Program Overview

Family Therapy  

An integrative family systems approach is emphasized which draws from the various theoretical perspectives including the following: multi-generational, individual, and family development, object relations, contextual, structural, strategic, Bowen family systems, narrative and constructivist theories. This program of study satisfies the requirements to sit for the Georgia licensing exam as a marriage and family therapist and leads to admission into the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.  

Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy  

The Georgia Composite Board for Professional Counselors, Clinical Social Workers, and Marriage and Family Therapists requires that all licensed MFT's must have at least five specialized courses and three years of practice, one year of which can be in a University MFT Practicum. This certificate program is designed for professionals who hold a Master's or a Doctor's degree in an allied mental health profession (i.e., psychology, medicine, counseling, social work, and others). A minimum of one year of clinical practicum is required. The successful completion of the Certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy meets the academic requirements for sitting for the Georgia licensing examination as a marriage and family therapist.  

Academic Information  

  1. Completion of the Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy should take no more than three (3) years full-time or six (6) years part-time to complete the program.  
  2. Full-time enrollment will be considered six (6) semester hours; half-time will be considered three (3) semester hours. A graduate student may not register for more than six (6) credit hours per semester unless the overload has been approved by the Program Director.  

Academic Calendar for Graduate Programs: Class of 2018 - Class of 2021


Academic Advising  

Each student will be assigned a faculty advisor. The advisor will assist students in selecting courses, devising strategies to meet career objectives, and recommending resolutions to academic problems. The advisor is to meet with the student to establish a course of action outlining the course sequence for the student to follow which best fits with the student’s capabilities and circumstances. The advisee outline is to be stored in the student’s academic file in the MFT/MFS Administrative Assistant’s office. The advisor is to be available to the student to counsel as needed concerning the student’s progress through the Program.

Course Numbering System

The numbering system for graduate courses in MFT will be 600-699. Each course will appear in the Bulletin with the prefix MFST.

Cancellation of Courses

Curriculum Changes

The School of Medicine may from time to time revise the curriculum for the MFT Program. The academic year for the MFT Program begins with the Fall Semester (16 weeks and Spring Semester, 16 weeks) and ends with the Summer Semester (11 weeks) the following calendar year. Students who are enrolled in Practicum will continue year round (50 weeks).

A student must fulfill the education requirements listed in the catalog in effect during the academic year in which that student entered the Program at MUSM unless he or she is not enrolled for two or more consecutive semesters. If a student is not enrolled for two or more semesters, he or she must fulfill the education requirements listed in the catalog currently in effect.

Units of Credit

The MFT Program at MUSM uses the semester hour as the basic unit of credit. All courses carry three hours of credit unless otherwise specified. The individual course descriptions indicate the number of credit hours awarded for each course.

Grading System

Letter grades are reported and recorded for all courses in which the student is enrolled after the end of the stated course change period. They are as follows:

Grade Interpretation Quality Points per Credit Hour
A Excellent 4.00
B+ Good 3.50
B Good 3.00
C+ Average 2.50
C Average 2.00
F Failure 0.00
ABX Absence from Final Exam
AU Audit
I Incomplete
IP In Progress (Continuing)*
W Withdrawal
Z Grade Not Reported

*The grade of "IP" (In Progress) is awarded only in graduate internships, practica, or research courses which may extend beyond the end of a semester. A student is expected to finish in progress work based on the timetable established by the professor issuing the "IP" grade.

The grade of "ABX" (Absence From the Final Exam Excused) denotes that the student was absent from the examination because of illness or another valid and compelling reason deemed satisfactory to the professor. A makeup examination must be taken by the end of the next semester after the student re-enters MUSM. Credit will not be awarded unless the ABS grade has been removed within one calendar year if the student does not re-enroll.

The grade of "I" indicates that a relatively small part of the semester's course work remains incomplete because of sickness or reasons satisfactory to the instructor. The work must be completed within one semester after the student re-enters MUSM. If the student does not complete the required work within the time specified, the grade automatically converts to an "F".

Grading Options

Degree-seeking students enrolled in graduate courses will receive letter grades for all graduate work. The grades of "Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory" are not options for MFT graduate students.


All students are required to register for courses at the time prescribed in the MUSM calendar or in compliance with official notices issued by the Office of the Registrar/Associate Dean of Admissions at MUSM. Official course enrollment, which includes the completion of satisfactory arrangement for financial payments, is required for admission to classes.

Completing and submitting a registration form commits a student for the courses requested and the corresponding fees and charges incurred. A student who early-registers or registers during a formal registration period and is unable to attend classes, must notify the Registrar in writing prior to the first day of class. A student who registers after formal registration period is required to pay a $25.00 late fee.

Adding or Dropping Courses

Adding and/or dropping courses must be accomplished on or before the dates specified in the academic calendar. Required forms must be obtained and processed in the Registrar's office. Courses dropped during this period will not appear on the student's grade report or permanent record.

Withdrawing from Courses

A student may withdraw from a course with a grade of "W" after the course change period and on or before the last day for withdrawals as shown in the current academic calendar. Withdrawals are not used when computing grade point averages. Students should also read the Financial Information section regarding possible loss of financial aid. To make an official withdrawal from a course, a student must obtain and submit a completed Course Withdrawal Form to the MUSM registrar. If the student elects to discontinue class attendance and academic performance and does not complete an official Course Withdrawal Form within the time limits described, a grade of "F" (Failure) will be recorded on the student's official record.

Academic Standards

A minimum grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale) must be maintained for all required graduate course work. Additionally, only two letter grades of "C" will be permitted throughout the graduate degree program. Mercer University does not award a letter grade of D. Students receiving a letter grade of "F" will be permanently excluded from the program.  

Satisfactory Academic Progress

A graduate student is expected to maintain satisfactory academic progress, i.e., maintain an average of "B" or better throughout his or her academic program. A student may repeat only one course throughout the degree program to improve a letter grade of "C" or lower. A student with three letter grades of "C" will be indefinitely excluded from his or her graduate program and the word "exclusion" will appear on the official transcript. A student may appeal a program exclusion to the Student Promotions Committee and finally to the Dean of the School of Medicine.

Program Limitations

A student seeking a master's degree must complete all program requirements within six years from the start of his or her program in MUSM . The time requirement begins when a student formally enrolls in his or her first graduate course in MUSM.  

Credit through Extra-Collegiate Learning Program

No credit will be awarded for courses taken by correspondence or through other forms of life experiences. Courses taken in other graduate programs in which a degree was earned cannot be used for credit in the master's program or certificate programs offered through MUSM.

The Practicum

The Practicum is an important part of the Master in Family Therapy program. It serves as a forum which allows for the integration of the theoretical with the practical and facilitates the goal of educating professionals with a demonstrated capacity for excellent performance. The Practicum is in a clinical setting. The student will work as a marriage and family therapy intern and apply marriage and family therapy theory to actual cases in the clinical setting. The student will have 10 hours of direct client contact weekly for a period of twelve months. The student must have accrued 500 hours of direct client contact in the Practicum with greater than 51% (255 hours) in relational therapy (i.e. couples and/or families). The faculty Approved Supervisor will provide clinical supervision of cases 1?4 hours weekly with the students in group and/or individual supervision 50% of which is based on audio taping, videotaping or direct observation of student clinical work. Part of the Practicum is taken in conjunction with courses MFST 620 and 630.

Degree Requirements

  1. Completion of all academic course work with a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0. The student may have no more than two letter grades of "C" in all course work, including practica.
  2. Completion of a minimum of a one year practicum experience (nine semester hours) in which the student accrued 500 hours of direct client contact. A student must have taken additional practica as needed in order to accrue the 500 hour client contact requirement with greater than 51% (255 hours) in relational therapy (i.e. couples and families).
  3. Accrual of a minimum of 100 hours of clinical supervision of which:
    A minimum of 50 hours of individual supervision
    A minimum of 50% of the required total supervision will be conducted by direct observation (audio/video tape or live supervision).
  4. Submission of satisfactory evaluations from clinical supervisors and practicum site administrators in each practicum.
  5. Submission of accurate records of accrued client contact hours to the Clinical Director of the program. A minimum of 500 hours is required with greater than 51% in relational therapy (i.e. couples and families).
  6. Achievement of a passing score on the comprehensive exam.
  7. Certification of completion of all degree requirements by the Office of the Registrar.

The School of Medicine reserves the right to cancel a scheduled course due to unforeseen circumstances or if an insufficient number of students enroll for the course. Faculty advisors will assist students in the selection of alternative courses when a course is cancelled.