M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy

Do you want to make a positive impact on families and relationships?
Degree Type Master of Science
Careers & Salaries Graduate Degree Outcomes
Delivery On Campus

UW-Stout's Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy has a long-standing reputation for rigorous clinical training in counseling and therapy, and our graduates are outstanding. Our program has been continuously accredited for over forty years! We have proven methods of training successful, effective therapists. 

Unique features of our program include:

  • A cohort model, where each class of 14 students moves through the program as a group.
  • Our on-campus, state-of-the-art clinic, where students do half of their required 300 hours of clinical practice.
  • Close supervision and one-on-one activities with faculty.
  • A compressed Monday-Tuesday schedule for all on-campus classes.
  • A learning context in which diversity and non-discrimination are addressed, practiced and valued. 
  • A base of loyal and supportive alumni.
Advance your career by gaining job focused, hands on experience taught by faculty/staff who work in the field. / UW-Stout

Program Overview

View program plans, credit requirements and course descriptions.


Note: The Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy at UW-Stout program is designed to meet the requirements for licensure in the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota. If you reside outside of Wisconsin or Minnesota, please contact Dr. Heather Hessel, the Program Director for the Marriage and Family Therapy program, to confirm whether this program (or coursework) meets requirements for professional licensure in your state. Students from other states may also need to contact their state regarding licensure requirements. See the following website for additional information. 

Preparing Students for Success

Our curriculum adheres to the high standards for MFT training set by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). Accredited since 1977, our program has the distinction of being one of the two longest COAMFTE-accredited programs in the nation. Accreditation is important because it requires programs to use measures of student progress and graduate success to evaluate training effectiveness and to make changes where necessary. This goes a long way toward ensuring that: 

  1. the program curriculum contains state-of-the-art MFT content,
  2. instructors and clinical supervisors are appropriately trained and credentialed, and
  3. graduates are well positioned to meet licensing requirements and to be successful in the workplace.

Evidence of the success of students in this program is found in our high graduation rate, success rates of graduates in passing the national exam, and the percentage of graduates who obtain licensure as Marriage and Family Therapists.

Career Opportunities

"US News and World Report list Marriage and Family Therapy as #20 among the top 100 jobs in the nation."

The marriage and family therapist industry will experience future growth of 30 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This is due in part to an increased recognition of the field. It is more common for people to seek help for their marital and family problems than it was in the past. Our graduates can feel assured that they'll find exceptional opportunities for gainful, rewarding employment.

Our grads find work in a variety of settings, to name a few:

  • Private and Public Mental Health Agencies
  • Behavioral Health Units
  • Chemical Dependency Facilities
  • Adolescent Day Treatment
  • Hospice Programs
  • Hospitals
  • Home-Based Family Therapy
  • Community Social Service Agencies
  • Alternative Schools
  • Faith Communities and Churches
  • Employee Assistance Programs

Use the Request Information form to receive a program summary and learn more about the Master of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Request Information

Tuition & Fees

Customized Instruction at UW Stout can be described as programs that are designed with the adult learner in mind. If you're comparing UW-Stout's customized instruction tuition to our competitors, keep in mind:

  • Customized instruction tuition rate includes the textbook rental fee.
  • There are no additional university-based semester or technology fees.
  • Students in customized instruction programs pay the same rate of tuition regardless if Wisconsin residents, out-of-state or international participants.

Value for Your Money

There’s more to value than just tuition. UW Stout also provides:

  • Program Director – faculty with discipline expertise.
  • Student Services adviser – one point of contact, providing support to students for each program.
  • Course sequences and matrices – know what courses are offered when so you can plan ahead.

Other universities will present costs and value differently - make sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Admission Requirements

General UW-Stout Graduate School Application

All prospective graduate students at UW-Stout must follow a standard application process through our Graduate School. Beyond that, each graduate program has specific requirements that must be met to be successfully admitted to the program:

Program-Specific Admission Requirements


To be admitted with full status to the M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy program, you must:

  • Hold an appropriate Bachelor's degree from an accredited college.
  • Have earned an overall GPA of at least 2.75.

Program Application

To be considered for admission into this program you must complete the following:

  • Program Application Online | PDF | Word
  • Recommendation Form Online | PDF | Word
    • At least 3 recommendation letters are required, preferably from previous supervisors, mentors, employers, colleagues, or similarly qualified persons.

These may be completed online or mailed to the Program Director. 

Application Deadline

    Applicants are strongly advised to complete the admissions process prior to January 15. Applications received after this deadline will be considered as space is available.

    Mission, Goals, Outcomes

    Mission, Program Goals, and Student Learning Outcomes

    The MFT program at UW-Stout has a distinct mission which is supported by associated program goals and student learning outcomes:


    The mission of the MFT program is to assure that graduates are competently trained to become entry-level professional couple and family therapists. The program promotes a systemic-relational MFT clinical orientation, utilizes a combination of academic and experiential methods of training, and addresses the role of power, privilege, and inclusivity in therapy.

    Program Goals and Student Learning Outcomes

    Goal 1: Knowledge.  The program will help students/graduates achieve an adequate understanding of professional marriage and family therapy principles so as to support them as they enter the field as practicing professionals.

    • SLO 1:  Students/graduates will demonstrate knowledge of principles underlying couples and family therapy including theoretical models, dynamics of couple/family interaction and human development, trauma, diagnosis and assessment, and psychological testing.

    Goal 2: Practice.  The program will help students/graduates develop systemically-based clinical skills.

    • SLO 2: Students/graduates will exhibit clinical skills necessary for the practice of couple and family therapy including the use of self in therapy, clinical assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning and management, assessment of potential for harm to self or others, and therapeutic intervention.
    • SLO 6:  Students/graduates will complete the program and enter the field as couple and family therapists.

    Goal 3:  Inclusivity.  The program will foster an environment that recognizes privilege and difference and values inclusivity.

    • SLO 3:  Students/graduates will demonstrate an awareness of power, privilege, and difference within therapeutic and supervisory contexts. 

    Goal 4:  Research. The program will help students/graduates become competent consumers of research so they may maintain empirically informed practices.

    • SLO 4: Students/graduates will demonstrate an adequate understanding of how research can be applied to clinical practice.

    Goal 5: Ethics.  The program will help students/graduates learn and apply ethical standards consistent with the practice of couples and family therapy.

    • SLO 5: Students/graduates will demonstrate an applied knowledge of ethics, legalities, and professional standards related to the practice of couple and family therapy.
    2022-2023 Advisory Committee

    2022-23 Advisory Committee

    Molly  Bailey Therapist Minnesota Trauma Recovery Institute
    Brian  Crim Therapist Adulteen Counseling
    Elizabeth Doherty-Thomas Consultant, therapist Doherty Family Institute
    Chasidy Faith Director Counseling Center, UW-Stout
    Dale  Hawley Therapist, Retired faculty Great River Psychotherapy
    Heather Hessel Program Director UW-Stout
    Candice Maier Clinical Director UW-Stout
    Patrick Parker Therapist Good Human Work
    Ruben Prado Therapist LifeStance Health
    Meriam Njah Therapist Kente Circle
    Jeanne  Rothaupt Counselor Retired
    Mary  Sokup Therapist Vantage Point
    Larry  Tucker Therapist Kente Circle
    Mai Bao Xiong Therapist Wilder Clinic
    Kyle Zrenchik Therapist ALL IN Therapy Clinic
    Professional Licensure Requirements

    This program is designed to meet educational requirements for licensure/certification in the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota (MN requirements verified in May 2021). Professional licensure/certification prerequisites vary from state to state, and we are not able to determine whether our program meets prerequisites in other states. If you intend to work in another state, contact that state's regulatory authority to determine if our program will meet the licensure/certification requirements, and contact the UW-Stout Program Director for assistance. Please see the following website for additional information.

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