• group of people meeting
  • people in observation room
  • people in therapy room
M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy

» Accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE)

The Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program is specifically structured to prepare students for licensure in California as Marriage and Family Therapists. All students in our program have the unique experience of completing a one year clinical practicum in our on-site community clinic, the Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy.

Of the 92 state accredited or approved MFT programs, Chapman's is one of only eight programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

+ - Upcoming Events


MFT Commencement Reception (invitation only)

May 18, 2019
4:30 - 6:15 p.m.
Registration information coming soon

+ - Our Mission

Our mission is to provide students with the academic and professional training to become multiculturally competent, ethical and systems-oriented marriage and family therapists who are critical consumers of research in the field.

+ - COAMFTE Accreditation (Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes)

Accreditation Benefits

The COAMFTE accreditation allows for ease of transferability of coursework, clinical hours, and credits completed among COAMFTE-accredited programs, oftentimes easing the licensure process after moving to another state. Students are encouraged to check with their preferred state regarding specific educational requirements.  More information regarding individual state regulatory board requirements can be found at  https://www.amftrb.org/

Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

 Program Goals

  1. Teach a comprehensive curriculum emphasizing relational/systemic theories and techniques (KNOWLEDGE)
  2. Graduate students who are competent in the practice of marriage and family therapy (PRACTICE)
  3. Promote an environment of inclusion and respect for diversity in all its forms throughout curriculum offerings and clinical training (DIVERSITY)
  4. Teach students to critically evaluate research in the field and use it to inform and enhance clinical practice (RESEARCH)
  5. Train students to apply MFT professional and ethical standards (ETHICS)

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate knowledge of family systems theories by incorporating theory and technique when working with different treatment units.
  2. Students will graduate from the program within the advertised length of time.
  3. Students will demonstrate an awareness of and respect for diversity issues and their own social location in relation to their clinical experience.
  4. Students will be successful consumers of research by demonstrating an understanding of basic research methods and integrating this knowledge into clinical practice.
  5. Students will be knowledgeable of and successfully apply appropriate legal and ethical guidelines necessary for the competent practice of marriage and family therapy.
  6. Graduates will secure employment in the field of Marriage & Family Therapy.
  7. Graduates will pass MFT Licensing Exams.

+ - Core Faculty

Our faculty are licensed professionals specializing in a broad range of approaches, including family systems, cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, and post-modern.  As students will be tested on several different theories as they attain licensure, the availability of multiple areas of faculty expertise has proven invaluable for alumni.

Naveen Jonathan Ph.D., LMFT Program Director
Research Interests: Gender roles and equality in couple relationships, elderly clients and their families, and multicultural issues in therapy.
Clinical Interests: Children/teens and their families, couple relationships, LGBTQ community, college/university students, and solution focused therapy.

Brennan Peterson Ph.D., LMFT Professor
Research Interests: Coping with infertility, fertility awareness, and oocyte cryopreservation.
Clinical Interests: Couple/Individual therapy, emotion-focused therapy, and mindfulness.
Faculty Spotlight: Brennan Peterson, PhD

Arpita Lal Ph.D., LMFT Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Families coping with chronic illness, and multicultural and gender related issues.
Clinical Interests: Couples therapy, teens, young adults, multicultural, and gender issues.

+ - Delta Kappa Phi

Chapman University’s MFT program is one of only two MFT programs in California with a Chapter in Delta Kappa, the International Marriage and Family Therapy Honor Society.  Delta Kappa is committed to training emerging leaders in the field of MFT.  It provides a structure for developing scholarly forums that present cutting edge research and theory on marriage and family therapy to practitioners on an ongoing basis and recognizes and promotes the achievements of marriage and family therapy clinicians and scholars.

+ - Diversity

The MA in Marriage and Family Therapy program has adopted the Chapman University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion.  In addition, the MFT program aims to maintain a diverse student body and faculty to enhance classroom and clinical experiences.  Diversity issues are also incorporated throughout the curriculum and clinical practicum in client caseloads and supervision.

Chapman University Statement on Diversity and Inclusion

Chapman University is deeply committed to enriching diversity and inclusion through on-going efforts to cultivate a welcoming campus climate for all members of the Chapman community. We strive to provide an inclusive academic curriculum, promote equity and access in recruitment and retention, and develop meaningful outreach programs and partnerships with our diverse local communities. We value diversity and inclusion in the learning environment and believe it is vital to the fulfillment of the university mission. It is our conviction that an inclusive learning environment facilitates complex, critical and creative thinking and that differences in identities, values, beliefs and perspectives are fundamental to a comprehensive education.

 At Chapman the term diversity implies a respect for all and an understanding of individual differences including race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, marital status, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, sexual orientation, military or veteran status, genetic information and any other characteristic protected by applicable state or federal law, so that all members of the community are treated at all times with dignity and respect.


Graph indicating student demographics for MA program

Graph of faculty demographics based on ethnicity and gender for MA program

Graph of clinical supervisor demographics based on ethnicity and gender

graph of professional staff demographics

+ - Onsite Clinical Practicum

For one year, all MFT students conduct individual, couple, and family therapy under direct supervision of licensed mental health professionals at Chapman’s MFT Training Clinic, the Frances Smith Center for Individual & Family Therapy, which opened a new state-of-the-art clinic in January 2011. With eight large observation rooms, each equipped with digital cameras used to record sessions for instructional purposes, the clinic not only provides students with valuable real-world training, but it also strives to improve the quality of life in the greater community.

Established in 1965 by faculty and students concerned about helping families and individuals affected by the Vietnam War, the Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy (also known as the Chapman University Community Clinic) has grown into a well-respected training facility offering psychological treatment services to the local community.

Very few MFT programs possess an onsite clinic, which enables students to work toward the 3,000 hours they must complete prior to taking the MFT licensing exams in California. Several of our graduates have cited this part of the program as one of the best aspects of their education, as it is very difficult to get this kind of hands-on experience elsewhere.

+ - Admission Guidelines

Chapman University provides a comprehensive and personal education that attracts students from different backgrounds from all over the world. We have students from 39 states, the U.S. territories and 60 different countries.

Our diverse student body combined with our small classes make it possible for you to connect across borders and backgrounds, opening your experience to different cultures and ways of viewing the world.

Chapman University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity gender expression, age, disability, genetic information, medical condition, marital status, religion, military status, or veteran's status in its admissions policies or administration of its educational programs, including scholarship and loan programs, under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There is a priority review deadline for those applicants who submit their application along with all required supplemental materials by October 1 for Spring admission and February 1 for Fall admission.


You must possess a bachelor's degree in psychology (or equivalent discipline) from an accredited college or university, or you must provide evidence of a satisfactory academic background in all of the following:

1. Introduction to psychology
2. Abnormal psychology
3. Developmental psychology or human development
4. Research methods

*You must be enrolled in or have completed 3 of the 4 required prerequisite classes by the admission deadline.  All prerequisites must be met by the time you have completed your first semester. You will need to submit proof of completion of or enrollment in the required prerequisite courses when you apply by submitting official transcripts from the institution(s) where you completed or are currently taking the required courses.  In addition, you will need to have earned a grade of C+ or higher in each course.

Minimum Application Requirements:

  • Online application for admission (which includes $60 non-refundable application fee)
  • Official transcript from degree granting institution and institution(s) where prerequisite courses were completed (if applicable).
  • Graduate Admission Test Scores – If your bachelor degree cumulative GPA is below a 3.3, you may be considered for admission by submitting a satisfactory Graduate Record Exam (GRE) as listed below:

                             Verbal:  500/153
                             Quantitative:  550/146
                             Analytical Writing: 4.5

    Chapman University School Code: 4047
  • Letters of recommendation – two letters of recommendation are required from persons actively engaged in teaching and/or the practice of counseling who are familiar with your academic and personal qualifications.
  • Personal Statement – no more than three double spaced typed pages in length. Address how each of the following have contributed to your career objectives and prepared you to begin graduate studies in marriage and family therapy:

                a) Educational background
                b) Professional work experience (clinical internships or volunteer work) in
                    mental health, human services or related fields
                c) Personal or family background and experiences

  • Resume – a resume or curriculum vitae is required
  • Non-Discrimination Policy and Licensure Notification Form – complete, sign and submit with application.
  • TOEFL (International Students Only) – applicants who have completed their undergraduate degree outside of the United States are required to achieve an acceptable score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), minimum 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based).
  • Financial Certification Form (International Students Only)

+ - Sample Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is solidified with the Program Manager upon admission

 3 yr plan

+ - Alumni Spotlight

We surveyed 2017 CU MFT graduates to find out about their experience securing employment upon graduation from Chapman University’s MFT program. 9 graduates participated in the survey and 5 have taken the first licensure exam. Below are highlights from this survey.

Where are our most recent graduates working?

  • Public Mental Health Agency            67%
  • Public Residential Treatment Facility 11%
  • Private Mental Health Agency           11%
  • Drug and Alcohol Center                  11%

 How long did it take them to find employment?

  • 1 month or less          33%
  • 2 months                   33%
  • 3 months                   11%
  • 4 months                   22%

 Did they pass the CA Law and Ethics exam?

  • Yes          100%
  • No               0%

*All passed the Law and Ethics Exam on their first attempt!

This MFT program may also serve as the foundation for further graduate study in psychology or one of the related disciplines, a number of our students decide to pursue a doctorate degree.


According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2016), it is estimated that the number of LMFT jobs will increase by 23% over the next decade-that’s more than 3x the national average growth rate for all occupations!

For detailed salary information for MFTs in California and throughout the United States, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website

+ - Student Testimonials

Giovanna Camponovo - "Besides being very competitive, the program has a good emphasis on cultural diversity, and I don’t mean just the community.  The program itself includes ‘cultural heritage’ as an ingrained component. I’m able to look into my own and other cultures, which is especially important for an MFT in California.”

Christy Zail - “It is rare for a graduate school to have a site on campus where students can complete practicum, and it is one of the great benefits that sets Chapman apart from other institutions.”

Tal Feingold - “The amount of personal attention I’ve received has been impressive.  There’s never been a point where I didn’t have someone to consult.” 

Angela Liang - “Chapman has created a great network within the community to provide students and interns with jobs post-graduation via its alumni who work in various agencies.  The MFT field is important because it offers support, assistance and guidance in areas that are often forgotten yet very important for people to function successfully.  The camaraderie that I have developed with my classmates, as well as the faculty and staff, has been a blessing, adding to both my academic and professional experiences.”

Lea Mendoza – “My training at the clinic was valuable for three reasons.  First, it’s rare to find an MFT training clinic within a master’s program because this is normally found at the doctoral level.  Second, the diversity and depth of experience and knowledge of the clinic’s supervisors enriched my learning experience tremendously.  And third, the clinic’s faculty and staff made themselves available to us to ensure our educational and personal growth and success.”

Kathleen Mates-Youngman - “It’s so important to work in a clinical setting with high-quality supervision during your internship.  And the fact that you can do your hours and get this valuable training right there on campus, under the supervision of your own professors, makes the experience and the education even more valuable.”

+ - Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the students of Chapman University's MFT Program?

The MFT Program at Chapman University is comprised of students from diverse backgrounds. We believe that having a diverse student body adds to the richness of the learning environment. Many of our students have an undergraduate background in psychology or a related mental health field and have participated in professional experiences that relate MFT field. Students have the choice to enroll in a three year full-time track or enroll in a two and a half year accelerated track. Students also have the option of completing the program on a part-time basis.

Who can I contact for more information about the program?

The MFT program manager, Cassidy Manton, can answer any questions you may have about the program and is available to schedule in-person appointments.  We also encourage prospective students to attend one of our Information Sessions where they receive detailed program information, meet our program director and tour our on-site MFT training clinic.  You may contact Ms. Manton at (714) 744-7837 or via email at MFT@chapman.edu for further information or to schedule an appointment.  

What are the admission periods for the program?  When will I know if I’m accepted?

Chapman University’s MFT program has two admission deadlines, February 1 for Fall, and October 1 for Spring.  All applications are carefully reviewed and prospective students may be invited to our university for an interview.  You will be notified of our admission decision via mail within 4 to 6 weeks of the admission deadline. 

Is the GRE required for admission?

If your GPA is less than 3.3, you’ll need to submit a copy of your GRE scores with your application.  Otherwise, GRE score submission is optional.

Is there a preference for who writes my recommendation letters?

We encourage you to submit letters from individuals who can best speak to your academic and professional strengths and abilities.  Typically students submit letters from professors from their academic institution and from supervisors of their clinical or volunteer work. 

What is the likelihood I will be accepted into Chapman University’s MFT program?

On average, we admit 30% of our total applicants.

How many units will I have to complete and what is the cost of tuition?

This MFT program requires successful completion of 60 units (20 courses) for graduation.  For tuition cost per unit, see the Chapman University Financial Aid webpage and click on the Tuition and Fees link for the desired school year.

Is Financial Aid available?

Yes. Students may apply for financial aid through FAFSA. We also offer fellowships to aid in recruiting top candidates to our program. 

How long does the program take to complete?

The program takes full-time students 2 ½ to 3 years to complete.  Students may also choose to attend the program on a part-time basis.  Our students work with the MFT program manager to develop a plan of study that works best for them.

What days and times are the courses offered?

Most of the classes are offered from either 4-6:50 p.m. or 7-9:50 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  In the final year of study, schedules vary, as students attend clinical supervision meetings and meet with clients in our clinic to complete their practicum requirements.

What is the average class size?

Our MFT program strives to maintain small class sizes to create opportunities for increased engagement, discussion and faculty accessibility.  Classes average around 20-25 students.  

Does Chapman University assist with clinical practicum experience?

All MFT students complete 3 semesters of practicum at our onsite MFT training clinic.  At the clinic, students receive supervised clinical experience treating adults, couples, families and children.  Student clinical training includes video-based supervision and clinical case presentations as well as live observation of therapy sessions.  Students may also elect to participate in external traineeships for additional clinical experience.

What are the requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist?

In California, applicants for MFT licensure need to have a qualifying Doctor’s or Master’s degree, have completed of 3,000 supervised work hours and have passed both state licensure exams.  Students typically complete 500-700 hours during the program and must complete the remainder as an MFT intern following graduation. See the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) website at www.bbs.ca.gov for more details.

What happens if I move to another state after I graduate?

Chapman University’s MFT program is accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).  Although licensure requirements vary from state to state, more than half of state licensure boards accept COAMFTE accredited coursework.  

What is the value of COAMFTE accreditation?

COAMFTE accreditation compels programs to raise standards and improve program efficiency.  Students receive higher quality training due to increased emphasis on program improvement.  Of the 70 MFT programs in California, only 7 others are COAMFTE accredited.

How long does it take to get licensed?

Students who work full-time after graduation typically take 2 to 3 years to complete the remaining hours for licensure. 

What kinds of jobs are available to me in this field?

Career paths in mental health are an individual choice.  Most LMFTs find careers in private practice, outpatient centers, government agencies, health practitioner offices, and residential care centers.  For more statistics on LMFTs in the field, see the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.


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Frances Smith Center

The Frances Smith Center for Individual and Family Therapy provides high quality and affordable mental health services to the local community.

Student Achievement Criteria

The COAMFTE Student/Graduate Achievement Criteria (SAC) Data Table highlights graduation, job placement and licensure exam pass rates for Chapman University's Orange, CA MFT program.

Alumni Requests for Information

Need documentation for licensure, professional references or recommendations?  For Chapman University's Orange, CA campus MFT graduates, see the Alumni Request for Information Policy for procedures and a link to the required waiver form.

For Brandman University, Chapman University College or academic center graduates, contact Brandman University at (800) 746-0082.

Why MFT?

According to US News and World Report, a marriage and family therapist ranks at #59 of the 100 best careers in America and #4 in social service jobs.
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