Graduate School - Marriage and Family Therapy

Jaime Goff, Graduate Director   
ACU Box 29438
Abilene, Texas 79699-9438
Biblical Studies Building, Room 268

Phone: 325-674-3778
Fax: 325-674-3749


Jaime Goff, Associate Professor
Sara Blakeslee, Assistant Professor
Tom Milholland, Professor 


Supervising clinical faculty:

Kurt Boyland
Cara Flanders
Janet Jergins
Steve Rowlands 


Faculty from other departments who teach in this program:

Steve Allison, Associate Professor of Psychology

Richard Beck, Associate Professor of Psychology

Suzanne Macaluso, Assistant Professor of Family Studies

Scott Perkins, Associate Professor of Psychology

The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy, located in the College of Biblical Studies at Abilene Christian University, offers a Master in Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) degree.

The 60-hour Marriage and Family Therapy degree plan is designed to be completed in 24 consecutive months. Part-time students are not admitted to the program.

The program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

The primary objective of the degree is to provide professional training for persons intending to occupy positions in community mental health agencies, child and family service agencies, church ministries, institutional settings, and private practice, as well as those desiring advanced academic degrees. The majority of MMFT graduates are working in the placement of their choice or are accepted into doctoral programs in a variety of disciplines including marriage and family therapy, counseling psychology, and family studies.

The clinical faculty of the department are practicing clinicians and supervisors, certified as Clinical Members and Approved Supervisors by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), and licensed by the Texas State Board of Examiners. Most also hold another license in either psychology or professional counseling.

The Marriage and Family Therapy program is committed to a value system that espouses a Christian worldview in terms of human nature, the development of interpersonal or intrapersonal problems, and the context within which those problems can be solved. Integration of theory, therapy, theology and spirituality are found in the classroom as well as within the clinical experience.

The curriculum is intended to prepare graduates for membership in the AAMFT and state licensure in marriage and family therapy. Additionally, the Marriage and Family Therapy program prepares graduates for licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor.

Marriage and family therapy training is by nature interdisciplinary and, therefore, includes relevant courses in psychology, sociology, ministry, and marriage and family therapy.

Each graduate will receive a minimum of 500 hours of direct clinical experience and 100 hours of approved supervision, both of which are graduation requirements. Supervision is provided by the departmental faculty. Graduates normally meet the necessary requirements for an upgrade in their membership from student to associate, and then to clinical membership status in AAMFT. Graduates also normally meet the requirements necessary to begin post-graduate licensure requirements.

Two predominant components of the program are clinical training and academic research. Beginning in the fall semester of the first year, all students are evaluated and then begin their clinical experience. The intern initially functions as a co-therapist beginning in the early spring of the first year. Supervision of this internship is provided by the MFT faculty in individual and group settings utilizing video, live and case presentation approaches.

The supervision experience focuses on integrating the student’s academic training with the clinical skills of marriage and family therapy. During the clinical phase, interns develop skills of assessing, diagnosing and treating individuals, couples and families from both medical models and systems perspectives.

Since each supervisor may come from a different therapeutic model, students are exposed to a variety of models such as cognitive-behavioral, structural-strategic, multi-generational, narrative, integrative, brief-solution focused, emotionally focused, and internal family systems.

The clientele for the internship experience come from the community and offer a wide variety of problems. Most internships are conducted in the department’s clinical facilities with 11 therapy rooms equipped with closed-circuit color television cameras and phone-in supervision capabilities.

A second emphasis within the department is research. Students are required to submit abstracts for presentation at the annual conference of the Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. It is a refereed process, and most of our students’ projects are accepted for presentation. The research projects are prepared for submission to refereed journals and are occasionally accepted for publication. All projects are guided by a primary faculty researcher. The research projects are either qualitatively or quantitatively oriented.

Admission Requirements   

Admission to the program is on a competitive basis. The admission requirements for the MMFT are:

   1. Complete an application and application fee (see online link to admission); 
  2. Complete a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university or comparable non-U.S. university (see specific department for any additions or exceptions); 
  3. A cumulative undergraduate approximate B average or above in the area of focus or related area and evidence of an overall productive GPA; 
  4. A minimum GRE score of 900; 
  5. Three letters of recommendation; 
  6. A written purpose statement declaring why the applicant wishes to study marriage and family therapy at ACU and what he or she plans to do professionally upon graduation; 
  7. Psychological testing; 
  8. Completion of a psychosocial history;
  9. A quality of life that reflects high moral standards; 
10. A writing sample; and 
11. An on-campus interview with the faculty. The personal interview for applicants residing outside the continental United States can be done via telephone and/or video recording.

When all required materials are assembled, the application will be reviewed by the MFT faculty. Students are admitted once a year and begin their program of study in the fall semester. All application materials MUST be completed by the preceding January 15 for the fall semester. The GRE and personal interviews MUST be completed by February 15. Acceptance into the program will be granted by April 1.

No specific undergraduate major is essential for admission. Applicants are encouraged to have undergraduate credit in subjects that embrace human development, family relations, theology, sociology, psychology and statistics.

Applicants without adequate preparation may be accepted upon the condition that they register for additional courses deemed necessary by the graduate advisor.

Back To Top 



Major Code: MFTH

The Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT) degree plan for all students follows the requirements of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education. Students are expected to take courses in the sequence required by the department. No more than 12 semester hours may be transferred into the program with the approval of the graduate advisor.

Requirements for the MMFT are:

          1. Marital and family systems, 3 hours:
               BMFT 639 Family Theory/General Systems Theory

          2. Marital and family therapy, 15 hours:
              BMFT 610 Couples Therapy
              BMFT 641 Family Therapy I
              BMFT 645 Marital and Family Assessment
              BMFT 651 Sexual Therapy
              BMFT 661 Family Therapy II

          3. Individual development, 12 hours:
              BMFT 662 Family Life Cycle
              BMFT 663 Cultural Diversity in Marriage and Family Therapy
              BMFT 665 Family Therapy Across the Life-Cycle
              PSYC 682 Advanced Psychopathology

          4. Professional studies, 3 hours:
              BMFT 643 Professional Ethics and the Law

          5. Supervised clinical practice, 15 hours:
              BMFT 601, 602, 603, 604, 605

          6. Research, 3 hours:
              SOCI 615 Social Research

          7. Additional courses, 6 hours:
              BIBM 696 Theological Perspectives on Human Behavior
              BMFT 634 Addictive Disorders

          8. One elective from the following list:  

  PSYC 657 Multivariate Statistics

  PSYC 620 Group Psychotherapy

  BIBM 648 Christian Spiritual Formation 

          9. Comprehensive Exam.

Degree Sequence

1. Core courses (36 hours); Practicum (16 hours)
YEAR 1                                                          

  BMFT 639

  BMFT 610

  BMFT 601

  BMFT 641

Family Theory

Couples Therapy


Family Therapy I


  BMFT 602

  BMFT 645

  BMFT 662

  PSYC 682

Internship I

Marriage and Family Assessment

Family Life Cycle

Advanced Psychopathology


  BMFT 665

  BMFT 643

Family Therapy Across the Life-Cycle

Professional Ethics and the Law


  SOCI 615

  BMFT 663

  BMFT 603

  BMFT 634

Social Research

Cultural Diversity in Marriage and Family Therapy

Internship II

Addictive Disorders


  BMFT 651

  BMFT 661

  BMFT 604

  PSYC 657    

  PSYC 620

  BIBM 648

Sexual Therapy

Family Therapy II

Internship III

Multivariate Statistics

Group Psychotherapy

Christian Spiritual Formation


  BMFT 605

  BIBM 696

Internship IV

Theological Perspectives on Human Behavior

2. Comprehensive Exam

Back To Top