The online Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program enables you to learn directly from Pepperdine faculty who are experts in their field—without attending classes on campus. With the same curriculum as our highly regarded on-campus program, the MFT online program prepares you to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in California.
Online MFT Program at a Glance
Curriculum and Approach
Our curriculum focuses on current applied methods of psychotherapy, offering a clinical and practice-based course of study. You will learn about the social and psychological implications of socioeconomics and how poverty and social stress affect the ability of individuals, couples, and families to thrive.
The program requires 6 units of foundation course work and 62 units of master’s-level course work. As a student, you will take graduate-level courses in mental health diagnosis, treatment, and assessment as well as theory, ethics, and research and evaluation methods. Core courses also cover key topics such as multicultural counseling, human psychopharmacology, sexuality and intimacy, and substance abuse treatment.
The online MFT program’s core values are community service, social justice, and strengths-based counseling.
As you complete the MFT program online, you gain in-depth clinical training that develops your skills as a counselor and prepares you for a career. Our dedicated placement team will work with you to find and secure Pepperdine-approved practicum and internship placements, where you can observe professional counselors and gain experience working directly with clients.
To prepare for the direct clinical experience you will gain during your four rotations, you will first complete PSY 661 Preparation for Practicum. This course will introduce you to key skills such as completing case notes, applying advocacy and recovery-oriented practices, and working directly with diverse individuals and groups who may be experiencing crises or mental illnesses.
Your licensure path and state of residence will determine the breakdown of hours you must complete as part of your clinical training. All students outside of California will complete 700 total placement hours as a result of the current national landscape for LPCC and LMFT licensure. For the licensed marriage and family therapy (LMFT) path, you will complete 225 direct client hours and 475 indirect placement hours. For the licensed professional counselor (LPCC) path, you will complete 280 direct client hours and 420 indirect placement hours. California residents only need to complete the direct-client hours as part of the licensure path: 225 for LMFT, 280 for LPCC.
You will spend approximately 16 hours a week over the last four terms of the program working under the supervision of a licensed therapist or counselor at a clinical site near your community. Placement hours must be completed during regular business hours – Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Pepperdine MFT program is designed to ensure that upon graduation, you will have met all academic requirements to sit for the LMFT or LPCC licensure exams in the state of California. Visit the following pages for an overview of the requirements for each license:
The exact path available to students in the program is tied specifically to the program's ability to operate within certain states. You may be restricted in which path you can take while in the program based on your state of residence. You will be asked to choose a path when you apply for the program, and based on the approval in your state, may not be able to change your path while enrolled.
This licensure path is not a guarantee that you will be able to obtain licensure within a certain state as licensing requirements vary across states. Pepperdine University strongly encourages you to contact state licensing boards in the states in which you intend to practice prior to enrolling in the Psychology@Pepperdine program. Learn more about LMFT licensure requirements or LPCC licensure requirements in your state.
Counselors are needed in many professional settings, including community counseling agencies, governmental agencies, and private practices.
After earning your marriage and family therapy degree, you may pursue professional licensure and employment in a variety of roles, including:
Community outreach specialist
Mental health therapist
Learn more about earning your master’s in marriage and family therapy online from Pepperdine University.