Grand Canyon University

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy


3300 W Camelback Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85017

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy

Format: Online

Program Description:

Top 15 Program
GCU was ranked as one of the top 15 best online master’s programs in marriage and family therapy.*

Focus on Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) in the Mental Health Counseling MS Program

No matter how close a family is, life will always have its ups and downs. As an aspiring marriage and family therapist, you could make it your life’s work to help couples and families overcome obstacles and live harmoniously. You can earn your Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy at Grand Canyon University. This degree focuses on family dynamics, parent-child relationships and issues that affect couples.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the marriage and family therapy emphasis degree empowers students to proactively plan the direction of their desired careers. Students prepare to provide individual, couple and family counseling within a carefully structured environment that inspires a sense of security.

The courses for this master’s in clinical mental health counseling for marriage and family therapy were selected to fit the requirements of the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor (CCMHC) credential, the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential and the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners.

What Is a Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree with an MFT Emphasis?

Graduates with a clinical mental health counseling MS degree focused on MFT take a family-oriented approach to assessing, diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal issues. MFTs are professionals with an in-depth understanding of psychotherapy and family systems. As a student at GCU, you will be inspired to develop your understanding of the Christian worldview and faith-based ethics as you study the curriculum. Future counselors are encouraged to adopt a compassionate and empathetic approach to counseling while maintaining professional boundaries.

Work Toward Family and Marriage Licensure

The MS in mental health counseling - marriage and family therapy degree examines the complex dynamics of families and couples. Students will begin with coursework that covers the fundamentals of the theories and models of counseling. Other early topics of study include the ethical and legal considerations of professional counseling. Advanced coursework includes the following core competencies:

    The stages, processes and effects of substance use disorders, including the counselor’s role in prevention, intervention and recovery
    The structure and dynamics of the family, including assessments and methods of marital and family intervention and counseling
    The biopsychosocial perspectives of family and family systems
    The foundational development of marriage and family therapy
    Approaches to working with diverse family systems, including multicultural, blended, adoptive, separated and single-parent families

Pursue a Career in Counseling with a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health - Marriage & Family Therapy

Mental health counseling is a rewarding and personally fulfilling career path. No two days are alike in the therapy field, as counselors may work with a diverse spectrum of clients who are all dealing with unique circumstances. Marriage and family specialists may help clients cope with difficult issues like infidelity, chronic stress, divorce and financial stressors. Many marriage and family counselors work in private practice. Others may work in the following settings:

    Hospitals and clinics
    Social service agencies
    Community-based organizations
    Faith-based organizations

This graduate-level degree does not lead to marriage and family licensure. However, it does meet the academic requirements for licensure in Arizona as a Licensed Associate Counselor (LAC) and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). It’s recommended that students review the requirements for licensure in other states as needed, as well as the licensure requirements for marriage and family boards.

*Retrieved from Intelligent in March 2021.


North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Facts & Figures

Classification: Master's College or University I

Loans Offered: Perkins Loan, Stafford Student Loans, PLUS Loans, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) State Grant, Arizona Post-Secondary Education Voucher Program State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 0-999

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