Master of Marriage and Family Therapy

ACU’s Master of Marriage and Family Therapy program prepares you for Christian service and leadership in a variety of secular and faith-based settings where you can help families and couples work through and cope with difficult issues.

As our world become more complex, more and new challenges face families of all shapes and sizes, from financial to emotional. This means the need for professionals in this area is on the rise: The Department of Labor reports that this career field will grow faster than the average occupation through 2024.

ACU’s graduate program in marriage and family therapy combines theory and clinical training, including a 500-hour internship, typically at ACU’s on-site Marriage and Family Institute. Learn about other internship opportunities in Abilene.

Are you ready to make a difference in the lives of families in your community? Talk to us today or apply now.

Note: This degree is also available online

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Departmental scholarships are available. Departmental scholarships are based on merit, are first-come, first-serve, and generally range from 10-50% of tuition. Most students with at least a 3.0 GPA will receive a scholarship. Because of the need for Spanish-speaking therapists in Abilene, additional scholarships are available for students able to conduct therapy in Spanish. Scholarships are awarded after students are admitted to the program.

Examples of Where Graduates Work

  • Private practice
  • Churches
  • Family service agencies
  • Mental health agencies
  • Youth ranches
  • Schools

Admission Requirements

  • Complete an online application
  • Pay the $65 application fee; 
  • An official transcript(s) in English (or translated to English) of all previous colleges attended. The transcript must indicate an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university or equivalent. If you attended a college or university located outside of the United States, a transcript evaluation by World Education Services is required; 
  • A cumulative undergraduate approximate B average or above in the area of focus or related area and evidence of an overall productive GPA; 
  • Three letters of recommendation;  
  • 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;  
  • Complete the psychosocial history form
  • An on-campus interview with the faculty. The personal interview for applicants residing outside the continental United States can be done via telephone, Skype or Google Chat.
  • If admitted, students may be subject to a background check and must maintain a quality of life that reflects high moral standards.
  • Our GRE test score admission requirement is currently waived.

See full ACU graduate admissions requirements here

MMFT Faculty

Dr. Lisa Merchant

Dr. Lisa Merchant

Chair and Assistant Professor, Department of Marriage and Family Studies
Program Director, Marriage and Family Therapy Program

Adjunct Faculty

Tim Ehrhart
Jeff Emery
Gretchen Etheredge
Cara Flanders
Stephen Willis
Dr. Michael Pounds

Dr. Lisa Powell

Dr. Lisa Powell

Clinic Director, Marriage and Family Institute
Assistant Professor, Department of Marriage and Family Studies


Teri Sura, Department Coordinator

Barbara Wilson, Clinic Coordinator

Dr. Lisa Merchant

Dr. Joanna Mendez-Pounds

Assistant Professor 

Degree Details


Thesis Track, MMFT (MFTT)

Marriage and Family Therapy, MMFT (MFTH)

Required Hours

Credit hours: 60

2021/2022 tuition per credit hour: $1264

Program length: 2 years

Example Coursework

Family Theory/General Systems Theory

Couples Therapy

Family Therapy across the Life Cycle

Theological Perspectives on Human Behavior


Marriage and Family Studies

Application Deadlines

Priority Deadline: February 1

Standard Deadline: May 1