Psy.D. in Marital and Family Therapy (Post-Master's) in Southern California

Program Description

Marital and Family therapists assist individuals, families, and couples with a variety of mental, behavioral, and emotional issues and help them improve interpersonal relationships. 

The Chicago School’s Psy.D. MFT program at our Los Angeles and Orange County campuses prepares students for leadership positions in the mental health field and is designed for pre-licensed and licensed master’s-level mental health professionals who want to advance in their careers and take advantage of opportunities that a doctoral degree provides.

Coursework covers topics such as teaching in higher education, agency management, grant writing, program development and advanced clinical principles. An optional teaching apprentice program is available for qualified students that provides them the valuable opportunity to teach classes in the Los Angeles master's program. The dissertation process focuses on applied research and includes options such as program development or evaluation, and grant writing. 

The Psy.D. in Marital and Family Therapy program is an accelerated degree that may be completed in three years. This post-master's program has been recognized for its excellent training in culturally competent service provision and offers students a remarkable opportunity to gain unparalleled real-world experience. The Chicago School's MFT Department faculty members at the L.A. and Orange County campuses are actively engaged in practice and scholarship, and incorporate a wide variety of clinical examples with a diverse group of clients into classroom activities.

Graduates are equipped with expert knowledge in theory, assessment, applied research, teaching and administration, and are prepared to serve as leaders and/or senior administrators in both educational and clinical settings.


Marital and Family Therapy



Total Credits


Fieldwork Requirements

Program Time to Completion

3 years
  • Applicants must have a master's degree in mental health counseling that is license eligible. These would include Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT license), Clinical Social Work (LCSW license) and Professional Counseling (LPC license). Exceptions may be made if the master's program prepared students for clinical work and included a clinical practicum. (effective Fall 2011)

  • Specific courses must be completed in a student's Master's program or completed as part of the Psy.D. in MFT elective options
  • Primarily tailored to MFT interns and licensed MFTs
Admission Requirements

GRE Requirements

Sample Courses

Advanced Family Systems Theories

Provides an advanced study of system theory. Advances ability to think systemically across a wide range of presenting issues such as gender, culture, domestic abuse, substance abuse, physical and mental illness, etc. Students learn to conceptualize interventions from multiple systemic orientations (i.e., strategic, intergenerational, solution-focused, and behavioral family therapy).

Community Clinical and Agency Management

Covers a general overview of the community mental health system and clinical management associated with this area. Interagency agreements, memorandums of understanding and other collaborative experiences are discussed. Additional operational areas of agency management are addressed including general standards associated with record keeping, billing, fee scales, and reaching out to diverse and underserved populations.

Clinical Psychopharmacology

Marriage and Family Therapists are increasingly members of interdisciplinary teams, and need to understand psychopharmacology information in order to communicate with other disciplines and in the case of private practitioners, to understand the medications that their clients may be utilizing. Acquaints the student with the history and use of psychotropic drugs. Emphasizes the understanding of the uses of these drugs and the common side effects of the major categories of psychiatric medications. Relationships between major DSM-IV classifications and appropriate medications are presented.

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