Application Requirements

To apply, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. A degree in behavioral or family sciences is preferred, but if your background is in another field, you must take (or have previously taken) an introduction to psychology and a human development course. These courses can be taken at an outside institution.

CohortsEarly Decision DeadlinePriority Application DeadlineFinal Application DeadlineClasses Begin
September 2024
May 10, 2024
June 7, 2024
July 1, 2024
September 2024

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Common Prerequisites

Application Requirements

Common Prerequisite Degrees and Courses

Behavioral/Family Sciences Bachelor’s Degrees

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

Introduction to Psychology: Common Course Titles

  • Introduction to Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Basic Concepts in Psychology
  • Abnormal Psychology
  • Personality Theories

Human Development: Common Course Titles

  • Developmental Psychology
  • Human Development—Lifespan
  • Lifespan Psychology
  • Child Psychology
  • Child Development
  • Adolescent Development
  • Introduction to Developmental Psychology

Application Requirements

Your completed application must include the following items:

  • Transcripts: Provide both unofficial and official transcripts from all postsecondary institutions or programs attended. You may upload unofficial transcripts to the online application, but matriculating students must submit official transcripts before the end of their first quarter.

Official transcripts must be sent electronically to or by mail to the following address:

Application Processing Center
PO Box 30096 011-001
College Station, TX 77842

If your degree was earned from a foreign institution, a course-by-course evaluation of that transcript may be required. Approved evaluations will only be accepted from WES (World Education Services) or ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators).

  • Letters of recommendation: Provide at least two letters from professional or academic references who can attest to your dedication to helping others and your ability to succeed in a rigorous master’s program. If you are more than five years removed from your degree, you do not need to submit an academic letter. Those unable to access an academic reference may instead submit an addendum.
  • Resume/CV: Upload your current resume or curriculum vitae. Be sure to include any volunteer experiences you may have.
  • Academic Statement: Please respond to the following question in your Academic Statement within 1,000 words or less.The Admissions Committee is most interested in you, the person who seeks to be a marriage and family therapist. Your Academic Statement should be written so that we may better know you. In your statement, please respond to the following questions:
    • What personal and family experiences have influenced your interest in a career as a marriage and family therapist?
    • What academic and professional experiences have influenced your interest in a career as a marriage and family therapist?
    • What attracts you to the field of marriage and family therapy (rather than social work, counseling, or clinical psychology)?
    • What attracts you to the MFT@Northwestern program?
    • Describe a time in your life when things did not go well for you. Describe the circumstances of this event and how you handled the associated challenges.
  • Personal Statement: Write a statement that addresses the following prompt within 500 words or less.
    • “The Graduate School values diverse backgrounds, approaches, and perspectives, understanding them as essential ingredients for true academic excellence. As a Northwestern graduate student, how could you contribute to an intellectual community that prioritizes equity, inclusion, belonging, and cultural humility? Your answer may draw upon past or present experiences, whether in academic work, extracurricular or community activities, or everyday life.”

  • Application fee: Pay the $95 application fee by debit or credit card within the online application. Please contact an admissions counselor before submitting your priority application in order to receive an application fee waiver.
  • International scores: If applicable, submit your TOEFL or IELTS scores with your application.
  • Background check: The Family Institute at Northwestern University requires all applicants with conditional admissions to the MFT program to complete an online background check to determine criminal history. Having an adverse criminal history does not necessarily preclude admissions, as determinations are considered at a case-by-case decision.
    If information from the background report is utilized in whole or in part in making an adverse decision regarding admissions, prior to the decision The Family Institute will provide the applicant with a copy of the consumer report and a written description of his or her rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Group Interview

A group interview is a required piece of the admissions process. After your application is complete, you may be invited to participate in a peer-group interview with one faculty member and up to eight other prospective students in our online classroom.

For a successful interview, ensure you have a stable Internet connection and choose a quiet, distraction-free location.

Financial Aid

We encourage you to apply for financial aid when you complete your online application. For more information, visit our financial aid page.

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact the admissions team at 1-844-684-6221 or

Applicant Acknowledgement of Regulatory Alignment

Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) is a profession that leads to licensure in all 50 states; however, each state has its own laws and regulations about what is needed to become licensed as an MFT in that state.

Not every state will accept a degree and supervised hours earned in another state. Review license requirements in the state you intend to practice as soon as possible so that you understand what may and may not be accepted across state lines.

Learn more about each state’s licensing resources.

The coursework for the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy (MSMFT) program at Northwestern University was designed to meet MFT licensure requirements in the state of Illinois.

Learn more about MFT licensure requirements in Illinois.

If you have questions about the program’s alignment with professional licensure, you may contact the Department Chair and Program Director, Dr. Mudita Rastogi via email at