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5 Best Online Ph.D. Marriage and Family Counseling Programs

marriage and family counseling

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) is expected to grow by 29% over the next decade. It’s one of the fastest growing occupations. Whether you’re a working mental health professional or a new therapist, an online marriage and family therapy or counseling doctoral program can help you get the knowledge, skills, abilities you need to become a marriage and family counselor. Earning your Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Counseling online can be a great choice for those with family and professional obligations.

We researched institutions offering Ph.D. Marriage and Family Counseling programs in a primarily online format to create our ranking of the top online programs in the United States. To create our list, we looked for accredited schools offering online doctorate programs in the field of marriage and family counseling or therapy. We ranked the programs using a point system for student/faculty ratio and average graduate tuition rates. We awarded additional points to schools with COAMFTE accreditation. While we acknowledge that ratios and tuition rates may be different for Ph.D. programs, we felt this was effective ranking criteria since the information was available on all the schools we considered.

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Student/Faculty ratio:

  • 13:1 or less- 3 points
  • 14:1 to 20:1- 2 points
  • 21:1 and above- 1 point

Average Graduate Tuition Rate:

  • Less than $10,000- 5 points
  • $10,000 to $20,000- 3 points
  • Greater than $20,000- 1 point

COAMFTE Accreditation:

  • Yes- 5 points

#5. Amridge University-Montgomery, Alabama

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $11,700/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Points: 6
What’s Unique
Amridge University is a Christian institution, accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy at Amridge University is a rigorous program. It’s designed to provide students with an understanding of the theories and principles surrounding marriage and family therapy, human development, research, and cultural diversity. Coursework is delivered partly online and partly in person. Students may attend either part-time or full-time depending on their personal and professional obligations.

#4. The University of Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana

Doctor of Philosophy degree in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Systemic Studies

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $6,490/year in-state and $18,590/year out-of-state
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 21:1
Points: 6
What’s Unique
The University of Louisiana offers an online theoretical (non-clinical) Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy with a concentration in Systemic Studies. Courses are delivered seminar style. Students participate in active discussions about course content and its application to real-world experiences. Most students can complete the coursework portion of the degree in about two years. An additional one to three years are needed to complete the thesis requirement. Students will learn strategies of cutting edge qualitative research and how those serve to help understand transformative processes.

#3. Liberty University-Lynchburg, Virginia

Doctor of Education in Community Care & Counseling-Marriage & Family Counseling

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $8,051/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 19:1
Points: 7
What’s Unique
Liberty University features a top online doctorate in marriage and family counseling. The program is offered entirely online, although optional intensives are available for students seeking professional experience.

The program is taught through a biblical worldview lens, giving students a unique perspective toward professional counseling services. The program does not lead to licensure. However, the coursework and experience provide students with the preparation needed for success in the marital and family counseling field. This 57 credit hour top doctorate online program can prepare students for careers such as church counselor, marriage and family counselor, or outpatient care therapist.

#2. Antioch University-Keene, New Hampshire

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $22,100/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14:1
Points: 8
What’s Unique
Antioch University features a low residency Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy focused on social justice applications to therapy. This top online Marriage and Family Therapy Ph.D. program emphasizes research and clinical training. It is accredited by the COAMFTE. Full-time students can earn their degree in about three years. This includes two years of coursework and one year for dissertation. On-campus residencies are held four times a year, allowing students to engage in a face-to-face setting. The program follows a cohort format. Students are admitted each fall and work through the program together.

#1. Northcentral University-San Diego, California

Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy

School Profile

Average Graduate Student Tuition: $16,821/year
Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 1:1
Points: 11
What’s Unique
Northcentral University offers a COAMFTE accredited Ph.D. online program in Marriage and Family Therapy. This top online accredited Marriage and Family Therapy program follows the COAMFTE Marriage and Family Therapy Educational Guidelines. This helps students develop the skills and knowledge needed to become a successful marriage and family therapist. Students have the opportunity to complete their doctoral practicum and nine month internship experience in their own community. Graduates of the program typically find employment as clinicians, administrators, instructors, or researchers.

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