College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

Ph.D. in Couple & Family Therapy Specialization

Preparing the next generation of leaders

The Couple & Family Therapy doctoral program prepares the next generation of leaders and agents of social change to work systemically with diverse families and communities locally and internationally. You will learn to:

  • integrate family theory, research, and practice
  • produce scholarly research
  • develop effective and innovative teaching skills

Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized leaders and researchers committed to your success. Explore their research projects.

The Couple & Family Therapy Specialization includes coursework and applied experiences that underscore culture, family, and community health. The online Graduate Program Handbook has details and timelines that will help you launch your career and build a foundation for your personal and professional success.

Students applying to the CFT program must have a clinical master's degree (e.g., couple/marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatric nursing), or have achieved equivalent clinical experience, as determined by the CFT faculty. Clinical training at the master's level is not offered in this department. Students admitted to the CFT doctoral program are expected to be clinically active throughout the duration of their time in the program with approximately 6-10 hours per week.

Career options

A Ph.D. in Couple & Family Therapy will prepare you to pursue a career in academia or clinical administration as well as evaluate and produce relationally oriented research that improves the health and well-being of diverse individuals, couples, families, and communities.

Nationally accredited

This program is accredited by both The Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family therapy Education (COAMFTE) and the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education (IACSTE).

Program Outcomes

COAMFTE accreditation requires the Department of Family Social Science to articulate the desired outcomes for the program, students, and faculty. These outcomes shape and inform our approach to doctoral education and provide an overview of what we hope to accomplish.

Doctoral students are funded 100 percent through fellowships, assistantships, or a combination of both, as well as travel grants, during the current academic year.

Program requirements

  • Couple & Family Therapy Specialization checklist (PDF).

View all program requirements in the University catalog.

View the University's Academic Calendar.

Application deadline

Completed applications are due December 1.

Begin your application

How to

If you have any questions, please e-mail

Financing your education

Visit OneStop Student Services: Finances for information on tuition, fees, and financial aid.

Visit the Assistantships, Fellowships, & Other Funding page for more information on funding opportunities through FSoS, CEHD, and UMN.

More information regarding assistantships and benefits can be found on the Office of Human Resources website.


Admission to the Department of Family Social Science (FSoS) is based on a review of multiple sources of information:

  • Evidence of strong academic preparation and the ability and desire to perform graduate level scholarship, including research.
  • Alignment of applicant's professional goals with FSoS faculty scholarship and with the department's mission.
  • Unique contributions applicant would make to FSoS values, including social relevance, collaboration, inclusiveness, excellence, innovation, and diversity.

Inquiry form