M.A. MFT, Latina/Latino Family Studies Specialization

Program Description

Pacific Oaks College's Latina/Latino Family Studies (LFS) Marriage and Family Therapy program equips graduates with broad preparation in marriage and family therapy as well as a special educational emphasis on the diverse mental health needs of Latina/Latino children and families. 

The educational experience of the Comadre-Compadre Cohort model is an intensely dynamic, intellectually relevant process. Faculty and students make up a community that uniquely challenges both the personal and professional development of all its participants.

Our MFT master's program provides students with a robust blend of theory and hands-on practice that qualifies graduates to sit for MFT licensure in the State of California, and to provide a wide variety of services to individuals, couples and families who are struggling with issues such as: 

  • depression, 
  • anxiety, 
  • relationship problems, 
  • child-parent conflict, and more. 

Through partnerships with clinics and communities-based organizations throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, and selected areas in the Southern California region, students also receive an intensive amount of supervised field experience that prepares them to move directly into the workforce after graduation. Students learn from faculty who are diverse professionals and represent varied mental health disciplines and extensive academic and community-based experience.

Pacific Oaks' Marriage and Family Therapy program is designed for students who are passionate about serving Latina/o families and studying MFT theories in context with the issues that impact the Latina/o population, such as: immigration, acculturation, trauma, culture, history, liberation psychology, and advocacy.

  • May be completed in three years full time.
  • Offered in a "cohort" model in which all students progress through the program together at the same pace, creating a growing trust, intimacy and bonding among students within the specialization.


POC:Pasadena, CA


Cultural and Family Psychology

Total Credits



Prepares graduates to sit for the California MFT licensing exam.

Fieldwork Requirements

100% of students secure clinical training placements within community agencies—enabling students to complete the pre-graduate portion of the 3,000 supervised hours required for the California MFT licensing exam.


  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited College or University

Sample Courses

Psychopathology of Adulthood

A general view of the various definitions and forms of psychopathology is presented in a historical, sociopolitical and cross-cultural perspective. The purpose and history of various diagnostic systems will be discussed. Using the DSM-V as the main paradigm, some of the most prevalent psychopathologies of our culture will be explored. The purpose and usage of DSM-V will be studied. Focus will be on building a cognitive diagnostic competence of, as well as an effective understanding and comfort with, the various mental health disorders. Self-reflections are a part of the entire class process. Attention will also be given to etiology, epidemiology and treatment. Some of the main psychiatric testing tools will be examined. The class will offer practice in case presentation, reviewing cases and developing diagnoses based on DSM-V criteria.

Latina/o Family Systems

This course is an integration of selected clinical issues, clinical practice, and research in understanding the mental health issues experienced by diverse Latina/Latino families. Central to this course is the development of a cultural lens in family work, and the understanding of diverse family structures amongst the various Latino communities affected by immigration, deportation, and language acquisition and its impact on family well-being and mental health.

Latina/o Psychology

This course will study issues related to the development of the self and issues related to the mental health profession. Ethnic and self-identity development will be examined as well as the development of self in a collectivist culture. The strengths of the cultural traditions/practices will be examined in understanding the development of one’s self worth, as well as the effects of discrimination, acculturation and bicultural experiences. Mestizo/a Psychology and Native Health Models and their application are an integral part of the course. Culturally sensitive theories, assessment and treatment models, cultural bias in assessment and testing, and racism in the mental health professions will be included.

POC:Pasadena, CA POC