Program Mission

The Doctor of Philosophy in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) prepares professionals for CFT leadership roles in academic and research settings. Using a social justice and a relational/systemic perspective, the program prepares CFTs to become ethically and multicultural responsive scholars, clinicians, supervisors, and educators.

Program Goals

  1. Research Competency: The program will equip students to generate and disseminate social justice and relational/systemic informed research using innovative research methods.
  2. Educator Competency: The program prepares effective Couple and Family Therapy educators.
  3. Theoretical and Clinical Competency: The program equips students with advanced couple and family therapy theoretical training for use in clinical and supervisory settings.
  4. Ethical Competency: The program promotes ethical practices of students in their scholarship, clinical, and educational endeavors.
  5. Multicultural Competency: The program engenders multicultural responsiveness of students in their scholarship, clinical, and educational endeavors.

Student Learning Outcomes

Research Competency

  • 1.1 Students will demonstrate their ability to critique the CFT literature and propose social justice and relational/systemic informed research project. 75% of students will receive an average of 80% or higher on their final research project in Research Methods in Couple and Family Therapy.
  • 1.2 Students will demonstrate their ability to disseminate their contribution to the couple and family therapy field by publishing 2 papers and presenting research at conferences. 75% of students will successfully defend the research portion of the comprehensive exams by scoring a 2 or higher on research portion of their comprehensive exam rubric.
  • 1.3 Students will demonstrate their ability to contribute to the couple and family therapy field using innovative research methods in their dissertation. 75% of eligible students will successfully pass their dissertation defense as measured by 2 or higher on the overall dissertation rubric.

Educator Competency

  • 2.1 Students will demonstrate effective instruction. 75% of eligible students will receive an average score of 4 or better on the ACES teaching evaluation form (or equivalent) prior to taking their comprehensive exam.
  • 2.2 Students will demonstrate their philosophical conceptualization of teaching and ways in which they create an inclusive learning environment for all students. 75% of eligible students will write and successfully defend a teaching philosophy statement that will receive an average of 2 or more on the teaching portion of their comprehensive exam rubric.

Theoretical and Clinical Competency

  • 3.1 Students demonstrate clinical competency by their advanced understanding and application of relational/systemic theories to their work with individuals, couples, families, and supervisees. Students will develop an advanced knowledge of psychotherapy/CFT theories by completing the required CFT specific course work. 75% of students will score 3 or better on clinical competency section of the annual student evaluation.
  • 3.2 Students will demonstrate a solid understanding of couple and family therapy theories and AAMFT Core Competencies. 75% of eligible students will pass the AMFTRB licensure examination.
  • 3.3 Students will demonstrate their advanced couple and family therapy theoretical understanding be integrating theories and creating a theory of change. 75% of eligible students will receive an 80% or higher on their Theory of Change paper in the Advanced Couple and Family Therapy and Psychotherapy course.
  • 3.4 Students will demonstrate their advanced theoretical understanding through supervision of couple and family therapists in training. 75% of eligible students will have completed an AAMFT approved supervisor course and received at least an 80% or better on their philosophy of supervision paper.

Ethical Competency

  • 4.1 Students will demonstrate an advanced knowledge of ethics through activities in the required ethics courses and clinical practice. Students will demonstrate competency by 3 or higher on the ethical portion of their annual student evaluations.
  • 4.2 Students will demonstrate their ethical competency by successfully creating and defending an ethics autobiography paper that describes their personal ethical development and their ethical decision making style. 75% of students will complete the paper and score at least a 2 or better on the ethics portion of their comprehensive exam rubric.

Multicultural Competency

  • 5.1 Students will demonstrate multicultural responsiveness through activities in their multicultural and clinical practice. Students will demonstrate competency by scoring an average of 80% or better in these courses.
  • 5.2 Students will demonstrate their multicultural responsiveness by creating a multicultural statement that describes how students infuses issues of power, privilege, and oppression into their research, teaching, and theoretical/clinical work. 75% of eligible students will successfully defend a multicultural statement during their comprehensive exam as evidenced by a score of 2 or better on the multiculturalism portion of their comprehensive exam rubric.