Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling

Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling



The Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program is designed to provide to practitioners in the helping professions special training and expertise required for working effectively with couples and families. The certificate program is open to those who already hold a master's degree in mental health or a closely-related discipline and is ideal for helping professionals such as licensed professional counselors, clinical psychologists, social workers, and clergy.

Student Learning Outcomes

Graduates will:

  • Demonstrate and articulate an understanding of professional identity as a marriage, couple and family counselor
  • Demonstrate knowledge of theories and treatment of individuals, couples, and families, articulating the core dynamics from an integrated systemic perspective (e.g. human development, family dynamics, traditional and contemporary marriage, couple, and family theories, research and cultural context.)
  • Demonstrate clinical competence as a marriage, couple and family counseling intern including the skills and practices of individual, couple, and family treatment, systemic assessment and diagnosis, treatment, termination, documentation and ethical practice
  • Demonstrate the personal awareness, theoretical knowledge, and clinical skills needed to engage in multi-culturally sensitive individual, couple, family and group counseling and advocacy
  • Apply relevant research and evaluation methods in the practice of marriage, couple and family counseling
  • Demonstrate reflective and ethical decision making grounded in the knowledge of relevant legal and ethical codes as well as in an examination of personal values
  • Demonstrate the College of Education Conceptual Framework to Think Critically, Transform Practice, and Promote Justice
  • Articulate how personal faith informs one’s identity and practice as a marriage, couple and family counselor

Admission Requirements

  • Master's or doctoral degree in mental health, seminary, or a closely related discipline from a regionally accredited institution. A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or above is required. 
  • Completed Application Form at apply.georgefox.edu
  • $40 non-refundable application fee
  • Résumé of work and/or volunteer experience
  • Written admission statement addressing the question provided in the Application Form
  • One academic reference form and one professional reference form
  • An official transcript from each college or university attended
  • Group interview with the Admissions Committee. An invitation will be extended to those meeting initial program criteria.
The Admissions Committee will consider each application item and the Group Interview as part of the admissions decision.

Additional requirements for international students are online here.

Transfer Credit

Transfer of up to 12 hours credit is allowed toward the Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program from accredited graduate schools (transfer credit is not allowed toward internship requirements). Students must have earned a grade of B or better for a course to be considered for transfer. In addition, only courses taken elsewhere within 10 years of the date of matriculation to the Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program will be considered for transfer. Transferability of credits earned at this institution and transferred to another is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Consult the registrar's office for information on eligibility of transfer credit.

Residence Requirements

Of the 36 hours required for the Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program, a minimum of 24 hours must be taken in resident study at George Fox University. All work leading to the certificate must be completed within seven years from the time of matriculation. Extension of this limit requires approval of the Graduate Department of Counseling (GDC) Faculty. However, only one such extension may be considered due to special circumstances, such as ill health. Reinstatement to the program after withdrawal requires Admissions Committee action and may subject the student to additional requirements for the program. A leave of absence is valid for up to one year after which the student must re-apply to the program.

Course Requirements

The Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program is generally 1-2 years in length with 36 semester hours of course work required as a minimum for graduation. Of those hours, 15 are in prescribed counseling courses, 15 in prescribed marriage and family therapy courses, and 6 in clinical internship hours.

Other Program Requirements

Each student must complete a minimum of 20 clock hours of personal counseling/therapy as part of the Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program. Additionally, an ongoing review process serves as a way to assess the student's fit for the program; fit for the profession; emotional, psychological, and intellectual ability; as well as maturity level for functioning safely as a mental health professional. GDC faculty will review students each fall and spring semester. During spring term prior to internship, students must pass a national exam before they can start their internship: the Counselor Preparation Comprehensive Examination (CPCE). Only students who pass the national exam may start their internship after having completed all prerequisites. For more specific information, please refer to the student handbook.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate with the Certificate in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling students must:

  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum of 36 semester hours with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above
  • Achieve no grade lower than a B in all courses. If a grade of a B- or lower is received in a required course, that course must be retaken (for more specific information, please refer to the student handbook).
  • Complete a minimum of 20 one-hour sessions of therapy from a family systems perspective with a licensed marriage and family therapist
  • Complete a 700-hour supervised clinical internship in marriage and family therapy that meets the currently articulated criteria for such training, with at least 270 hours of direct client contact (135 hours required with couples and families; 135 with individuals, couples, or families)
  • Successfully complete the Clinical Portfolio (reading fees are assessed during the final semester of clinical internship), in which the student articulates his/her current understanding of marriage and family therapy and applies the same through an analysis of his/her counseling practice, an evaluation of his/her strengths, and a three-year professional development plan

Curriculum Plan

Counseling Core (15 hours)
GCEP 500 Introduction to Couple and Family Therapy 3
GCEP 530 Psychopathology and Appraisal 3
GCEP 540 Professional Orientation 3
GCEP 554 Addictions 2
GCEP 561 Spirituality and Clinical Praxis 3
GCEP 587 Interpersonal Neurobiology and Pharmacology 1
Marriage and Family Therapy Courses (15 hours)
GCEP 514 Couple Therapy 3
GCEP 524 Family Therapy 3
GCEP 534 Human Sexuality 2
GCEP 580 Play Therapy: Lifespan Applications 3
GCEP 588 Clinical Portfolio 1
GCEP 597 Treatment Planning I 1
GCEP 598 Treatment Planning II 1

Students must select 1 credit of elective from any additional GCEP or TRMA coursework

Clinical Internship (6 hours)
GCEP 592 Clinical Internship 3
GCEP 593 Clinical Internship 3


  • Students are expected to follow the sequence GCEP 592, GCEP 593 beginning with the fall semester of the final year. Students who begin internship in the summer will register for GCEP 591 for an additional 2 hours (and GCEP 599 for one additional hour), but will still need to register for and attend fall and spring internship. Students who continue internship into the following summer will register for GCEP 594 for an additional 2 hours.
  • All course work for this master's program is taught from a systems perspective, to meet LMFT licensure requirements. GCEP 540 Professional Orientation focuses on the AAMFT Code of Ethics.
Counseling Course Descriptions