Marriage and Family Therapy

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

The doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) has a long and rich history. The program addresses family processes and empirically-supported relational interventions for today’s diverse families through the engagement in programmatic research and advanced clinical preparation.

Our emphasis is on providing the training necessary to become a scholar well-equipped for an academic position while advancing clinical expertise. The program is designed to produce MFT leaders who are invested in contributing to scientific knowledge through sophisticated programs of research.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Florida State University (FSU) is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), 112 South Alfred Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, (703) 838-9808, .

FSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges.


For questions about the MFT program, please contact:
Dr. Lenore McWey
MFT Program Director


If you have further questions about the admissions application after you have viewed the desired program, please contact us at

Clinical Faculty

Dr. Lenore McWey


Dr. Kristen Greene


Dr. Jamila Holcomb


Dr. Jonathan Kimmes


Dr. Joanna Wu


Dr. Spencer Youngberg


Research Training

Our strengths involve research on family processes, distressed families (e.g., families involved with the foster care system, families experiencing homelessness, military families), intimate relationships, mindfulness and attributions. Our expertise includes implementing and evaluating best practices in psychoeducation and therapy.

The MFT program is well integrated into the Department of Family and Child Sciences. Doctoral students have access to the entire departmental faculty as part of their education and professional development. Students select their major professor and supervisory committee based on areas of scholarly interest and expertise. The doctoral supervisory committee provides mentorship throughout the doctoral experience. Doctoral students have access to computer laboratories, statistical software, and on-campus and remote access library resources.

Clinical Training

The program’s clinical training is geared toward advancing students’ clinical competencies and supervisory skills necessary to meet the needs of diverse individuals, couples, and families. During the first two years of doctoral studies, students provide therapy at the Center for Couple and Family Therapy (CCFT). The CCFT is an on-campus facility equipped with state-of-the-art technology and is a participating member in the Practice-Research Network clinical assessment consortium. Therapists at the CCFT are supervised by licensed MFT faculty who are AAMFT-approved supervisors. Supervision operates under a clinical practicum framework involving didactic content, group and individual supervision, live observation, video, and case report.

After the completion of requisite CCFT clinical hours, doctoral students engage in an internship experience in community mental health agencies, hospitals, and clinical research settings. Students are encouraged to select internship placements that align with their area of scholarship.


Fall Semester December 1

This program admits only in the fall semester. All application materials must be received by the deadline posted and only complete applications will be reviewed. Applications are not deferred; if you decide to apply for a different term or major, you will need to start a new application.

Admission to the graduate program is term specific. Therefore, if you are unable to attend the term in which you were admitted, you will need to reapply for a future term.

If you meet the below requirements, we encourage you to apply to the program.

  1. An upper-division undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The same scale applies for graduate-level work.
  2. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent from an accredited university. Questions about degree equivalency should be directed to 
  3. Completion of a clinical master’s degree program before enrolling in this doctoral program.
  4. A competitive Graduate Record Examination General Test (GRE®) score; recommended score of above the 50th percentile (approximately 150) in both verbal and quantitative sections with a 4.0 or higher on the writing section. Please note that it can take up to ten (10) days after sitting for the GRE for an official score report to be sent to the university.
  5. International students: Applicants must submit an English Proficiency Score Report.  A TOEFL iBT® score of at least 80 (iBT) or 550 (paper-delivered) or an IELTSTM Academic score of at least 6.5 is required. The department recommends 600 (paper-based) or 100 (internet-based) TOEFL for a competitive application to the doctoral program.  Our department does not accept other English proficiency examinations.
  6. Selected applicants are invited to interview to determine fit.


Attainment of these minimum requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission decisions are based on assessments of all aspects of the student’s application materials. The department reserves the right to increase standards if warranted by enrollment limitations and by the number and quality of applicants. Financial aid is a separate process from the admission to a graduate program.

Before you submit your online application and pay the application fee, please carefully review the required documentation on the Application Process tab.

All items below must be on file, and the fee paid, before an application is considered complete and ready for review. We encourage you to complete your application early.

  1. Apply Online and pay the application fee. Once you have submitted your application:
    •  Complete the Faculty Preference Form. Please select three faulty members, in order of preference, with whom you would like to work with throughout your degree program.
    • Upload a personal statement outlining your research interests, career goals, and why Florida State University is a good fit for you. The statement should include how your background and prior training make you a good candidate. Please familiarize yourself with the research interests of the faculty so that you may list your top three (3) choices of whom you would like to work and why.
    • Upload a resume or vita (information should be current).
    • Upload contact information for three recommenders. The recommenders should be professionals you have worked with who are familiar with your academic performance and can speak directly about your qualification for this degree. Please list a work/business email address for each recommender. Academic recommendations are preferred, but relevant professional recommendations will be accepted. No personal recommendations or letters from peers will be accepted.
    • Upload a writing sample that represents your best scholarly work. Examples include a thesis, a research-based paper, published article, or a paper submitted as a course assignment.
  2.  Submit GRE test scores to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions. The school reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required.
  3. Submit transcripts to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions. Even if courses are posted to another institution’s transcripts, we require transcripts from EVERY post-secondary institution you attended. Please submit transcripts to the Office of Graduate Admissions. If you are a domestic student that attended an institution outside of the U.S., you are required to provide a credential evaluation for that transcript (please see below regarding credentialing).
    • Submit electronic transcripts to:
    • Send paper transcripts to:
      • Florida State University
        Office of Graduate Admissions
        222 S. Copeland Street, 314 Westcott Bldg.
        Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410

International Students:

  1. Submit an English Proficiency Score Report. This program accepts TOEFL and IELTS.
      • TOEFL test scores electronically from to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions. The university’s reporting code for test scores is 5219; no department code is required.
      • IELTS Academic test scores in physical (paper) form directly from to the FSU Office of Graduate Admissions at:
        • Florida State University
          Office of Graduate Admissions
          222 S. Copeland Street, 314 Westcott Bldg.
          Tallahassee, FL 32306-1410
  2. Florida State University (FSU) requires a course-by-course credential evaluation for all applicants who have taken courses at non-U.S. institutions. International and domestic applicants must submit their official transcripts from international institutions through a NACES-approved evaluator. SpanTran has created a custom application for FSU that will make sure you select the right kind of evaluation at a discounted rate. This link is found in the application checklist. Please also see the “Transcript Requirement” section on the Graduate School website,, for detailed information on university transcript requirements for graduate students. Please allow the Office of Graduate Admissions time to process your incoming materials.

The advertised MFT Ph.D. program completion length is four years. Minimum program completion length is 3 years. There are a number of advantages to staying the fourth year and these advantages are discussed with each student on an individualized basis.

Students without a COAMFTE-accredited master’s degree can take up to five years to complete the MFT Ph.D., due to extra coursework and clinical contact hours needed.

All coursework must be completed within 5 years of enrollment in the program. When students have completed coursework, they must then complete a preliminary examination with an oral defense. Upon successful completion of the exam, the student enters into “candidacy.” The period of candidacy is limited to 5 years. Thus, the absolute maximum time to complete the MFT Ph.D. program is 10 years.

Students are only admitted to the doctoral program following completion of a clinical Master’s program degree.

The doctoral program requires a minimum of 83 credit hours, of which 21 are clinical / supervision and 24 are dissertation.

Graduates of mental health masters programs that are not accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) must complete specified coursework (the “Standard Curriculum”) before taking the preliminary doctoral examination. (Additional information on the “Standard Curriculum” can be obtained from the director of MFT program)

Before students enroll for coursework in their first semester, the clinical faculty reviews their master’s transcript to determine whether additional coursework is needed. Based on the review process, students prepare an initial “program of study” before registering for their third term that includes these additional required courses which may not be counted toward meeting the required minimum credit hours for the doctoral degree.

For questions about the program:

Dr. Lenore McWey

For questions about the application process:

CEHHS Office of Academic Services and Intern Support – HDFS Grad Admissions