Online DMFT Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy

Professionals who are interested in the field of marriage and family therapy could be making a good decision if current employment data is any indicate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics or BLS reports employment for marriage and family therapists will rise by an impressive 23% through 2026, which is much faster than average.

Growth for these counseling services is expected as there is a higher use of integrated care, which is the treatment of several problems simultaneously by a group of healthcare specialists. Marriage and family therapists work closely with other counselors, such as behavior disorder, substance abuse or mental health counselors, to address the issues of the patient as an integrated team. 

Also, the field of marriage and family therapy can be financially rewarding, as the median salary is $48,790, but the top 10% with the highest education can earn as much as $81,700. According to BLS, the following are the top-earning industries: (

  • Outpatient care centers: $48,300
  • Offices of other healthcare practitioners: $45,900
  • Individual and family services: $44,700
  • State government: $72,500

If you find the marriage and family field appealing, then you may want to think about getting your online doctoral degree. This is possible more than ever today. With such online convenience, you may earn your degree while keeping up with your personal and professional obligations.

Schools On This Page

  • Northcentral University
  • Liberty University
  • Antioch University New England

Below are some of the best online Ph.D. and Ed.D. marriage and family programs available.

#1 North Central University

Northcentral University offers excellent online doctoral options for students who want to earn their Doctorate of Marriage and Family Therapy (DMFT) in several specialties. This is a fulfilling and challenging full time, online program that is designed to meet your goals and needs in the fascinating and growing field of marriage and family therapy. This DMFT program, whichever speciality you choose, has no entrance exam requirements. Northcentral University has an independent study approach that is made for highly motivated students who want to earn their DMFT largely on their own and at their own speed. The program has 20 courses, 60 credit hours, and a completion time of approximately 48 months. The general core required courses are:

  • Foundations of Relational/Systemic Practice, Theories and Models
  • Clinical Treatment with Individuals, Couples and Families
  • Diverse, Multicultural and/or Underserved Communities
  • Research and Evaluation
  • Professional Identity, Law, Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Biopsychosocial Health and Development Across the Lifespan
  • Systemic and Relational Assessment and Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Clinical Experience

Another benefit of the the DMFT program is that it is the only DMFT in the country that does not have a residency requirement. So, you can earn a regionally accredited DMFT regardless of where you live.

Program Specializations

Below is detailed information about the specialties available in the Northcentral DMFT program. Each specialization has a set of courses that you must complete to graduate in that particular speciality. You have up to seven years to complete the program, but most students complete it within four years.

DMFT – Child and Adolescent Therapy

The child and teen years are often full of drama and heartache. The Child and Adolescent Therapy program will prepare you to work well in therapy settings for adolescents and children, and to view these interactions from a family systems or family therapy point of view. You will focus your program course projects, internships and dissertation on issues that relate to working closely with children and adolescents. With your online courses and offline practicum in your area, you will need to develop sensitivities and competencies related to working with children and teenagers who are dealing with challenges that are difficult for them to handle alone. Required courses in the speciality are:

  • Dynamics of Family Interaction
  • Child and Adolescent Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Family Therapy with Adolescents
  • Early Childhood and Parenting Interventions
  • Systemic Treatment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children and Adolescents

DMFT – Couple Therapy

Long term relationships and marriages always have some speed bumps and challenges on the journey. But they are especially stark today with definitions evolving. The Couple Therapy specialization will prepare you to work largely with couples in a therapy setting from a family systems or family therapy perspective. You will focus your class projects, internship work and dissertation research on issues that deal with couples trying to repair or grow their relationship. You will develop sensitivities and competencies that relate to working with couples who have challenges in their marriage or relationship. Also, students will appraise clinical skills and ethical behaviors in systemic supervision and therapy. Required courses in the speciality are:

  • Emotion and Differentiation Focused Couple Therapy
  • Behavior Informed Couple Therapy Models
  • Systemic Sex Therapy
  • The Couple Life Cycle in MFT Practice and Supervision
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DMFT – General Family Therapy

With the many challenges facing families in America today, you never quite know which emotional problems and issues a family may be dealing with. This specialization allows the student to choose classes from many different electives so that you can focus on the area of general family therapy that most interests you. You can choose four classes from the MFT curriculum at the 8000 level. Students will develop professional expertise in the general area of marriage and family therapy. Required courses in this speciality are:

  • Qualitative Measurement and Design
  • Advanced Practical Experience Component
  • Advanced Qualitative Design and Analysis
  • Quantitative Analysis in MFT
  • Dynamics of Family Interaction

DMFT – Medical Family Therapy

The medical family specialization will prepare you to work with singles, couples and families who are dealing with acute or chronic medical problems. This program uses a family therapy and systems perspective to help client families to grasp and understand their medical problems. This speciality requires the following courses:

  • Medical Family Therapy
  • Medical Family Therapy Applications
  • Families, Health and Illness
  • Loss and Bereavement

DMFT – Mental Health Administration

The mental health administration specialty will prepare you to be a leader and administrator in mental health organizations and agencies. Students in this specialization will focus all of their work on mental health administration. Students can select up to two of their four specialty courses from the School of Psychology or Business. Required courses for this speciality are:

  • Qualitative Research Design and Analysis in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Institutional Review Board and Data Collection
  • Systemic Consultation
  • Systemic Leadership
  • The Business of Therapy
  • Practice and Organization Marketing
  • Financial Administration and Budgeting

DMFT – Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship

Successfully running a small business counseling practice is not what most mental health professionals learn as they are gaining skills and knowledge in their field. That is why some very gifted and talented counselors are unable to succeed in private practice. This specialization will prepare you to manage the business administration aspects of your clinical practice, or to use your clinical expertise in an entrepreneurial fashion. Twelve credit hours of the program are related to entrepreneurship and small business development. You also can choose two of your four specialization classes from the School of Psychology or Business. Required courses in this speciality include:

  • Research Methods in MFT
  • MFT Supervision
  • Qualitative Research Design and Analysis in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Program Evaluation and Monitoring in MFT

DMFT – Therapy with Military Families

Working in the military comes with highs and lows. They are both for the person in the military and for the family. This specialization will prepare you to work with singles, couples and families who are related to military service. You will use a family therapy or systems perspective in your work. You will face challenges in the development of skills that are needed to work effectively with families who face difficult challenges related to military life and combat stress. Required courses in this speciality include:

  • Military Veteran Cultures Across the Lifespan
  • Trauma and Resilience in Military and Veteran Couples and Families
  • Ethical Challenges and Moral Injuries Across Military and Veteran Populations
  • Behavioral Health Care with Military and Veteran Populations

#2 Liberty University

Liberty University offers an online Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family. This four year, online degree program will help you to improve your approach to educational methods and research. It also will teach you have to diagnose, treat, use counseling techniques and even engage in an innovative clinical experience if you choose to. This online Ed.D. is entirely online and is very flexible based upon your personal and professional obligations. (

This online program at the doctoral level is offered in the following specializations:

  • Traumatology
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling

These distinct specializations offer five innovative courses each that focus your skills and knowledge so that you have more efficiency in your field, as well as the lives of real individuals in your community, counseling practice or Christian ministry. This university has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). You can have faith that your doctoral program is highly valuable and credible to your career down the road in ministerial counseling, social work or Christian ministry. This degree program has been created so you are on the leading edge of emerging trends in treatments and counseling partnerships. Most students can complete the program in three or four years. In the Marriage and Family track, you will be prepared to offer advanced, professional counseling services that are focused on community care and counseling techniques. Students will review the best practices for various sorts of assessments that are used to the best marital and family counseling. Required classes are:

  • Assessment in Marital and Family Counseling
  • Premarital and Remarriage Counseling
  • Marriage Counseling
  • Family Development

To be admitted into this Ed.D program, you should have the following:

  • A master’s degree in psychology or marriage and family counseling or a related field
  • College transcripts
  • Writing samples
  • Resume
  • 3.0 GPA

#3 Antioch University New England

The Doctor of Philosophy in Marriage and Family Therapy at Antioch University New England is focused on social justice applications to family therapy and marriage. It will prepare online graduates for careers in academia, leadership, research and supervision. There is a large research component in this degree. There also is a strong an innovative training aspect. In every part of the program, there is a stress on social justice. Students learn about ways to apply vital social justice principles in teaching, research and supervision. This is a low residency program that is made to be finished in three years full time. There are two years of courses and a year of practical experience, as well as one year of dissertation. Face to face meetings, or residences happen four times per year. Between these residencies, you will work on class material on your own and online, as you apply advanced MFT concepts in teaching and clinical practical experiences. Most of this learning occurs online, and there are weekly seminar meetings by video or voice conferencing. ( In this innovative, hybrid program, you can use your current clinical or training work roles as exciting learning opportunities in these practical experiences you have in the program. Required courses are:

  • Social Justice Applications
  • Advanced Relational and Systemic Clinical Theory
  • Advanced Clinical Skills in Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Introductive Research Methods Quantitative and Qualitative
  • Advanced Research Methods and Applications
  • Marriage and Family Therapy Supervision
  • Teaching and Consultation in Marriage and Family Therapy

Requirements for admission are:

  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Master’s in a related field
  • Official transcripts
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