Admissions and Prospective Students

  • Program Requirements

    1. The MFT Program requires 60 credits, (5 selective, 55 required)

    2. A minimum of 5 credit class hours are required for Financial Aid

    3. A minimum of 9 credits is required to be considered a full time Graduate Student

    4. Graduate Assistantships require that the student take a minimum of 6 graduate level hours per semester to maintain the assistantship. 

    5. Service Learning is a requirement of the MFT program, comprises shift management and outreach:

      • Shift Management: During this time, the student will be learning clinical skills and how a clinic functions. You will be learning and practicing phone skills, conducting intakes, helping clients and therapist interns coordinate sessions, greeting clients, maintaining clinic activity records, and managing the record keeping needed to keep the clinic running.
      • Outreach: Community outreach activities will include visiting community agencies, organizations, or offices to raise awareness about FamilyWorks and our services

    6. Comprehensive Exam I
               In order to register for MFTH 7600 Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy, students must be screened by the MFT faculty and receive faculty approval to enroll. This screening process is accomplished through the Comprehensive Exam I. Students write the Comp Exam I at the end of the first Spring semester or at the close of the semester in which the student has successfully completed service learning (shift management and outreach) and the following six courses:

    • MFTH 6800 Relational Theory, Practice, & Ethics
    • MFTH 6900 Foundations in MFT
    • MFTH 7101 Family Systems Theories
    • MFTH 7102 Interventions in MFT
    • MFTH 7050 Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice
    • MFTH 7500 Development in the Family System

    7. Comprehensive Exam II                  
                The Comprehensive Exam II or Statement of Orientation, written in the spring semester of the student's second year during the second practicum, is a paper in which the student articulates his or her theory of therapeutic problem formation, engagement, and change.

  • Admission Requirements

    • a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university*
    • an official copy of all college/university transcripts, undergraduate and graduate
    • a cumulative minimum undergraduate grade point average of 2.75
    • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) OR Millers Analogies Test (MAT) (GRE and MAT scores are valid for 5 years. You are welcome to send us an exam score taken within the past 5 years)
      • If you choose the GRE: minimum score of 146 on the verbal section or 3.5 on the analytical writing section (Note: When you are ready to submit your GRE scores, the online departmental code that you need is 5855)
      • If you choose the MAT: minimum score of 393
    • three references using the VSU Marriage and Family Therapy Recommendation form (required). In addition to the required Recommendation form, letters from recommenders are encouraged.
    • an essay describing yourself, professional goals, and discussing your reasons for choosing the MFT field and VSU’s MFT program.
    • a personal interview with an MFT faculty member
    • a criminal background check that includes a sexual predator search. By the time you attend New Student Orientation, which usually occurs during the second week of August, you must be prepared to submit a copy of your background check to us. Here are the four easy steps necessary to accomplish a background check:
    1. Go to your local city police station. If you are in Valdosta, go to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s office. In Valdosta, ask for a Purpose Code W background check. This particular form includes both a criminal and a sexual predator background search, both of which you must have. In a city other than Valdosta, request the form that achieves both a criminal and a sexual predator background search.
    2. Once this information is sent to you, write your 870 student ID number on the top right hand side of the form.
    3. Then make yourself a copy. Keep the original.
    4. Bring the copy with you to New Student Orientation. During New Student Orientation, we will be collecting students’ background checks, and we will send them to the COEHS Advising Center, where this information is stored.

    Please note that personal information disclosed in admissions materials or during the admissions interview will be treated as confidential. Disclosures will be made only to other professional colleagues, administrators, staff members, or graduate assistants who share responsibility for evaluating prospective students or maintaining student files.

    *A note about preferred undergraduate majors:
    The program places value on previous coursework in the social sciences, human-services, or mental health. Although we do not favor one major over another, we have found that students with majors or minors in anthropology, sociology, child and family studies, psychology, child development, education, and communication are well prepared for graduate study in family therapy. While these are degrees most commonly held by our students, we have, however, admitted students with majors in general studies, liberal arts, and a variety of other undergraduate degrees. Whether through coursework, volunteering, or life experience, we place a high value on applicants who have found ways of learning what it is like to work with people or in a social service career. Some students find through coursework a passion for working with people. Other students discover how rewarding a career in family therapy can be through life experiences. What is important to the admissions committee is that applicants have been thoughtful about the decision to study family therapy and that the goal of becoming a family therapist is grounded in accurate information about the field.

    If you are wondering whether your undergraduate degree will serve as an appropriate springboard into MFT, we encourage you to contact the MFT Program Director, Dr. Martha Laughlin, and discuss your undergraduate coursework.

  • Talk to A Current MFT Student and Plan a Campus Visit

    Many students who are looking for a graduate program find it helpful to talk to students currently enrolled in the program. The MFT faculty members think this is a great idea, and we encourage prospective students to talk to our students.

    A good way to talk to a current MFT graduate student is to contact one of our MFT Graduate Assistants. We have two graduate assistants (GA), one a 1st year; the other, a 2nd year student. We suggest that prospective students talk to both in order to get a good sense of how current students are experiencing the many aspects of the program. If you want to talk to an MFT graduate assistant about the program, here are two ways you can do that:

    • Call FamilyWorks (our student-run family therapy clinic) at (229) 219-1281 between 9am and 11am, Monday through Friday. You will reach either a 1st or 2nd year graduate assistant during their morning intake hours. Ask for Cindy Urrutia, one of our excellent graduate assistants.
    • Email or call Cindy Urrutia at (229) 293-6302. If you email, be sure to include your phone number and mailing address so that she can both call and send you an information packet.

    Probably the very best way to learn more about our program is to visit us! Our graduate assistants can help you to arrange a campus visit, which can include:

    • Sitting in on MFT classes
    • Lunch or dinner with a current student(s)
    • Sitting in on a consultation team
    • Touring the community and the residential areas where students live
    • Campus tour, including classrooms, the library, and recreational facilities
    • Tour of FamilyWorks, the program's family therapy clinic

    If you prefer to look at written materials, we are glad to send you a program brochure and other written materials that describe the program and the field of family therapy. If you would like to receive an information packet, please send your request, including your mailing address to Cindy Urrutia.

    Finally, the MFT faculty members are always glad to talk to prospective students who are considering a career in family therapy or who have questions about our program. Please feel free to call:

    • Clinic Director, Tabitha McCoy, LAMFT (229) 293-6266
    • Dr. Samira Garcia (229) 333-7983
    • Dr. Jennifer Lambert-Shute (229) 245-4323
    • Dr. Martha J. Laughlin (229) 249-4961
    • Dr. Hoa Nguyen (229) 333-6013
  • Application Process

    The MFT program accepts applications all year long, and we review each application as soon as the application packet is complete. The deadline for submission of application materials—the last day we accept applications for a given year—is July 15. The program has usually filled all slots by April, May, or June of each year. We except between 27 and 30 students each year. After all openings are filled, accepted students are placed on a waiting list, or given the option to defer admission to the following year. We recommend that applications are submitted as early in the year as possible.

    The program admits students for Fall entry only. New students cannot begin in the Spring or Summer semesters. The application process is as follows:

    • The applicant submits the required materials to the VSU Graduate School. Note: The departmental code for sending your GRE scores to the Marriage and Family Therapy Program is 5855
    • When the application packet is complete, the Graduate School sends the application to the Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) program.
    • The MFT faculty reviews the application and decides if the applicant is eligible to move on to the interview stage of the application process.
    • The selected MFT student candidate is contacted and an interview is scheduled.
      • The interview can take place by phone or on campus. Often applicants combine the campus interview with a day-long campus visit. 
      • After the applicant is contacted, the interview typically takes place within 5-10 days. When candidates are traveling from out of state, it often takes longer because travel arrangements must be made.
      • A face-to-face interview takes place with one or two faculty members. It is a time for the applicant to ask questions about the program and for the faculty to share information about the program requirements. In addition, applicants are asked to talk about a range of topics, including career goals, their approach to diversity – including how they anticipate helping clients who hold values and goals different than their own, their personal philosophy about embracing difference, how they define family, why they wish to become family therapists, how they feel they fit with the VSU family therapy program, and what they are looking for in their clinical training experience.
      • After the interview, the MFT faculty members convene and make a final decision about the applicant. MFT faculty members forward their recommendation to the Graduate Dean.
      • The Graduate Dean reviews the application and the MFT faculty recommendation and makes a final decision to accept or deny the application, then sends the applicant a letter informing him or her of the final decision. A copy of the Dean's letter is also sent to the MFT Program.
      • When an applicant has been granted admission to the MFT program, the MFT Program Director (dead link) sends the student a lengthy information letter welcoming him or her to the program. Among other things, the letter. . .

    -         requests that the student send the MFT Program Director an email confirming his or her intention to attend the program

    -         requests that the student read the MFT Program's Diversity Statement and send the MFT Program Director an email attesting to his or her ability and willingness to abide by the diversity statement

    -         requests that the student provide the MFT Program Director with contact information (email and phone)

    -         provides the student with the name and contact information of his or her MFT faculty advisor

    -         provides the student with a reading list that will help prepare him or her for graduate study in the MFT program

  • Application Timeline

    application timeline
  • How to Contact the Graduate School or Apply Onliine

    • To apply online, request a brochure, or contact the Graduate School
    • Contact the Graduate School
    • Call the Graduate School at (229) 333-5694 or toll-free at 1-800-618-1878
    • You can write a letter to the Graduate School by addressing it to
    Valdosta State University
    Graduate School
    Valdosta, Georgia 31698-0005
  • Tuition, Fees and Financial Information

  • Additional Resources