What is Marriage & Family Therapy?

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As a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT), you are specifically trained to treat mental and emotional concerns individually, relationally, and systemically. Whether a concern is related to work or home, parent-child, immediate/extended family, partner/couple or other contemporary relationship, an MFT focuses on providing holistic care from a systemic perspective that is inclusive of a client’s relationships and environment.

MFTs are mental health professionals who receive training in both psychotherapy and family systems. They are trained and equipped to recognize how relational dynamics impact mental health as well as how mental health impacts relationships. While treatment focuses primarily on the individual(s) in the room, awareness of the broader perspective of the systems surrounding those individuals is important to successful therapy outcomes.

Demand for licensed marriage and family therapists continues to increase. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for marriage and family therapists are expected to grow by 14% (faster than average) by 2031.

Deb Polacek 

“We are proud to offer a program that trains new therapists to support healthy change while honoring their client’s lived experience.”

- Deb Polacek, LMFT, AAMFT Approved Supervisor,
Associate Dean and Program Director

What we offer to you


Learn On-Site from Practicing Professionals

Students learn within a community of colleagues in our cohort-based program. We limit enrollment to allow for small class size and individual attention. All Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) faculty have extensive clinical experience in their subject area and maintain active therapy practices. With evening classes, learning is geared toward working adults who need flexibility. Full-time students can complete the program in as few as 22 months. Most part-time students graduate within 3 years.

Program-Coordinated Clinical Placement

Edgewood College’s Marriage and Family Therapy program offers students an extraordinary advantage in having access to their own training facility. The Family Center is an outpatient, community-based mental health center that offers low-cost supportive therapy for individuals, couples, and families. This facility continues to be integral to the success of our program as it provides a supervised location for active therapy practice that supports both student learning and the mental health needs of the community.

Unlike many other programs, the MFT program will connect you to the best internship opportunity so your focus can remain on the learning experience. The MFT Program has built an extensive list of partnership placement options managed by The Family Center which will assist students in fostering additional skill development in areas of personal interest. Internship placement will always seek to connect students with hands-on experiences that complement the systemic approach to therapy.

Postgraduate Support in Licensure Application Process

Your dream job begins with a plan. Faculty in the MFT program will walk alongside you – long after you have accepted your master’s degree. We understand that achieving your graduate degree is a big step – but it’s not going to be your last. We will support you in the application process for licensure, and in exploring that dream job. From networking to career exploration, MFT alumni receive wraparound postgraduate support. Our success is not only measured by your classroom experience.

A Program with History and Vision

The Marriage and Family Therapy program at Edgewood College has trained successful psychotherapists since 1996.  With a “family systems” lens and a vision to bring mental health advocacy to the Greater Madison area, Dr. Peter Fabian founded both the academic program and The Family Center.

We blend the theoretical and therapeutic approaches within the “General Systems” paradigm, with the primary goal of clinical excellence in training within this field. Unlike other mental health disciplines where students may take one or two classes in how to work holistically and relationally with clients, our entire program focuses on training and education to work within this paradigm.

Program Handbook   Graduate Achievement Data


48 Credits
Evening Classes offer Flexibility
Graduate in as few as 22 months
Internship Placement & Support



“I specifically chose the Marriage and Family Therapy program for the systemic framework remembering that each person has an experience, has a previous relationship that shapes them. The program really helped me to remember just how important that is…”

Eric Baer ’19 Psychotherapist, LMFT

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Degree Requirements

To receive a Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, students must:

  • Earn 48 credits in program courses
  • Maintain 3.00 GPA each semester (courses graded at or below 2.0 cannot be counted toward degree completion)
  • Complete a minimum of 500 clinical hours consisting of the following:
    • 300 direct client contact hours (must include 100 relational hours)
    • 200 ancillary hours (therapy-related without client present)
  • Complete a minimum of 100 supervision hours consisting of the following:
    • 50 group supervision
    • 50 individual supervision

Required Courses

MFT 600 - Foundations of Systemic Practice
MFT 605 - MFT Theories & Models
MFT 610 - Clinical Treatment: Families/Groups
MFT 620 - Diverse/Multicultural Communities
MFT 625 - Clinical Treatment: Couples
MFT 630 - Mental Health Diagnosis & Treatment
MFT 635 - Systemic/Relational Assessment
MFT 700 - Research & Evaluation
MFT 725 - Relational Practicum
MFT 735 - Lifespan Development
MFT 740 - Clinical Treatment: Child/Adolescent
MFT 745 - Contemporary Issues & Collaboration
MFT 750 - Clinical Internship I
MFT 760 - Clinical Internship II
MFT 770 - Clinical Internship III
MFT 780 - Clinical Internship IV, if needed
MFT 800 - Ethics, Law & Social Responsibility

Course catalog descriptions can be found here. An Independent Study option may be arranged with the Program Director when needed.

Two-Year Schedule

Fall Year 1 - MFT 600, MFT 605, MFT 620, MFT 630
Spring Year 1 - MFT 610, MFT 625, MFT 635, MFT 725
Summer Year 1 - MFT 750, MFT 800, Internship
Fall Year 2 - MFT 735, MFT 740, MFT 760, Internship
Spring Year 2 - MFT 700, MFT 745, MFT 770, Internship

Tuition and Financial Aid

Attending graduate school is one of the best investments you will ever make in yourself and your future. While the benefits related to personal development and growth are priceless, you can also expect your M.S. MFT degree to expand your career options and enhance your earning power in the marketplace.


Tuition and Financial Aid information for license and master’s programs. 

Financial Aid

Graduate students are eligible for financial aid in the form of Federal Stafford Loans. Learn more about Stafford Loans, including eligibility requirements and application instructions.

Our admissions and financial aid counselors work with students who have questions on graduate school affordability. They will use their experience to suggest creative solutions for financing your education. We work with students and organizations to maximize all available aid including tuition reimbursement plans, corporate partnership tuition discounts, third party billing, monthly payment plans, and veteran benefits.


Two scholarships are available. These are awarded based on financial need and merit. Students are eligible to apply during their 2nd semester in the program.

  • Sara Thompson and Sandra Hammer Scholarship 
    An award created posthumously in honor of two MFT graduates. The Thompson family established this scholarship in honor of Sara, an MFT alumna who died shortly after graduation in 1999. Later, the Hammer family added to the endowment in honor of Sandra, after her untimely death. This award is dependent upon interest earnings; therefore, the amount of this award varies.
  • Peter & Ree Hale Fabian Scholarship 
    An award created by our MFT Program founder, Dr. Peter Fabian and his wife, Rev. Aurelia Hale. This award is dependent upon interest earnings; therefore, the amount of this award varies.

Guidelines for Scholarship Application:

  • Complete a FAFSA form with the Edgewood Financial Aid Office (reflecting financial need).
  • Submit one letter of recommendation from a professional reference, such as a professor, employer, or work colleague familiar with your work (reflecting merit).
  • Submit a personal essay: "What this scholarship would mean to me," in 250 to 750 words, typed and double-spaced.

Submit the letter and essay to the Program Director by February 15th

An MFT department committee reviews the submissions. The recipients for the upcoming academic year will be contacted during April and the funds will be disbursed during the subsequent Fall and Spring semesters.

Admission Requirements

Application Process

Applicants for any of the student classifications except non-degree must meet all requirements for admission to the graduate programs

  1. Provide evidence of a baccalaureate or more advanced degree from a United States regionally accredited or equivalent post-secondary institution with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for regular admission status. The cumulative grade point average is computed on the highest degree held at the time of application to the Edgewood College graduate program.
  2. Complete and submit graduate application.
  3. Request that official transcripts for all undergraduate and graduate academic credits received from any post-secondary institutions be sent directly to Edgewood College Graduate and Professional Studies.
  4. The MFT Program Reference Form must accompany two letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to comment on the candidate's potential for success as a therapist.
  5. The MFT program requires a two-page typewritten statement indicating motives and professional goals for pursuing a degree in MFT. The written statement should include:
    • Interests and motivation for wanting to be a therapist
    • Ability to succeed in graduate school
    • What preparation, either through coursework, internship, volunteer work, or
      job experience, has been undertaken that provides basic therapy skills.
  6.  Applicants must also submit a resume.
  7. Applications will be reviewed upon completion. A follow-up interview may be requested by the program at that time.
    • The Marriage and Family Therapy Program begins in the fall of each academic year. It is a highly competitive cohort-based graduate program with admissions opening September 1st for the next year’s Fall cohort. Applicants are strongly advised to apply early as applications are reviewed and spots are filled throughout the year.
  8. An Orientation Day for newly admitted student will be held in August.

Admission into the graduate program does not imply the right to admission into the clinical year. The last three semesters of the program contain clinical experiences. Students are separately reviewed for “readiness” for the clinical experiences during their second semester.

Transfer Credits

Up to 15 semester hours of graduate credit may be submitted for consideration of transfer for application to this degree program. Approval of the MFT program director is required. To be considered, a course must have been taken within the past five years. For more information about transfer credits, please contact your admissions counselor. 

Background Check Required

After acceptance into the program, each student is required to complete a caregiver background checkthrough the DOJ website and provide a scanned copy of the results to the program director preferably before attending your first course, yet no later than the end of the student’s first semester. If a background check is not received by this deadline, further participation in the program may be limited. 


Program Information

Our program is based on national and state standards for course content and clinical practice. It prepares students to apply for credentialing in Wisconsin as licensed marriage and family therapists. It also supports the development of soft skills applicable to many areas of social and human service.

Learn more about the requirements and process to receive a license as a Marriage and Family Therapist in Wisconsin. If planning to apply for licensure outside of Wisconsin, find State/Provincial information here.

Educational Framework

Our outcome-based educational framework has a systemic focus and aligns with developmental competencies in the following areas: (1) knowledge of the profession, (2) practice of therapy, (3) human diversity and social structure, (4) professional ethics, law and identity, and (5) research and evidence-based practice.

Program Mission

With its roots in the Mission and Identity of Edgewood College, the master's degree program in Marriage and Family Therapy is designed to advance professional competency in the field in a manner that fosters clinical proficiency, ethical sensitivity, respect for diversity, and dedication to service to the people in our communities.

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes


Program Goal #1:

Student Learning Outcomes

The program will educate students on foundational MFT theoretical knowledge.

SLO #1 Student will demonstrate an understanding of systemic theories and MFT models.

Program Goal #2:


The program will provide opportunity for supervised relational practice hours and the development of clinical skills.

SLO #2 Student will demonstrate competence in systemic and relational clinical skills within a practice setting.

Program Goal #3:


The program will foster an environment that supports human dignity, respect for diversity, and dedication to inclusive service across communities.

SLO #3 Student will exhibit awareness of the importance of human dignity and inclusivity as well as the impact of social structure.

Program Goal #4:


The program will inform and support understanding of relevant legal standards of practice, ethical codes, professionalism, and models of ethical decision-making.

SLO #4 Student will demonstrate understanding of ethical decision-making and the use of relevant legal and professional resources.

Program Goal #5:


The program will promote the use of MFT-related research as well as the principles of evidence-based interventions and practice.

SLO #5 Student will demonstrate skills as critical consumers of MFT-related research as well as an understanding of the principles of evidence-based practice.


Edgewood College has been continuously accredited since March 28, 1958, by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411, Phone: 800.621.7440 / 312.263.0456 | HLC Confirmation Link

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program is an accredited training program approved by the International Accreditation Commission for Systemic Therapy Education. IACSTE Confirmation Link

All MFT program courses have been specifically developed to meet the external accreditation requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Our program has met the eligibility criteria for COAMFTE accreditation and is moving toward full accreditation. 

Links of Interest
Full Catalog