Marriage & Family Therapy PHD

Program Purpose


Within the overriding missions of Brigham Young University and the School of Family Life, the mission of the BYU MFT Doctoral Program is to educate marriage and family therapy scholars to advance a relational perspective on the science and practice of improving the health and well-being of individuals, couples, families, and society. In the program, students will be instructed and challenged to develop competency in the areas of theory development, teaching, and research. This is done in an environment that is committed to the respect/support of multicultural diversity.

Curricular Structure

Graduate Catalog

Program Information Post Bachelors Program

Program Information Post Masters Program

Learning Outcomes


The curriculum for the Marriage and Family Therapy PhD program is based on national accreditation standards (Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education, COAMFTE) and builds on the prerequisite foundation of an earned master's degree from an COAMFTE-accredited MFT program. Graduates of the PhD program have advanced training in the field and will:

Marriage and Family Therapy Theory Skills

Demonstrate competence in Marriage and Family Therapy theory development.

Courses that Contribute: MFT 655R MFT 753 MFT 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence
Teaching/Supervision Skills

Be competent in teaching and supervision.

Courses that Contribute: MFT 655R MFT 753 MFT 755R MFT 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Think soundly, Competence
Marriage and Family Therapy Research Skills

Be productive in the area of Marraige and Family Therapy research methods and statistics

Courses that Contribute: MFT 655R MFT 799R
Linked to BYU Aims: Communicate effectively, Quantitative reasoning
Understanding Cultural Diversity

Understand and respect cultural diversity as a contextual factor in the lives of others, including clients.

Courses that Contribute: None
Linked to BYU Aims: Human knowledge, Character

Evidence of Learning


Assessment Tools

The MFT PhD graduate program is evaluated primarily based on the students' ability to meet their learning outcomes (SLOs). The assessment tools used are presented here in relation to each SLO, including:

1. In relation to Competence in MFT Theory, the assessment tools include: (a) course specific assignments/rubrics, (b) faculty ratings of PhD portfolio papers and presentations, (c) the national licensing exam score (for graduates), and (d) the Clinical Competence Evaluation Form (Formative/Summative Versions).

2. In relation to Competence in Teaching/Supervision Skills, the assessment tools include: (a) the course/instructor rating conducted by the university, and (b) the Student Evaluation of Supervisor/Supervision Form.

3. In relation to Competence in MFT Research, the assessment tools include: (a) the Research Competence Evaluation Form - Formative Version (at dissertation proposal) and (b) the Research Competence Evaluation Form - Summative Version (at dissertation defense).

4. In relation to Understanding Cultural Diversity, the assessment tools include: (a) the Clinical Competence Evaluation Form - Formative Version, (b) the Clinical Competence Evaluation Form - Summative Version, Specific items have been added to these forms to allow supervisors to evaluate students every semester (at a minimum) for their level of understanding and respect for cultural diversity.

5. Additional assessment tools include: faculty/supervisor evaluations, student exit surveys, alumni surveys, and job placement rates.

Direct Measures

1. Faculty/professional ratings of portfolio papers/presentations (i.e., acceptance for publication, acceptance for presentation at national/international conference)

2. Research Competence evaluation form (formative and summative)

3. Clinical Competence evaluation form (formative and summative)

4. Completion of dissertatioin and public defense.

5. Graduates' success in obtaining licensure and employment.

Indirect Measures

1. Exit interviews and surveys

2. External and internal unit reviews

3. BYU alumni surveys

4. Regular review by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) for reaccreditation.

Learning and Teaching Assessment and Improvement


Analysis, Evaluation, and Improvement Process

The assessment data are stored in a virtual evidence room available in the main office. These data are analyzed and summarized by the graduate faculty and discussed each year at an annual faculty retreat. From the ensuing discussions, plans are made to revise the curriculum and improve teaching and learning.