Marriage and Family Therapy, M.A.


The mission of the Master of Arts – Marriage and Family Therapy degree program is to produce marriage and family therapists who can integrate the science and practice of family therapy with Christian theology. Students are equipped with a strong biblical foundation to promote the biopsychosocial, spiritual, and relational well-being of individuals, couples, and families in diverse communities. Students are trained to be ethically and culturally competent. The program accomplishes this mission by embracing a scholar/practitioner model that blends Christian theology and systemic family therapy training with research and clinical practices.

Program Description

The Master of Arts – Marriage and Family Therapy is designed to provide graduate coursework to those seeking to work with individuals, couples and families as a licensed marriage and family therapist. The program integrates Christian theology and professional practice in Marriage and Family Therapy, and emphasizes the development of research-supported counseling skills while encouraging students to grow in relational and spiritual maturity. This program equips students to biblically engage in cultural humility, treat others with dignity, respect, and empathy, and to develop an understanding of different cultural contexts and issues presented in clinical practice. Completion of the MFT program will allow students to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of California. Licensure requirements change from time to time, and differ from state to state. Applicants, pursuing licensure outside of California, should become familiar with the requirements in the state they wish to practice.     

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Arts – Marriage and Family Therapy, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate foundational knowledge in a wide range of systemic and relational theories and treatment techniques that are informed by research (ULO 1).
  2. Demonstrate cultural competence in providing services to diverse client populations including the marginalized groups in California (ULO 2). 
  3. Demonstrate an understanding and application of marriage and family therapy ethics and Christian ethical principles in their clinical work (ULO 3).
  4. Demonstrate competence in systems/relational practice consistent with MFT professional standards (ULO 3).
  5. Identify as marriage and family therapists who integrate Christian theology, family-of-origin, and social location in their professional development (ULO 2).

Each Program Learning Outcome (PLO) listed above references at least one of the University Learning Outcomes (ULO 1, 2, 3), which may be found in the General Information section of this catalog.

Admission Requirements

Education and GPA Requirement

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale), unless otherwise noted (see below).

Note: If you do not meet the degree or GPA requirements above, you may still be considered for admission. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admissions office at

Applicants who have a GPA lower than 3.0 are required to submit a letter of explanation and viability for entrance into the MFT program. Probationary acceptance may be granted if other factors give evidence of the applicant's ability to successfully complete the program. The probationary status will be removed when the student has successfully completed nine semester credits with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Official Transcript and Other Test Scores

Applicants must submit an official transcript form their previous academic institution.

  • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended.
  • If enrolled at the time the application if filed, be sure to request transcripts upon completion of your course of study.
  • Transcripts must be official, that is, mailed directly from your college or university in a sealed envelope, sent electronically, or physically delivered in an untampered envelope sealed by the institution. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.

Send transcripts to:
Biola University
Attn: Office of Graduate Admissions
13800 Biola Avenue
La Mirada, CA  90639

Additional Test Scores:

  • GRE: A GRE score is not required for admission.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: If English is not your first language, you are required to display your English proficiency before admittance into a Biola University graduate program. Please see the "English Proficiency" admissions section for more information.


Three references are required, including:

  • One academic reference
  • One pastoral reference
  • One character reference

Resume or Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Applicants must submit three essays.

1. One Christian testimony (500-700 word count maximum)

  • What are the circumstances surrounding your decision to become a follower of Christ?
  • What is the scriptural basis for your salvation?
  • What is your contribution to a local church community?
  • Describe how you display attributes of a mature Christian.

2. One autobiographical statement (1,000 word count maximum), answering the following questions:

  • Why do you want to become a Marriage and Family Therapist?
  • Why are you seeking to do your MFT training at Talbot?
  • How has your family of origin shaped you and informed your vocation? This includes reflections on strengths and challenges in your family of origin, the impact of family-of-origin experiences on your adult relationships, and strengths and growth areas in your current significant relationships (with spouse, children, siblings, parents, etc.).
  • What are your professional goals?
  • What personal characteristics will contribute to your success as a marriage and family therapist?
  • What experience, education, and training do you have with diverse populations?

Graduation Requirements

  1. Satisfactorily complete 67 semester credits (plus any co-curricular requirements) as outlined in the curriculum chart below.
  2. Obtain a 3.0 average with no grade below a "B-" in all courses to be credited toward graduation.
  3. Complete the online introduction to theological research and writing by the end of the second semester.
  4. Obtain a score of 70% or higher on the Practicum Qualifying Exam (PQE). 
  5. Complete all clinical training hours and submit a verification of completion via the Director of Clinical Training to the Registrar's Office. This verification reflects the completion of the following hours:
    • A minimum of 300 hours of direct client contact.
    • A minimum of 100 hours of clinical supervision from the program clinical supervisors.
  6. Complete the entire program in no more than six years.
  7. Meet with a graduate academic records and degree specialist in the Office of the Registrar one year prior to graduation to declare intent to graduate. (See Graduate Graduation Check description in the Admission, Enrollment and Graduation Requirements section.)
  8. Complete 35 hours of psychotherapy with a licensed clinician.

Practicum Qualifying Examination (PQE)

The Practicum Qualifying Examination is intended to assess the readiness of students prior to enrolling in practicum. The PQE consists of two parts including an objective multiple choice section and essay section. Students must obtain a minimum score of 70% or higher on both sections to pass the exam. Upon successful completion of the PQE, students will be notified by the DCT of their eligibility to enroll in their first practicum course - TTFT 791. Students may not interview for practicum sites until they have successfully passed the PQE.

Accreditation Information

The Marriage and Family Therapy Program is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and the Association of Theological Studies (ATS). It meets the educational requirements of the Board of Behavioral Science (BBS).

Curriculum Requirements

Program Courses
TTFT 500Principles of Counseling2
TTFT 611Marriage and Family Therapy Theories I3
TTFT 612Marriage and Family Therapy Theories II3
TTFT 621Family Life Cycle and Aging3
TTFT 631Child and Adolescent Therapy in Family Contexts3
TTFT 633Couples and Sex Therapy3
TTFT 637Theory and Process of Group Counseling3
TTFT 641Clinical Issues in Human Diversity3
TTFT 643Community Mental Health3
TTFT 651Research Methods and Design in Marriage and Family Therapy1
TTFT 653Individual and Family Psychopathology3
TTFT 655Assessment of Individuals and Families2
TTFT 661Law, Ethics, and Professional Issues3
TTFT 663Professional Development Seminar I1
TTFT 664Professional Development Seminar II1
TTFT 667Professional and Personal Formation of the Therapist I 13
TTFT 668Professional and Personal Formation of the Therapist II 2, 33
TTFT 670Professional and Personal Formation of the Therapist III1
TTFT 671Crisis and Trauma Counseling2
TTFT 673Psychopharmacology and Psychobiology2
TTFT 675Chemical Dependence, Addictions, and Co-Occurring Disorders2
TTFT 681Biblical Interpretation and New Testament Psychology3
TTFT 682Marriage and Family Therapy Seminar 44
TTFT 765Professional Development Seminar III - Capstone1
TTFT 791Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy I3
TTFT 792Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy II3
TTFT 793Practicum in Marriage and Family Therapy III3
Co-Curricular Requirements
Graduate Research and Writing module
Personal psychotherapy with a licensed clinician
Practicum Qualifying Exam (PQE)
Total Credits67

If TTSF 501 or TTSF 521 was taken for fewer than 3 credits, students are required to make up the difference by taking additional credit(s) of TTFT 667 for a grand total of 3 credits. See the department for advising.


If TTSF 503 was taken for 2 credits, students are required to take TTFT 668 for 1 credit to satisfy the 3 credit requirement. See the department for advising.


If the "Family" topic of TTSF 642 was taken for 2 credits, students are required to take TTFT 668 for 1 credit to satisfy the 3 credit requirement. If any other topic of TTSF 642 was taken, students are required to take TTFT 668 for 3 credits. See the department for advising.


Must be taken for a total of 4 credits.