The PhD program in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) is committed to developing researcher-clinicians who make significant research contributions to the way we understand individuals, couples and families in an effort to advance the field of couple and family therapy and meaningfully contribute to the communities in which we live and work.

The Couple and Family Therapy program 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. Systemic and relational thinking is emphasized which enables students to think critically and innovatively about enduring problems. Faculty help students apply the systemic and relational thinking to the strong research training they gain in the program to be able to address the areas they want to learn more about. 

Program Requirements

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. 

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.

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. 

Note: 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).

Program Requirements

For a complete list of courses and requirements:

Licensing Requirements

Graduates from the CFT doctoral program may pursue jobs across the country. For your convenience, we are providing a link to two of the most useful resources you can use to identify licensure requirements for any state where you may work. If the state you are moving to requires additional coursework than was provided by your master's program, or the doctoral program, you may want to look to online master's programs that can provide the additional courses. Such programs can include NorthCentral and Capella.

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data Disclosure Table

COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data for The University of Iowa

Accredited: May, 2019

Advertised Program Length*: 4 years

Cohort Year Students Entered Program

# of Students in Program

Advertised Graduation Rate (%)*

Maximum Graduation Rate (%)**

Job Placement Rate (%)***

National Exam Pass Rate (%)****

FT

FT

FT

FT

FT

2011-2012

 

 

 

 

 

2012-2013

3

33.33

33.33

100

100

2013-2014

5

60

20

100

100

2014-2015

3

No Students

In process

In process

In process

2015-2016

2

50

In process

100

100

2016-2017

1

100

0

100

100

2017-2018

3

In process

In process

In process

100

2018-2019

No Students

No Students

No Students

No Students

No Students

2019-2020

4

In process

In process

In process

In process

2020-2021

3

In process

In process

In process

In process

FT=Full-time

Programs are only required to provide data on the past 10 years/cohort or since the program was initial accredited, whichever is shorter.

* Programs should report graduation rates for program’s Advertised Length of Completion which is how long the program is designed to complete as written.  

**Programs applying for initial or renewal of accreditation are required to publish the following in their SAC table: (1) the maximum length of program completion (years only) and (2) graduation rates for maximum length of program completion (maximum allowable time in which a student must finish the program).  Programs in Maintenance of Accreditation are encouraged to continue publishing the graduation rates for maximum length of completion but are not required to do so.

*** Master's degree and doctoral programs are required to provide this information.  Job Placement Rates by cohort is defined as the percentage of graduates from the cohort year listed that are employed utilizing skills learned in the COAMFTE accredited program.

**** Master's degree programs are required to provide this information.  Doctoral and post-degree programs are encouraged to share this with the public. For master’s degree programs only, COAMFTE has established a benchmark of 70% pass rate for each cohort.  Programs in California can use the California Law and Ethics exam for MFTs to meet this requirement. Master's degree programs can add a column if they have International students that do not take the exam or if they have students that take either the National Exam or the California Exam.

Race/Ethnicity and Gender Composition

Race/Ethnicity and Gender Composition

Spring, 2019

Category of Diversity

Student

Faculty

Total

Race/Ethnicity

 

 

 

International

0

0

0

African American

3

0

3

Latino/Latina

2

0

2

Asian American

0

0

0

Native American

0

0

0

White, non-Hispanic

4

3

7

Gender

 

 

 

Female

6

2

8

Male

3

1

4

Graduates from the CFT doctoral program may pursue jobs across the country. For your convenience, we are providing a link to two of the most useful resources you can use to identify licensure requirements for any state where you may work. If the state you are moving to requires more coursework than was provided by your master's program, or the doctoral program, you may want to look to online master's programs that can provide the additional courses. Such programs can include NorthCentral and Capella.

Licensing Requirement Links

Faculty and Research

In addition to staffing the LGBTQ Counseling Clinic, where we provide ongoing individual, couple, and family therapy to anyone who identifies as LGBTQ, their families, and the community at large, you can have hands-on experience in ongoing research.

To see associated faculty, please: Visit Faculty Listing 

 

Areas of expertise include:

  • Military Families
  • Transgender Identities
  • Trauma Informed Therapy
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Family-systems
  • LGBTQ 
LGBTQ on top of rainbow spectrum

LGBTQ Counseling Clinic

Free, confidential counseling.

Admissions and Application

  • 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).
    Note: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. Please note that the GRE is not required for graduate assistantships, teaching assistantships, or research assistantships within the College of Education, nor is it required for Graduate College fellowships. The GRE is a requirement for Special Graduate Assistantships (SGAs) offered through the Iowa Measurement and Research Foundation.
  • 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.

  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions
  • NOTE: The GRE requirement has been suspended for the 2021-2022 admissions cycle. 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.

Apply Now

Please review the required supplemental documents above before starting the general graduate application. To begin the application process, set up an account with an existing email address and password

Program Resources

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.

Cohort A (entering odd years)

First Fall Semester

  • PSQF:7395 Social Context and Family Research
  • PSQF:7459 Seminar: Issues and Trends in Counselor Education
  • PSQF:7389 Seminar in Couple Intervention
  • PSQF:7361 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy

First Spring Semester

  • PSQF:7261 Advanced Couple and Family Therapy
  • PSQF:7351 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Teaching Course
  • Statistics/Qualitative Course

First Summer Semester

  • PSQF:6235 Advanced Multiculturalism (CP)
  • PSQF:7361 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy

Second Fall Semester

  • PSQF:5265 Research Methods in Couple and Family Therapy
  • PSQF:7404 Seminar in Child and Adolescent Intervention Research
  • PSQF:7399 Supervision in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Statistics/Qualitative Course

Second Spring Semester

  • PSQF:7356 Process and Outcomes (CP)
  • PSQF:7460 Research in Counseling Seminar
  • Statistics Course/Qualitative Course
  • Teaching Course

Second Summer Semester

  • Teaching Course
  • Teaching Course

Cohort B (entering even years)

First Fall Semester

  • PSQF:5265 Research Methods in Couple and Family Therapy
  • PSQF:7404 Seminar in Child and Adolescent Intervention Research
  • PSQF:7459 Seminar: Issues and Trends in Counselor Education
  • PSQF:7361 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy

First Spring Semester

  • PSQF:7356 Process and Outcomes (CP)
  • PSQF:7351 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Teaching Course
  • Statistics/Qualitative Course

First Summer Semester

  • RCE:7361 Advanced Practicum in Couple and Family Therapy
  • Teaching Course

Second Fall Semester

  • PSQF:7395 Social Context and Family Research
  • PSQF:7389 Seminar in Couple Intervention
  • Teaching Course
  • Statistics/Qualitative Course

Second Spring Semester

  • PSQF:7261 Advanced Couple and Family Therapy and Psychotherapy
  • PSQF:7460 Research in Counseling Seminar
  • Statistics Course/Qualitative Course
  • Teaching Course

Second Summer Semester

  • Teaching Course

*Cohort B takes RCE:7399 Supervision in Couple and Family Therapy during the Fall of their 3rd year

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

Jacob Priest
Associate Professor and LGBTQ Clinic Director
N372 Lindquist Center
319-335-6044
jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu

Connect with us on:
Twitter and Facebook