Become a Top-Level Practitioner and Scholar

Dive deep into historical and cutting-edge theories, research, and schools of family therapy to master the practice of couple and family therapy practice at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. The Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy is an 81–114 variable credit program designed to advance you to your career goal in work in academic, supervisory, clinic, or community-based settings.

Enhance your clinical skills and become an expert in demonstrating the importance of qualitative and quantitative research through interdisciplinary studies, clinical internships, and specialized electives. Plus, you can pursue your licensure while learning, so you can step into new roles within the field right away.

Prepare for a Variety of Careers in Couple and Family Therapy

As graduates of the NSU Osteopathic Medicine Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy, students can look forward to productive careers as professors, researchers, supervisors, and senior clinicians in a variety of settings.

I am working in private practice with the Counseling and Wellness Center of South Florida specializing in kids, teens, and families. My two great passions in this field include expressive arts therapy and providing services to healthcare professionals impacted by vicarious trauma and grief in their line of work.

Cassie Cacace | M.s. graduate and Ph.D. student

Quick Facts

Tuition

Tuition for the 2021-2022 academic year (subject to change by the Board of Trustees without notice) is $1,233/semester credit hour

Credits & Requirements

The Ph.D. program is 81-114 variable credits, and requires both a clinical internship and a dissertation.

Application Deadlines

For Fall Entry:
February 1: Priority Deadline
June 30: Final, Based on Seat Availability

Delivery Options

The Couple and Family Therapy Ph.D. is offered on campus. Students complete practicums at the on-campus clinical facility, the Family Therapy Clinic at the Brief Therapy Institute.

Why Earn Your Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy at NSU?

Accreditation

NSU’s Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy is fully accredited with the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

This program meets the educational degree completion requirements for licensure in the state of Florida and many other states.

Student Achievement Criteria

Accredited programs report Student Achievement Criteria data for each cohort in the program. 

Student/Graduate Achievement Disclosure
COAMFTE

Expand Your Career in Couple and Family Therapy with the NSU Edge

Doctoral student

Anyone who studies at NSU experiences the NSU Edge. As a student of Couple and Family Therapy, you’ll see it in the curriculum that’s consistently revised to make sure you’re learning the latest theories and the one-of-a-kind concentrations like Equine-Assisted Family Therapy and Solution-Focused Coaching. Plus, the flexibility to pair up your studies to meet the requirements for becoming a clinical member and approved supervisor of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

The NSU Edge is in everything that you do here. And even after you graduate, you’ll remain a lifelong learner continuing to make your career productive and valuable.

About the NSU Edge

Earning Potential

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Real Experience That Makes a Difference

When one of your classrooms is a live, supervised, on-site community clinic and you’ve got access to over a dozen community programs focused on the good health and well-being of South Florida’s residents, you’ll get the meaningful real-world experience that shapes your purpose.

Explore Community Outreach Opportunities
Couples therapy community

Ph.D. Curriculum

Through a combination of pathway and core courses, the Ph.D. in Couple and Therapy curriculum integrates systemically oriented theory and clinical practice, research, and thinking systems.

View Curriculum Requirements

Practicum and Additional Requirements

In addition to your courses, you will also be required to complete internal practicums at the Family Therapy Clinic at the Brief Therapy Institute and an internship that reach a total of 1,000 clinical hours. A Clinical Portfolio and three Annual Reviews will also be required for graduation.

Students complete four internal practicums at the Family Therapy Clinic at the Brief Therapy Institute. During this practicum sequence, students see their own clients and are supervised in teams and individually. Details regarding practicum and the department clinic are available in the Policies and Procedures Manual of the Brief Therapy Institute. Policies and Procedures are required reading, and all policies are available online. In-depth discussions of all policies will be a part of internal practicums.

Background checks and fingerprinting are required of ALL students and must be completed during the first two weeks of enrollment. Students will contact the department for detailed information on these procedures.

Students also complete an internship of three consecutive terms, designed to provide the student with a full-time advanced professional experience, emphasizing relationally focused practice, research, teaching, and/or supervision. Students must have successfully passed Clinical Portfolio before registering for internship.

A total of 1,000 clinical hours and 200 supervised hours is required to complete the program. At least 400 of the 1,000 required clinical hours must be with couples and/or families present in the room.

Doctoral students who can document that their previous supervised clinical practice was comparable to that which would be received in a COAMFTE-accredited program may petition the program to waive some of the required 1,000 direct client contact hours. However, waiving part of this client contact hour requirement does not release a student from completing all of the practicum or internship requirements of the program. In order for a waiver request to be approved, the student must also provide a copy of their supervisor's vita and credentials. In order for their supervision to count, these credentials must indicate that the previous supervisor is an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor, is a licensed MFT, has received training in MFT supervision, is an AAMFT clinical member, and is recognized by a state regulatory body as being an equivalent MFT supervisor.

If a waiver request is approved, students still are required to document a minimum of 100 in-the-room hours with individuals, couples, and/or families during their time as students in the program before beginning an internship. At least 50 of these hours must be accrued at the Brief Therapy Institute (BTI), and practicum hours may be included in the total. In order to count, all direct client contact hours must be supervised by an AAMFT-Approved Supervisor, who will sign and document that the hours submitted are accurate. Students must follow all BTI policies and procedures.

Documentation of client contact and supervision hours must include the date, the type of session (i.e., family, couple, or individual), and the length and location of each session. Students must have written case notes for all sessions listed. The necessary forms are available online at the department student resources website. Students must submit their completed forms to the department at the end of each term to ensure progress is recorded and the student file remains updated. Students must keep a copy of all completed and signed forms during their entire program and for future licensure needs.

The Clinical Portfolio is a capstone experience designed to assess how students met various aspects of the program’s learning objectives and outcomes. Similar to a doctoral-qualifying exam, the Clinical Portfolio is an important benchmark in progressing toward candidacy. Students demonstrate the full range and depth of their clinical skills, theoretical knowledge, and scholarly writing.

As part of the graduation requirements, students must have an Annual Review at the end of each of the first three years of the program. This Annual Review consists of an evaluation of the student’s academic progress, clinical progress, professional and ethical conduct, and level of attainment of the program’s student learning outcomes. The Annual Review is also utilized for the collection of feedback from students about the program and support services by the institution. This review is conducted in a manner needed for each individual student, such as, but not limited to, a meeting with a faculty advisor or program director, or via email. Students must complete the Annual Review during the summer of each of the first three years.

Prospective students are expected to review the Ph.D. Professional Licensure Disclosure Statement and sign and submit the Ph.D. Informed acknowledgment of potential differences in MFT licensure requirements across state/provincial regulatory bodies Form to the program office before making enrollment decisions and financial commitments. The program director and faculty discuss the information with the prospective students, as mentioned in the links below, during the admission interviews. Prospective students are welcome to contact the program director in case of inquiries (see links below for more information).

Professional Licensure Disclosure Information

Acknowledgement Form

Ph.D. or Professional Doctorate: Which Is Right for Me?

The Department of Couple and Family Therapy at NSU offers two postgraduate tracks: the Doctor of Philosophy in Couple and Family Therapy (Ph.D.) and the Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (D.M.F.T.).

The biggest difference? The D.M.F.T. degree program seeks specifically to produce professionals whose chief contributions will be in the clinical rather than academic sphere. Still, there is some overlap in the core curriculum between the two programs.

Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy

Earn a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 81-114 credit hours.

Advanced leadership in the field of couple/marriage and family therapy

  • Prepares you for a productive career as a professor, researcher, supervisor, or senior clinician in the field

Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy (D.M.F.T.)

Earn a professional doctorate degree in 75–108 credit hours.

Clinical-focused, terminal degree

  • Expand and enhance your existing clinical skills
  • Advance your career as a family therapist

Family Therapy Admission Requirements

Ready for the Next Step?

Let’s get started! First things first, to apply, you must have—or be in the process of completing—a master’s degree. And you must possess a master's degree from a licensing degree before you can begin doctoral studies.

A Note about Deadlines

Due to the competitive application pool, it is recommended that you start your application process at least 1-2 months prior to the deadline dates. The Office of Admissions processes applications on a year-round basis.

Priority application deadline for Fall/August admission: January 15 Late application deadline for Fall/August admission: June 30 (based on seat availability)

Go to Application

Complete the online application form and pay the $50 nonrefundable fee

If you’re a first-time user, be sure to create a Graduate Account to begin.

Request your transcripts

Request transcripts from all schools attended and/or agency evaluation of foreign degree be mailed to the address below or sent electronically to electronictranscript@nova.edu.

Submit GRE scores*

GRE scores* are not required if you have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. If you have less than a 3.5 GPA, a total score of 300 or higher on the combined verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE taken within the past five years is required.

Please have your official scores sent to the mailing address below.

*International students should submit TOEFL scores, if applicable. Visit Requirements for Obtaining a 1-20 for more information.

Write a statement of interest

Please briefly explain (500-word minimum) why you are interested in the program for which you are applying, as well as your professional goals, your assessment of your abilities to manage the challenges of graduate school, and any other information you would like to provide.

Send a sample of academic or professional writing

Choose your best piece of professional writing and send it to the address below.

Request three letters of recommendation

Provide three academic or professional letters of recommendation, written in the past year and sent to the address below.

Send in a resume or curriculum vitae

Please send to the email address below.

Submitting Your Materials

Please email all documents to: admitdocs@nova.edu

Mailing Address (Domestic)

Nova Southeastern University
Enrollment Processing Services
Attn: College of Osteopathic Medicine
3301 College Avenue, P.O. Box 299000
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33329-9905

Fax unofficial documents to (954) 262-3609 or email the Office of Graduate Admissions.

Mailing Address (International)

For International Students: Nova Southeastern University
Attn: Enrollment Processing Services
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33329-9905

Please note that NSU reserves the right to rescind or place conditions upon admissions offers should information become available that calls into question an admitted student’s academic performance or character, including that which reflects a violation of NSU’s Code of Student Conduct.

Transfer students must meet the program admissions criteria. The courses that may be transferred into the program will be determined on a case-by-case basis and must be deemed comparable in level, content, and rigor to those within the Ph.D. in Couple and Family Therapy program.

Foreign nationals who reside outside the United States at the time of application and whose native language is not English must present evidence of proficiency in English by satisfactorily completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Score requirements are as follows: minimum paper score = 550; minimum computerized score = 213; minimum Internet score = 79. A score of 6.0 on the International English Language Testing System (ILETS) exam is accepted in lieu of the TOEFL.

For a full list of English proficiency tests that are accepted by the university, please visit NSU's International Students web page. Test scores must be submitted to the admissions office. For a TOEFL application information, visit the website at TOEFL or write to:

TOEFL
Educational Testing Services
Princeton, New Jersey 08540
(609) 771-7100

Applicants who have attended foreign universities or colleges are required to have their academic credentials evaluated for U.S. institutional equivalence. While there are several credential evaluators, the most widely used companies are listed below, or visit NACES.

World Education Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 745
Old Chelsea Station
New York, New York
10113-0745
(212) 966-6311
www.wes.org

Josef Silny & Associates
7101 SW 102nd Avenue
Miami, Florida 33173
(305) 273-1616
www.jsilny.org

Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
P.O. Box 514070
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203-3470
(414) 289-3400
www.ece.org

International students are encouraged to contact the Office of International Student Services at (954) 262-7240 or 800-541-6682, ext. 27240, or by emailing International Students or visiting the International Students web page.

Resident Alien students are required to submit a copy of their Resident Alien card.

After Applying, What Happens Next?

If selected, you’ll receive an invitation from the Department of Couple and Family Therapy to schedule an interview. This personal interview is the next step and does not guarantee admission. An ample amount of time and notification will be given for you to make appropriate arrangements.

Depending on the time of year, the review process may take a few weeks. You can check your application status at any time via the online application portal. Once a decision has been made, notification is sent via email to the address on file.

Take The Next Step