Admissions and Prospective Students

Due to COVID-19, the Marriage and Family Therapy program will not require the GRE or MAT for Fall 2020 applicants. 

  • Program Requirements

    MFT Program graduation requirements:
    §  18 of the 55 required hours consists of 3 consecutive semesters of practica
    §  Accrual of 500 hours of client contact and 100 hours of supervision with Program faculty supervisors
    §  Service Learning, which 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.
    §  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
    §  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.
    Typical Two-year Course of Study
    Most students complete the MFT program in two years (including two summers). Below is the course sequence for a typical two-year course of study. View an expanded description of the courses, here. If you would like to slow the rate at which you move through the curriculum, please see your advisor.
    First Year Fall Semester
    MFTH 6800: Relational Theory, Practice, & Ethics
    MFTH 6900: Foundations of Family Therapy
    MFTH 7500: Development in the Family System
    MFTH 7650: Special Topic
    First Year Spring Semester
    MFTH 7101: Family Systems Theories
    MFTH 7102: Interventions in MFT
    MFTH 7200: Research in Marriage & Family Therapy
    MFTH 7050: Diversity, Inclusion, & Social Justice
    First Year Summer Semester
    MFTH 7400: Psychopathology & Pharmacology in MFT
    MFTH 7350: Legal Issues in MFT
    MFTH 7700: Assessment in MFT
    Second Year Fall Semester
    MFTH 7600: Practicum in MFT
    MFTH 7601: Treatment Issues in Family Therapy
    MFTH 7103: Advanced Theories Seminar
    MFTH 7650: Special Topics
    Second Year Spring Semester
    MFTH 7600: Practicum in MFT
    MFTH 7602: Couples and Sex Therapy
    MFTH 7103: Advanced Theories Seminar
    MFTH 7650: Special Topics
    Second Year Summer Semester
    MFTH 7600: Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy
    MFTH 7880: Professional Ethics Seminar
    Requirements for Financial Aid and Graduate Assistants
    §  A minimum of 5 credit hours are required for Financial Aid
    §  A minimum of 9 credit hours is required to be considered a full time Graduate Student
    §  Graduate Assistantships require that the student take a minimum of 6 graduate level hours per semester to maintain the assistantship.
  • Admission Requirements

    • a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university*
    • an official copy of all college/university transcripts, undergraduate and graduate
    • an overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75
    • 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. Before or after the start of Fall classes, the Minors on Campus office will send all new students links to do the 40-minute training and give permission to sign up to have a background check done. There is no cost to the student.

    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.

  • Transfer Credit

    No more than 6 semester hours of academic work may be transferred into the MFT program from another program or institution. Credit considered for transfer must be no more than seven years old at the time of admission unless otherwise approved by the program. Transfer credit will be evaluated by the academic department after the student is admitted.
  • Talk to A Current MFT Student and Plan a Campus Visit

    Many students looking for graduate programs find it helpful to find helpful to obtain more information before submitting their application. The MFT faculty members think it is a great idea, and we encourage prospective students to talk to our currently enrolled students. We offer a number of options when planning a visit: a campus tour, sit in on MFT classes, talk to a current student, sit in with a consultation team, a FamilyWorks Tour, and visit VSU’s main campus.

    If you are interested in speaking with someone, here are your options:

    • Call our prospective student coordinator, Heather Knight, at (229) 293-6302 or email her at
    • Visit our Facebook Page and reach out to a GA during the office hours posted at the top of the page.
    • Click here for more information and someone will be in contact with you.
  • Application Process

    Admission into the MFT program is for Fall entry only. The last day we accept applications for a given enrollment year is July 15. We except approximately 30 students each year, and the seats are usually filled by June, so we recommend that applicants submit as early in the year as possible. After all openings are filled, applicants can be placed on a waiting list and/or given the option to defer admission to the following year. The application process is as follows:

    NOTE: At this time, you may discover that you can complete and submit the application only. Additional materials—recommendations, personal essay statement, and unofficial test scores, etc.—can be sent as attachments (.pdf, .doc, or an image file) to If your prior schools allow electronic transcript delivery, select the VSU Graduate School as a recipient of an official electronic transcript. If you need to supply your previous school(s) with an email address to which they can send your transcripts, use Note: The code for sending your GRE scores to the Graduate School is 5855. The code for sending your MAT score is 1117.

    • When your application packet (official transcripts, all references, personal essay, etc.) is complete the Graduate School sends your application packet to the Marriage & Family Therapy (MFT) program, where MFT faculty review the application and decides if the applicant is eligible to move on to the interview stage of the admission process. If so, we contact you to schedule an interview, which typically takes place within a few days to three weeks. The interview can take place by phone or on campus. Often applicants combine the campus interview with a day-long campus visit.
    • The 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 program requirements. In addition, applicants may be 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, why they wish to become family therapists, how they feel they fit with the VSU family therapy program, what they are looking for in their clinical training experience, and how they hope to use their degree.
    • Once you have been accepted for admission to the MFT program, you will receive two email letters. The first welcomes you to the program and asks you to send confirmation of your intent to start the program. Once we have received that confirmation, we send you a second email letter, which provides a great deal of important information about advising, licensure, diversity, business cards, program requirements over and above the curriculum, how to get into the clinic, student FERPA rights, anticipated costs, and much more. This information will help you plan ahead and transition smoothly into the program. Please note that any and all correspondence or offer of admission from the program is unofficial. You will receive official notification of your admission status in an email letter signed by the Associate Provost for Graduate Studies and Research at some point after your interview.
  • Application Timeline

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

    • To apply online, or 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

    The Graduate School
    Converse Hall
    Suite 3100 
    1500 N Patterson Street
    Valdosta, Georgia 31698-0005

  • Tuition, Fees and Financial Aid

    • Tuition and Fees. You can learn more about the tuition and fee schedule at Financial Services Tuition and Fee Schedules webpage.
      • If you live in Florida, you may be in one of the counties to which VSU grants in-state tuition. Click here to learn if you qualify.
    • Financial Aid and Student Loans. VSU has a wonderful website filled with useful information to help students identify sources of loans and other financial aid. To learn more about financial aid offered to graduate students and visit the Office of Financial Aid
    • Grants and Scholarships. Grants and scholarships are available for graduate study and to minority students. Below are some resources for finding scholarships:
  • New Student Orientation

    New Student Orientation is held in the MFT Classroom the Friday before the start of Fall classes. We strongly encourage all new students to attend. You will meet the entire faculty as well as your new fellow-students. We keep you busy most of the day, so plan on a "working lunch" with faculty and your new classmates. It is important that you print out a copy of the MFT Clinical Training and Personal Disclosure Policy that your advisor sent to you. Please read the document. If you have questions, jot them down. We will review the Policy, and you can ask questions then. You will also initial and sign your copy, which will be retained in your student file. 

    Prior to orientation, please complete the online Graduate School Orientation.

    Tabitha McCoy, Clinic Coordinator, places a single order for business cards on orientation day. Bring money with you (at least $25.) to cover the cost of their business cards.

    If you would like to get a preview of your Fall classes, check the MFT Program Requirement page, and University Class Schedule page.


    We look forward to meeting you!

  • Additional Resources

  • Graduate Assistantships

    Graduate Assistantships are awarded through the Graduate School.  If you are interested in a Graduate Assistantship, go to the Graduate School website and click on Graduate Assistantships on the right.