Are you interested in becoming a licensed family therapist? Would you enjoy helping individuals, couples, and families work through difficult life transitions?

East Carolina University's marriage and family therapy program prepares you to become a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT). The program has been continuously accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) since 1992 and prepares students that are grounded in systems theory and its application to clinical practice. ECU's MFT program will provide you with diverse range of clinical and theoretical orientations that help to prepare you to become a competent and confident therapist. Students work cooperatively with individuals, couples, and families on treatment teams at ECU's Family Therapy Clinic to develop and apply creative therapeutic strategies to intervene in the lives of clients. The Family Therapy Clinic is equipped with state-of-the-art digital recording software so that all student client sessions can be recorded. You will enjoy studying the art of couple and family therapy under the direction of a faculty supervisor that provides feedback to you on your development and progress with clients through live and video-recorded sessions.

Each student is encouraged to develop a personalized therapeutic orientation and style that integrates theory and technique with a personalized approach for each student therapist. The combination of didactic course work and live supervision of your clinical work, creates a learning environment where students flourish and are prepared to become leaders in the rising generation.

ECU Advantage

East Carolina's MFT program has gained national recognition for the collaborative work with larger systems, particularly within the field of medical family therapy. Within the southeastern region of the United States, ECU's MFT program is highly regarded in producing qualified therapists are proficient in administering therapy that is informed by cutting edge empirical theories.

ECU MFT students have enjoyed 100-percent job placement once they graduate and have passed the national exam with a high degree of proficiency. Our graduates have gone on to successful and rewarding careers in private practice, community mental health agencies, residential treatment centers, military bases, medical schools, behavioral health units, and hospitals. Some of our graduates have opted to pursue advanced graduate degrees and obtained PhD that place them in University settings as faculty members all over the nation.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Damon Rappleyea (324 Rivers Building; 252-737-2416; rappleyead@ecu.edu)

The marriage and family therapy (MFT) program at East Carolina University is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. Enrollment in the marriage and family therapy program is limited and admission is competitive. Acceptance into the program is contingent on prior admission to the Graduate School, application to the marriage and family therapy program, a personal interview with the clinical faculty, and a favorable recommendation from the MFT faculty. Decisions regarding acceptance into the program are based on the following criteria: undergraduate and graduate GPA, standardized test scores (MAT or GRE), work or practicum experiences, a statement of professional objectives, and performance during the personal interview. Upon acceptance into the program, students typically begin course work in the fall semester.

The marriage and family therapy program requires a minimum of 51 s.h. as follows:

1. Theoretical foundations in marriage and family therapy - 6 s.h.
  • HDFS 6407 - Family Systems Theories
  • HDFS 6408 - Family Therapy Theories
2. Clinical practice - 18 s.h.
  • HDFS 6300 - Critical Issues in Sexuality, Gender Roles, and Families
  • HDFS 6303 - Critical Issues in Family and Cultural Diversity
  • HDFS 6409 - Family Therapy Seminar I
  • HDFS 6410 - Family Therapy Seminar II
  • HDFS 6412 - Family Therapy Seminar III
  • HDFS 6425 - Assessment and Treatment Planning in Family Therapy
3. Human development and family studies - 3 s.h.

(Choose one of the following courses.)

  • HDFS 6401 - Family Theories and Issues
  • HDFS 6402 - Theories of Child Development
  • HDFS 6404 - Human Development within the Family, Part I
  • HDFS 6406 - Human Development within the Family, Part II
4. Professional identity and ethics - 3 s.h.
  • HDFS 6411 - Family Therapy Issues
5. Research - 6 s.h.
  • HDFS 7007 - Statistics in Child/Family Studies
  • HDFS 7400 - Research Methods in Child/Family Studies
6. Electives - 6 s.h.
    7. Supervised clinical practice - 9 s.h.
    • HDFS 6415 - Family Therapy Practicum
    • HDFS 6416 - Family Therapy Practicum
    • HDFS 6417 - Family Therapy Practicum

    The Department of Human Development and Family Science administers a marriage and family therapy clinic, which serves as a clinical training and research site for the program.

    Additional information about graduate programs and application information can be obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Human Development and Family Science, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353.

      For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

      Careers With This Degree

      Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

      • Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling
      • Education and Training
      • Marriage and Family Therapists
      • Psychology Teachers, Postsecondary
      • Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling

      Career Opportunities

      ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

      NC Tower

      This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

      • Self-employed;
      • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
      • Work outside of North Carolina.

      US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

      This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

      Degree-specific internships

      For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.