Department of Marriage and Family


Character and Purpose 

The master's degree programs of the Department of Marriage and Family at Fuller Seminary's School of Psychology are designed to prepare persons for service in the fields of marital and family therapy, family life education, and marriage and family studies. We seek to offer an educational environment that fosters personal integrity, Christian vision, and professional competence.

The marriage and family program is identified by three characteristics.

The Fuller Tradition. Consistent with the Fuller tradition, the members of the marriage and family faculty are representative of denominational diversity and distinguished service in their particular specialties, and stand united in their evangelical commitment, pursuit of academic excellence, and promotion of social concerns. The heritage of the Fuller tradition provides a solid foundation for developing a redemptive vision for marriages and families.

Redemptive Vision for Families. Each member of the marriage and family faculty is committed to training persons who are capable of addressing the full scope of the contemporary challenge confronting the family and the mental health profession. Moreover, they are committed to graduate training that is undergirded by a redemptive vision for the family. This vision is Christ-centered, and integrates Christian values with the study of marriage and family relationships, through a combined curriculum of theological studies and the social and behavioral sciences. The goal of the faculty is to prepare persons who are thoroughly equipped in theory and in practice to function directly or indirectly as an expression of God's grace in their care of families.

Christian Scholarship. At Fuller, the marriage and family faculty train Christian scholars to express their care and vision through family life education, family studies, and marital and family therapy. The task of developing a redemptive vision requires theological and integrative studies beyond the standard graduate curriculum in family studies and marital and family therapy. Faculty are committed to the importance of research, and give creative leadership to those students who wish to pursue their own research in a master's thesis.


Program Distinctives 

The above three characteristics are foundational to the degree programs developed by the department as it seeks to train persons who will provide leadership in promoting resources and addressing challenges facing the contemporary family including expanding the clinical and educational outreach of the profession.

The purpose of the Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy (MS MFT) degree is to prepare Christian individuals with professional clinical skills for licensure or certification as marital and family therapists. The curriculum is designed to meet the academic requirements of Section 4980.36 or 4980.37 of the State of California Business and Professions Code, and is recognized by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as meeting the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. The curriculum for the MS MFT program offered at Fuller Southwest in Phoenix is designed to meet the requirements of Title 4, Chapter 6, Section R4-6-601 of the Arizona Administrative Code. The training program normally requires a 12-month supervised practicum.

The purpose of the Master of Arts in Family Studies (MA FS) degree is to provide in-depth training in the knowledge and skills pertinent to preventative education and the enrichment of marriages and families. This degree is specifically designed for those who do not wish to pursue clinical training and licensure but wish to be trained to provide high quality psychoeducational intervention instead.


Admission 

General standards for admission to Fuller Theological Seminary may be found in the Admission Standards section of this catalog.

Master of Science in Marital and Family Therapy. Admission to this degree program requires that a student has earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution. All applicants are reviewed by an admissions committee consisting of two department faculty members and two graduate students. The committee selects applicants qualified to engage in graduate work in marital and family therapy or studies, interviewing applicants when appropriate. New students are admitted to the MS MFT in the fall quarter only. Application deadlines and dates for notification of admission decisions can be found at http://www.fuller.edu/admissions/apply/deadlines-masters.aspx. Admission is competitive and is based upon four criteria.

Personal Maturity. Applicants must possess the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual maturity, and the vocational suitability to engage in a career in marital and family therapy. These qualities are evaluated through letters of recommendation, the applicant's statement of purpose and a summary of related experience. An interview may be required to clarify any issues that arise concerning the applicant's overall readiness for the program.

Grade Point Average. Applicants normally have a minimum 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate course work.

Prerequisite Course Work. Applicants to the MS MFT should have a minimum of 24 quarter hours or 18 semester hours in the social and behavioral sciences prior to admission. Specifically, in addition to one course in introductory social science research or statistics, a minimum of five courses in social and behavioral sciences must be completed. Coursework in Theories of Personality (or Counseling Theories), Abnormal Psychology, and Lifespan Development (or Developmental Psychology) are strongly recommended, in the order listed. Admission to the program is contingent upon the committee's evaluation of the appropriateness of an applicant's academic preparation.

Aptitude Testing. In addition to the achievement of academic excellence in previous undergraduate and/or graduate course work, applicants are expected to demonstrate the aptitude required to succeed in graduate level work at Fuller Seminary. Applicants fulfill this requirement by submitting their scores from the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test taken within the past five years.

In exceptional cases, equivalent demonstrations of graduate level aptitude may be considered at the discretion of the admissions committee. Such considerations may include, but are not limited to previous performance in graduate work at institutions accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges or another equivalent regional accrediting body. Those seeking such a substitution must petition the admissions committee in advance of the application deadline. Normally, an applicant must have achieved a minimum 3.5 cumulative grade point average in prior undergraduate and graduate course work for the petition to be considered.

In addition to the general test of the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test, applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum score of 250 (600 on paper-based test or 100 on the Internet-based test) on the TOEFL or 7.0 on the IELTS is required for admission to the M.S. degree program. The TOEFL or the IELTS must have been taken within the past two years. For the breakdown of the sub-scores that is required, please refer to www.fuller.edu/admissions/apply/english-language-req.aspx.

Master of Arts in Family Studies. Admission to this degree program requires that a student has earned a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution with a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Aptitude Testing. Applicants are required to submit scores from the general test of the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test taken within the past five years.

In addition to the general test of the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test, applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum score of 250 (600 on paper-based test or 100 on the Internet-based test) on the TOEFL or 7.0 on the IELTS is required for admission to the M.A. degree program. The TOEFL or the IELTS must have been taken within the past two years. For the breakdown of the sub-scores that is required, please refer to www.fuller.edu/admissions/apply/english-language-req.aspx.

Prerequisite Coursework. An undergraduate course in statistics or social science research methods is recommended, but not required.

New students may be admitted any quarter. Application deadlines and dates for notification of admission decisions are listed in the Admissions section of this catalog.

Transfer of Credit 

Students in master's degree programs who have completed graduate work in marriage and family at other accredited institutions and desire a reduction in the number of marriage and family credit hours required at Fuller should contact the Associate Director of Academic Affairs after admission. Approval of the department is required for all transfer credit.

Students who have completed graduate coursework in theology and desire a reduction in the number of theology credit hours required at Fuller should also contact the Associate Director of Academic Affairs after admission.

Student Handbook 

In addition to the information contained in the seminary Student Handbook, certain policies, procedures and information concerning students in the program are contained in the School of Psychology Student Handbook. Of particular importance are documents drawn up by faculty-student committees which outline guidelines for personal and professional behavior, as well as policies and procedures for processing grievances regarding students and faculty. It is an implied contract that all students will comply with regulations in both handbooks while they are students under the jurisdiction of the Department of Marriage and Family and the seminary. Therefore, all students admitted to programs in the department are expected to read, know, and comply with the policies contained in these handbooks.

Academic and Clinical Reviews 

Students are reviewed formally at least twice each year. All students are required to undergo academic and clinical reviews of their performance by faculty and/or appropriate clinical supervisors. The policies and procedures used for these reviews are detailed in the School of Psychology Student Handbook and the MS MFT Practicum Manual.



MASTER OF SCIENCE IN MARITAL AND FAMILY THERAPY 

The Training Experience 

The scope of the training experience in marital and family therapy at Fuller is integrative in nature and encompasses a three-fold focus: 1) theoretical training in a variety of subject areas (i.e., family studies, marital therapy and family therapy, theology and integration, research); 2) clinical training (i.e., lab training, live observation, practicum); and 3) personal growth experiences. Throughout these training experiences, faculty strive to integrate theological perspectives along with an understanding of the social and behavioral sciences.

Integration Studies 

The distinctiveness of the Marriage and Family Department goes beyond its commitment to excellence in training and scholarship. The faculty believe that the moral context of a Christian seminary is uniquely suited to the training of practitioners and academicians who will be committed to the vitality of family life. In this vein, the task of integrating faith with academic and clinical training is of central importance.

The Marriage and Family faculty view this integration as a life-long process. Coursework is intended to provide a foundation of experience, knowledge and skills, taught from a Christian perspective. Faculty encourage the integration of biblical, theological and philosophical perspectives as they communicate course material that reflects their own integrative efforts. They also seek to challenge students to begin to deal with the full range of human experience, to articulate a coherent system of values and beliefs, and to be agents of healing in the lives of individuals and their family relationships. It is expected that such foundations will guide graduates as they continue to develop in their various vocations as Christian family professionals.

Curriculum 

The Department of Marriage and Family has adopted the practitioner-evaluator model for the MS MFT program. This is reflected in the curriculum of the degree program.

Students at the Pasadena campus are expected to take 14-16 units of course work per quarter until all curricular requirements have been met. Reduction in time and course work may be allowed for prior graduate work (see Transfer of Credit above). Students at the Fuller Southwest campus (Phoenix) are expected to take course work at a reduced load spanning three years in the program.

The course of study for an MS degree in marital and family therapy requires 106 quarter units of coursework, and spans two years in a full-time cohort structure in Pasadena, where a majority of the classes meet during the day, or three years in a part-time cohort structure in Phoenix, where the majority of the classes meet on Wednesday afternoons and evenings. A majority of the classes meet during the day. The requirements for the degree are distributed as follows:

  Marital and Family Therapy 32 (33 in Phoenix)
  Clinical Training 18
  Family Studies 16
  Family Research   4 (5 in Phoenix)
  Theology/Integration 24
  Electives 12 (10 in Phoenix)

Marital and Family Therapy.The marital and family therapy curriculum gives each student a broad spectrum of theoretical approaches and clinical training experiences.

  Required: 
  FT 502 Legal and Ethical Issues in Family Practice (4 units/5 units in Phoenix)
  FT 508 Psychopathology and Family Systems (4/5 units)
  FT 514 Family Therapy (4 units)
  FT 518 Marital Therapy (4 units)
  FT 520 Child and Adolescent Therapy in Family Contexts (4 units)
  FT 522 Family Assessment (4 units)
  FT 526 Addiction and Family Treatment (2 units)
  FT 527 Divorced and Reconstituted Families (2 units)
 FT 532
 Working with Children and Families of Color (2 units)
  FT 535 Group Therapy (2 units)

Clinical Training.Students in the master's program in marital and family therapy engage in clinical training throughout their studies, beginning with the first quarter.

  FT 530A Clinical Foundations 1 (2 units)
 FT 530B
Clinical Foundations 2 (2 units)
 FT 530C
Clinical Foundations 3 (2 units)
  FT 550 Practicum (12 units total)
  FT 550C Practicum Consultation (0 units, to be taken concurrently with the practicum - Pasadena campus)
 FT 550S
Practicum Supervision (0 units, to be taken concurrently with the practicum - Phoenix campus)

Family Studies. The core curriculum of family studies provides the student with a solid base for understanding the psychosocial structure and functioning of marriage and the family. M.S. MFT students are required to complete 16 units.

  FS 500 Family Systems Dynamics (4 units)
  FS 501 Gender and Sexuality (4 units)
  FS 505 Child and Family Development (4 units)
  FS 511 Cultural and Ethnic Issues in Marital and Family Interventions (4 units)

Family Research. M.S. MFT students are required to complete 4 units:

  FR 501 Research Methods, Statistics, and Design in MFT (4 units/5 in Phoenix)

 

Theology and Integration. As indicated above, training therapists with a Christian perspective on spiritual, moral, emotional, and relational wholeness, is a central objective of the marriage and family faculty. Therefore, the M.S. degree program requires course work in biblical studies, theology, and integration to equip future therapists with both the conceptual skill necessary to engage in interdisciplinary dialogue and the clinical skill necessary to provide integrative perspective in their work with individuals, couples, and families.

All marriage and family M.S. students complete the following 24 units of theology and integration coursework:

  Required: 
  OT 500 Writings as Introduction to the Old Testament
  NT 500 New Testament Introduction
  MT 501 Doing Theology in Global Contexts
  ET 501 Christian Ethics
   
  Choose one of the following: 
  TC 530 Theology and Film
  TC 516 Theology and Art
  TC 521 Theology and Contemporary Literature
  GM 519 Christian Perspective on Popular Culture
  EV 525 Modern Culture and Evangelism
  CH 504 Modern Church History
  MC 500 Church in Mission
  PH 5xx Any course listed on the schedule as meeting PHIL core

Each M.S. student also completes 4 units of integration course work in addition to the above 20 units of theology:

  Required: 
  FI 500 Introduction to Integration (2 units)
  FI 510A/B/C/D Integration Formation Group (2 units)
   

Electives.The M.S. student in Pasadena selects 8 units of marriage and family elective coursework from among the department course offerings, and 4 units from any of the three schools. In Phoenix, the student selects 6 units of marriage and family electives, and 4 units from any of the three schools.


Clinical Training 

As stated above, students in the master's program in marital and family therapy engage in clinical training throughout their studies. The various combinations of laboratory training, live observation, and practicum in which students participate are established upon the following eight assumptions:

  1. Marital and family therapy is a discipline that is rapidly growing and changing;
  2. Marital and family therapists should be encouraged to critically assess and research MFT theories in order to foster the development of effective methods of treatment;
  3. Marital and family therapists need to demonstrate competence in the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment of a broad spectrum of individual, marital, family, and relationship problems;
  4. Marital and family therapists must be able to consult with a variety of professionals, including clergy persons, internists, psychiatrists, school personnel, psychologists, and family law specialists;
  5. Marital and family therapists need to demonstrate competence in counseling individuals, couples, and families of diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, religious, and cultural backgrounds;
  6. Marital and family therapists should be able to assess the moral and spiritual issues associated with relational problems;
  7. Faculty help students learn the application of theory to clinical practice and give broad oversight to off-campus clinical training, and ensure that training facilities provide exposure to a diverse range of family and mental health issues; and
  8. Community and/or mental health facilities must be utilized in training marital and family therapists to ensure a broad range of exposure mental health and family issues.

Clinical Foundations. All students in the M.S. program engage in a peer laboratory training experience during their first two quarters of study at the Pasadena campus, or beginning in the Spring quarter of the first year at the Phoenix campus. These weekly labs provide an initial practice experience where students can develop basic counseling skills through role-play, audio and/or videotaped feedback and participation in a weekly triad.

After two quarters of basic training, in the third quarter, under the direction of a faculty clinician, students practice various assessment and family therapy techniques by participating as a co-therapist or a team member in simulated marital and family therapy sessions. A specially equipped observation room with a one-way mirror is utilized for the training in Pasadena.

Practicum. In order to graduate, M.S. MFT students must have a minimum of 300 hours of direct client contact experience, with 150 of these hours devoted exclusively to child, couple, group, or family work. The student must receive a minimum of 60 hours of individual supervision (or 120 hours of group supervision) to maintain the ratio of one unit of supervision for every five hours of client contact. A "unit" of supervision is equivalent to either one hour of individual or two hours of group supervision. Students may also extend their practicum experience to 500 client contact hours to accommodate licensing standards in states other than California or Arizona.

Practicum Consultation Groups (Pasadena campus). Practicum Consultation is a required component of practicum in marital and family therapy. The purpose of practicum consultation groups is to promote the student's developing clinical and professional skills through case consultation and discussion of clinical and integration issues.

Practicum Supervision Groups (Phoenix campus). Practicum Supervision  is a required component of practicum in marital and family therapy. The purpose of practicum supervision groups is to promote the student's clinical development through discussion of case reviews, clinical practice, and the program's curriculum.  Supervision will be provided by a marriage and family therapist licensed and qualified to supervise and Arizona.

Clinical Evaluation. To ensure basic competence in clinical skills, students in the M.S. program are evaluated during Clinical Foundations and practicum courses. During Clinical Foundations 1-3, basic family therapy skills and personal readiness for practicum are assessed. During practicum, evaluation of clinical and professional progress is conducted on a quarterly basis. The  Director of Clinical Training provides oversight to the entire evaluation process,  which involves consultation with the MFT faculty, practicum supervisors, and agency directors. Questions and concerns that may arise in the evaluation are then discussed with the Director of Clinical Training.


Personal Growth and Therapy 

Personal maturity and growth are foundational to training in marital and family therapy. Therefore, it is expected that persons training to be marital and family therapists possess characteristics such as personal integrity, empathy, emotional stamina and stability, an ability to manage the emotional environment of counseling others, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, and a commitment to one's own individual, marital, and family growth.

The department is committed to fostering a collegial and communal atmosphere between students, and between students and faculty. In such a relational environment, areas for personal growth are often revealed by a variety of experiences as students progress through their training. Although students are not required to enter personal therapy, this is strongly encouraged.


MASTER OF ARTS IN FAMILY STUDIES 

The purpose of the Master of Arts in Family Studies (M.A. FS) degree is to provide the in-depth training in working with families for those who do not wish to pursue clinical training and licensing. The flexibility built into the curriculum of this degree allows students to specialize in a variety of areas by taking relevant coursework from any of Fuller's three schools toward their electives.

Curriculum 

The Master of Arts in Family Studies is comprised of 80 quarter units of coursework, divided as follows:

  Family Studies 24
  Theology 24
  Electives 32

Family Studies (24 units).The family studies curriculum provides each student with broad background in family coursework emphasizing knowledge and skills in family life education, including preventive work with couples and parents.

  FL 501 Family Life Education
  FL 502 Parent Education and Guidance
  FL 504 Marriage and Interpersonal Relationships
  FS 500 Family Systems Dynamics
  FS 501 Gender and Sexuality
  FS 505 Child and Family Development

Theology  (24 units).All students in the M.A. in Family Studies program complete the following 20 units of biblical studies and theology.

  Required: 
  OT 500 Writings as Introduction to the Old Testament
  NT 500 New Testament Introduction
  MT 501 Doing Theology in Global Contexts
  ET 501 Christian Ethics
  CH 504 Modern Church History
  MC 500 Church and Mission in Global Contexts
   

Electives (32 units).The remaining 32 units of this degree is comprised of courses that befit the student's professional goals. These courses may be taken in any of Fuller's three schools.

Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE). Students may also use the electives to complete the educational requirements specified by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) for their Certified Family Life Educator credential. In addition to the required core courses in the MA FS curriculum, students must complete FT502 Legal and Ethical Issues in Family Practice, FL506 Family Resource Management, FS511 Cultural and Ethnic Issues, FS506 Families in Contemporary Society, and 6 units of supervised Family Life Education Internship. Students who complete these courses will qualify to apply for the Provisional Certification through an abbreviated application process; full certification requires 1,600 hours of post-degree experience if post degree experience is commenced within two years of the degree conferral date.


CERTIFICATE IN MARRIAGE AND FAMILY ENRICHMENT 

The marriage and family department has partnered with the School of Theology to offer a 24-unit Certificate in Marriage and Family Enrichment. The curriculum is comprised of six master's-level courses emphasizing nonclinical training in knowledge and skills pertinent to the educational task of preventive family enrichment. Admission standards are the same as those for admission to a master's degree in the School of Theology. All courses must be taken for academic credit (not audit), and transfer credit is not accepted for this certificate. The curriculum is as follows:

Enrichment 
  Required: 
  FL 502 Parent Education and Guidance
  FL 504 Marriage and Interpersonal Relationships
 
Family Systems 
  Choose one of the following: 
  CN 504 Family Therapy and Pastoral Counseling
  FS 500 Family Systems Dynamics
 
General 
  Choose one of the following: 
  YF 504 Introduction to Family Ministry
  CN 547 Enriching Korean Families
  FL 501 Family Life Education
 
Development 
  Choose one of the following: 
  CF 530 Christian Formation of Children
  CF 560 Adult Formation and Discipleship
  FS 505 Child and Family Development
 
Electives 
  Choose one of the following: 
  CN 506 Conflict and Conciliation
  CN 538 The Changing Family
  CN 560 Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures
  FS 529 Ministry Issues in Gender and Human Sexuality
  FS 511 Cultural and Ethnic Issues

Students who complete this curriculum with a 2.5 or higher GPA will be awarded the Certificate in Marriage and Family Enrichment. Depending on the courses chosen, they may also meet partial academic requirements of the National Council on Family Relations for their certification program in family life education. Students who are admitted to a degree program after receiving this certificate may be able to apply courses completed for this certificate toward a nonclinical degree program in the School of Psychology, the School of Intercultural Studies, or the School of Theology (if appropriate to the curriculum, and subject to certain degree requirements, such as residency or distance/online learning restrictions). The certificate is not awarded to any student already in a degree program.






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