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M.A. in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy Admission Requirements

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M.A. in Psychology: Marriage and Family Therapy

  • Prerequisite coursework: 12 units of social science coursework at a letter grade of "B" or higher successfully completed at the undergraduate level

  • Completion of an earned bachelor’s degree from a regionally-accredited college or university with a minimum 3.0 cumulative grade point average (GPA)*

  • Demonstration of English proficiency may be required
  • Completion of Phillips Graduate Institute Admissions Application Packet (See Admission Application Process)

  • Admissions interview with MFT Department Chair or faculty
  • Please refer to the Student Services section for details on admissions policies and procedures.

*Note: A “Grade Point Average Exemption Petition” may allow admission for applicants who do not meet the minimum GPA requirement.

Entry Options

Students may enter the Marriage and Family Therapy program in the Fall or Spring or please call the Admissions Office at (818) 386-5660 for dates and class schedules.

Clinical Placement Services

Phillips Graduate Institute students in all clinical programs receive assistance with their field placement, providing students with a valuable link to community resources, clinical training opportunities and professional organizations. Students are assisted in acquiring approved supervised clinical placements at sites throughout Southern California.

Students seeking the California license as a Marriage and Family Therapist are required to complete 225 hours of practicum experience (as part of the academic requirement) at an approved training agency prior to degree completion. The practicum experience, part of the student’s clinical training, allows students to provide counseling services to clients under the supervision of licensed professionals. Phillips-approved training sites include counseling centers, schools, mental health agencies and hospitals.

Students may begin their practicum experience after they have completed 12 units of coursework and have been designated by Phillips faculty as trainees who are ready to begin clinical work.

While Phillips makes every effort to inform students about and prepare them for each step of the state licensing process, it is each student’s responsibility to ensure that he/she meets all qualifications for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

Please refer to the “Clinical Placement Handbook” for further information regarding required hours of clinical experience. The “Clinical Placement Handbook” can be found at www.pgi.edu under student center tab/clinical placement.

Faculty Advisement

Students will be assigned an academic advisor at the beginning of first semester of enrollment. Students are required to meet with advisor early in the first semester and at least once each semester until completion of their degree. The faculty values and welcomes open communication with students. Students are encouraged to make appointments with other members of the core and adjunct faculty who will answer questions and provide consultation. The Marriage and Family Therapy faculty are active practitioners and serve as professional mentors and models for students.


As part of the Master of Arts degree in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, students are occasionally required to attend day-long workshops in addition to regular classes. These are held on days other than the students’ regular class days. Information will be provided to students in advance to allow for planning.

Program Compliance

The Master of Arts in Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy is designed to meet the educational requirements of the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT), or with appropriate electives, for licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC).   Information regarding these standards is available through the Phillips Graduate Institute Marriage and Family Therapy Department and the BBS website, www.bbs.ca.gov. Program curriculum and experience hours are subject to change without prior notice based on current BBS requirements.

Academic Proficiency

Any student receiving a grade of C- or below in a course must retake the course, demonstrating sufficient mastery of the course content. Retaking a course may delay program completion and graduation. The student must meet with his or her academic advisor to discuss the impact of repeating a course on program completion. The original grade received in the course, as well as the grade received upon retaking the course, are both averaged into the student’s cumulative grade point average.

Requirements for Degree Completion

The degree is posted three times yearly; on the last day of December, May, and August. All of the following requirements must be met prior to degree posting:

  • Completion of all 60 units of required courses with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher

  • Completion of licensing requirements established by the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS)

  • Completion of 225 hours of supervised clinical placement concurrent with practicum registration

  • Verification of required hours in personal or family psychotherapy*
  • “Intent to Graduate” form on file with the Registrar Office one semester prior to the graduation date when a student expects to meet all graduation requirements

  • Payment in full of financial obligations to Phillips Graduate Institute and the California Family Counseling Center

  • Return of all Library materials
  • Completion of an exit interview with the Financial Aid Office (Financial Aid recipients only)

*Psychotherapy Requirement: In order to become an effective therapist, an individual must first be willing to work on his/her own issues in a therapeutic relationship. This experience is in keeping with the Phillips Graduate Institute philosophy of theory, experience and application as it represents integrated learning. Therefore, all students in the MFT program are required to engage in a minimum of 24 hours of psychotherapy during tenure in the program. Therapy may be individual, couple, family, or group sessions. The therapist must be licensed as a psychologist, LMFT, LCSW, or psychiatrist. The cost of therapy is to be met by the student. Students are not required to discuss personal information from the therapeutic context as part of their coursework.

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