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MS in Psychology with a Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization

Information on this page is subject to change. Official program and course information is available in the University of La Verne Catalog.

The MS in Psychology with a Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) specialization trains students to become therapists to meet the psychological needs of families, couples, and children in a changing society. It combines theoretical training with practical experiences to prepare students for professional counseling careers emphasizing the best practices Recovery Model. General systems theory provides the theoretical foundation for the MFT program, and students are exposed to a range of theoretical orientations that reflect a systems perspective.

In California, completion of this program fulfills all of the academic requirements of the Board of Behavioral Science for licensure in California as a Marriage and Family Therapist, as well as the academic requirements for California community college counseling and instructor positions.

The program also meets statutory requirements for the LPCC (Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor) license. Those planning to apply for the LPCC, in addition to the degree plan of classes, must complete PSY 514 Career Counseling.

Program Requirements

Program Length Part-Time: 4.5 Years
Program Length Full-Time: 3 Years

Total Program:

61 semester hours

Core Courses:

15 semester hours

Code Course Title Units
PSY 502 Research Methods in Counseling 3
PSY 507 Human Development 3
PSY 522 Group Counseling 3
PSY 523 Multicultural Counseling 3
PSY 527 Professionalism, Ethics, and Law in Counseling 3
PSY 595 Competency Exam 0

MFT Specialization:

43 semester hours

Code Course Title Units
PSY 506 Human Sexuality 1
PSY 509 Psychological Testing 3
PSY 512 Clinical Psychopathology 3
PSY 516 Counseling Theories & Skills I 3
PSY 517 Counseling Theories & Skills II 3
PSY 518 Family Therapy 3
PSY 519 Couples Therapy 3
PSY 521 Child Therapy 2
PSY 528 Substance Abuse Counseling 3
PSY 530 Violence & Abuse in Family Systems 2
PSY 534 Psychopharmacology 3
PSY 536 Counseling Older Adults 1
PSY 542 Working with Clients’ Anger Issues 1
PSY 543 Grief and Loss Counseling 1
PSY 544 Trauma Focused Treatment 1
PSY 545 Working with Anxiety Disorders 1
PSY 550 Community Mental Health Counseling 3
PSY 580 Supervised Fieldwork in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy I 3
PSY 581 Supervised Fieldwork in Marriage, Family, and Child Therapy II 3

Culminating Activity:

3 semester hours

Code Course Title Units
PSY 596 Graduate Seminar 3

Admission requirements:
The graduate psychology programs participate in a Centralized Application Service (PSYCAS). Applications are accepted beginning in September each year. All MS in Psychology applicants must have their applications completed by March 1st to be considered for admission in the fall.

  1. Completed PSYCAS application.
  2.  A bachelor’s degree with the following three courses: general psychology, abnormal psychology, and psychological research methods/experimental psychology.
    The undergraduate course work will be evaluated on an individual basis for its currency and appropriateness to the graduate program. In exceptional circumstances, applicants missing select courses may be admitted provisionally, at the program’s discretion.
  1. An overall undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 may be considered with additional requirements.
  2. A completed application with nonrefundable application fee.
  3. Completion of a 3-page statement of purpose and 3-page autobiography.
  4. A current résumé.
  5. Three letters of recommendation from professors and colleagues who are familiar with the applicant’s academic and professional abilities, potential, and appropriateness for the counseling profession. At least one letter should be from a professor.
  6. Applicants are strongly encouraged to have at least one year of volunteer or paid experience working with families, children, couples, or individuals.
  7. An on-campus interview.
  8. Completion of an academic assessment exam.

With the program chair’s permission, a student may be eligible to enroll in up to six semester hours of graduate coursework prior to being admitted into the MS in Psychology program.

Classroom Conduct, Behavior Standards, and Ethics
Professionals in the field of counseling are governed by a number of ethical principles. Students in the MS in Psychology program are expected to follow such principles. Students should be aware that annual evalua- tions will consider personal suitability for the field and professional development. Classroom conduct, behavioral standards, and ethical behavior will be considered in this evaluation. Failure to display appropriate behaviors in each of these areas may result in dismissal from the program.

Participation and Attendance
This program requires regular and prompt attendance to each class meeting. You are also required to participate in classroom exercises and discussion. Further, your professional conduct and attitude should reflect an understanding of professional ethics codes, such as those set forth by AAMFT. Students with more than one excused absence or any non-excused absence will have points deducted from their course grade; the percent deduction will be determined by the reason for absence and the student’s manifested responsibility regarding the

As a course in a professional training program, students are expected to consistently demonstrate professional behavior; this is counted toward your participation grade. This includes but is not limited to:

    • Being on time; to class and with assignments
    • Respectful interactions with students and faculty
    • Proactive engagement in the learning process and assignments
    • Organized and prepared
    • Managing paperwork and technology
    • Managing personal crises effectively
    • Managing personal information (own and others’) appropriately
        Note: Serious problems with professional conduct will increase the weight of the Participation grade in any required course up to 100%; students in this situation may be witheld or removed from the program due to serious conduct concerns.

Academic Progress
The program adheres to the grading policies stated in the current ULV catalog. It should be noted that grades of B- or better are required for “successful completion” in the MS in Psychology program. Students earning grades lower than B- will be required to retake these classes if they are required for their degree. In addition, students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in order to maintain normal academic progress and good standing in the program.

Time Limitation
All requirements for the master’s degree are to be completed within five years from the time of first course registration post admission for the graduate MS in Psychology program at La Verne. Appeals for extension of time limitations must be made in writing to the Graduate Appeals Committee.

Program Candidacy.
All students are admitted into the program under a pre-candidacy status. After the completion of 12 semester hours, all stu- dents become eligible for candidacy status and are evaluated by the following criteria: GPA of 3.0 or above, a passing score on the Competency Examination (PSY 595), and demonstrated personal suitability for the counseling profession. Occasionally, students may receive a provisional candidacy status in which certain conditions must be completed before they can receive candidacy status. In some instances, students may be denied candidacy and be discontinued from the program. All students must receive candidacy status in order to complete the program.

During their coursework in the program, students continue to be evaluated for demonstrated suitability to the program and the counseling profession. Occasionally, discontinuation of a student from the program may occur, even after the conferring of candidacy status, if the student’s personal or professional behavior does not continue to meet minimum professional and/or academic standards.

Personal Psychotherapy.
The department believes that students entering the profession benefit professionally, personally, and academically from experiencing personal psychotherapy, and believes that psychotherapy is a necessary training experience for counseling professionals. Therefore, all students enrolled in the MS in Psychology program are required to complete a minimum of 10 hours of personal psychotherapy during their year of fieldwork placement (PSY 580, 581). Students should design a treatment plan for departmental approval, with their fieldwork instructor. Students must complete 5 (five) hours of personal therapy by the end of PSY 580 to earn academic credit for that class and must complete all 10 (ten) required hours by the end of PSY 581 in order to receive credit for that course. The therapy may include individual, couple, family, or group therapy, depending on the individual student’s issues and preferences. 

Competency Exam.
The Competency Exam is a program requirement that must be completed in order to be eligible to begin the fieldwork experience. For students in the MS in Psychology program, the exam is based upon, and occurs after successful completion of PSY 512, 516, 517, and 527. The exam is scheduled in June each year. All conditions of admission must be completed, and the student must be making satisfactory progress in the program, in order to sit for the exam. Students should complete the competency exam after all graduate level prerequisites are completed but prior to the start of the 30th semester hour. Exceptions to this must be approved by the program chair in writing.

Advanced Standing.
Students must receive advanced standing in order to enroll in Graduate Seminar (PSY 596), the culminating activity for the MS in Psychology Program. Students are eligible to apply for Advanced Standing when they have completed 35 semester hours. Students must have completed all provisions or conditions of admission, have passed the competency exam, be in Good Standing, and have attained a minimum GPA of 3.0 for all work applicable in the degree programs in order to apply for advanced standing.

Leave of Absence.
Students are expected to participate in coursework each semester until degree completion. A student who finds it necessary to interrupt his or her studies and desires to return should contact the Program Chair to request a leave of absence. With a leave of absence, a student may be absent from ULV for no more than two semesters without reapplying for admission. Students absent during a Fall or Spring semester without an approved leave of absence will be considered withdrawn.