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  • M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy

    Gain real-world experience through Mercy's public sector and private practice internship sites all over NYC and in Westchester and Putnam Counties
    Mercy graduates receive scholarship opportunities, both at Ackerman and Family Institute of Westchester.
    School of Social and Behavioral Sciences
    Dobbs Ferry & Bronx

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Marriage and Family Therapy M.S. Curriculum

The 48-credit Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Degree is organized as follows:

Human Development 3 Credits
Clinical Knowledge 15 Credits
Theoretical Knowledge 9 Credits
Family Law 3 Credits
Research 3 Credits
Professional Ethics 3 Credits
Internship 9 Credits
Capstone Experience 3 Credits
Total 48 Credits

Completion of at least 21 credits, including PSYN 644 Group Experience; PSYN 654, Psychopathology; and PSYN 653, Family Life Style Assessment. The Practicum course must be applied for the semester prior to course registration. A 3.0 GPA is required to register in PSYN 640 and PSYN 641.

Course Requirements (48 Credits)

  • PSYN 602 Devlpmnt Across the Lifespan
  • PSYN 605 Couples Therapy:Theory & Pract
  • PSYN 614 Intro Cnslt & Fam/Comm/Mn Hlt
  • PSYN 616 Statstcs & Rsrch Methdlgy I
  • PSYN 625 Domestic Violence: Fmly Trtmnt
  • PSYN 639 Pre-Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • PSYN 640 Practicum I - MFT
  • PSYN 641 Practicum II - MFT
  • PSYN 642 Practicum III - MFT
  • PSYN 644 Group Experience
  • PSYN 653 Family Systems Assessment (this course is required prerequisite for PSYN 605 and 657)
  • PSYN 654 Psychopathology
  • PSYN 656 Family Law
  • PSYN 657 Contemporary Family Therapy
  • PSYN 665 Professional Issues and Ethics (student must take PSYN 652 before taking this course)


  • PSYN 710 Clinical Research Project


Students in the marriage and family program must meet with the program director, or associate director to plan his/her courses and to review the plan of study prior to course registration each semester. 

Course Load

In the first semester, full-time students may take nine credits. In subsequent semesters and with permission of the program director, student may take up to 12 credits. Part-time students must take six credits a semester. 

In Class and Online courses

M.F.T. students must take the clinical courses, including 605, 614, 639, 640, 641, 642, 644, 653, and 657 in the classroom at either the Dobbs ferry or Bronx campus. Other required courses may be taken online when so offered. 

Transfer Credits

Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to admission at Mercy College may, if pertinent to the plan of study, be credited to the graduate degree. Permission to transfer credits must be requested in writing at the time of admission and official transcripts and course descriptions must be submitted to the chairperson for evaluation. Transfer credit will be granted only for courses taken in the five-year period prior to acceptance in the Mercy College program and for courses in which the student earned a grade of B or above. Students may request transfer credit for up to six credits. Course with a grade of B- are not acceptable for transfer. 

Maintenance of Matriculation

It is expected that students will fulfill the requirements for their graduate degree by registering over successive sessions. For cohort programs, registration is required during summer session(s). For non-cohort programs, summer registration is not required. Registration is accomplished by either enrolling in classes or maintaining matriculation. The Maintenance of Matriculation fee is $100 per session and is processed as a registration.

Students who have not maintained matriculation and wish to return to their program within one year after their last course registration will be charged the Maintenance of Matriculation fee of $100 for each missed session. Maintenance of matriculation without attending classes is limited to one year. Activated U.S. Military Reservists are not required to pay the Maintenance of Matriculation fee. 

Clinical Continuation

Students must complete three semesters of practicum, which include 200 hours at the practicum site each semester. Of this total of 600 hours, 300 must be client contact hours. Students who have registered for all three semesters of practicum but have not successfully accumulated 300 client contact hours are required to enroll in “Clinical Practicum Continuation” each term in order to see clients under supervision until the full 300 mandatory hours are met. No credit, but cost is equivalent to one credit of tuition. 

Capstone Advisement

It is expected that Capstone students shall make satisfactory progress with their program’s culminating activity. After the student registers for all sections of their Capstone requirement, they will be given one subsequent term to complete their work.

The Maintaining Matriculation registration must be completed for this subsequent term if no other courses are taken. After this period, a Capstone Continuation fee (equal to the cost of one graduate credit) will be charged for each additional term required to complete the project. Students can only register for Capstone Continuation for two terms.

A student’s degree will not be released until all Maintenance of Matriculation and Capstone Continuation registration and fees are recorded appropriately on a student’s record. 

Maintenance of Good Academic Standing

The cumulative GPA for both good academic standing and degree conferral is a 3.0. A student admitted as a Special Matriculant is required to achieve a 3.0 average or better after completing a certain number of credits as stipulated by their respective program. Any course in which a student receives a B- or below must be re-taken.

Grades are subject to review by the faculty advisor and program director at the end of each term. If the academic average falls below 3.0 the student will be placed on academic probation. 

Academic Probation

All students who have a cumulative GPA of below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. If a student will not be able to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 within a reasonable time, the student will be dismissed from the program. If a student receives a grade of F or FW in any course the student may be subject to dismissal from the College. For all students on probation, future registrations must be reviewed and approved by the director of the student’s program as well as the school dean.

In all subsequent terms in which the student is on probation the student is required to achieve a term GPA of 3.0 or better. If the 3.0 or higher is not achieved the student will be dismissed. Students who receive a grade of less than B may be required to repeat the course. Students will be allowed to repeat a course only once. Plagiarism is grounds for dismissal from the program. 

Comprehensive Requirement

The Marriage and Family Therapy Degree requires completion of course PSYN 710 Clinical Research Project. Registration in this course requires program director’s approval. 

Time Limit

Requirements for the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy must be completed within five years from the date of the candidate’s admission (exclusive of time spent in the Armed Forces). Exceptions will be made only if a student requests an extension of time in writing and in advance and receives the approval of the director. 

Will I be able to conduct psychotherapy with individuals, couples, children, work or school-related personnel as well as families?
The state law broadly defines family as individuals, couples, children or other groups who are affected within the context of the family.
Can I continue my education and achieve a PsyD or PhD?
This is a 48-credit program. We work with each student who desires to go on to a doctoral program. Each program has its own rules on how many transfer credits they will accept. There are doctoral programs in Couple and Family Therapy.
Can I get reimbursed by health care and managed care facilities?
After January 1, 2006 only New York State licensed psychologists, physicians, physician assistants, social workers, nurses, mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists can practice under the title of "Marriage and Family Therapist." Each health care maintenance organization has their own requirements for reimbursement for providing family therapy and family therapy without the patient. In most states outside of New York the licensed marriage and family therapist is recognized and able to participate in networks providing mental health services.
Will I be licensed in New York State as a Marriage and Family Therapist and be able to practice as a psychotherapist?
Upon successfully completing the MS in Marriage and Family Therapy curriculum, satisfying the 1500 hours of supervised experience( 300 of these must be satisfied during the program) and passing the New York State National examination you will be able to provide services which fall under the category of Family and Couple Therapy.
Is Mercy College a nonsectarian institution?
Yes. Qualified applicants are admitted without regard to race, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, age or physical disability.
Do I need to be from a psychology program?
Evan Imber-Black Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy
Saliha Bava Associate Professor, Marriage and Family Therapy

Marriage and Family Therapy Overview

This Master of Science Degree is registered by the New York State Education Department, Office of Professional Affairs, to offer the master's degree for licensure-eligibility in Marriage and Family Therapy. 

This 48-credit program includes coursework in:

  • Family systems theory and practice
  • Contemporary Models of Couple and Family Therapy
  • Clinical assessment and psychotherapy of troubled families
  • Assessment and intervention with the larger systems with which families interact
  • Prevention of emotional problems arising from domestic violence, illness, unemployment and the court system

Requirements are met through Mercy College's affiliated agencies, mental health facilities, hospitals and private practice settings, which provide supervision by licensed, highly experienced health care professionals. 

The program takes about two and a half years through part-time attendance of evening classes. During the internship year, students must be available two full days a week during the day.

Courses may be taken as non-matriculation status in order to complete licensure requirements.

Marriage and Family Therapy FAQS

Can I continue my education and achieve a PsyD or PhD?
This is a 48-credit program. We work with each student who desires to go on to a doctoral program. Each program has its own rules on how many transfer credits they will accept. There are doctoral programs in Couple and Family Therapy.
Will I be able to conduct psychotherapy with individuals, couples, children, work or school-related personnel as well as families?
The state law broadly defines family as individuals, couples, children or other groups who are affected within the context of the family.

Marriage and Family Therapy Fast Facts

  • First step to licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Experience includes an on-campus Practicum seminar
  • Strong affiliations with area mental health facilities and hospitals

Career Opportunities

You can find employment as a licensed marriage and family therapist in an agency, hospital, or court system. Other possible career opportunities include working in a private practice setting as psychotherapist for families dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, medical diagnostic procedures and chronic illness, family violence, child abuse and foster care systems, couples therapy, and child family therapists.


The purpose of the 48-credit Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program is to provide a comprehensive education in marriage and family therapy through a course of studies designed to meet the educational requirements for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in New York State. Graduates of the marriage and family therapy program are eligible to seek initial employment towards meeting the 1,500- hour externship required for licensure. According to the new laws regulating marriage and family therapy licensure, graduates will have up to two years to meet the 1,500- hour experience requirement and pass a licensure qualifying examination to complete licensure requirements. Students receive Marriage & Family Therapy licensure exam preparation.

Handbook - Marriage and Family Therapy

Master's Degree Program in Marriage and Family Therapy
2019-2020 Handbook

Admission Requirements

Please refer to the general requirements for admission and matriculation in the Graduate Admissions section of the course catalog.

Degree Requirements

  1. Submit baccalaureate transcript with a major in psychology, sociology, behavioral science health care or education. Students are required to have completed an upper level undergraduate statistics course with a grade of B or higher. In special cases other majors will be considered.
  2. Two written recommendations. At least one recommendation must be from a professor.
  3. Interview with the program director.
  4. A current resume.
  5. Submission of a four to five page essay, detailing why applicant wants to study M.F.T.; personal and professional attributes for this field and career goals.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of the M.F.T. field; familiarity with the M.F.T. Program Handbook.

Students must complete three semesters of practicum, which include 200 hours a the practicum site each semester. Of this total of 600 hours, 300 must be client contact hours. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 80 client contact hours in Practicum I; 120 client contact hours in Practicum II; and 100 client contact hours in Practicum III. In addition, a 3.0 cumulative GPA is required and successful completion of 48 credits including PSYN 710, Clinical Research Project.

Marriage and Family Therapy Objectives

Graduates of the program are expected to:

  1. Identify problematic relationships of individuals, couples, parents, and children, extended family members, and between families and larger systems and communities.
  2. Provide family systems oriented psychotherapies to help individuals, couples and families facing couple, parent/child and extended family emotional and interactional difficulties, mental and physical illnesses, substance abuse, and family violence, and to assist in problem interactions with educational, foster care, adoption or legal agencies. Work effectively with both traditional and non-traditional couples and families across the lifespan.
  3. Meet the qualifications for employment in a variety of professional settings including but not limited to, private practice and agency settings.
  4. Prevent or help manage problems that may stem from social or health care issues including living with life shortening or chronic illness.
  5. Demonstrate the skills and competencies required for New York State licensure and complete the licensure examination and required clinical hours successfully

Program Outcomes

By the end of this program, students should be able to: 

  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of contemporary models in Family Therapy
  • Demonstrate knowledge of a range of contemporary models of Couple Therapy
  • Demonstrate the ability to complete 3 generation genograms and family timelines
  • Write clear papers demonstrating knowledge of models of Couple and Family Therapy
  • Demonstrate competency in professional therapy by completing three semesters of internship, doing supervised therapy with individuals, couples and families complete 300 face-to-face clinical hours
  • Demonstrate in depth knowledge of one model of Family Therapy, and applying this to a case from internship