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PhD in Couple and Family Therapy

PhD in Couple and Family Therapy sit at round table talking

Program Overview

The PhD program in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) develops the next generation of couple and family therapy scholars interested in research related to family-based psychotherapy, families and health and health disparities. Students are trained to advance the knowledge base of couple and family therapy through education, research and clinical service with a particular emphasis on evidenced informed treatment modalities.

Student Opportunities

  • Funded assistantships
  • Paid tuition
  • Opportunities for travel funds to national and internship conferences
  • Develop critical and analytical thinking with respect to systems theory and therapy
  • Trained to consider contextual issues such as race, class, gender, spirituality and sexual orientation, as well as power and privilege
  • Opportunities to develop teaching and clinical skills
  • Opportunities to publish and present with faculty

Program Strengths

  • Faculty research expertise in salient public health issues such as trauma, substance use, suicide
  • 6:1 faculty to student ratio
  • Diverse faculty research interests focusing on translational research and implementation science
  • Multiple research methodologies including quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies
  • Opportunities for community-based work

Our Alumni

Graduates of the Couple and Family Therapy PhD program serve as researchers in public and private institutions, faculty in graduate programs of couple and family therapy, psychology, social work or medical schools.

About the Mentoring Model

Our program is a mentoring model. Each year a limited number of faculty members accept doctoral students. You should confirm that the faculty members that you are interested in doing research with are taking applicants prior to completing your essay for admission into the doctoral program. Your research interest should be somewhat aligned with the faculty that you are interested in working with.

Faculty Mentors

Other Core Faculty


The College of Nursing and Health Professions has a compliance process that may be required for every student. Some of these steps may take significant time to complete. Please plan accordingly.

Visit the Compliance pages for more information.


Required Applications Materials:

Graduate college application and fee

Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate schools attended.


Three (3) recommendation letters: A minimum of two letters shall be from academic references.

Application essay: Please email Rikki Patton, PhD, program director, at to request a copy of this year's essay prompts.

For international applicants: test scores for English proficiency

To Apply:

Go to, register and complete the application. Our program can be found under "College of Nursing and Health Professions" - "Apply for On-Campus Programs."

Have questions about applying? Contact Rikki Patton, program director,


MSA: Accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.