Skip navigation

IONA College Logo | Go to Home Page

Graduate Programs

MS Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy is a 54-credit program leading to a New York State license as a Marriage and Family Therapist upon completion of additional post-degree supervised clinical experience and the passing of the American Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Board’s national licensing exam.

The Iona MFT degree is designated by the New York State Education Department as Licensure Qualifying, meaning its curriculum and supervised clinical experience hours accrued in the program have been approved by the Education Department.

Additionally, the program is accredited by The Commission On Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE); the national accrediting body for marriage and family therapy education.  The Iona program is one of only three such programs in New York State and one of 100 programs in the United States.  As a COAMFTE accredited program the curriculum and supervised clinical experience hours accrued during the program are accepted by all 50 states in the U.S.  However, each state has its own post-degree supervised clinical experience requirements.  Students from other states and/or those who plan on licensing in another state are advised to check on that state’s clinical experience requirements.

The Iona Masters in MFT is a demanding one, requiring the completion of 54 graduate credits that include a very rigorous supervised clinical experience component. Students must complete a minimum of 500 hours of supervised face-to-face clinical experience hours with individuals, couples, and families. This requirement necessitates a very significant commitment of time, energy, and self.  On completion of the degree, however, graduates will be prepared to join the mental health field as an entry-level practitioner.

What is Marriage and Family Therapy?

Marriage and Family Therapy is about studying, understanding, and helping people from a contextual and relational perspective. We are related to and part of the behavioral sciences but, instead of trying to understand individuals/couples/families by focusing on personality, we look at the various contexts in which people grow, live and function. Think of it as using a wide-angle lens to take a picture instead of a headshot with a narrower lens. There is an old statement in the field that “behavior is over-determined”; that is, there are many different influences at play in whatever we do in life. For that reason MFTs look at the various contexts that shape who we are, how we think and believe, and how we function. As a result of this orientation family therapists look into family of origin, culture, gender, and ethnicity, to name a few influences, in order to understand people. We feel by doing so we obtain a much deeper, richer, and more accurate understanding of individuals, couples, and families.
View a video about Marriage and Family Therapy

What will I study at Iona MFT?

You will study individual as well as couple and family development, the different phases each goes through along with the various challenges encountered in life.  You will be introduced to the many different models of family therapy. Just as in individual therapy there are many of them and some are derived from individual models.  However, our models will be primarily relational in orientation.

One of the most exciting and important areas that we will study together is you! It is important to understand the people with whom you will work as therapists and the techniques for intervention. We strongly believe that the most important and powerful ingredient in therapy – is the therapist --her/himself.  We envision therapy with individuals, couples, and families as an active and interactive process between people. For that reason we put special emphasis and focus on the therapist, or as we put it “the self of the therapist” – your personality, your family background, culture(s), ethnicity, and gender, all of which have shaped who you are and continue to influence how you interact in the therapy room.

It is our firm belief that regardless of which theory you gravitate toward and eventually adopt in your work – you are the main therapeutic instrument.  So while we teach many models of therapy we see our program as focused around a developmental model – developing you as a therapist.

Why should I choose Iona MFT?

Look at us!
  • The faculty are all licensed MFTs – we are committed to Marriage and Family Therapy as a profession.
  • We are all AAMFT Approved Supervisors – we are committed to the profession in our supervision.
  • We are accredited by COAMFTE – we are committed to excellence.
  • The courses are all about MFT, you will study only with other MFT students, and you will be taught by and supervised by MFTs. 
  • COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria I: requires programs to maintain an average pass rate of 70 percent for program graduates taking the exam required for the program’s state.  Our pass rate is over 80 percent.
  • COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria II: requires programs graduate 50 percent of enrolled students within the advertised length of completion of the program.  Commission requires programs graduate 65 percent of enrolled students within the maximum allowable time for program completion.  Iona’s graduation rates exceed both of these rates.

Core Courses - required for each degree (3 credits each):

Introduction/Overview of Marital and Family Therapy
Principles of Life Span Personality Development
531 Group Process in the Family
Fundamental Concepts of Psychiatry
Pre Practicum Seminar
MFT 630 Relational Psychopathology
MFT 740 Marital Therapy Seminar
MFT 741 Parenting
MFT 743 Human Sexuality
MFT 794 Family Approaches to Therapy
MFT 795 Marriage, Family, and Friendship Therapy
MFT 796 Symposium in Family Therapy
MFT 880 Ethics in Marriage and Family Therapy
MFT 895 Research in Marriage and Family Therapy
    Capstone Presentation (No Credit)
42 credits

Supervised Clinical Field Experience and Seminars - An extensive supervised clinical experience is required for each degree (3 Credits each):

MFT 6510-6520 Supervised Case Seminar 1
MFT 7510-7520 Supervised Case Seminar 2
MFT 6710-6720 Practicum - Field Placement 1
MFT 7710-7720 Practicum - Field Placement 2
MFT 8710-8720 Practicum - Certificate
Total 12 credits

Capstone Presentation:

The Capstone is a focused and comprehensive faculty review of the prospective graduate’s grasp of and integration of theory and practice. It requires the student to prepare and submit four clinical documents, representing the most common clinical tasks, from an active case from his/her practicum site.  Done under the supervision of a faculty mentor, the four clinical documents; Case Conceptualization, Clinical Assessment, Treatment Planning, and Case Notes, are accompanied by video recorded samples of the students treatment sessions.
0 Credits

Total - 54 Credits

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of the program requirements - 54 credits - including the appropriate distribution of credits.
  2. A minimum of 3.0 G.P.A. (grade point average).
  3. Acceptance of the Capstone.
  4. All professional and clinical criteria established by the Department.
  5. All requirements must be completed within five years from the date of matriculation.