Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in New York [2024 Guide]

One of the advantages of getting a marriage and family therapy degree in New York is that you have a lot of choices. From master’s degrees to doctorates, programs at large universities and small colleges, studies in New York City and small upstate college towns, you can have your pick of programs.

But with so much choice can come indecision. With so many excellent programs available in the state, which one do you choose? This guide will help you make that decision!

Below are some of the popular choices for completing a marriage and family therapy degree in New York. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but it will help you focus your decision-making process on some of the best options New York has to offer.

Best Accredited Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate and Master's Programs in New York Online

Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in New York

Listed below are some of the popular schools offering marriage and family therapy programs in New York:

  • Manhattan College
  • Hofstra University
  • Iona University
  • University of Rochester
  • Syracuse University
  • Capella University
  • Northwestern University
  • Grand Canyon University

Manhattan College

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at Manhattan College offers you the flexibility of a blended learning format – some coursework is done in person on campus while other coursework is completed online. This kind of format is in contrast to traditional campus-only options that might pose scheduling challenges for you, especially if you intend to continue working while you are getting your graduate degree.

This 60-credit program leads to licensure in the state of New York as a marriage and family therapist. To graduate, you must complete a series of program requirements, including core coursework and field experiences.

The core coursework in this program focuses on a number of important areas of practice for marriage and family therapists. You will learn essential counseling skills, such as contemporary couples counseling, group counseling, and family therapy. You will also take courses focusing on professional issues, such as counseling standards, laws, and ethics.

Additionally, you will take practice-related courses that prepare you for working with a wide variety of clients. For example, you will take classes such as:

  • Foundations of Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Cross-Cultural Counseling
  • Approaches to Multicultural Counseling: Theory and Practice
  • Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, Family Issues, and Treatment Approaches
  • Family Systems Therapy: Practicum in Techniques

As noted earlier, many of these courses are done online. The course format is synchronous, meaning you and your classmates “meet” with your professors online at a specific time for class. Doing so gives you the benefit of participating in live discussions with the class without having to travel to campus.

In addition to the coursework, you must also complete a number of field-based experiences. This begins with a practicum during which you will learn how to implement systemic therapy when working with couples and families. You will also learn how to conduct interviews with couples and families, identify presenting problems, and develop interventions to address the couple’s or family’s needs.

Another practicum experience focuses on the theory and techniques involved in family therapy. You will focus on mastering the use of assessments in family counseling and explore a variety of treatment models, including those that are appropriate for multicultural family counseling.

After completing the practicum components, you will move into the internship phase of the program. Like with the practicum, the internship is done in two phases. First, you will participate in an internship focusing on the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of psychopathological conditions from a family and relational point of view. You will learn how to use the DSM-V for diagnosis and gain valuable real-world experience working directly with couples and families in a therapeutic setting. This internship requires at least 250 hours.

The second internship seeks to build on the skills you gained in the first experience. In particular, you will work on your ability to assess and treat clients, as well as your diagnostic skills. You must complete at least 250 hours in this internship, including 150 hours of direct client contact time.

The two internships both have seminar components as well. For example, the first internship’s seminar highlights diagnosis and treatment, while the second internship’s seminar focuses more on presenting cases for discussion and evaluation by your peers.

The application for this program is available online. You must meet the following requirements to apply:

  • Submit an application for admission and a $75 application fee
  • Hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Have a 3.0 GPA or higher for all undergraduate work
  • Submit official transcripts from every college and university you have attended
  • Provide a personal statement discussing your interest in the program and your personal and professional goals
  • Provide one letter of recommendation
  • Submit a current resume

Hofstra University

Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy

Hofstra University’s Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy is a career-focused, 54-credit program that leads to licensure as a marriage and family therapist in New York. You will study essential features of counseling couples and families while being exposed to a variety of counseling theories and techniques so you emerge from the program ready to provide services to a wide range of clients.

In fact, this program takes a broad-based approach to your training. You will study therapeutic models ranging from solution-focused to narrative therapy to structural therapy. You will also gain expertise in using strategic, experiential, and object-relations techniques.

You will develop skills in these and other areas through a combination of coursework, research, and fieldwork. The coursework covers common topics in marriage and family therapy, from multicultural counseling to group counseling to psychopathology. You will likely also take courses that build your skills in areas such as:

  • Counseling ethics
  • Clinical practice
  • Counseling children and adolescents
  • Couples counseling techniques
  • Assessment and diagnosis

In addition to your academic studies, you will have the opportunity to conduct research. Working with faculty members, you can explore specific areas of interest in marriage and family therapy. For example, let’s assume you find narrative therapy particularly interesting. You would work with a faculty member who specializes in narrative therapy to devise and conduct research, with the possibility of having your research published in a professional journal.

This step is crucial if you intend to continue your education in a doctoral program. Conducting research is a central component of Ph.D.s in this field, so having some measure of experience as a master’s student will help your case for admission to a doctoral program.

A third component of this program is the internship phase. You will begin the two-year internship during your second year in the program. You will start at Hofstra’s Marriage and Family Clinic, where you will develop your therapeutic skills under the watchful eye of a licensed marriage and family therapist. You will also have opportunities to share your experiences with your classmates and professors during consultation sessions.

Once you gain the necessary foundational therapeutic skills in the internship’s first year, you will be placed at an off-campus site to complete the second year of internship training. Your placement is provided by Hofstra and approved by the Marriage and Family Therapy program to ensure you get the training experiences you need to be an effective therapist.

The second year of internship can occur in any number of settings, including mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment centers, and hospitals, to name a few. Regardless of where you are placed, you must compile at least 900 hours of clinical work prior to graduation, including the time you spend in the Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic during the first year of internship.

The application for this program can be completed online at any time. You must complete the following to be considered for admission:

  • Complete a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Have a 3.0 GPA or higher for your undergraduate studies
  • Submit three letters of recommendation
  • Provide a personal statement that describes your professional goals
  • Participate in a personal interview with the program’s director

Prior experience working in a human services field is preferred, but not required for admission. Likewise, it’s preferred your undergraduate degree is in psychology, human services, family studies, or a similar discipline, but you may apply with any undergraduate degree.

Iona University

Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from Iona University is accredited by the Commission On Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and prepares you to sit for the marriage and family licensure exam. At the time of this writing, 100 percent of Iona graduates have passed the exam.

Over the course of three years, you will complete a 60-credit program including on-campus coursework and therapeutic training as well as off-campus clinical work. You begin the program with foundational courses that prepare you for expanding your knowledge and skill set in marriage and family therapy. These classes include Introduction to MFT Practices, Relational Group Dynamics, and a course on Ethics, Law, and Professional Issues.

After completing those classes, you will explore topics related to clinical practice. For example, you will take a Theories and Systemic Approaches class that introduces you to pioneering approaches in marriage and family therapy, conducting assessments, and implementing interventions, among other essential topics. You will also take a course on Psychopathology and Systemic Diagnosis.

Once you have completed these and other first-year courses, you will move into more advanced training in marriage and family therapy. For example, your second year of studies includes coursework in the following:

  • Intimate Relationships
  • Relational Assessment and Treatment
  • Diversity and Contextual Factors in Clinical Practices
  • Advanced Theories and Systemic Techniques

The program’s second year also includes practicum experiences and case seminars. As is common with practicum placements, you will work with a supervisor in a clinical setting to become familiar with day-to-day operations as a marriage and family therapist. You will also start working with clients alongside your supervisor.

The case seminar component includes group supervision, during which you and your classmates will present cases you are working on and garner feedback regarding your performance with your clients. You will gain insights into your clinical technique, your ability to plan treatments, and your ability to implement treatment plans.

In the third year of this program, you will focus more on research and clinical training. For example, you will take a course on Research and Evidence-Based Practice that teaches you how to be a good consumer of marriage and family therapy-related research. You will also utilize research in this field to help you develop your professional identity.

Of course, additional clinical training opportunities occur in the final year, too. You will complete two more practicum experiences, during which you gain advanced skills in marriage and family therapy. You will also complete a capstone project with the goal of solidifying who you are as a therapist and preparing you for the next steps after you graduate for procuring licensure and employment.

Iona requires you to complete the following steps to be eligible for admission:

  • Submit official transcripts from every college or university you have attended
  • Submit a recommendation letter from an academic or professional reference (you do not need to submit a letter of recommendation if your GPA is above 3.0)
  • Provide a current resume
  • Provide proof of English proficiency if it is not your native language

University of Rochester

Master of Science – Marriage and Family Therapy

Another option for completing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy is the program offered by the University of Rochester. This Master of Science program is administered by the Department of Psychiatry and requires 60 credits to graduate. Of those 60 credits, 45 involve master’s-level coursework and 15 credits are for field-based work.

The program’s curriculum is typical of a Master of Science program. You will take foundational courses like Human Development Across the Life Cycle, Family Therapy Theory and Technique, and Foundations of Clinical Practice. You will build on these courses with detailed studies in related areas, such as:

  • Psychopathology and Systems
  • Couples Therapy
  • Child-focused Family Therapy
  • Family Law, Policy, and Social Systems
  • Intersection of Race, Gender, Sexuality, and Other Cultural Identities in Clinical Practice

Other coursework focuses on topics related to ethics and professionalism, like a required three-credit class in Family Therapy Ethics and Professional Practice. You will also take classes focusing on clinical assessment, Family Therapy Research, and Narrative and Integrative Approaches to Family Therapy.

This program has a unique requirement for Medical Family Therapy, too. Over the course of an intensive week of studies, you will learn the effects that specific medical conditions can have on the family dynamic. You will also explore experiences related to illness and healthcare, systems consultation, and learn specific medical therapy skills that enable you to provide care to families in hospital settings.

These classes are supplemented by real-world training experiences during two practicums. The first practicum is a full-time, year-long placement at the Office of Mental Health at the University of Rochester. You will also have opportunities to work at Strong Family Therapy Services and in community organizations off-campus.

During your time in this first practicum, you will be responsible for the full care of clients. This includes the following:

  • Engaging with clients and building rapport
  • Assessing clients
  • Devising and delivering treatments
  • Discharge planning

These tasks are done in a manner that’s culturally appropriate and collaborative in nature. You will become adept at working within the biopsychosocial model, too. The second practicum builds on these experiences in a part-time format. You will receive weekly supervision throughout both practicum experiences both in individual and group settings. All told, you must complete at least 500 hours of clinical contact hours and at least 100 hours of supervision over the course of the practicum phase of the program.

Since your clinical experiences occur at the University of Rochester Medical Center, you will gain unique perspectives on the relationship between physical and mental health. Likewise, the hands-on learning activities available to you in a hospital-based clinical practice site provide a great deal of benefits for you versus typical classroom learning. You will emerge from this program with a heightened sense of your skills and abilities and how you can use them to address clients’ needs.

The University of Rochester accepts applications to this program year-round. Note the following admissions requirements:

  • Complete the application for admission and submit a $60 application fee
  • Submit official transcripts from every college and university you have attended
  • Submit a statement of purpose
  • Provide three letters of recommendation
  • Complete interviews with three faculty members
  • Submit evidence of English language proficiency if it is not your native language

Syracuse University

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

If you prefer to get a Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy, the program at Syracuse University is worth consideration. Not only is this the only Ph.D. program on this list, but the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy at Syracuse is the oldest of its kind in the U.S., having been founded 50 years ago.

This 72-credit program requires about five years of full-time study on-campus at Syracuse. The program builds on the clinical training of graduate programs in marriage and family therapy by focusing on advanced theory, research, and methodologies.

In fact, this program is specifically designed to prepare you for scholarly pursuits in this field. While you’ll still have the clinical capabilities (e.g., licensure) associated with your master’s degree, the skills you gain in this program will enable you to conduct high-level research in the marriage and family therapy field. Likewise, this Ph.D. program is preparatory for academic work and teaching positions at the nation’s top universities.

You can transfer up to 33 credits from your master’s program in marriage and family therapy to this program. Doing so helps reduce the amount of time required to complete your doctorate. If, for some reason, your credits don’t transfer, you will have to fulfill the prerequisite requirements before starting this program in earnest.

The program begins with courses in advanced theory and practice as well as advanced research. This includes classes like the following:

  • Family Perspectives on Gender Roles and Socialization: Theory & Therapy
  • Advanced Family Therapy with Children and Adolescents
  • Cultural Diversity: Family Theory and Therapy
  • Assessment and Research Methods in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Qualitative Research Methods in Family Therapy

You will also have opportunities to take elective courses that enable you to focus on areas that interest you the most. In addition to electives, you must complete a six-credit advanced clinical practicum experience, during which you will gain additional experience as a practicing marriage and family therapist. This practicum is supervised, so you’ll benefit from the input and guidance of your MFT supervisor.

Since this is a research-based doctoral program, you will complete a dissertation. The dissertation includes months of research, an extensive professional research paper, and an oral defense of your research to your dissertation committee. Likewise, you must successfully pass a doctoral qualifying exam.

The final component of this program is a nine-month clinical internship. This internship supplements your doctoral practicum experience as well as the fieldwork you did during your graduate training. Combined with the extensive research you will do in this Ph.D. program, you will have a multitude of experiences that help you develop into a highly competent marriage and family practitioner, researcher, and scholar.

You can apply to this program online. Admissions requirements are as follows:

  • A master’s degree in marriage and family therapy or its equivalent
  • Submit official GRE scores
  • Submit all requested materials, which may include letters of recommendation, writing samples, a personal statement, a resume or curriculum vitae, and other documentation as requested

A committee of marriage and family faculty reviews all applications and makes the final determination to offer you a spot in the program.

How Do I Become a Marriage and Family Therapist in New York?

To become a licensed marriage and family therapist in New York, you must complete the following steps:

  • Education: Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in marriage and family therapy from a program registered by the NY State Education Department (NYSED) as licensure-qualifying, or determined by the Department to be the substantial equivalent.
  • Examination: Pass the Examination in Marital and Family Therapy offered by the Association of Marital & Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB).
  • Experience: Complete a minimum of 1,500 client contact hours in the practice of marriage and family therapy. Your experience must be obtained under supervision acceptable to the Department, typically after you have completed your degree.
  • Apply for Licensure: Submit an application for licensure to the New York State Education Department, along with the required fee. You will need to provide proof of your education, supervised experience, and examination results.
  • Child Abuse Identification Reporting Training: Complete a course in Child Abuse Identification and Reporting, as required for all licensed health professionals in New York.
  • Character: Meet the requirements for good moral character as defined by the State Education Department.

What is the Difference Between an LPC and LMFT?

While both Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFTs) can provide mental health services, their training and therapeutic approaches are tailored to different needs and areas of focus.

The main difference between an LPC and an LMFT lies in their educational background, training focus, and therapeutic approach. An LPC typically has a master’s degree in counseling or psychology, with training focused on individual therapy. They are equipped to address a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and stress management, utilizing various therapeutic modalities to treat individuals.

On the other hand, an LMFT holds a master’s degree specifically in marriage and family therapy, with a concentration on relational dynamics and family systems. Their training emphasizes understanding individuals within the context of their relationships, making them specialists in addressing issues related to marriage, family, and relationships. LMFTs are trained to consider how family systems theory can inform therapeutic practices, focusing on improving communication and resolving conflicts within relationships.

Related Reading

Copyright © 2024 All Rights Reserved. Program outcomes can vary according to each institution's curriculum and job opportunities are not guaranteed. This site is for informational purposes and is not a substitute for professional help.