A Fulfilling, COAMFTE-Accredited Master’s Program from The Family Institute

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy program upholds high academic and professional standards, and develops effective practitioners who can work with diverse populations and a wide range of client concerns. The online branch of the program consists of 25 graduate-level courses. Students attend both live, online class sessions and asynchronous course components, learning from highly qualified instructors with clinical experience. Our curriculum and class structure are built for flexibility, and allow students to balance their academic experience with their personal and professional lives.

MFT@Northwestern is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), and offers a clear path to state licensure. The curriculum is focused on the Integrative Systemic Therapy (IST) approach—developed by renowned Northwestern faculty—aimed at systematically addressing client concerns from a relational and larger systemic perspective.

Throughout your time in the program, you will receive extensive clinical training in the practice of marriage and family therapy. This training, alongside the academic excellence of the Northwestern curriculum, will provide an authoritative foundation for making a difference in the lives of your future clients.

No GRE scores required to apply.

Coursework Callout

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

Clinical Placement

Clinical training is integral to your development as a marriage and family therapist. The MFT@Northwestern curriculum provides six quarters of clinical work with clients at approved practicum sites, where students are supported in their learning by intensive group and individual supervision. Our dedicated team of placement specialists will work closely with you to find appropriate sites that support your development as a marriage and family therapist. 

During your extensive clinical fieldwork experiences, you will be introduced to the various responsibilities of a professional therapist. You will put into practice what you learn in the classroom, working face-to-face with clients under the supervision of a licensed therapist.

Immersion Experience

While enrolled in the MFT@Northwestern program, you will participate in one in-person immersion experience at our Chicagoland campus or another location. The immersion is an excellent opportunity to further develop your MFT identity while strengthening your relationships with peers and faculty. The immersion will be completed during quarter 3 or 4 of the program.

The immersion is part of credit-bearing courses, and financial aid can be used for these experiences. Transportation and other travel expenses are not included in the cost of tuition.


At Northwestern, we take pride in the caliber of our faculty members who form the foundation of our educational community. Our distinguished instructors bring awealth of technical expertise, extensive career experience, and diverse perspectives that enrich the learning environment for our students. This commitment to excellence is exemplified in the faculty’s proficiency in IST, developed at Northwestern, which serves as a cornerstone for our comprehensive approach to systemic family therapy. Learn more about our MFT@Northwestern faculty here.

Six Developmental Principles

MFT@Northwestern course sequencing is based on six developmental principles that are roughly sequential and progressive in nature:

  1. Providing a foundational knowledge base and an orientation to a systemic, integrative, and empirically informed approach to MFT practice.
  2. Preparing you to begin therapy early in your training.
  3. Expanding your knowledge of methods, models, and modalities that can be integrated into practice while increasing cultural sensitivity.
  4. Expanding caseloads as you deepen your understanding of the role of research in a scientist-practitioner’s work.
  5. Increasing your understanding of human development and psychodynamic issues in clinical practice.
  6. Learning more about working with a variety of presenting concerns and exploring particular clinical interests.
  7. Presenting your Capstone Project, which involves synthesizing and applying what you have learned in the program.

AAMFT Program Goals

The following is a list of student learning outcomes for the MFT program at Northwestern:

  1. Train entry-level marriage and family therapists who are knowledgeable, systemic, integrative, and empirically informed.
  2. Develop competent entry-level therapists who are informed by multicultural perspectives and awareness of self.
  3. Achieve identity as marriage and family therapists, and observe the AAMFT code of professional ethics.
  4. Learn to effectively practice Integrative Systemic Therapy (IST).