Online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Program from The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityOnline Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Program from The Family Institute at Northwestern UniversityOnline Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy Program from The Family Institute at Northwestern University

Offered by The Family Institute at Northwestern University—one of the nation’s leading relationship-based behavioral health organizations—the online degree in marriage and family therapy is a branch of the university’s on-campus component. MFT@Northwestern upholds The Family Institute’s high standards of research, education, and clinical services, providing the knowledge and skills necessary for a career focused on strengthening and healing families from all walks of life. The program can be completed full time in as few as 21 months and part time in as few as 36 months.

The on-campus and online branches of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Northwestern University are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE): A COAMFTE-accredited program provides the graduate education required for students to be license-eligible in most states. Each state also requires an examination and a specified amount of supervised postgraduate, clinical work for licensure.


Although no GRE is required for admission, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. A degree in one of the following fields is preferred but not required:

  • Psychology
  • Social sciences
  • Behavioral sciences
  • Child and family services
  • Human development and family studies
  • Family science

If you do not have an undergraduate degree in these fields, you must take (or have taken) both a college-level psychology and human development course or their equivalents. However, we still do not require a GRE for admission.

Your completed application must include the following items:

  • Unofficial and official transcripts from postsecondary institutions/programs attended
  • At least two letters of recommendation
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae
  • Academic Statement (1000 word maximum)
  • Personal Statement (500 word maximum)
  • Official scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) if applicable
  • $95 application fee

Learn more about MFT admissions.

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The final deadline for the June 2024 cohort is April 15, 2024.
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The online MFT consists of 25 graduate-level courses taught by experts in the field.

Northwestern faculty comprises active practitioners who are leaders within prominent national, international, and state-level professional organizations, including the American Association for Marriage and Family. Many faculty members also edit and contribute to influential publications and top journals in the fields of systemic family therapy and psychology.

Additionally, Northwestern faculty helped develop the integrative systemic therapeutic (IST) model, valuing client participation in developing therapy plans and providing tools to systematically address complex factors. The IST is an integral component of our master’s in marriage and family therapy curriculum.

Sample courses include:

  • Basic Concepts of Systems Therapy

  • Self and Other Systems: Theory and Applications
  • Intimate Relations 1

  • Family Therapy with Children and Adolescents
  • Power, Privilege and Difference: Practicing Cultural Curiosity and Humility in a Multicultural World

As a student, you will attend one immersive experience and complete 400 hours of clinical fieldwork—200 of which are relational hours—at a site near your community. Our dedicated team of placement specialists work closely with you to find appropriate sites that fit your individual career goals and passions.

Why the Online MFT from Northwestern?

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree from Northwestern University combines evidence-based teaching and pioneering research in a highly collaborative environment that fosters clinical excellence. As a graduate, you will be able to conduct therapy with a diverse set of populations and problems, utilize the IST framework to integrate knowledge from the field into your practice, and demonstrate multicultural sensitivity and ethical competence in your work.

MFT@Northwestern has been carefully designed to offer a rigorous yet rewarding experience that prepares effective practitioners to help couples, individuals, and communities thrive. Through a combination of in-person clinicals, one immersion experience, and live online courses, our program is structured to ensure your entire experience feels personal, meaningful, and actionable.

Attend live class sessions with no more than 15 students per classroom.

Learn from well-qualified professors with therapeutic experience.

Dig deeper with live study sessions and faculty office hours.

Complete coursework anywhere, anytime with our mobile app.

Work with a placement specialist to find an approved clinical site near your community.

Develop a customized class schedule with the assistance of an academic adviser.

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What Is an MFT Degree?

A Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy degree is the first step toward preparing for LMFT licensure, which varies by state. Once licensed, LMFT professionals are able to provide collaborative care to families, couples, and individuals in private practice, academic, mental health agencies, and other environments. Licensed practitioners provide a diverse array of services, including:

  • Psychotherapy of all forms
  • Qualified behavioral health care
  • Treatment for couples and families with a blend of therapies
  • Supervisory roles

Marriage and Family Therapist Job Outlook

The world needs qualified MFT graduates, and the demand is only projected to increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 16% from 2020 to 2030, much faster than average for all occupations.1


Projected growth, 2020–2030


Projected MFT job openings each year


Total employment for MFT jobs in 2020

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1Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2021. Accessed Oct. 8, 2021.arrow_upward