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The Doctorate in Marriage and Family Therapy (D.M.F.T.) is a practitioner oriented terminal degree. The primary emphasis of the D.M.F.T. degree program is different from the Ph.D. program in that it 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.

The D.M.F.T. is a 78 credit-hour program designed for individuals holding master's degrees that prepares graduates for careers as private practitioners, agency administrators, clinical supervisors, and senior clinicians. The D.M.F.T. program is designed to expand and enhance a student's existing clinical skills in order to become top level practitioners, while at the same time demonstrating the place of program/clinical research in this pursuit.

To this end, the D.M.F.T. degree requires students to complete an Applied Clinical Project (APC) rather than a dissertation. The APC requires a student to conceive, propose, implement, and evaluate the effectiveness of a particular clinical program under the supervision of a faculty member. The clinical program under review should be grounded in a systems based approach to family psychotherapy, yet may include large educational and/or consultation components.

The Department of Family Therapy has full and part time faculty and supervisors that represent diversity in race, cultural, gender, age, sexual orientation, and religion. The student body reflects the rich cultural diversity of the University and South Florida as far as race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and age.

Students entering the D.M.F.T. program are required to have the following core curriculum or closely related equivalent courses prior to entering this advanced systems program. When students need to take any of these prerequisites, these courses must be completed prior to beginning the core D.M.F.T. curriculum.

  • Introduction to Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Legal, Ethical and Professional Issues in MFT
  • Theories of Marital and Family Therapy
  • Human Development across the Life Cycle
  • Theories of Personality and Psychopathology
  • Human Sexuality and Gender
  • Diversity and Psychosocial Skills
  • Research in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Assessment in Marital and Family Therapy

The Doctor of Marriage and Family Therapy with a focus on Advanced Human Systems is an innovative program dedicated to advancing the practice skills for practitioners in mental health fields. This program will foster professional advancement and excellence that provides graduates with high level training that supports the needs of our communities of interest, while focusing on inclusion, diversity, and cultural issues across all settings in which clinical and supervisory services are provided.

Graduates of the D.M.F.T. program will be trained to work in multiple settings on multiple levels in agencies, treatment facilities, medical facilities, and other locations that provide clinical services. Graduates will be sufficiently trained to develop their own clinical programs, businesses, and educational trainings related to the therapeutic community. Graduates will obtain the coursework and clinical requirements to become a licensed marriage and family therapist intern and with additional clinical hours become a LMFT.

The D.M.F.T. is offered residentially and takes a minimum of three years to complete the program. Full-time enrollment is considered to be at least nine credit hours per term, including the summer. Students must be enrolled full-time for the majority of their program to complete the program in the allotted 7 year timeframe. Once students complete their Clinical Portfolio, they can conduct their external practicums at the same time as their Applied Clinical Project (ACP) courses. Students are considered full time when enrolled for 3 ACP credits. If a student requires more than the two terms of ACP, they can take an additional term to complete the program. Students must be continually enrolled in classes in order to remain active the program. If a student cannot take classes due to unforeseen circumstances, they will need to apply for a Leave of Absence.

Doctoral students are provided NSU computer accounts including email and Canvas, but must obtain their own Internet service providers, use their own computer systems and have a usable web camera. Students will use the web to access course materials, announcements, email, distance library services, subscription library databases, and other information, and for interaction with faculty and fellow students. Online, interactive learning methods are based on the use of Canvas as a course management system. Online activities facilitate frequent student-to-faculty and student-to-student interaction. They are supported by threaded discussion boards, white boards, chat rooms, email, and multimedia presentations. In addition, Canvas enables students to submit assignments online in multimedia formats and to receive their professors' reviews of assignments online in the same formats.

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