The MFT curriculum is designed to meet the current requirements for California licensure as a marriage and family therapist and, with the addition of one elective course, also meets the California licensure requirements for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). This degree program is intended for individuals who wish to develop a sound foundation in the theoretical and applied practice of professional counseling with individuals, couples, and families. Also included in the program are interdisciplinary studies in theology, ethics, and psychotherapy.
Please note that certain courses or mandatory seminars may be scheduled on Saturday. Saturday attendance may be necessary to fulfill degree requirements.
Certain courses in an online format may be required.
The degree must be completed in a minimum of two years and a maximum of four. Under special circumstances, a student may be granted a fifth year to complete the degree. A three-year course of study is recommended for most working students. The master’s program is composed of 66 units of coursework. A maximum of 12 semester units of selected coursework, which meet the following criteria, may be transferred:
- Taken within the past eight years and completed with a grade of B or better.
- Obtained at a regionally accredited institution.
- Received from a graduate program in Clinical Psychology, Counseling Psychology, or Marriage and Family Therapy.
- Acceptable for California MFT licensing requirements.
Two-, Three-, and Four-Year Academic Plans
Participation in the full-time, two-year academic plan requires class attendance during the evening, two to three days per week. Classes meet once weekly. Classes are offered each evening (beginning at 4:05 and 7:30 p.m.). An additional 8–10 hours per week for clinical placement training is required once trainee status is obtained. Please see the sample two-year sequence which follows.
Participation in the reduced-load, three-year plan also requires class attendance during the evening two to three days per week, but the student generally takes only three classes per semester rather than the four classes per semester required by the two-year program. Approximately 8–10 hours per week for clinical placement training is required until the student has accumulated the required 225 hours (MFT) or 280 hours (LPCC) of direct clinical contact.
Participation in the reduced-load, four-year program requires the student to take only two classes per semester. Students must also accumulate a minimum of 225 hours (MFT) or 280 hours (LPCC) of direct clinical contact in their practicum setting prior to graduation.
Two-Year Course Sequence
PPSY 551Theories of Psychotherapy*
PPSY 558Advanced Developmental Psychology
PPSY 580Introduction to Clinical Practice: Basic Skills*
PPSY 510Psychotherapy and Cultural Diversity
PPSY 525Crisis and Trauma in Community Mental Health
PPSY 577Psychological Assessment
PPSY 585Psychobiology and Psychopharmacology (may be offered online)
PPSY 581Introduction to Clinical Practice: Advanced Skills**
PPSY 512Legal, Ethical, and Moral Issues in Therapy*
PPSY 582Introduction to Clinical Practice: Group Skills***
PPSY 531Moral Identity Formation and Psychotherapy
PPSY 557Marriage Therapy
PPSY 561Child and Adolescent Therapy
PPSY 597Clinical Placement I^
PPSY 511Addictions, Assessment, and Interventions
PPSY 533Spiritual Formation and Psychotherapy^^
PPSY 572Research Methodology (may be offered online)
PPSY 571Family Therapy
PPSY 598Clinical Placement II^
PPSY 534Interdisciplinary Integration and Psychotherapy^^^
PPSY 552Human Sexuality and Sex Therapy
PPSY 593Clinical Consultation+
* This course must be in process or completed to begin clinical placement. Exceptions, based on prior clinical experience, must be cleared by Clinical Placement Coordinator.
** PPSY 580 is a prerequisite.
*** PPSY 580 and PPSY 581 are prerequisites.
^ Must be in a clinical placement to enroll in PPSY 597 and PPSY 598.
^^ PPSY 531 is a prerequisite.
^^^ PPSY 531 and PPSY 533 are prerequisites to PPSY 534.
+Must enroll for this course if still collecting placement hours and have already completed PPSY 597 and PPSY 598.
Note: 20 hours of the 40-hour psychotherapy requirement may be met by participating in a 20-week (40-hour) group therapy experience.
Students develop therapeutic skills through required hours of direct clinical experience. Students in the two-year program normally do so in a 12–18-month clinical placement, and students in the three- or four-year programs in a 24–30-month placement.
While students are responsible for securing a placement site, assistance is provided by the director of clinical training, site directors, and in the Introduction to Clinical Practice courses. In addition, students receive support and opportunities to discuss clinical issues and problems with supervisors and faculty in clinical placement and supervision courses.
For students seeking licensure, the clinical placement sequence meets MFT and LPCC requirements in California. To ensure the highest quality in clinical placements, the director of clinical training will maintain contact with the off-site supervisors and evaluate the student's experience. Any violations of professional ethics codes may be grounds for dismissal from the degree program.
Students are required to obtain 225 hours of direct client experience for the MFT license, and 280 hours of direct client experience for the LPCC license. To meet graduation and licensure requirements, the student must receive one hour of individual or two hours of group supervision for every five hours of direct client experience. These hours count toward the 3,000 hours required for MFT licensure in California. Hours for the LPCC license begin postgraduation.
The Azusa Pacific University Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program fulfills the graduate education requirement for MFT and LPCC licensure in California. Students seeking licensure in California should obtain information regarding clinical requirements by contacting:
Board of Behavioral Sciences
400 R St., Ste. 3150
Sacramento, CA 95814
The specialized field of marriage and family therapy calls for a unique set of skills and a propensity for open, honest communication. Please consider the following requirements and important issues specific to the MFT program during your decision process.
Personal and Group Psychotherapy
During the course of the program, students must complete 40 hours of individual psychotherapy. Students have the option of completing 20 sessions (40 hours) of group therapy in lieu of 20 of the 40 required individual psychotherapy hours.
*The California Board of Behavioral Sciences will accept up to 100 psychotherapy hours taken by graduate students or interns and triple-count them toward the 3,000 hours of professional experience required for MFT and LPCC licensure.
Progress Review and Faculty Recommendation
The progress of all students in the M.A. and Psy.D. Programs are reviewed each semester in order to encourage professional development and completion of the program. Progress of each student is reviewed by members of the faculty in the Department of Graduate Psychology.
Since personal characteristics are important to competency in professional psychology, students will be evaluated regularly by faculty on categories determined in the literature to be important to the development of marriage and family therapists (MFTs) and psychologists. The evaluation form, noting the dimensions for evaluation, is provided to students upon entrance to the program (or earlier by request). Students who evidence behavior rated unsuitable for an M.A. or Psy.D. student by faculty will be required to meet with their advisor and the Clinical Training Committee to determine a personal development plan. Students who fail to improve according to their development plan are subject to dismissal from the program.
At the conclusion of each of the first two semesters of study, the progress and suitability of each student are reviewed by members of the faculty in the Department of Graduate Psychology. Continuation of course work beyond each of the first two semesters is based on faculty recommendation.
Student Disclosure of Personal Information
Faculty of the Department of Graduate Psychology may ask students to disclose personal information regarding sexual history, history of abuse and neglect, psychological treatment, and relationships with parents, peers, and spouses or significant others, if the information is necessary to evaluate or obtain assistance for students whose personal problems could reasonably be judged to be preventing them from performing their training or professionally related activities in a competent manner or posing a threat to the students or others.
As a final evaluative component of the MFT program, each student must pass the Comprehensive Examination. The Comprehensive Exam includes two elements: 1) a legal and ethical exam, and 2) a written clinical vignette exam. Failure to pass the Comprehensive Exam will prevent graduation from the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many units do I take each semester?
You may take up to 15 units in the fall and spring and up to 6 units in the summer (May–June).
How long is a semester?
Fall and spring are generally 15-week terms. Summer (May–June) is 8 weeks.
How many hours does each class session require?
Fall and spring classes meet once a week for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Summer classes meet once a week for 6 hours.
How many evenings per week do I attend classes?
Students generally attend class two to three nights per week.