specializations. 

 

 

 

marriage and family therapy

Therapy with Military Families

Learn more about how military service and related trauma affect the family structure. Courses touch on violence in family relationships, the lifecycle and common events military families experience and how to treat this specific unit.

 

 

 

 

marriage and family therapy

Treatment of Trauma

Untreated or ignored trauma has potential to undermine a couple’s or family’s bond. To help couples process and grow in the aftermath, this concentration explores common interventional models, the presence of trauma and violence within relationships and relevant assessment and treatment methods.

 

 

 

 

Why choose ACU’s Online MFT program?

You will receive practical training in couple, family and child therapy, mental illness, substance abuse and addiction, and assessment and diagnosis. Your online marriage and family therapy graduate program will give you real-world experience through an internship. Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of families in your community?

Our MFT degree curriculum is designed to achieve specific program goals with corresponding student learning outcomes.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

Respect for DiversityThe Online Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is committed to creating a learning context that is characterized by the inclusion of multiple groups in the student body and faculty. Further, the faculty and program leadership view matters of diversity as integral to the foundational curriculum and foundational practice component. Read our full commitment statement here.
Download the full statement here (PDF).
MMFT Diversity Chart. Reach out to ACU Online for more information

Effective August 2023:

    • $799 per credit hour
    • $470 per credit hour for Internship courses
    • $200 resource fee per non-internship course

Prior to August 2023:

  • $825 per credit hour
  • $470 per credit hour for Internship courses
  • $200 resource fee per non-internship course

Meet the Program Director

Dr. Sara Salkil, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil is the program director of the online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program. She is independently licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Ohio and Texas and is an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor. Sara grew up in Oklahoma and earned her bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Oklahoma State University. She received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from ACU and her doctorate in MFT from Texas Tech University. In addition to her academic work, she serves as a COAMFTE Commissioner and practices part-time.

Spotlight

Marriage and Family Therapy

Why Become a Marriage and Family Therapist?

Therapy is one of the most sought after services. With more than 55.8 million Americans receiving mental health treatments in 2022, the time to become a marriage and family therapist is now. Read more about why you should become a therapist and how our Master of Marriage and Family Therapy can help you become a servant in your community.

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Halstead

Faculty Spotlight: Jackie Halstead

Whether she’s teaching courses related to theory or introducing new concepts found in academic literature related to new counseling practices, Dr. Jackie Halstead is on a mission to provide the best quality care and education for those interested in therapy, counseling, and leadership within their communities. Working alongside her colleagues in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, Dr. Halstead is a prime example of what it means to serve, walk, and lead humbly alongside the Lord and His will for her life.

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Notice

Faculty Spotlight: Maxine Notice

Whether it’s guiding students through coursework or working with patients on their relationships and interpersonal issues, Dr. Maxine Notice, assistant professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy program, is on a mission to help those around her by advocating for their mental well-being regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender.

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Sarah

Student Spotlight: Sarah Gerke

Equipped with a servant’s mind, Sarah Gerke is a full-time mom, wife, camp director, and now student who’s working toward completing her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Passionate about helping others and meeting them where they are, Sarah is on a journey toward becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist to one day operate a retreat place for families and individuals undergoing trauma and loss. With the help of her professors and colleagues worldwide, Sarah is determined to share her story with those who see a need in their community and want to make a difference.

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therapist and patient

Marriage and Family Therapists versus Psychologists: What is the difference?

Interested in a career where you work directly with people who benefit from your guidance? A Marriage and Family Therapist or Psychologist may be the right fit. Read on to discover the key differences between the two so you can choose the one that best suits your interests.

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Annette

Student Spotlight: Annette Watts

Returning to school has no age limit, especially for people like Annette Watts. Having completed her online bachelor’s degree in psychology at ACU, Annette is already on the path toward obtaining her master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is passionate about assisting families with children with developmental disabilities, like her son. Wanting to encourage others to take a step in faith, Annette is a testament to what can happen when you have a support system and the drive to make a difference.

Read More
COAMFTE

News Release: ACU receives accreditation for online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program

ACU Online has received COAMFTE accreditation for our Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree program. The COAMFTE accreditation indicates that ACU’s online program meets or exceeds the established industry standards and prepares students for licensure.

Read More
Dr. Sara Salkil, Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Services, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Sara Salkil

“I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much,” said Dr. Sara Salkil, program director for ACU Online’s COAMFTE-accredited Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program. Check out how she’s done just that and more in our faculty spotlight.

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Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

4 Benefits of Becoming a Marriage and Family Therapist

As a marriage and family therapist or counselor, you can make a positive difference while also earning a comfortable income and enjoying flexible hours.  

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Friendly therapist sitting in a chair, Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

To be considered for admission, students must:

  • Complete the online program application accompanied by a non-refundable processing fee.
  • Submit official transcripts showing earned bachelors from a regionally accredited college or university or the equivalent.
  • Submit a written purpose statement addressing three prompts:
    • What do you know about the field of marriage and family therapy?
    • Why are you drawn to the field?
    • How will a degree in marriage and family therapy advance your career or ministry goals?
  • Supply three letters of recommendation.
  • Have a quality of life that reflects high moral standards.
  • A video conference interview with the program director may be requested.
  • Earn a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA in the first 12 credit hours and receive a minimum grade of B in MFTO 601 Pre-Internship.
  • Students who reside in California, Illinois, Kansas, and New Hampshire will not be admitted to ACU’s online MFT program due to restrictions from state licensure organizations.

For more information, please refer to the MFT student handbook.

COAMFTE

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at ACU Online is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), coa@aamft.org.

Abilene Christian University enjoys a strong national reputation as one of the leading private Christian universities in the west and southwest, indicated by various ratings (such as U.S. News and World Report and other reports).

Hear from the program director of the online MFT, Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil to hear how ACU prepares you to serve families in need.


Objectives and Curriculum for the Online MFT Program

View relationships from a different, more complex perspective, and acquire a new mindset for encouraging change within that structure. With our online MFT program, ACU strives to graduate clinically and ethically competent marriage and family therapists who:

  • facilitate intervention strategies with diverse couples, families, and individuals seeking to overcome a range of relational and mental health issues;
  • uphold an approach of evidence-based practice rooted in MFT research and Christian vocational principles; 
  • maintain professional ethics and standards for practice, research, and decision making;
  • uncover a spiritual and religious perspective of the marriage and family therapy field;
  • understand the principles of human development, sexuality, gender development, psychopathology, psychopharmacology, and couples and family development processes while committing to diversity and inclusion;
  • develop a systems perspective for assessing family history and dynamics, including the relationship between crisis, trauma, and the family system; and
  • thoroughly understand the U.S. healthcare system, behavioral health disorders, and the psychotherapy-based assessment process to provide informed, ethical diagnosis, and treatment plans.

Program Goals and Learning Outcomes

Reflecting demand for individuals with these skills, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified 16% more positions for marriage and family therapists between 2020 and 2030.

To help you advance toward this outcome, the online Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program is divided into two portions: 48 credit hours of foundational courses and 12 credit hours in a specialization. Woven within this curriculum are clinical requirements, a capstone project, and a case study.

All online MFT students broaden their knowledge through courses covering:

  • family studies and family therapy theories, with emphasis placed on empirical investigation to assess behavior;
  • marriage and family therapy techniques to examine a family’s problems and needs;
  • using the Diagnostic and Standard Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and common assessment tools to diagnose psychopathological issues;
  • the biological, social and psychological aspects of addictive disorders and related diagnostic and treatment strategies;
  • individual, marital and family development;
  • cultural competence, sensitivity and awareness related to gender, ethnicity and class;
  • professional ethics and laws; and
  • quantitative and qualitative research methods.