Academics Curriculum

The 48-credit hour Master of Family Therapy (M.F.T.) Degree at Mercer University School of Medicine prepares students to become Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists in Georgia and other states and for clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). The program of study is derived from components of the Professional Marriage and Family Therapy Principles (PMFTPs), which include the M.F.T. Core Competencies; the AAMFT Code of Ethics; the Association of Martial and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) Examination Domains, Task Statements, and Knowledge Statements; and Georgia licensure laws. With full-time study, a student completes graduation requirements in a minimum of six semesters.

The program includes:

  • 13 classroom-based courses taught at night in Macon and during the day in Atlanta (39 credit hours),
  • a six-semester professional development seminar series, and
  • a year-long (nine credit hours) clinical practicum.

The Mercer M.F.T. program curriculum is based upon a comprehensive and substantive understanding of human development, family dynamics, systemic thinking, interactional theories, traditional and contemporary marriage and family therapy theories, research, and the cultural context in which they are embedded. The logical structure and sequence of the curriculum represents a flow from broad context to specificity, from introductions of foundational theories and frameworks of family systems and human development to increasingly more specialized and sophisticated theory-to-practice linkages and skill development. A focus on the importance of research-informed clinical practice is evident from the first semester with course readings that present empirical studies as well as theoretical and philosophical frameworks (e.g., multicultural, feminist, biopsychosocial/spiritual).

One of the largest considerations of how to prioritize the sequence of courses involves preparing students to enter practicum placements in the community and see clients at the Mercer Family Therapy Centers. During the clinical practicum, students earn 500 direct clinical experience hours (100 of which are relational) and 100 hours of supervision from AAMFT-approved supervisors. Coursework is prioritized to facilitate a smooth entry into clinical practicum, recognizing that students are in a wide range of settings and dealing with very diverse presenting problems. Practicum is structured to gently guide students into direct client contact by first allowing them to observe, then role play, followed by joining real cases as team members, and then finally to building their own caseload.

Theory to practice linkages culminate in the capstone paper and presentation in which students carefully analyze their own clinical work and articulate in theoretical terms not only how they are actually conducting therapy but also why they are making the choices they make in practice.

Required Courses

Professional Development Seminar Series Credit Hours
MFT601 Professional Development Seminar I 0
MFT602 Professional Development Seminar II 0
MFT603 Professional Development Seminar III 0
MFT604 Professional Development Seminar IV 0
MFT605 Professional Development Seminar V 0
MFT606 Professional Development Seminar VI 0
Core Curriculum
MFT610 Foundations of Family Studies 3
MFT615 Human Development 3
MFT620 Diversity and Social Justice 3
MFT625 Theories of Family Therapy 3
MFT630 Assessment of Diagnosis in Family Therapy 3
MFT635 Foundational Skills in Practicum 3
MFT640 Clinical Treatment with Children, Adolescents and Families 3
MFT645 Addiction in Family Systems 3
MFT650 Ethical, Legal and Professional Practice in Family Therapy 3
MFT655 Couples Therapy (Pre-requisite MFT625) 3
MFT660 Clinical Family Therapy Research Models 3
MFT665 Human Sexuality 3
Total Required Hours 36
Electives (One required)  
MFT680 Special Topics in Marriage and Family Therapy 3
MFT681 Grief and Loss Across the Lifespan 3
MFT682 Play Therapy 3
MFT683 Group Therapy 3
MFT690 Foundations in Integrated Behavioral Health and Medical Family Therapy 3
MFT691 Cancer, Chronic Illness and Lifestyle Medicine 3
MFT692 Stress, Social Relationships and Ecology of Well-Being 3
MFT693 Practicum and Mechanisms of Change in Medical Family Therapy 3
Total Elective Hours 3
M.F.T. Practicum Sequence (three semesters minimum)  
MFT702 Practicum II 3
MFT703 Practicum III 3
MFT704 Practicum IV 3
MFT705 Practicum V 3
Total Practicum Hours 9
Total Degree Program Hours 48