Marriage and Family Therapy


Marriage and Family Therapy Master of Science (M.S.)

Welcome! Chances are, if you're here, you have an interst in learning how to help people nagivate life's difficulties. With a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, you can develop the skills necessary to help individuals, couples, and families navigate life’s challenges and improve their well-being. Our program focuses on developing ethical, systemically minded, multi-culturally sensitive, attachment-oriented and trauma-informed mental health clinicians who go on to work as therapists within an agency, hospice, hospital setting, or community and private clinics.  

Our program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) since 1993. The COAMFTE is the standard setting organization for family therapy training recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The coursework for this degree meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Nebraska. Faculty advisers can also work with you to create a program of study that meets the specific licensing requirements of the state in which you wish to practice. You can find a list of state licensing boards here.  

Our program is designed to take 24 months. During that time, students will acquire a minimum of 400 direct contact hours, with at least 150 of which are relational. However, most students graduate with 500+ hours having worked with individuals, couples, families, and relational groups. Marriage and Family Therapy students receive over 100 hours of combined individual and group supervision based on live observation of client sessions, therapist reports and videotape of client sessions from a variety of AAMFT Approved Supervisors and Supervisor Candidates with diverse backgrounds and clinical experiences. 

The MFT program at UNL is unique in that students receive: 

  • Training in the utilization of distance technology to deliver mental health treatment to underserved populations. 
  • Advanced training opportunities in trauma-informed and relationally based care, including: 
    • Gottman Level 1 training 
    • Attachment-Based Family Therapy training 
    • Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy 
  • An on-campus training facility, the Couple and Family Clinic at UNL’s Family Resource Center, consisting of five therapy rooms, multiple observation rooms and state-of-the-art recording technology. 
  • 12-month internship placements in urban and rural settings. Examples include UNL's Student Housing, medical clinics and distance therapy for underserved populations. 

Students also have the opportunity to take EMDR training independent of classes during their second year of study. 

Our program uses a cohort model, providing students the opportunity to experience the program with a group of supportive classmates. Cohorts are typically comprised of eight to twelve students who start and complete the program together.  

Program At A Glance
Total Credit Hours Completion Time Cohort Size Next Application Due:
53 hours 24 months 8-12 Dec. 1, 2023
Program Information

Program Mission

The mission of the University of Nebraska’s Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program is to train ethical, systemic, and attachment- and trauma-informed clinicians who practice culturally responsive, inclusive, and affirmative care by integrating theory, research, knowledge, and service. 

Program Diversity Statement

Following the AAMFT ethical code includes subscribing to an ethic of non-discrimination. Being non-discriminatory means embodying cultural humility and responsiveness, affirmation and inclusive beliefs about and towards clients with marginalized identities (e.g. Black, Indigenous, and People of Color [BIPOC]; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Nonbinary, Asexual, and all people marginalized on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression [LGBTQIA+]; disabled person, immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers; people of varying socio-economic statuses; religious and ethnic minorities, etc.). Embodying non-discrimination and culturally responsive, affirmative and inclusive practice translate to believing that there is not anything inherently wrong, unhealthy, less than, deviant, sinful, or non-normative about marginalized persons, relationships, and family structures. Sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts (e.g., conversion therapy) are harmful, unethical practices that are not compatible with the AAMFT Code of Ethics.

Becoming therapists that embody cultural humility and responsiveness, as well as holding affirmative and inclusive beliefs towards marginalized persons and families is a lifelong endeavor.  Our program helps developing therapists cultivate a mindset of curiosity, humility, and accountability when exploring self-of-therapist issues that relate to biases, discriminatory beliefs, societal systems of oppression, and other beliefs/behaviors which may impede the therapeutic process.  Issues of diversity are woven into every course, and all members of the MFT program are expected to continually learn about diversity issues and their impact on individuals, couples, families, and communities.  

Program Goals

The MFT program at UNL aims to graduate Marriage and Family Therapists who successfully complete the clinical and academic training standards as informed by the AAMFT Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles.  These include integration of the AAMFT code of ethics, the COAMFTE Core Competencies, and Nebraska state MFT licensure requirements into goals rooted in knowledge, practice, research, ethics, and diversity.  

Our program:

  • Trains students to apply knowledge of systemic principles, theories, and research to practice ethical, evidence-based clinical practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups.

  • Prepares culturally responsive, inclusive, and affirmative students who can create a therapeutic environment with attends to components of diversity, power, and privilege in mental health treatment.

  • Prepares students who know the importance of and have the ability to maintain compliance with ethical, legal, and professional standards in the practice of marriage and family therapy.

  • Prepares students to create a professional identity as a marriage and family therapist.

Program Demographics

Our belief is that diversity is an overarching concept that is the inclusion, consideration, and respect of varying cultures, religions, sexual orientations, gender expressions, ethnicities, viewpoints, values, and experiences of the individuals who make up our world. Operating from a truly systemic framework, the MFT program at UNL emphasizes the need to be knowledgeable of those cultures which may not be represented by the student and/or faculty bodies, and how these diverse cultures need to be incorporated into academia, practice, and research.

Students

Our current student body consists of 14 graduate students, 28% who are men and 72% who are women. Eighty-six percent are native to Nebraska, 14% are native to a nation other than the United States. Fifty-seven percent of students identify as being of European American descent, 21.5% identify as Black/African American, and 21.5% identify as Latino. Twenty-one percent of our students speak multiple languages.

Faculty

Of the five core MFT faculty, 20% are non-binary, 40% are women, and 40% are men. Twenty percent identify as Asian and 80% identify as being of European American decent. Eighty percent are bilingual. The majority have international experience in academia, research, curriculum development, and/or clinical practice.

Supervisors

There are five on-site supervisors for the program, 80% are AAMFT Approved Supervisors or Approved Supervisor Candidates. Sixty-seven percent identify as being of European-American decent, 16.5% identify as Hispanic, and 16.5% identify as Asian. Fifty percent are bilingual.

Not so easily documented in a demographic mark up is the wide range of values, beliefs, and backgrounds that make up our student, faculty, and supervisor bodies.  We aim to teach our students how to hear, consider, and value multiple viewpoints and experiences of diverse client populations. They gain real-life experience in this practice when they work as therapists in the Couple and Family Clinic and in urban and rural community-based internships, where they see a variety of clients who may have different values and beliefs from their own. MFT students are expected to show a willingness and ability to develop the skills to work with any type of individual, couple, or family; and must be able to evaluate their own values and beliefs and how these can either support or interfere with client progress.

Student Achievement Data

Graduate Achievement Data for Marriage and Therapy Master's Program

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data for the University of Nebraska-Lincolnln

Accredited: 1993

Advertised Program Length*: 2

Cohort Year Students
Entered Program

# of Students

in Program

Graduation Rate in

Advertised Time (%)*

Job Placement

Rate (%)**

Licensure

Rate (%)***

FTFTFTFT
2015-2016 7 85.7 100 83
2016-2017 9 88.9 87.5 87.5
2017-2018 10 90 100 80
2018-2019 8 100 87.5 100
2019-2020 8 87.5 100 100
2020-2021 6 83 100 100
2021-2022 8 IP IP IP
2022-2023 7 IP IP IP

FT=Full‐time

PT=Part‐time

IP=In Process: Students from the cohort listed have yet to graduate from the cohort year listed.

Programs are only required to provide data on the past 7 years/cohort or since the program was initially accredited, whichever is shorter.

* Graduation Rate is the program’s Advertised Length of Completion which is how long the program is designed to complete as written.

** Job Placement Rate is the percentage of graduates from the cohort year that are employed utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program.

*** Licensure rate is the percentage of graduates from the cohort year that have achieved ANY level of MFT licensure.

For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% licensure rate for each cohort

Core Faculty Members

Core faculty, advisors, and supervisors in this program area include:

Application to this program

This program can be completed in 2 years, including summers, involving 53 credit hours of course work requirements. The Marriage and Family Therapy Handbook contains detailed information on our coursework requirements, professional and developmental expectations, program calendar, and policies and procedures of the Couple and Family Clinic; however, the following is a short list of the program requirements:

Training involves academic course work (53 credits) and supervised clinical experience. Each trainee must complete a 12-month practicum experience in which the student works with clients both at the on-campus clinic and an off-campus community agency

  • Students must acquire a minimum of 400 direct contact hours, with at least 150 of which are relational. However, most students graduate with 500+ hours having worked with individuals, couples, families, and relational groups.

Supervised Clinical Experience: The supervision of clinical experience is essential during the training phase of providing therapy to individuals and families. The majority of MFT faculty members are Approved Supervisors or Supervisor Candidates with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Faculty supervisors meet with the students weekly in both group and individual supervision. Supervision with faculty supervisors typically involves students presenting videotapes of their clinical work, or live observation of providing therapy. The faculty supervisors work with the community agency supervisors throughout the practicum year.

Required Core Classes:

Course Number Title
CYAF 846  Addiction and Violence
CYAF 865/863 Research Design and Methods or Youth Professionals as Consumers of Research
CYAF 870 Multicultural Competencies in Mental Health Treatment
CYAF 951 Theoretical Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy
CYAF 952 Psychopathology and Dysfunctional Interactions
CYAF 953 Issues and Ethics for Family Professionals
CYAF 954 Clinical Assessment
CYAF 955 Clinical Family Therapy
CYAF 956 Couples and Sex Therapy
CYAF 997 Advanced Practicum in Family Therapy (a 4-course series)

*The College of Education and Human Sciences requires all students admitted into a campus program to complete a background check before the start of their first semester.

For more information on our program, please see the Marriage and Family Therapy Handbook and our Grad Student Resource page. Our students are expected to adhere to UNL's Student Code of Conduct.

Cost of attendance will differ from one student to another. Please see the Graduate Studies' tuition and fees webpage for more info.

Deadline: December 1, 2023

Required materials:

Graduate Studies Application
Unofficial Transcripts
TOEFL (if applicable)
Resume
Statement of Professional Goals
Three Letters of Reference
Other Application Materials
more info/START THE APPLICATION PROCESS AT GRADUATE STUDIES