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Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

This program is designed for aspiring therapists who desire to work in public mental health clinics, schools or private practice.

Mental health has historically been a service for privileged members of society. Prepare to turn the field upside down as a therapist with cultural humility. Critique and transform mental health systems and help your clients overcome barriers to their wellbeing and goals. 

Program Overview

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT)  program will prepare you to address issues facing families, couples, adults and children. These include relationship issues, emotional disorders, behavioral problems, mental illness and alcohol and substance abuse. After you complete the program and fulfill other state-mandated requirements, you will be eligible for the state of California’s Marriage and Family Therapy license.

Through this program, you will:

  • Earn a degree from a program with a strong reputation among local agencies for desirable candidates.
  • Become familiar with the best practices of recovery-oriented care through a curriculum that balances research and self-reflection.
  • Join a tightly-knit community of students and gain unmatched opportunities for discussion and lifelong colleagues.
  • Engage in a community that prioritizes equity for students and the communities they serve. 

Curriculum

The MFT program meets the requirements established by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. As a clinical training program, the curriculum follows a fixed course sequence and students complete the program as a cohort. The program’s courses will help you to gain and apply knowledge in all relevant aspects of the field, from addiction to trauma.

The curriculum focuses on three broad themes:
 

Therapy skills  Sharpen your skills as a therapist through self-reflection, classroom roleplay and supervised experience in real-world settings. Receive feedback from professors and peers.
Cultural sensitivity with a social justice lens Identify and address the cultural contexts that shape you and your future clients to understand the impact of these factors on the relationship between therapist and clients.
Research-supported interventions Become a skilled consumer of professional literature and evidence-based methods to address social, psychological, health, and sexual challenges.

Fieldwork 

To ensure your readiness for work with clients, you will take part in videotaped clinical practice in a classroom setting in the first year. Later, you will select a fieldwork placement site and receive supervision as you continue your practice in a real-world setting.

Learning Environment

Our program’s cohort model and small class sizes promote a collaborative rather than competitive learning environment. You will become part of the “beloved community” and build relationships that can be an enduring source of support throughout your career. 

As a student, you will be expected to take part in discussions and write about how the concepts taught in the program apply to your own life. These discussions may include conversations about family history, relationship challenges and views on sexuality. You will take part in therapy-like practice sessions that may reveal your personal information. You always have the right to determine what information and how much you share in these exercises. In cases that do not involve harm to yourself or others, or child/elder abuse, faculty and other students will make an effort to keep information confidential.

Licensure

In addition to completing coursework, you must fulfill a series of requirements to be eligible for California’s Marriage and Family Therapy license. These include:

  • 3,000 hours of supervised clinical work (you will likely complete as many as 1000 hours toward the requirement prior to graduation)
  • Successful completion of both the California Law and Ethics exam and the clinical exam coordinated by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences

California requirements will meet most of the requirements for a similar license in many other states. However, if you plan to obtain a license in another state, identify whether the California MFT will satisfy the state’s requirements before beginning the program.

Scholarships

As an applicant, you will be automatically considered for several USC Rossier scholarships ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. There is no need to submit a separate application for these scholarships. The admission committee selects recipients based on academic achievement, demonstrated dedication to the USC Rossier mission and other characteristics. Applicants in rounds one and two will have priority.

View USC Rossier’s scholarship finder to identify other scholarships and funding opportunities. You do not have to be admitted to apply to these scholarships. Carefully note the scholarship application deadlines, which may occur before the final program application deadline.

Financial Aid

The USC Office of Student Financial Aid provides information regarding various types of financial aid and financing options.

To be considered for financial aid, you must apply for the FAFSA by May 6, 2022. After you apply, the financial aid office will determine your financial need and inform you of the federal or private loans that are available to you.

Career Outcomes

  • Public mental health agencies
  • School-based mental health
  • Community mental health
  • Residential treatment facilities including specialty practices in substance abuse, eating disorders, domestic violence and trauma
  • Private practice
  • Teaching
  • Doctoral degree 
  • Author
     

Program Details

Degree Awarded

Master of Science (MS)

Estimated Length

Full time: 24 months
Part time: 48 months
 

Units

60

Program Cost

Modality

  • On Campus

Next Deadline

March 15th, 2023

See all deadlines

Start Date

Late June, 2023

Class Times

Mondays through Wednesdays in afternoons or evenings Pacific Time

Take the Next Step

Meet our Student Ambassadors

Our student ambassadors can provide you with helpful insight through the lens of their own experiences. Connect with a student of your choice by email, and set up a time to talk.

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Megan Adamson

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Malibu, California
Undergraduate Institution: Pepperdine University


“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” —Albert Camus

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Leticia Bernabe

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: San Diego, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine


“Choosing USC was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Everyday I feel like I learn something new from not only the professors, but also members of my cohort. It feels so refreshing to be surrounded by supportive, caring and like minded individuals.”

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Christina Fazio

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergrad Institution: Loyola Marymount University
 

"As a queer, mixed-Latinx individual, I have seen the detrimental impacts of stigma within my culture. I hope to work with queer POC youth who have struggled with their identities and are collectively trying to heal their inner child."

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Jordan Gant

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Pasadena, California
Undergraduate Institution: Chaminade University of Honolulu


"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless" - Mother Teresa

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Shannon Carrera Giron

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala
Undergraduate Institution: San Jose State University
 
“This program has promoted self-exploration, allowing me the space to feel and gain better insight on a thought or emotion which has helped me gain a deeper understanding of myself. Having this self-exploration, has allowed me to see the ways I want to, or must, show up for others who are suffering. Especially those in marginalized communities, whose voices are often shut down.

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Nina Marikian

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Pasadena, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine
 

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Bridgett Priscilla Melendez

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: South Gate, California
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Long Beach
 
"I am a first-generation Latina from South Gate, CA, and the first in my family to pursue a master’s degree. The USC Rossier mission resonated with me in various ways, and I hope to carry our shared values through the program, my profession, and in life.”

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Mariah Perry

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Sacramento
 
“Greetings all! My goal is to provide assistance with compassion and care. Applying to graduate programs can be stressful, as a MFT ambassador I am here to provide support with much consideration.

Chanelle Haywood

Chanelle Haywood

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Irvine

“USC’s MFT program is unlike any other, as it pushes for not only educational equity but also the inclusion of social justice.”

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Christiana Rigopoulos

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: San Diego, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of Oregon
 
“The learning community that I've found within USC has felt like home since I first read Rossier's mission statement, which so eloquently mirrored my own values. Each professor and peer inspires and challenges me and their impact has been profound in my personal and academic growth.

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Noelle Seim

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Redwood City, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
 
“Every human deserves empathy, compassion and connection- these values are the cornerstones of what it means to be a mental health therapist.

Ava Sambora

Ava Sambora

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Westlake Village, Calif.
Undergrad: Loyola Marymount University

“The community here is beyond what I imagined a graduate school cohort would be like. The professors are so inspiring and truly care about each student.”

Rachel Nebel

Rachel Nebel

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Calabasas, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

“I wanted to attend a school in the LA area because I knew I wanted to end up here and start creating connections and networking. Besides being a well-known school and an amazing alumni network, I resonated with the USC Rossier mission statement and the statement of the Marriage and Family Therapy program.”

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Vivianna Shields

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Santa Clarita, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
 
“We can be whatever we have the courage to be” - Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Monica Deyski

Monica Deyski

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Woodland Hills, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: San Diego State University

“I’ve valued the program’s emphasis on fostering culturally competent clinicians. All my classes have maintained a diverse perspective that has allowed me to feel confident in treating a variety of people.”

Natalie Caballero

Natalie Caballero

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Mid-City, Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: Mount Saint Mary’s University

“Being a part of a traditionally marginalized group myself, I knew that if I wanted to make a change, this school and my program would teach and lead me in the right direction.”

Jacqueline Pineda Arana

Jacqueline Pineda Arana

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

“Mental health has historically been a privileged service for privileged members of society and I want to work towards providing accessible mental health for historically underrepresented communities. USC provides the encouragement and resources to pursue this vision into reality.”

Kaitlyn Chalabian

Kaitlyn Chalabian

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: San Diego State University

“I value the connections and support I have had since applying and being accepted into the program. The faculty here are all rooting for all our successes, and I am constantly supported in all my endeavors.”

Sophia Noory

Sophia Noory

Graduation year: 2023 
Hometown: Milpitas, Calif.
Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Fullerton

“I was the first woman in my Muslim immigrant family to leave home without first being married. I began a mental health journey that completely changed who I am and now I want to support others the way I was supported.”

Sofia Gomez

Sofia Gomez

Graduation year: 2023
Hometown: New York, N.Y.
Undergraduate Institution: Harvard University

“From the start of the application process, the sense of support and community that I saw in the USC MFT program was unparalleled.  I was attracted to the genuine sense of camaraderie I saw amongst the faculty and the current students.”

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Dylan Smith

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of Arizona
 
“Started undergrad in the mid-2000's before leaving to play professional football, and eventually ended up spending over a decade as a restaurateur. Recently decided to get back on path to pursuing my original dream of becoming a therapist. Proud to be a lifelong Trojan as my father taught at USC for over 30 years and my mother is an alumni as well. Fight on!

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Bella Sos

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Los Altos, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of Redlands
 
“I am continuously blown away by the kind and supportive individuals here. I have been so pleased with the ways in which the program and faculty have pushed me to become the best version of myself I can be.”

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Britt Youssef

Graduation year: 2024
Hometown: Calabasas, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, San Diego
 
“As a first-generation college graduate, Egyptian-American, and researcher, I chose USC for its dedication to social justice and evidence-based research. I have also found incredible support from faculty and staff and access to resources that are helping me thrive.

Program Outcomes

98%

of MFT alums said their USC Rossier education prepared them to be more effective in their career

91%

of MFT alumni said their studies at USC Rossier prepared them well for future employment

16%

Less than 16% of MFT alumni took more than six months to find a job after graduating from USC Rossier

92%

of MFT students pass their Clinical BBS Exams, compared with a typical 70% pass rate

From Our Alumni

Agueda Rivas

I chose USC’s MFT program because it is focused on training conscious practitioners who are committed to working in public mental health settings serving the most vulnerable. During the program, professors intentionally created space for difficult conversations. They ensured students had the language to not only have these conversations with one another but to also evaluate their own biases and the impact it has on the work they do. They are actively changing the landscape of the mental health field.

Agueda Rivas, MFT ’15

Acting Clinic Manager/FSP Supervisor, Enki Health Services, Inc

JB Bunyi

The Marriage and Family Therapy program at USC continually stresses the importance of increasing equitable access to mental health services—a purpose which its students embody and are passionate about, and which I am grateful to be part of. The tremendous support that the faculty, staff, and fellow students have provided throughout my journey has been invaluable.

John Bosco (JB) Bunyi, MFT ’16

Digital Mental Health Specialist and Research Associate, UC Irvine

Micki Smith

I always knew that I wanted a career where I was helping others and had ample opportunities to effect change. USC prepared me, above and beyond, to do just that. After graduating from the MFT program I was able to quickly find a job, and after 4.5 years have been able to work my way up to a management position. I attribute so much of my success to the supportive faculty and cohort members I was surrounded by, as well as the stellar education I received as a student at USC!

Micki Smith, MFT ’17

Program Manager with The Institute for the Redesign of Learning

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Victor Castro MEd ’19 and Richard DiNinni EdD ’22 are creating new educational programs at West Point that blend virtual reality and game-based training technologies with research-based pedagogy

Teaching in a time of war: An update from alumna and Board of Councilors member Elana Glasenberg

In 2021, Glasenberg EdD ’21, working with educational foundation U21, opened an inclusive school in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Program Contact

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Aiddee Tellez

Assistant Director, Office of Admission and Scholarships

Student taking notes

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