CFT is based in the traditional Marriage and Family Therapy education that is associated with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).

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

Students admitted to this residential doctoral program must have a master’s degree in couple and family therapy or marriage and family therapy from a COAMFTE accredited program. CFT students have the opportunity to participate in faculty research, teach at the college level, and hone their clinical and supervisory skills.

Application Deadline

  • January 1 for fall.

For the best consideration for financial aid, early applications are strongly encouraged. Applications to the Ph.D. program is rolling process. Faculty consideration of applications begins January 15 for fall entry. You will be notified once a decision regarding your application has been made.

Admission Requirements

  • A bachelor’s degree from a Regionally Accredited American College or University, or an equivalent degree from another country as determined by the Office of Admissions.
  • Undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Graduate GPA or 3.0 or better on a four-point scale.
  • Minimum GRE Verbal & Qualitative score of 300 (new version) or 1,100 (old version).
  • English Proficiency Requirements (international applicants)
  • A Master’s degree in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT or Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) from a COAMFTE accredited program.
  • On-campus interview (invitation)

No one criterion is used in selecting candidates. All interested persons are encouraged to apply. In reviewing applications, the faculty considers the relevant qualifications of candidates across all required areas.

Application Procedure

  1. Create an application account to begin the application process.
  2. Submit the online application to the Graduate College and pay the $60 application fee by credit card ($100 for international applicants).
  3. Once you have submitted your application, you will receive email instructions on how to establish your HawkID and password which you will use to access MyUI, our online service center for students and applicants.
  4. You will use your Admissions Profile on MyUI to upload required supplemental materials.

Required Supplemental Materials

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • Official GRE scores from Educational Testing Service (the University’s institutional code is 6681)
  • Official TOEFL scores may be required for some non-native speakers of English
  • A personal statement discussing your research interests and professional goals.
  • A writing sample
  • Curriculum Vita (CV)
  • Three letters of recommendation*

* You will be asked to give the contact information of your recommenders, including their email, on your Admissions Profile. The recommender will then get an email with instructions on how to upload the recommendation letter and/or form.


Application questions can be directed to: Sue Cline in the Office of Student Services   319/335-5260,

We look forward to receiving your application!

Additional Information

Through The University of Iowa's nationally recognized programs, students master a body of knowledge and ultimately contribute to it through their own scholarship and research. Iowa's graduate students work closely with a faculty of scholars who are committed to lives of learning. Together, faculty and students work in an atmosphere of academic freedom and intellectual verve that stimulates creative and innovative thinking. Iowa's graduate programs have both depth and breadth. Iowa's graduate students actively participate in the life of a large and multifaceted University community. They receive specialized attention within their own disciplines while they exchange ideas with people from throughout the University's 10 colleges and more than 90 degree programs.


  • The curriculum is research and theory intensive with some advanced clinical training. Students are assumed to be competent Master’s level clinicians. Therefore, the in-residence clinical focus in our program will be on developing and testing intervention models, and learning clinical models that are evidence-based and can be used in research projects. For the near future, we plan to have several couple, parent, child, and school based intervention research projects in progress that use CFT students as research assistants.
  • In the CFT content courses, there is an emphasis on reading original source material and learning how to evaluate critically original research. The heart of the CFT curriculum includes three clinical research seminars in which students read the major research, in the original, related to child, family, couple, and health related interventions. Students learn to evaluate this research critically and also learn about the grants that support it. As a result of intentional program planning students will also be responsible for creating multiple publications and a grant application through coursework, let alone the work they can do through assistantships and their own initiative.
  • Students receive supervised clinical experience in advanced practicum placements within the community during their first year. The University of Iowa CFT faculty provide the AAMFT approved clinical supervision in individual and group settings. All CFT students will serve their practicum in the LGBTQ clinic located on site. Later in the program, students are trained in supervision and receive live mentoring of their supervision. Students must complete 1000 client contact hours of clinical training, but students usually enter with, at least, 500 client contact hours from their Master’s degree program. Students must complete a 9-12 month advanced practical experience  that provides additional clinical and/or research/teaching training. Through the program, students complete the clinical hour requirement, as well as the coursework, for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage in Family Therapy (AAMFT) and for CFT/MFT licensing in many states.
  • The CFT program and coursework require that you live close enough to campus to attend the courses and monthly student-faculty meets until you have defended your comprehensive exams.
  • The curriculum is evolving and seeks to meet both the requirements established by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) and to extend the knowledge of the field. Our CFT program uses the apprenticeship model for training students to become clinical researchers. This means that during your first year, you will affiliate with one of the research teams in the program, participate in that professor’s research, and slowly develop a research program of your own. Most CFT graduate students receive financial support through teaching or research assistantships. 

Research Requirements

  • Research Methods in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Intermediate Statistical Methods
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • (Advanced qualitative or quantitative statistics course)
  • Issues and Trends in Counseling Research
  • Research in Counseling
  • Comprehensive Doctoral Examination
  • Dissertation
  • Dissertation Defense Examination 

Theoretical and Clinical Core Requirements

  • Child and Adolescent Intervention Research
  • Seminar in Couple Intervention Research
  • Advanced Couple and Family Therapy
  • Process and Outcomes in Counseling Psychotherapy
  • Social Context and Family Research
  • Advanced Practicum in Couple & Family Therapy
  • Supervision in Couple and Family Therapy 

Teaching Requirements

  • Tools and Utilities for Online Teaching
  • Seminar in College Teaching
  • Practicum in College Teaching
  • Ph.D ePortfolio in College Teaching

Multicultural course

  • Multicultural Counseling
Employment Opportunities
  • Academic and research settings
  • Administration and supervision
  • Clinical delivery systems
Application Deadlines
  • Rolling deadline for fall.

For the best consideration for financial aid, early applications are strongly encouraged. Applications to the Ph.D. program is rolling process. Faculty consideration of applications begins January 15 for fall entry. You will be notified once a decision regarding your application has been made.

Application Questions? Contact: Sue ClineOffice of Student Services, 319-335-5260,