Doctoral family therapy program earns national accreditation

Jan. 24, 2019 — DENTON — The family therapy doctoral program at Texas Woman’s University recently received national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE), becoming only the third doctoral program in Texas accredited by the agency, and the only one in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“Accreditation is evidence of a quality education,” said Aaron Norton, Ph.D., LMFT, assistant professor and coordinator of the doctoral program. “This provides better job prospects for our students and helps us attract talented faculty. It also gives our program a national profile.”

Benefits to students include eligibility for certain scholarships and an advantage when seeking a faculty position upon graduation. Norton said one of the first questions asked in the faculty hiring process is, “Did you graduate from a COAMFTE-accredited program?”

Accreditation also offers students the potential to graduate with American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy supervision certification. “It’s a huge boon to students,” he said.

Norton said family therapy faculty and staff began the application process about five years ago.

“We wanted to increase the rigor of our program,” he said. “We restructured our entire curriculum.”

The process required the program to demonstrate compliance with COAMFTE accreditation standards, submit eligibility criteria documents and a self-study, and host a site visit.

The Ph.D. program received accreditation through November 2024, with one stipulation — a need to address student concerns of insufficient faculty. The Department of Family Sciences already is in the process of interviewing potential new faculty members.

TWU’s master’s program in family therapy has been COAMFTE-accredited since 2016.

Norton believes it won’t take long for accreditation to have a positive impact on the doctoral program.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens over the next two to three years,” he said.

For more information on COAMFTE accreditation, visit

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Page last updated 12:45 PM, January 28, 2020