2023-2024 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jun 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Marriage and Family Therapy, PhD


Dyane Watson, Ph.D., LMFT
Department Chair and Interim Director of Doctoral Programs

Program Description

The 72-credit doctoral program in Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse University seeks to prepare scholars who will advance research, theory, and teaching in the field of marriage and family therapy. Students are prepared primarily for research, teaching, and supervisory positions in graduate degree-granting institutions, training institutes, and health care settings. The program builds upon a clinical master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, and is designed to provide students with an understanding of advanced theory in marriage and family therapy with expertise in process and outcome research methodology in marriage and family therapy.


The Doctoral Program in Marriage and Family Therapy is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)


A completed master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, or the equivalent, is required. GRE’s are required for all students applying to the PH.D. program. An admissions committee consisting of MFT faculty members will consider requests for admission to the program.

Doctoral Degree Requirements

The Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy requires 72 credits. Students are allowed to transfer up to 33 credit hours from an M.A. in MFT or equivalent (* see note below). Additional requirements include 12 credits of advanced theory and practice; 12 credits of advanced research methodology; 3 credits of elective; 6 credits of advanced practicum; and 6 credits of dissertation. Some research courses have prerequisite knowledge requirements that may need to be met by taking a statistics course as the elective (e.g., HFS 621). Requirements also include a 9-month clinical internship and satisfactory completion of the doctoral qualifying examination and the doctoral dissertation and related oral examination.

Transfer credit

Up to 33 credits may be transferred from an accredited master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (or its equivalent).

Financial Support

Assistantships are offered for four years and cover the credits required for degree completion. If 33 credits from an M.A/M.S. in MFT or equivalent are transferred in, then this would be equal to 39 scholarship credits.

Funding is dependent on satisfactory standing in the program as determined by the faculty through annual reviews of academic performance and scholarship. Annual reviews are completed at the end of summer semester each year.

Additional information regarding graduate financial aid can be found at https://graduateadmissions.syr.edu/funding/

Part-time study

Part-time students are not admitted into the PhD program.

Satisfactory progress

Per University Rules and Regulations, graduate students must earn a minimum average of 3.0 for work comprising the program for the degree or certificate and a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.8.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Students will demonstrate competence in theory building

2. Students will demonstrate research competence

3. Students will demonstrate supervisory competence

4. Students will demonstrate professional teaching competence (at least one)

5. Students will demonstrate ethical clinical competence

6. Students will demonstrate awareness and engagement with cultural and contextual difference

Degree Requirements

Advanced Research Methodology 12 credits

Electives 3 Credits

Advanced Practicum 6 credits total

MFT 860  - Advanced Family Therapy Practicum - 6 credits total required

Masters Courses (Transferred) (Maximum) 33 credits

Internship - 0 credits

(1,000 Hours of client contact)

Dissertation 6 Credits

MFT 999  - Dissertation (6 credits)

Total credits required: 72 credits

Up to 33 credits may be transferred from an accredited master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy (or its equivalent) (*see note below).

*Note: If during the admissions review process it is found a student lacks certain content areas that may not be fully satisfied by the doctoral program (such as ethics), those students would be required to complete additional coursework above and beyond their master’s coursework.