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Curriculum Requirements

The Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy is a 75-108 variable credit program (depending on student's education background) that integrates systemically oriented theory and clinical practice, language and thinking systems, and qualitative and quantitative research. Students must complete their D.M.F.T. program within seven years from the date of first enrollment. This means that students are expected to graduate with the D.M.F.T. degree within this time period.

Before starting the core courses, all students must document 11 graduate level pathway courses (3 credits each). Any student not having these courses or their equivalent must initially take and pass, as leveling courses, the following pathway courses:

DMFT 5300 - Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues

This course offers an in depth explanation of accreditation and licensure organizations, along with the ethical codes they promote in family therapy and related fields. This includes a review of the therapist’s legal responsibilities and liabilities in mental health and family law, insurance claims, and private practice management with inclusion of an overview of professional opportunities in public service and training programs.

DMFT 6520 - Diversity and Psychosocial Issues

Human development in the context of family transitions across the life cycle such as childbirth, childhood, adolescence, courtship, marriage, maturity, aging, and death are reviewed. This course focuses on the diversity of psychosocial development across ethnicity, class, gender, race, age, and culture with discussions and implications for interactional therapies and practices.

DMFT 7301 - Assessment in Marital and Family Therapy

This course provides an overview of methods and instruments used to define problems and indicate solutions; including a comparative study of interactional approaches and individual and family dysfunction assessments.

DMFT 7302 - Theories of Personality and Psychopathology

A review of major theories of personality and psychopathology are the focus of this course, emphasizing psychiatric diagnostic classification systems. The study of implications for treatment and comparisons with interactional approaches are included.

DMFT 7311 - Human Sexuality and Gender

This course provides a review of the psychosocial development of sexuality and gender from childhood through aging. Also addressed is a summary of clinical approaches to sexual and gender issues comparing interactional approaches with psychodynamic and behavioral models.

DMFT 6558 - Couples Therapy: Theory and Application

In this course, students will examine their own experiences, biases and values about couples and working with couples as well as the historical development of couples’ therapy. Students will learn current clinical approaches to couples therapy and evidenced-based models for working with couples. Students will examine current couple and marital research as well as assessment instruments used for working with couples. Students will examine specific professional, ethical, and legal issues associated with couples work. Issues of diversity and a commitment to multicultural exploration are demonstrated and interwoven throughout all discussions as students explore specific areas of work with couples such as extra-marital affairs, intimate partner violence, divorce, stepparenting, and health and illness.

DMFT 5006 - Introduction to Systems Theories

This course provides an overview of theories that use metaphors of system, pattern, interaction, and communication to describe human behavior and relationships as well as the study of the emergence of theories from cybernetics to language studies.

DMFT 5007 - Research in Marital and Family Therapy

This course offers a review of quantitative and qualitative methods of inquiry, as exemplified in recent marital and family therapy research studies. The course focuses on teaching students to be intelligent, critical consumers of research in the field.

SFTD 5008 - Introduction to Marital and Family Therapy

An introduction and review of the history of marital and family therapy and the clinical approaches of interactional therapies are included in this course. The focus is based on basic therapeutic concepts and skills.

SFTD 5009 - Theories of Marital and Family Therapy

This course offers a comparative study of theories of marital and family therapy, systemic, structural, strategic, intergenerational, contextual, behavioral, and other therapies, and provides a survey of differences in clinical practices.

SFTD 5046 - Human Development Across the Life Cycle

This course covers the stages of the individual life cycle, and of the family life cycle, in cultural context. The interplay of individual development, unique individual difference, culture, socioeconomic context, and family context, will be considered and integrated with major models of family therapy. Therapy techniques appropriate for each stage of development will be explored.

DMFT 5001 - Doctoral Seminar I (1 credit)

General orientation to doctoral studies: Students learn advanced ethics, diversity, and social justice while focusing on research, writing, and library skills necessary for authoring papers in doctoral courses and for publications.

DMFT 5002 - Doctoral Seminar II (1 credit)

Continuation of DMFT 5001: Students are introduced to professional development opportunities in diverse settings, specific details regarding professionalism, program and portfolio requirements, internships, and Applied Clinical Project. Prerequisite: DMFT 5001

DMFT 5003 - Doctoral Seminar III (1 credit)

Continuation of DMFT 5002: Students are tutored in the skills necessary to develop a successful coursework, clinical, and academic/research portfolios as part of the doctoral program requirements. Prerequisite: DMFT 5002.

DMFT 5004 - Reading/Writing/Editing for Doctoral Students

DMFT 5006 - Introduction to Systems Theory (3 credits)

This course provides an overview of theories that use metaphors of system, pattern, interaction, and communication to describe human behavior and relationships as well as the study of the emergence of theories from cybernetics to language studies.

DMFT 5010 - Systemic Family Therapy I (3 credits)

The study of those systemic therapies informed by cybernetics and oriented to the social organization of communication are included in this course. Emphasizes are placed on the work of the Mental Research Institute and Solution-Focused Brief Therapy. Prerequisites: Core courses and co-requisite DMFT 5006

DMFT 5020 - Systemic Family Therapy II (3 credits)

This course centers on Narrative Therapy theory and practice. Students will extensively explore assumptions, including distinctions between structuralist and post structuralist thought, which underline this model and contrast with other therapeutic models. Practice methods will focus on various maps and scaffolds which describe and organize Narrative practices. Students will explore the application of these assumptions and practices to a range of therapeutic problems as well as diversity and community issues.

DMFT 5030 - Systemic Family Therapy III (3 credits)

This course acquaints students with the basic concepts of the natural systems approach to family therapy. Emphasizes are placed on family-of-origin issues, multigenerational systems processes, and biological/evolutionary contributions to the understanding of human systems.

DMFT 5130 - Crisis Management (3 credits)

This course provides students advanced skills in clinical crisis management. Additional emphasis on supervision and training of other professionals working with crisis situations.

DMFT 5340 - Grant Writing and Funding Opportunities (3 credits)

This course introduces students to the basics of grant writing and funding opportunities. Students will learn about the different types of funding agencies, where to looking for funding, idea development, writing letters of inquiry, preparing a budget, and how to develop a complete proposal. Students will practice writing various components of a grant.

DMFT 6200 - Internal Practicums IIV (3 credits)

These supervised clinical courses consist of the application of systemic therapy ideas and practices at the Department of Family Therapy in house at the Family Therapy Clinic.

DMFT 6210 - Clinical Practicum (3 credits)

This course is designed for students to work independently in conjunction with a clinical agency supervisor. Students will learn about the administration of a community-based clinic. Areas covered will include marketing, funding, intake, report writing, supervision, client services and more. The schedule will be co-designed with the clinical agency supervisor prior to the term. The focus will continue to be on the student learning administration and supervision as well as practice.

DMFT 6300 - External Practicum III (3 credits)

Advanced clinical training and supervision is provided to enhance the practice of systemic therapy from strength based, solution oriented models of therapy that can be incorporated in a wide variety of community settings. Faculty approval is required. Prerequisite: DMFT 6200

DMFT 6320 - Supervision Practicum IIII (3 credits)

Extensive live supervision and case consultation experience with clinicians in learning systemic therapies is conducted in the DMFT in house Family Therapy Clinic. Students receive supervision of their supervision of others by AAMFT faculty supervisors. Faculty approve required. Prerequisite: DMFT 6325

DMFT 6325 - Fundamentals of Supervision in Marriage and Family Therapy (3 credits)

This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of supervision in marriage and family therapy in clinical settings. It also meets the coursework requirements for becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

DMFT 6400 - Evidence-Based Research (3 credits)

To promote the advancement of understanding research conducted in the MFT field, this course provides an opportunity to better understand and make informed decisions in practice and supervision based on evidence-based methods.

DMFT 6410 - Qualitative Action Research (3 credits)

This course introduces students to an action-research paradigm in which the investigator often invites clients as co-researchers. The effect of this includes an impact on the system especially with the cyclic and reflective nature of the process. This type of research can assist therapists in understanding their practice.

DMFT 6950 - Applied Clinical Project (3 credit)

The Applied Clinical Project is a capstone experience of a student's demonstration of ability to be able to articulate and demonstrate to other mental health professionals their unique area of systems based practice expertise. The ACP should be a project the student carries out under faculty supervision from concept, to proposal, to implementation, and finally through eventual evaluation of the effectiveness of the program.  All coursework, with the exception of External Practicum, Clinical Practicum, and Supervision Practicum, needs to be completed prior to registering for applied clinical project (ACP) credits.


DMFT XXXX – Electives I, II, III (3 credits)
Students select three elective courses. Many students choose to take SFTD 5311 Substance Abuse/Addictions and Critical Issues in Systems Theory as one elective, which fulfills state license requirements.

Following is a sample of a degree plan for full-time students who begin their studies in the fall trimester. Degree plans will be modified based on a student's enrollment date and pace of study.

Fall Winter Summer
Year 1

DMFT 5001: Doctoral Seminar I

DMFT 5006: Introduction to Systems Theories*

DMFT 5008: Introduction to MFT: Counseling Theories and Techniques*

DMFT 5056: Human Development Across the Life Cycle*

DMFT 5300: Legal, Ethical, and Professional Issues*

DMFT 5004: Reading/Writing/Editing for Doctoral Students

DMFT 5007: Research in Marital and Family Therapy*

DMFT 5009: Theories of Marital and Family Therapy*

DMFT 7311: Human Sexuality and Gender*

DMFT 6200: Internal Practicum I

DMFT 7301: Assessment in Marital and Family Therapy*

DMFT 7302: Theories of Personality & Psychopathology*

DMFT XXXX: Elective I

Annual Review I

Year 2

DMFT 5002: Doctoral Seminar II

DMFT 5010: Systemic Family Therapy I

DMFT 6200: Internal Practicum II

DMFT 6400: Evidenced-Based Research Methods

DMFT 6520: Diversity and Psychosocial Issues*

DMFT 5020: Systemic Family Therapy II

DMFT 5130: Crisis Management

DMFT 6200: Internal Practicum III

DMFT 6558: Couples Therapy: Theory and Application*

DMFT 6200: Internal Practicum IV

DMFT 6325: Fundamentals of Supervision in MFT

DMFT XXXX: Elective II

Annual Review II

Year 3

DMFT 5003: Doctoral Seminar III

DMFT 5030: Systemic Family Therapy III

DMFT 6300: External Practicum I

DMFT 6320: Supervision Practicum I

DMFT 5340: Grant Writing for Funding Opportunities

DMFT 6210: Clinical Practicum

DMFT 6300: External Practicum II

Clinical Portfolio

DMFT 6320: Supervision Practicum II

DMFT 6410: Qualitative Action Research


Annual Review III

Year 4

DMFT 6950: Applied Clinical Project I

DMFT 6950: Applied Clinical Project II

DMFT 6950: Applied Clinical Project III

*Pathway Courses

In order to successfully complete the program, students are required to have computer and Internet access and knowledge of computer applications such as Word, PowerPoint, Zoom, and Outlook. Other applications and software may be needed depending on the program's academic requirements. Student are required to have computer skills to be able to perform certain academic tasks. These tasks include, but are not limited to, using the electronic resources at the NSU libraries (such as accessing and searching online databases and catalogs), registering via SharkLink at, and participating in classes via NSU's online learning management system, Canvas. Ccomputers are available at NSU libraries: Assistance with technology is also available for current NSU students: Students also need to know how to communicate via NSU SharkMail email accounts. Students must use their NSU email accounts when sending email to faculty and staff. When communicating with students via email, faculty and staff members will send emails only to NSU email accounts using NSU-recognized usernames. Assistance is available for students to set up SharkMail Email accounts:
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