Apr 17, 2024  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Counseling, MS (Family Therapy)

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs

Degree Requirements

General Requirements

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 in the program’s core curriculum and in all subsequent coursework. A total of 60 credits is required.

In addition, two evaluative experiences are required to monitor the progress of matriculated students. The first follows the student’s completion of 10 academic courses and precedes the internship placement. Before beginning the internship placement, each student must formally demonstrate the academic and personal readiness to be an ethical and responsible counselor-in-training. The second is a capstone experience requiring MS candidates to demonstrate their ability to apply, integrate, and synthesize what they have learned.

Curricular Requirements (60 cr.)

The Family Therapy Program is committed to a vision of strengthening healthy families by preparing ethical and qualified professionals who embrace an inclusive perspective of interconnected systems. The curriculum comprises basic professional counseling content and theory and provides a comprehensive framework for learning family therapy. Courses lead students to view families as entities within larger social systems and promote collaborative, inclusive, and integrative systems approaches. The curriculum offers family therapy students an optimal perspective for supporting individuals, families, and communities in urban environments and provides them with a framework for developing skills that facilitate dialogue with marginalized individuals, families, and communities.

Accreditation and licensure:

The University of Massachusetts Boston Family Therapy Program is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). It prepares students to meet the academic requirements for licensure in family therapy by the Board of Allied Mental Health and Human Services Professions in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in other states.

Required courses (42 cr.):

The program offers graduate courses in research in

  • psychology, ethical standards, and professional issues in counseling
  • abnormal psychology
  • counseling theories and practice
  • lifespan human development
  • introduction to family theories
  • foundations of family therapy, family therapy theories
  • sexuality and intimacy in families
  • family therapy assessment and intervention
  • collaborative consultation and larger systems
  • couples therapy
  • contemporary family therapies
  • multicultural counseling
  • substance abuse and the family

In individual cases, substitutions may be approved by the graduate program director. Students must have completed a graduate course in human development or can complete the requirement during the first year (


Required field experience (18 cr.):

Three contiguous semesters of COUFAM 698: Family Therapy Internship (summer, fall, and spring; 6 credits per semester). Students are required to complete 300 hours of face-to-face client contact, within a total of 900-1,200 hours working at the internship site. Before being approved by the program director to apply for an internship placement, student must have completed 18 credits.

Required capstone:

Submission in digital format during the last semester of a portfolio, including a clinical case analysis, videotaped clinical interview, personal narrative, and future professional plan.

Online Option:

The online option in the Family Therapy Program operates on a cohort model, with all participants completing the program of study together over a three-year period. Clinical courses are taught during the second summer at UMass at facilities that also provide housing accommodations. All participants must be in residence for an intensive two-week session held in late June/early July, or the university cannot guarantee availability of courses for students to graduate. The remaining courses are delivered in a web-based, online format following the regular semester calendar. Participants must follow the program of study exactly. The internship requirements are equivalent to those of the program on campus: twelve months of consecutive internship starting the third summer semester and ending the third spring semester on a continuous basis. Students need to complete a minimum of 900 hours of work at the internship site; 300 are direct clinical hours, of which 200 are relational (couple and/or family therapy) hours. Students are able to complete the required internship close to their residence at a site approved by the director of the program. The online program is not accredited by COAMFTE. However, the curriculum is designed to comply with licensure requirements.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the “Admissions” section of this publication. Also refer to the description of admission requirements listed under “Professional Preparation Programs for Educators ” in the “Academic & Administrative Policies ” section of this publication.

The Counseling Program faculty recommend admission of applicants who present evidence of potential both to complete a graduate course of studies with distinction and to become thoughtful and responsive practitioners. For master’s applicants, such evidence normally includes:

  1. A minimum of five social science courses, including a human development course (can be completed during the master as an add on)
  2. A distinguished undergraduate transcript with at least a 3.0 cumulative average
  3. Strong scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) including the writing section
  4. Three strong letters of recommendation indicating the applicant’s ability to work well with others
  5. A statement of intent
  6. A group interview with other candidates and faculty members
  7. At least one year of paid or volunteer work in a mental health or equivalent setting.

Additional Requirements for CAGS Applications:

Candidates must have maintained an overall 3.25 GPA while earning a master’s degree in counseling or its equivalent. All candidates are asked to visit the campus for a personal interview.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs