Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy


Program Description

Online Clinical Psychology Master’s Program Highlights

  • 8–12 sessions
  • 62–68 units
  • sessions of field placement

The online master's programs offer cohort start dates every year in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The submit deadline for the summer cohort is Friday, May 8.

In as few as 24 months, you will be prepared to positively affect the health and well-being of those in need.

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology online from Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology empowers you to provide families and couples with the impartial guidance they need to build happier and healthier relationships.

Through interactive online course work led by distinguished Pepperdine faculty and clinical training in or near your own community, you will be prepared to pursue work as an LMFT in as few as 24 months.

What Does a Marriage and Family Therapist Do?

Marriage counselors help families and couples deal with issues and conflicts that are affecting their relationships, mental health, and well-being. While no two clients will have the same needs, there are some common issues you can expect to help solve as a family therapist.

As a marriage counselor or family therapist you may see clients who are:

  • Suffering through depression.
  • Affected by substance abuse of a partner or family member.
  • Affected by the psychological disorders of a partner or family member.
  • Going through marital stress or family conflict caused by grief, emotional pain, fear, anger, guilt, or separating lifestyles.

You will help your clients by:

  • Being an impartial listener.
  • Observing how family members and couples interact with one another.
  • Highlighting problematic relational and behavioral patterns.
  • Evaluating and finding effective and pragmatic resolutions to problems.
  • Helping replace dysfunctional behaviors with healthier alternatives.

Admissions Overview

OnlinePsychology@Pepperdine seeks students who are committed to cultivating a deep understanding of human behavior while advancing their capability to serve those in need. We accept applications on a rolling basis and offer you the option to start earning your psychology degree at various times throughout the year.

To apply, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution. You are not required to provide GRE scores as part of your application. Applicants who take advantage of the priority submit deadline will have their application fee waived.

LMFT Licensure Requirements

To pursue a career as an LMFT, first, you will need to have earned a bachelor’s degree. Students of all educational backgrounds are able to apply. You will then need to:

  • Earn your master’s in clinical psychology.
  • Fulfill a certain amount of fieldwork hours as required by your state’s licensing board.
  • Pursue licensure as a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Licensing requirements vary by state. 

Careers in Marriage and Family Therapy

LMFT career options are many. Marriage counselors can work in hospitals, schools, or social service agencies, or even start their own practice. Many counselors also choose to work with a specific population, such as children or the elderly.

As you earn your master’s and complete your fieldwork hours, you’ll have time to explore your areas of interest within the field.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for marriage and family therapists is projected to grow 22% from 2018 to 2028.

Curriculum Overview

Our curriculum focuses on current applied methods of psychotherapy, offering a practice-based course of study with clinical training in or near your community. You will learn about various topics, including the social and psychological implications of socioeconomics and how poverty and social stress affect the ability of individuals, couples, and families to thrive.

Regardless of the licensure path you wish to pursue, our foundation courses are the same. You will have the opportunity to choose electives that most interest you during the program.

Upon graduation you will know how to diagnose clients, formulate clinical cases, develop treatment plans, and facilitate therapeutic processes.

Online Course Work

The course catalog includes 6 units of core courses that build the foundation of your clinical psychology education and frame the concepts you’ll explore throughout the program. After you complete these foundation courses, you will complete 62 units of master’s-level courses that expose you to the latest theories and advancements being discussed in the field today.

Core courses cover key topics such as multicultural counseling, sexuality and intimacy, and substance abuse treatment.

Foundation courses include PSY 657 Psychopathology, PSY 659 Behavioral Principles and Theories of Learning. You may be able to waive these foundation courses if you have completed them as part of your undergraduate degree. To qualify for a waiver, course work must have been completed within the last seven years at a regionally accredited institution, and you must have earned a grade of “B” or better.

Clinical Training

As part of the program, you will take four terms of clinical practicum, where you will receive clinical training under the supervision of a licensed therapist or counselor at an approved clinical site near your community. Ahead of your clinical practicum, you will take the Preparation for Practicum course, which will introduce you to key skills needed while working directly with clients.

For students in California intending to pursue licensure as a marriage and family therapist (LMFT), 225 hours must be spent directly with clients. For students in California intending to pursue licensure as a professional clinical counselor (LPC), 280 hours must be spent directly with clients.

All students outside of California will be required to complete 700 total placement hours, including the 225 (LMFT) or 280 (LPC) hours spent directly with clients.

Last updated Oct 2020

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About the School

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) provides innovative academic programs dedicated to building scholar-practitioners through hands-on learning. We shape individua ... Read More

Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) provides innovative academic programs dedicated to building scholar-practitioners through hands-on learning. We shape individuals who will be catalysts for inspiration and change. Read less