Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Therapy

Earn a PhD in as little as 3 years | 54 semester credit hours beyond master's degree | Active and collaborative face-to-face mentorship

Become a leader in marriage and family therapy.

Students in MFT program

The Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage & Family Therapy program is committed to providing accessible and inclusive training of couple and family therapy scholars from varying backgrounds and experiences. Through active and collaborative mentorship, students engage in individualized opportunities to prepare to be systemic leaders in their diverse communities as advanced clinicians, researchers, supervisors and educators.

Connect with an MFT faculty member

Why earn your PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy at TWU?

At TWU, we meet you where you are to help you achieve your personal career goals. We accept up to 30 credit hours transferred from a clinical master’s program and provide unmatched mentorship from faculty.



The PhD in MFT at TWU is one of only two public universities accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) in the state of Texas, and one of only twenty campus-based accredited programs in the United States. Even so, you can still get your PhD from Texas Woman’s University at a fraction of the cost of a private university. 

Face-to-Face Learning

Students have opportunities for advanced training as supervisors and educators on campus that cannot be achieved through online learning. Opportunities include:

  • Teaching undergraduate and master's level clinical courses with live observation, training, and mentorship
  • Supervising master’s level students in clinical internship courses
  • Supervising master's level students at our on-campus Counseling and Family Therapy Clinic.

Full-time and Part-time Tracks

Flexible options for both full- and part-time attendance is available for non-traditional students. Work on your independent-level licensure while completing your PhD.

Inclusive Training

Our diverse students and the communities we serve create a training experience unlike any in the country. Diversity provides rich experiences in learning, research, clinical work, teaching and supervision. In the doctoral program, we aim to grow a diverse field of future MFT leaders. 

Doctoral Internship

We have worked hard to create an internship that engages you where you are. There is NO clinical requirement beyond that required in a COAMFTE-Accredited MFT master’s degree. The doctoral internship is a nine-month mentored advanced practical experience in which doctoral students are researchers, educators, clinical supervisors, policy makers, administrators, clinical innovators and theoreticians. 

Faculty Mentorship

The MFT faculty are supportive and knowledgeable with expertise in telehealth, medical family therapy, and marginalized populations. We have a student-centered mentorship philosophy focused on supporting students in their own research and career goals. Publish in peer-reviewed journals and present at state, national, and international professional conferences. 

Connect with an MFT faculty member

Career Opportunities in Marriage and Family Therapy

The PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy is a versatile degree that prepares students for a wide range of careers in:

  • Higher education
  • Non-profit agency
  • Intensive-outpatient leadership
  • Clinical directorship
  • Collaborative healthcare
  • School settings
  • Private practice
Karina Donald, a TWU PhD graduate

The program at TWU exceeded my expectations. Professors eagerly supported my clinical, research and educational goals. The program’s structure prepared me to be a systemic leader on national and international levels.

Karina Donald, Assistant Professor, Florida State University

Courses and Curriculum at TWU

Degree Plan for PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy

Course Rotations

How to Apply to the PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy

NO letters of recommendation or GRE scores required.

Admission to the Ph.D. in Marriage & Family Therapy

Department Admission Contact:

Anna Stokes, M.S.

Application Deadlines

Fall – December 1
Spring – August 1

Admission Requirements

  • Clinical master’s degree (e.g., marriage and family therapy, counseling, psychology)
  • 3.5 GPA on most recent master’s degree
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Letter of Intent adhering to the following guidelines:
    • Use the style of a professional business letter, including date, name, and return address
    • Limit the body of the letter to 300 words
    • Discuss the following in the body of the letter:
      • Your interest in and reasons for wanting a doctorate in Marriage & Family Therapy. If you are not already familiar with the discipline of marriage & family therapy (as compared to other clinical mental health fields), we suggest you visit the website of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy ( and read the material available to learn more.
      • The strengths and skills you will bring to the Marriage & Family Therapy program. These may include elements of your life experience, personal characteristics, occupational background, academic accomplishments, etc.
      • How you will adapt your current life to make room for doctoral studies.
      • Your research interests.
      • Your professional goals for this degree.
  • An on-campus interview process is required through participation on Interview Day. The admissions coordinator will contact those applicants the department invites to interview.

How to Apply

Begin by finding your program in TWU's Program, Majors & Degrees listings to see if your program has additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  (This information is for all programs. The application deadline for your specific program will be listed in the Program Requirements.  Use that deadline as it applies below.  (Example: if a program only admits once a year and has a Fall deadline for 2023 of March 1, you would need to be looking to apply to the next deadline for Fall 2024.)

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs according to the start semester and application portals below:
    • Spring 2024 - All programs apply via ApplyTexas EXCEPT applicants to the College of Business, Child Life, or Child Development master's programs or the Child Development and Early Education PhD program who should apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal.
      • Note: When applying through ApplyTexas, you will need to submit any required Documents directly to the program website.
    • Summer & Fall 2024 - All graduate programs apply via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal. Required documents will be asked for and uploaded into the application.

  2. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee, ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants can be paid by:
    • Credit card - Online through the portal you applied on (either ApplyTexas or TWU's Online Graduate Application).
    • Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 301 Research Circle, Room 220; Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    • Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (2nd floor of GRB).
    • Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar application Fee waiver. Submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission Form.

  3. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU.  See the International Admission website for more details.

For more information on graduate admissions or to contact an admissions official, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants.

Scholarships and Financial Aid for MFT Students

In addition to university-wide types of financial aid, there are also scholarships specifically for the Department of Human Development, Family Studies, and Counseling. Additionally, there are more opportunities for scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships for Marriage and Family Therapy doctoral students.

Contact program director Aaron Norton for more information. Additional aid opportunities are:

  • New Graduate Student Scholarship
  • Virginia Chandler Dykes Scholarships
  • Graduate Assistantships 
  • Graduate Research Assistantships 
  • Graduate Teaching Assistantships
  • [Wo]Mentoring Research Associates
  • Doctoral Fellowship through the AAMFT Minority Fellowship Program
  • Student Research Support


Jordyn Randall
Graduate Advisor
WH 115  

Aaron Norton, Ph.D., LMFT-Supervisor, AAMFT Approved Supervisor
Marriage and Family Therapy Program Coordinator

Connect with an MFT faculty member

Page last updated 10:23 AM, September 6, 2023