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A clinical psychology student works on their homework Marriage and Family Therapy

M.A. Clinical Psychology

Marital and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis Track

  • San Diego, CA
  • 2 Years

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of marriage and family (MFT) therapists is expected to grow by 19% over the next decade—much faster than average. MFTs who are also Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®), will be uniquely positioned for advancement in this growing field. The Chicago School’s M.A. Clinical Psychology, Martial and […]

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of marriage and family (MFT) therapists is expected to grow by 19% over the next decade—much faster than average. MFTs who are also Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA®), will be uniquely positioned for advancement in this growing field.

The Chicago School’s M.A. Clinical Psychology, Martial and Family Therapy (MFT), Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Track is intended for students who wish to complete the needed MFT Master’s degree coursework to sit for licensure as an MFT in the state of California. Additionally, the Applied Behavior Analysis track fulfills the Master’s degree and coursework requirement for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA®) examination.

This Master’s degree program combines the principles to enact effective MFT approaches in a clinical setting with the skills to bring about significant behavior changes through data-based decision making and program development.

M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy: San Diego Student Experience

The Chicago School has served Southern California for the better part of a decade. By providing exceptional Ph.D. and Master’s degree programs in psychology and the related mental health sciences—including Clinical Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Marriage and Family Therapy—the psychology degree programs at our San Diego Campus provide expanded access to students in diverse communities all throughout Southern California.

Maintaining partnerships with local organizations and clinical sites all through Southern California, our San Diego Campus gives students the opportunity to engage in hands-on training while earning their marriage and family degree. Graduates of our MFT, ABA program can be confident they can apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in real-world situations. By serving diverse and underserved neighborhoods and communities, Chicago School MFT students will develop a global worldview that can be applied to a career in any field.

Student Admissions, Outcomes, and Other Data

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Couple’s Counseling and Domestic Violence

This course will provide an overview of current trends in couple’s therapeutic treatment. The concepts of divorce, remarrying, blended families, domestic partnerships, domestic violence, and non-traditional families will also be explored with researched based treatment interventions presented. This course meets CA BBS requirements for Spousal Abuse Prevention coursework.

Assessment and Treatment of Substance and Alcohol Abuse

This course addresses alcohol and other substance use and abuse. Topics include the examination of the social, cultural, behavioral, and biological contexts of substance use and abuse. Treatment considerations will be considered along with current research trends in the detection and prevention of abuse.

Assessment & Intervention

In this course, students learn how to conduct assessments, review assessment data, develop function-based interventions, and to make data-based decisions.

The M.A. Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis track program aligns with degree, coursework, and supervised experience requirements to be eligible for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in California. Candidates for licensure must pass the LMFT Clinical Examination (LMCE) and the LMFT Law and Ethics Examination (LMLE). Additional post-master’s supervised experience is required in order to qualify for licensure in California. All candidates are also required to complete the application process, which may include fees and/or a background check. For further information about licensure in California, please visit the Board of Behavioral Sciences.

BCBA® Certification & Licensure

The MA Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis track program is aligned with degree and coursework requirements for eligibility to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board® (BACB®). Applicants for BCBA® certification must meet additional requirements established by BACB® including supervised experience, application, examination, and background check.

BCBA Examination Pass Rates


*Pass-rate data are not published for sequences with fewer than six first-time candidates in a single year or for sequences within their first four years of operation.

There may be state professional licensure requirements to practice applied behavior analysis.  A state’s licensure board determines the specific requirements for candidates seeking professional licensure and those requirements are subject to change.  The following is professional licensure information as of the date of publication:

  • Graduation from the MA Clinical Psychology, Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization, Applied Behavior Analysis track in conjunction with BCBA® certification aligns with certification requirements for professional licensure in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
  • Graduates who have obtained BCBA® certification may be eligible for licensure in Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, and North Dakota if their master’s degree program aligns with state degree requirements.  Note that candidates for professional licensure may be required to meet additional state requirements such as application, examination, and background check.
  • A professional license is not required to practice behavior analysis in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. State laws on professional licensure are subject to change by their legislatures.

It is the student’s responsibility to determine the licensure requirements for any state not listed above. The M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis may meet some or all of the requirements of states not listed, but additional state-specific approvals or coursework and/or practicum hours may be required beyond the program’s graduation requirements.  Some state licensing requirements include the following: completion of a master’s degree, post-graduate field work, certification as a board certified behavior analyst, examination, and application for license.

Due to recent and ongoing changes in state professional licensure of applied behavior analysis practitioners, students should contact the state board directly to verify information regarding professional licensure.  To assist with this research, the Association of Professional Behavior Analysists (APBA) publishes information regarding state licensure.

Licensure and Certification FAQ

The practicum experience is designed to meet both the BBS requirements as well as to enhance the learning experience of the student through practical application of didactic classroom instruction. The practicum requires a total of six credit hours over three semesters during which time the student participates in a clinical training field placement where the student accumulates a minimum of 250 hours of face to face supervised clinical experience in a mental health setting. In addition, the student is required to attend a regularly scheduled practicum seminar during which students will participate in clinical case consultation, case presentations and complete a clinical case report. At the end of the second practicum seminar, students will complete a Clinical Competency Evaluation (CCE) which consists of a full clinical case report, tape and transcripts as well as a presentation of this case to the class and instructor. The CCE provides an important assessment of a student’s competency in meeting key programmatic outcomes.

More specific information is located in the Program Guidebook

Application to The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s M.A. Clinical Psychology, MFT Specialization, ABA Track is open to any person who has earned a bachelor degree from a regionally accredited institution and who meets other entrance requirements. Applicants will be judged on their overall ability to do graduate work.

Admissions Operations
c/o The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
203 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 1900
Chicago, IL 60601

Students applying to the M.A. in Clinical Psychology, Marital and Family Therapy specialization program must submit the following:

  • Application
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae
  • Essay – Please answer the following question within three double spaced typed pages (approximately 500-750 words). Essay must specifically address the program/specialization for which you are applying.
    • Psychology is a vast discipline with many career options. In an essay format, please describe:
      • Why you chose this particular program/specialization making sure to cite specific experiences and examples.
      • Why it is important to you to study this discipline at a school that emphasizes cultural awareness, competence, and understanding of diversity (see our Commitment to Diversity statement).
      • Your professional career goals as they relate to this specialization.
      • Why you believe this program will assist you in reaching these goals.
  • Official College/University Transcripts
    • Students must submit official transcripts from all schools where degrees have been earned. The Chicago School requires that all schools be regionally accredited higher education institutions. Official transcripts may be sent directly from the institution or with your application for admission as long as they are official, sealed, and signed across the envelope flap when they arrive.
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
    • Appropriate recommendations are from professors and/or supervisors from significant work or volunteer experiences, who can appraise your academic or professional performance. If you are mailing in your letters, they should arrive in a sealed envelope, signed across the seal. You can also submit the letters online via the applicant portal.
  • Previous Coursework
    • A course in Psychology, with a grade earned of C or better

The Chicago School is dedicated to keeping our professional degree programs accessible to anyone regardless of financial status. In addition to the scholarships that may be available, our Financial Aid department will help provide you with information to determine what financial arrangements are right for you.

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