How long does it take to complete the program?
Students can complete the program on either a full-time or part-time basis. Full-time students can complete the program in six semesters. Part-time students typically take 12 semesters or less to complete the program. To be eligible for financial aid you must take 9 credits or more to be considered full-time, and a minimum of 5 credits to be considered part-time.
What time of the day are classes held?
Classes meet weekly during the fall and spring semesters and are held at various times in order to best serve our students and the clients at the Seton Hill Center for Family Therapy. Daytime classes run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and evening classes run from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. The schedule varies depending on the semester and the courses in which you are enrolled.
Can I get licensed in another state as a family therapist?
Typically, your state's licensing board posts licensure requirements online. You can compare those requirements with our program requirements. Because our university is accredited by COAMFTE (Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Education), our program likely meets the educational requirements for licensure in your state. If you intend to obtain licensure outside Pennsylvania, consult with your advisor concerning any additional requirements (e.g., internship hours).
In what type of settings do family therapists work?
Family therapists work in a variety of settings, including community-based outpatient agencies, residential treatment facilities, schools, hospitals, private practice, etc. You can find out more about the profession through the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
How many courses do I have to take to complete the master's degree program?
Students take a total of 20 courses. View our curriculum.
Can I take a class or two to see what the program is like?
It is possible to take entry level MFT courses as a non-degree student as long as there is space available in the course and you have met the pre-requisites, if applicable. Students can transfer up to 6 graduate credits (2 courses) as long as the faculty approves the coursework. Students taking courses as a non-degree seeking student are not eligible to receive financial aid.
How much does it cost to attend?
All graduate students are eligible to apply for the scholar's discount to receive a tuition discount, and other graduate program financial aid is available as well. Click here for current graduate tuition and fees.
How will I be taught?
Small interactive classes, intensive supervision during practicum, group process, role plays, and group presentations. At the graduate level we expect that our students are both learners and teachers and our courses are designed to create a learning environment that facilitates personal and professional growth.
How much money do marriage and family therapists (MFTs) make?
According to a survey published in the January 2006 issue of Psychotherapy Finances, the median income for marriage and family therapists was $62,150, while median income was $48,311 for professional counselors and $58,333 for clinical social workers. However, beginning therapists in any field generally earn significantly less than this.
Once I submit my completed application how long will it be until I hear of an admissions decision?
Completed applications are forwarded to the Program Director for review. Eligible candidates will be contacted to schedule an interview. Interviews are usually scheduled monthly. We highly encourage prospective students to participate in person.
Students will be contacted within a week of interviewing with an admissions decision.
How does this degree and training compare to other degrees in mental health?
This program focuses on marriage and family therapy as a separate and distinct mental health discipline. The federal government has designated marriage and family therapy as one of the five core mental health professions. Currently all 50 states regulate the profession by licensing marriage and family therapists. What distinguishes marriage and family therapy from other disciplines in an emphasis on treating mental health problems within a family context. Family therapists treat all clients, individuals, couples or families from a relational perspective that understands these relational systems as vital for mental health. What distinguishes Seton Hill's Marriage and Family Therapy Program from other, similar programs is a training model committed to social diversity and development of the self of the therapist as the most essential tool in clinical work.
How do I get licensed as a marriage and family therapist?
The program at Seton Hill provides students with the education necessary to seek licensure as a marriage and family therapist in all 50 states. To become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in Pennsylvania, students must complete two to three years of post-graduate hours (3,000 total) employed as a family therapist under appropriate supervision, after graduating from the 60-credit master's degree program. After completing 3000 supervised hours of clinical practice graduates will be eligible to sit for the national licensing exam.
Specific licensing requirements for Pennsylvania can be found at the PA State Board of Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists and Professional Counselors' website. Information about the national exam can be found at the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Board's website. (The website of the Pennsylvania division of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy also provides helpful information.)
What opportunities for funding exist?
In addition to the scholar's discount and other aid provided through Seton Hill, the following sites house databases containing thousands of scholarship opportunities. All sites are free and some offer email updates as new opportunities become available.
- Fast Web: www.fastweb.com
- College Board: www.collegeboard.org
- College Scholarships: www.collegescholarships.com
In addition, graduates who obtain full-time work in a public service job may qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
How diverse is the program?
Our program is guided by a commitment to promoting understanding and respect for cultural diversity. We work from the premise that human differences are important and valuable. Within the program there are students, faculty and staff that represent a variety of racial, religious, gender, age, sexual orientation, regional, nation of origin and socioeconomic identities. We take the importance of issues of diversity and inclusion seriously and are striving to further diversify our program so that it reflects the increasing diversity of the world we live in. We incorporate issues of diversity and social justice into the vast majority of our classes.
- Marriage & Family Therapy Student Demographic Report (PDF)
- Marriage & Family Therapy Faculty Demographic Report (PDF)
What is the typical class size?
The majority of our classes are small, ranging from 6-18 people. A few of our courses are shared with the Seton Hill Art Therapy Program, offering a wonderful opportunity for interdisciplinary learning. Those courses are larger, around 35 students.
What is the admissions committee looking for?
The faculty is interested in students who demonstrate:
- A strong work ethic.
- An openness to systemic perspectives.
- Passion and self-direction.
- An investment and interest in, and openness to learn about, multi-cultural experience.
- An investment in their personal growth.
- The ability to reflect on and articulate personal attitudes.
- The ability to write, read and present at the graduate level.
- The ability to be present as an interpersonal skill.
- A strong interest in marriage and family therapy.
Who will teach me?
Faculty members are passionate clinicians, scholars, experienced supervisors and agency administrators who are motivated by a desire to improve the world through relationships. As our faculty are practicing clinicians, they are able to offer the most up-to-date practice methods and also help students gain a realistic perspective on the day-to-day details of professional clinical practice as a marriage and family therapist. Faculty are invested in helping students see and understand who they are in order that they may better see and understand others.
Where can I find student achievement criteria?
In accordance with Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and COAMFTE policies and procedures programs must publish data on student criteria including graduation rates and licensure rates. Specific data for Seton Hill's program is located on the COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria page.
What is the practicum experience?
The first two semesters (of a full-time course load) is spent preparing students for clinical practicum. Once students have met all the requirements, and the faculty agree that they are ready, students can begin the year-long practicum experience. The three practicum courses give the student the opportunity to practice systemically informed family therapy in teams and under the supervision of an experienced faculty supervisor. During these three semesters students see clients at the Seton Hill U. Center for Family Therapy and at an external practicum site in the community. Students must accrue a total of 500 direct client contact hours before they can graduate. Practicum is designed to help students think relationally, practice from a culturally-sensitive lens, and develop identity as a marriage and family therapist. Students are required to do case presentations reflecting on: case conceptualization, treatment planning, socio-cultural context, self-of-the-therapist issues, and theory development. Audio or video recording of casework is required, as is live supervision of cases when available.