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Young married couple receiving counseling.

Marriage and Family Therapy Overview

Marriage and Family Therapy students gain expertise in family systems theory and practice, clinical assessment and the prevention and treatment of emotional problems.

Students meet licensure requirements through Mercy College’s affiliated agencies, mental health facilities, hospitals and private practice settings, and benefit from supervision by highly experienced mental health care professionals.

This program qualifies graduates to sit for the New York state professional licensing exam, and they are able to move toward completing the 1,500 clinical hours in a professional full-time position required for licensure, 300 of which are completed during the program.

Counselor helps a mother & daughter work out their differences.

Career Opportunities

 Marriage and family therapists work in settings including: 

          • Agencies 
          • Hospitals 
          • Court systems
          • Private practice

22% Growth

Job Growth 
is more than four times
faster than the national average
for all professionals 

Alumni Network

Mercy's network includes
64,000+ Alumni 

across the U.S. and
around the world 

48 Credits 

to Earn Your Degree 
The program takes about two
and a half years through part-time
attendance of evening classes

What We Offer
The Mercy Advantage

• Internationally Renowned Faculty

• Full or Part-Time Enrollment

• Scholarship Opportunities 
        Mercy graduates have post-graduate
        opportunities for scholarships available
        from the Ackerman and Family Institute
        of Westchester

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Do I need to be from a psychology program?


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.

Can I get reimbursed by health care and managed care facilities?

After January 1, 2006 only New York State licensed 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.

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 

Program Details & Curriculum

Curriculum Overview

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

For a full curriculum listing visit our catalog. 

Completion of at least 21 credits, including: PSYN 605: Couples Therapy: Theory and Practice; PSYN 644 - Group Experience (cc); PSYN 654 - Psychopathology; PSYN 657: Contemporary Family Therapy; PSYN 653 - Family Systems Assessment.

The Practicum course must be applied for the semester prior to course registration. A 3.0 GPA and minimum of 21 credits 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

Additional Information


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 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. 

Program Application Requirements

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher.  Applicants with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be considered for provisional acceptance.  Students must have taken at least one course in Statistics at the undergraduate or graduate level, and received a B or above
  • Two (2) detailed written letters of recommendation from instructors in the major area of study or professional contacts. One letter must be from a professor
  • An up-to-date Résumé
  • A 5 page essay on the applicant’s reasons for pursuing the Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Shorter essays will not be accepted.
    • The essay should detail:
      • Why the applicant wants to be in the MFT program
      • What personal and professional attributes the applicant brings to this endeavor
      • The applicant’s career goals
    • This essay should reflect the applicant’s knowledge of what the field of MFT involves, include specific ideas and demonstrate the good writing skills required in graduate school.