College of Education and Human Development

Family Social Science

PhD in couple and family therapy specialization

The couple and family therapy doctoral program prepares the next generation of leaders and agents of social change to work systemically with diverse families and communities locally and internationally. Program outcomes include:

  • Knowledge and Research: teach, research, publish, and engage diverse communities on relationally-oriented mental health topics.
  • Practice and Ethics Competencies: train the next generation of MFTs in advanced relationally-oriented and ethical clinical practice, MFT supervision, and university-level teaching.
  • Diversity: increase awareness of diversity and contribute to creating a more multicultural-informed profession.

    About the PhD

    Faculty are nationally and internationally recognized leaders and researchers committed to your success. Explore their research projects.

    The couple and family therapy specialization includes coursework and applied experiences that underscore culture, family, and community health. The online FSOS Graduate Program Handbook has details and timelines that will help you launch your career and build a foundation for your personal and professional success.

    Students applying to the CFT program must have a clinical master's degree (e.g., couple/marriage and family therapy, social work, psychology, counseling, psychiatric nursing), or have achieved equivalent clinical experience, as determined by the CFT faculty. Clinical training at the master's level is not offered in this department. Students admitted to the CFT doctoral program are expected to be clinically active throughout the duration of their time in the program with approximately 6-10 hours per week.

    Career options

    A PhD in couple and family therapy will prepare you to pursue a career in academia or clinical administration as well as evaluate and produce relationally oriented research that improves the health and well-being of diverse individuals, couples, families, and communities.

    Program outcomes

    COAMFTE accreditation requires the Department of Family Social Science to articulate the desired outcomes for the program, students, and faculty. These outcomes shape and inform our approach to doctoral education and provide an overview of what we hope to accomplish.

    Graduate achievement criteria

    The COAMFTE publishes the Graduate Achievement Criteria for all COAMFTE accredited programs. 


    If you have questions about this information, please contact Armeda Wojciak, PhD, CFT Program Director, at

    What do alumni say about their degree?

    Quote from Ashley Landers, PhD '16

    an alumna of FSoS

    My educational experience in CEHD at the University of Minnesota was transformative.

    Ashley Landers, PhD '16 Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University Honoree, CEHD Alumni Award of Excellence, 2022

    Program requirements

    View the University's Academic Calendar.

    Application deadline

    Completed applications are due December 1.

    Begin your application

    Learn about the requirements and deadlines.

    If you have any questions, please email

    Financing your education

    Visit OneStop Student Services: Finances for information on tuition, fees, and financial aid.

    Visit the assistantships, fellowships, and other funding page for more information on funding opportunities through FSoS, CEHD, and UMN.

    More information regarding assistantships and benefits can be found on the Office of Human Resources website.


    Admission to the Department of Family Social Science (FSoS) is based on a review of multiple sources of information:

    • Evidence of strong academic preparation and the ability and desire to perform graduate level scholarship, including research.
    • Alignment of applicant's professional goals with FSoS faculty scholarship and with the department's mission.
    • Unique contributions applicant would make to FSoS values, including social relevance, collaboration, inclusiveness, excellence, innovation, and diversity.

    Inquiry form