M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy

Marriage and Family Therapy Program Description

Marriage and family therapists work with individuals, couples, or families who are coping with a wide range of problems including depression, anxiety, marital and relationship problems, child-parent conflict, and more. They assist their clients in better understanding how their personal behavior patterns may be influencing the behaviors of those around them. MFTs help their clients find new ways of thinking about and interacting with others—and ultimately lead more harmonious, fulfilling lives.

Pacific Oaks' M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy program provides students with a robust blend of theory and hands-on practice. The College maintains relationships with clinics and community agencies throughout the greater Los Angeles area to provide students with extensive opportunities for supervised fieldwork. 

Graduates are prepared to consider issues of social justice within family systems and to explore how those factors directly impact family dynamics and the mental health of each family member. 

Our Marriage and Family Therapy master's program offers a deeply relational approach to teaching and learning. Just as research has demonstrated that the quality of the therapeutic relationship is the single critical factor in producing positive healing outcomes, Pacific Oaks believes that the quality of the academic relationships among students and instructors is the cornerstone of a transformative academic learning experience.

  • May be completed in as little as two-and-a-half years full time.
  • Offered at our Pasadena, California campus.

Students also have the opportunity to choose a culture-centered cohort specialization:

  • African-American Family Studies (AAFS): Based on the UJIMA principle—building on the strengths of family-centered culture as basis for collective learning experience.
  • Latina/Latino Family Studies (LFS): Based on the "Comadre-Compadre" model of learning. It is the foundation, the "extended family" in the Latina/o culture that guides the practice of the learning community.
  • Trauma Studies (TS): Students in this specialization will develop skills to work in mental health settings, veterans’ hospital, gang intervention programs, continuation schools, immigrant detention centers and domestic violence and child abuse centers.


POC:Pasadena, CA


Cultural and Family Psychology


  • Latino/Latina Family Studies
  • African-American Family Studies
  • Trauma Studies

Total Credits



Prepares graduates to sit for the California MFT licensing exam.

Fieldwork Requirements

Students must complete the pre-graduate portion of the 3,000 supervised hours required for the California MFT licensing exam.


  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited University

Sample Courses

Personality Theories and Clinical Intervention

This course is designed to explore the various personality theories and develop a beginning understanding of these through an application in psychotherapy. An overview of psychological testing will be introduced. This class meets the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) requirements for the California MFT license.

Couples Therapy

This is an introductory course for working with domestic partners. This includes an overview of approaches from various schools of thought, as well as training in relationship skills, including the dynamics of bonding and attachment, communication skills, conflict management skills, and negotiating differences. The course will include reflections upon ones own significant relationships; role-playing and skill practice; and application of therapy skills to issues of diversity.

Theories of Marriage, Family and Child Counseling

This course will review the major psychotherapeutic approaches in marital and family therapy. There will be a focus on interpersonal theories, family systems theories, and feminist theory and how each informs work with individuals, couples, families, and children. The class will present an inclusive framework, so that students develop competency working with bicultural populations.

POC:Pasadena, CA