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Program Overview Application Process Masters of Science Degree Post-Master's Certificate  

Program Overview

We offer two programs: a Master's degree program (51-54 semester hours) and a non-degree Post-Master's certificate (21 semester hours). Master's degree students and Post-Master's certificate students take courses and clinical training together -- an arrangement that we think benefits both. The MFT program in Northern Virginia is noted for both strong academic and clinical foci. In the onsite Clinic (Center for Family Services) students get close supervision provided by AAMFT approved supervisors and supervisor candidates.

At any given time we have about 40-45 active students in our two programs combined. About half of these are full time students while the other half chooses to fulfill program requirements at a slower pace because of work or family commitments. Class size varies from 10 to 25 which leaves ample room for interaction with fellow students and instructors.

The Commonwealth Campus initiative provides students with the opportunity to take advantage of specialized graduate coursework in a more flexible manner. Students may also take selected courses in our program as Commonwealth Campus students. Commonwealth Campus students can take up to 12 semester hours at Northern Virginia Center without being accepted into a program.

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Application Process

Students are admitted to our program once a year. Prospective students must complete the appropriate application forms and submit them to the Graduate School before the deadline. Applications are reviewed by the fulltime faculty who then select 25-28 prospective students from the pool of applicants (based on GRE and GPA; quality of reference letters; writing ability; experience; etc.) to come to the Center for a day-long group interview, which usually takes place in March.

The day-long interview is a mutual screening process. We gain more knowledge about applicants in order to select students who will contribute to the program and who will be most likely to benefit from the program. We also try to tell candidates as much about our program and the field of family therapy as we can to assist them in deciding whether our program is a good fit for them.

No one type of student is preferred. We try to attain ethnic, age, and gender diversity in selecting the most qualified applicants for admission. Each year we try to select a group of students who will complement each other and work well together.

From the pool of interviewees, we invite from 10-12 to join our program in the coming year.

To be formally invited to begin the clinical portion of the program, students also complete an additional screening process to assure they are ready to begin practicum.

Click Here for more information on the application process.

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Masters of Science Degree

The Virginia Tech Marriage and Family Therapy program, leading to a Master of Science in Human Development at the Falls Church campus, is designed to prepare students to be competent marriage and family therapists. Students also learn to critically analyze research and to develop and conduct research studies of their own. Our program has been accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) since 1988.

Course Requirements
51-54 semester hours: 13 academic courses; 3-6 hours of thesis/clinical project; 9 hours of practicum.

Full time students typically complete the program in three years; part-time students in four to five years. The maximum number of years permitted to complete the program is seven.

Clinical Training
After successfully completing at least 12 hours of course work, students are eligible to take their written comprehensive exam and to apply for the clinical program. Once accepted into the clinical program, students are required to complete 500 hours of direct client contact while enrolled in clinical practicum. It typically takes two years to complete this requirement.

Students complete their first year of clinical training in our on-site clinic, The Center for Family Services (CFS), which is equipped with one-way mirrors and video cameras. Their work at CFS is closely supervised in three ways: from behind a one-way mirror, in a group setting, and individually. Clients at CFS come from a broad spectrum of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and have a wide array of presenting problems. Students are encouraged to obtain an off-site clinical placement at one of several approved sites in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area during their second year of practicum.

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Post-Master's Certificate

Our Post Master's (PM) Certificate Program is designed for people who have earned a master's degree in a mental health discipline and would like to obtain specific training in marriage and family therapy. Some PM students need academic courses for licensure and some just want to learn how to work with families effectively. Although certain courses are required, programs of study are individually tailored to meet the specific needs of each student.

Course Requirements
21 semester hours: 15 academic credits and 6 hours of practicum. The reqired courses are Systems Theory and Family Therapy, Clinical MFT I, and Professional Ethics (9 credits), and 6 to 9 credits of elective courses.

Most students complete the PM certificate program in 2-3 years as part time students while they work full or part time.

Clinical Training
After successfully completing approximately 6-9 hours of course work (usually following their first academic year), students are eligible to apply for the clinical program. Once accepted into the clinical program, PM students are required to complete one calendar year of practicum in our on-site clinic, The Center for Family Services (CFS), which is equipped with one-way mirrors and video cameras. Their work at CFS is closely supervised from behind a one-way mirror, in a group setting, and individually. Clients at CFS come from a broad spectrum of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds and have a wide array of presenting problems.

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