Maryland isn’t just one of the oldest states in the Union. It’s also got a rich tradition of higher education. This makes Maryland an excellent choice for pursuing your academic goals.
There are 55 colleges and universities in Maryland. Many of these are public four-year colleges with graduate degree programs in many different areas, including counseling and psychology.
The best-known university in the state, the University of Maryland, has a premiere marriage and family program. However, there are many other options for beginning your graduate studies.
Begin your search for a marriage and family therapy program with this partial list of some of the best programs in Maryland.
Marriage and Family Therapy Programs in Maryland
The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is a public, doctoral-level school with more than 41,000 students. Students can choose from more than 100 undergraduate majors, well over 100 master’s programs, and more than 80 doctoral programs.
The University is organized into 12 academic colleges and schools. Each college and school has program offerings that are recognized as among the best in the nation. For example, US News and World Report ranks the University of Maryland as the 19th-best national public university. Likewise, the University ranks 15th on the US News and World Report list of best global schools.
Whether you study at the main campus in College Park, one of the satellite campuses, or online, the University of Maryland offers student support services, student clubs, and a wide range of courses to prepare you for the next step in your academic or occupational pursuits.
The Master of Science program in marriage and family therapy from the University of Maryland is the only program in the state that’s accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education COAMFTE. This is a two-year program that includes studies over winter break and summer break.
As is typical of graduate programs in this field, the graduation requirements include thesis and non-thesis options. If you choose to complete a thesis, you will likely need an additional semester to complete your degree requirements.
The coursework required for graduation includes:
- Foundations of Public Health
- Treatment of Emotional and Mental Disorders in the Family Context
- Gender and Ethnicity in Family Therapy Service Delivery
- Couples Therapy: Theory and Techniques
- Psychopathology and Diagnosis in Family System
There is also a fieldwork component for this degree that gives you practical experience working with real clients with the benefit of close supervision by a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Bowie State University
Bowie State University is a historically black college/university (HBCU) with a long tradition of academic excellence. In fact, its founding in 1865 makes it the oldest HBCU in Maryland and among the ten oldest HBCUs in the nation.
As Bowie State has grown, so too have its academic offerings. You can choose from nearly two dozen degree programs as an undergraduate student. Graduate students have the option of enrolling in more than a dozen programs. Likewise, there are many different certificate programs and two doctoral programs available.
Bowie State is a small school – there are less than 6,500 students – and it’s an affordable school, too. In-state tuition for undergraduates is $4,376 per semester. Graduate students pay an in-state rate of $573.45 per credit.
Bowie State’s mental health counseling graduate program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). It’s a 60-hour program that culminates with a master of arts degree.
This program heavily focuses on research, so you have a deep understanding of clinical and counseling concepts before you work with clients. Additionally, this program was developed to be culturally sensitive, so much of your coursework will be through the lens of multiculturalism.
This master’s program is divided into four levels, the first of which focus on building foundational skills. After you complete the third level of courses, you must pass a comprehensive examination to move on to the final set of courses.
It should be noted that this is not a marriage and family therapy program. While you will develop the skills needed to work with couples, families, and children as a counselor and therapist, this program might not qualify you for licensure as a marriage and family therapist in Maryland. Inquire with the state’s licensing board about licensing criteria before enrolling in this program.
Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University is a private school that dates to 1876. Over the last 150 years or so, the University has established itself as one of the finest research institutions in the nation. In fact, US News and World Report ranks Johns Hopkins as 7th-best among national universities, 9th-best for value, and 10th-best for innovation.
If you attend Johns Hopkins, you will be one of just 6,000 students. What’s more, you will take classes on a small campus that’s just 140 acres. This intimate setting invites you to explore advanced topics in counseling, psychology, and therapeutic techniques.
Being a student at Johns Hopkins isn’t cheap, though. Undergraduate tuition and fees are around $60,000. However, Johns Hopkins graduates have the university’s strong academic reputation to back them up.
This 60-credit Master of Science program in counseling can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on your specific needs. It’s an on-campus program in Baltimore, and it requires residency for three to five years depending on your enrollment status.
The program’s curriculum follows an evidence-based design, so you will learn counseling techniques that are rooted in the latest psychological research. You will learn these techniques and build a strong foundation of counseling knowledge by taking classes like:
- Appraisal and Testing for Counselors
- Counseling Theory and Practice
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Couple and Family Therapy
This program also includes practicum and internship components. Typically, practicums are more observational on the student’s part, and allow you to see how counseling techniques are applied. The internship offers more hands-on learning and the opportunity to work with clients independently.
Like the program at Bowie State, this is not a specialized marriage and family therapy degree program (though it is also CACREP-accredited). Consult with the Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists to ensure this program meets its requirements before you enroll.
Work Opportunities in Maryland
As a marriage and family therapist in Maryland, your likeliest place of employment will be in individual family services settings. This might be in a private practice, where you work with clients in a clinical setting, or it might be in a government setting (e.g., working for the Department of Human Services) where your clinical talents are applied to families in crisis.
Marriage and family therapy jobs are available in other settings in Maryland, too. For example, you might work in a medical setting, like a hospital or even an outpatient treatment center.
Some marriage and family therapists specialize in certain types of counseling as well, like addiction treatment for couples and families. In that case, you might work in a residential treatment center for people recovering from a drug addiction.
With Maryland’s proximity to Washington, D.C., there might also be opportunities to work in the federal government. You might help guide policy development for the Department of Health and Human Services. You might also advocate for marriage and family therapy groups on Capitol Hill.
In other words, Maryland has many different opportunities for putting your talents and skills as a marriage and family therapist to work!