Couple and Family Therapy (MS)


Master of Science in Social Work 
Unit: Kent School of Social Work (GK)
Department: Social Work
Program Website 
Academic Plan Code(s): CFT_MS; CFT_MS_ADC

Program Information

The purpose of the Master of Science in Couple and Family Therapy (MS CFT) program within the Kent School of Social Work (Kent School) is to develop professionals in couple/marriage and family therapy to work with couples, families, and other systems within their community contexts and through the lens of
social justice. 

Marriage/couple and family therapy is a distinct discipline from social work with its own state licensure board, national professional organization, and national accrediting body. The MS CFT degree program is the first COAMFTE‐accredited master’s degree program in the nation housed in a school of social work.

The MS CFT program offers a rigorous educational program that takes a social justice approach to working with individuals, couples, families, and other systems. Students take 59 credit hours and meet coursework requirements for Kentucky state licensure as a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). MS CFT coursework focuses on family systems theoretical foundations, systemic assessment, social justice and diversity, family systems interventions, research‐informed practice, and ethics. 

Students also have the option of completing a concentration in Alcohol & Drug Counseling.

The CFT Program has established the following six Program Goals, in accordance with our purpose of training a social‐justice minded workforce of couple and family therapy professionals and our accreditation standards:

  • Educate students with regard to the major models of marriage and family therapy
  • Train students to effectively assess and conceptualize individual and family problems
  • Train students to effectively implement marital and family therapy techniques and interventions
  • Prepare students to practice professionally as ethical marriage/couple and family therapists
  • Prepare students to become social‐justice oriented marriage/couple and family therapists
  • Train students to become research‐informed clinicians

Degree Requirements

MS CFT Core Coursework59
Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentration (optional)12
Minimum Total Hours59-71

MS-MSSW Dual Degree

Students may also choose to complete a dual master's degree program in CFT (MS) and Social Work (MSSW), allowing completion of a master's degree in two distinct professions in 2-3 years. The dual degree program exposes students to philosophical and legal distinctions of both degrees, creating a unique opportunity for MSW students to deepen their clinical training with couples and families, and introduce CFT students to a broader rang of social work and social welfare course offerings and clinical diagnoses. Students in the dual degree program take 84 credit hours.

Admission Requirements

Applications to the Master of Science in CFT program must include the following:

  • Completed Graduate School application and application fee
  • Earned bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Three recommendations from former instructors or supervisors
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Family of Origin paper (a description of formative experiences in one’s family)
  • Letter of Intent
  • Overall GPA of 3.0 recommended; applicants with incoming GPAs under 2.75 must submit either GRE or MAT scores from within the last 5 years, and would require an addendum discussing gaps or deficiencies in applicant’s academic record.

Program Requirements

Standards set by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

To graduate with the MS in CFT, students must complete all required coursework and meet the following standards:

  • Complete the program within 4 years of beginning coursework
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0 at program completion
  • Minimum of 500 client contact hours
  • Minimum of 200 relational hours
  • Minimum 60 raw (video or live) supervision hours
  • No more than two C grades in the MS CFT program

Credit from a maximum of 2 courses may be transferred in from other master's degree programs upon approval by Director.

Program Coursework

SW 601Human Behavior in the Social Environment I3
SW 603Diversity, Oppression, and Social Justice Practice3
SW 619Human Behavior in the Social Environment II3
SW 626Research Methodology and Design3
SW 633Social Work and Human Sexuality3
SW 642Psychopathology3
SW 700Foundations of Couple and Family Therapy: Theory and Practice3
SW 701Family Therapy Assessment and Treatment in Diverse Populations3
SW 702Couple Therapy: Theory and Practice3
SW 703Contemporary Issues, Community Intersections & Collaborations in CFT3
SW 704Integrating Family Therapy: Theory and Practice3
SW 705Professional Issues & Ethics in Couple & Family Therapy3
SW 7063
SW 7101
SW 7111
SW 7121
SW 7131
SW 7141
SW 721Family Therapy Supervision I3
SW 722Family Therapy Supervision II3
SW 723Family Therapy Supervision III3
SW 724Family Therapy Supervision IV3
SW 725Family Therapy Supervision V3
Minimum Total Hours59

Concentration Coursework

Students interested in pursuing an optional concentration in Alcohol and Drug Counseling complete 12 credit hours of coursework in addition to the 59 hours of core program coursework.

Alcohol and Drug Counseling Concentration Coursework

SW 660Motivation and Change: The Process of Change and Strategies to Elicit Intrinsic Motivation.3
SW 661Special Issues in Alcohol and Drug Counseling3
SW 662Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders3
SW 678Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specialization Practicum Seminar1.5
SW 679Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counseling Specialization Practicum Seminar-Spring Semester1.5
Minimum Total Hours12

MS CFT students completing a concentration in Alcohol and Drug Counseling will complete their advanced-year CFT practicum in a specialized setting working with populations affected by substance abuse.