Marriage and Family Therapy

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

The MFT program at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln is designed to prepare future Marriage and Family Therapists for work as ethical, systemic, and trauma-informed mental health clinicians. Many of our MFT graduates go on to work as therapists in private or group practice, or within agency, hospice, or hospital settings.

Our program has been 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 will work with you to meet the specific licensing requirements of the state in which you wish to practice.  You can find a list of state licensing boards here

The MFT program at UNL is unique in that is one of the only programs where students can receive:

* training and certification in Medical Family Therapy.

* training in the utilization of distance technology to deliver mental health treatment to underserved populations, and distance therapy internships to students who display an interest in this field.

* advanced trainings in trauma-informed and relationally-based care, including EMDR (both levels 1 and 2), Gottman Level 1, and Attachment-Based Family Therapy

An important aspect of training in this specialization includes the skills acquired in our on-campus training facility, the Couple and Family Clinic within UNL’s Family Resource Center, as a therapist-trainee. Training also includes 12 month internship placements in both urban and rural settings, which leads students to acquire a minimum of 500 direct client contact hours, at least 200 of which are relational. MFT students receive over 100 hours of combined individual and group supervision based on live observation of client sessions, therapist report, and videotape of client sessions from a variety of AAMFT Approved Supervisors and Supervisor Candidates with diverse backgrounds and clinical experiences.

Program Mission

The mission of the University of Nebraska’s Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s program is to train and educate multi-culturally competent, systemic, trauma-informed Marriage and Family Therapists for work within the modern-day mental health field. Our program aims to train clinicians to meet the needs of underserved, rural, and minority populations in Nebraska while they utilize the inclusion of globally diverse perspectives in mental health treatment. This mission is supported by our program’s philosophy and goals, which are rooted in professional identification as MFTs and core competencies in ethical practice, assessment and diagnosis, and systemic approaches to clinical care . Our program provides students with unique opportunities to serve this mission through international engagement and study abroad experiences, practicum in integrative tele-mental health services, and advanced clinical trainings, with an emphasis on addressing mental health disparities in underserved and rural populations.

Program Philosophy

UNL’s MFT program is committed to training ethical, effective, systemic clinicians who have a strong professional identity as Marriage and Family Therapists. The program faculty believes that good clinical training can only occur through the integration of theory, practice, research, and knowledge. Special attention is paid to students’ self-of-the-therapist development as faculty guide cohort members through understanding how their own values, beliefs, and experiences have the potential to impact the way they view individuals, families, and mental health treatment. Our MFT students follow a prescribed plan of study that begins with being grounded in theory and knowledge of systems philosophy, and is incrementally augmented with clinical practice and research experience. Students are expected throughout the program to demonstrate how both theory and research inform their clinical work and client progress, as well as their understanding of human conditions. Our faculty believe a strong understanding of how cultural identity and experience impact individuals from within and between themselves and others is imperative to sound practice.

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:

  • Teaches students to use knowledge of systemic principles, theories, and research to develop a cohesive theoretical approach to treatment.
  • Graduates students who are able to illustrate the effectiveness of their personalized theoretical approach in assessment, diagnosis, case conceptualization, and intervention in the treatment of individuals, couples and families.
  • Creates an inclusive environment which attends to components of diversity, power, and privilege in mental health treatment. Multi-cultural competence is stressed in the areas of self-of-therapist awareness, client engagement, client assessment and diagnosis, and treatment planning.
  • Instills in students the importance of and ability to maintain compliance with ethical, legal, and professional standards in the practice of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Program Diversity Statement

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.


Our current student body consists of 13 graduate students, 15% of whom are male and 85% of whom are women. 62% are native to Nebraska while 38% come from various regions all over the country.  Currently, one student is an international student.  77% identify as being of European American decent and 23% identify as Asian.  15% speak multiple languages.


Of the five core MFT faculty members, 60% are men and 40% are women. 20% percent identify as Hispanic and 80% identify as being of European American decent. 60% are bi-lingual. 100% have international experience in academia, research, curriculum development, and/or clinical practice.


There are ten on-site and off-site supervisors for the program, 60% of whom are AAMFT Approved Supervisors or Approved Supervisor Candidates. 40% are considered to be of “Supervisor Equivalency.” 60% identify as being of European-American decent, 20% identify as Hispanic, 10% identify as Black, and 10% identify as Multiethnic.  50% 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

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Marriage and Family Therapy Program
Accredited: 1993
Minimum Program Length*: 24 Months / Advertised Program Length*: 24 months/ Maximum Time to Complete Program*: 10 years
Year Students
Entered Program**
# of Student in Program
Graduation Rate
(Minimum Time)
Graduation Rate
(Advertised Time)
Graduation Rate
(Maximum Time)
Job Placement Rate***National Exam Pass Rate****
2011-2012 8 0 75 75 12.5 100 100
2012-2013 8 0 100 100 n/a 100 100
2013-2014 6 0 100 100 n/a 100 100
2014-2015 7 0 100 100  n/a 85.7 100
2015-2016 7 0 85.7 85.7  n/a 100 100
2016-2017 9 0 88.9 88.9 n/a 87.5 80
2017-2018 10 0 90 90 10 100 100
2018-2019 9 0 100 100 n/a 87.5 In Progress
2019-2020 8 0 In Progress In Progress In Progress In Progress In Progress
2020-2021 6 0 In Progress In Progress In Progress In Progress In Progress


*Minimum length of time is the shortest time possible that a student could complete the program (i.e., a student doubled up on coursework one semester and was able to graduate early). Advertised length of time is how long the program is designed to complete as written. Maximum length of time is the maximum allowable time in which a student could finish the program (i.e., if a student needed to take time off due to illness, family responsibilities, etc.).

**Program are only required to provide data on the past 10 years/cohort or since the program was initial accredited, whichever is shorter

***This is defined as the percentage of graduates from the cohort year listed that are employed within 3 years of their graduation utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program. Masters and Doctoral programs are required to provide this information. Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public.

**** Master programs are required to provide this information. Doctoral and Post-Degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. For Master’s programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% pass rate for each cohort.

Application to this program

*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.

Required materials:

Graduate Studies Application
Unofficial Transcripts
GRE (GRE requirement has been waived for all students applying to CYAF Graduate Programs for Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 start terms)
TOELF (if applicable)
Statement of Professional Goals
Three Letters of Reference
Other Application Materials

Degree Requirements

This program can be completed in 2 years, including summers, involving 53 credit hours of course work requirements. Our Marriage and Family Therapy Policies and Procedures Manual (link below) 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 provide a minimum of 500 direct therapy hours, 200 of which must be with couples and/or families. 100 hours of supervision must be obtained during that clinical training
  • Complete a thesis or minor

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

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