MFT California
Compare masters programs that meet the MFT licensure requirements in California.

San Diego State University

San Diego State University


M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy

Campus-Based Program

On-Campus Location:

San Diego State University
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182

(61) 594-5200

SDSU M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy Program Page

Program details below are quoted from program websites, supplied here for informational purposes only, and subject to change at any time. Refer to the program website for current information, deadlines, complete admission requirements, etc. It is the responsibility of the prospective student to verify with program administrators program details and that the program still meets BBS requirements for licensure in the state of California.

Program Snapshot



Concentrations/Specializations Offered


Length of Program

2 years


This is a full-time program and the cohort start their classes together at the beginning of June. The cohort work closely together over two years and two summers. No part-time option is available at this time.

Class times fluctuate by semester. As a full time program classes may be held at any time Monday through Friday. Many of the classes are in the evening in the first year. Occasionally, there are one-day courses held sometime on a weekend.

Incoming students spend the first 5 weeks of summer completing the online components of MFT courses. Once completed, students will then spend the remainder of the summer coming together as a cohort in all day face-to-face classes (9am-6pm) most days not including Saturday or Sunday. Summer classes will typically be held off campus, at the Dede Alpert center for Community Engagement. Upon completing summer sessions, students will then be eligible to see clients in the fall.

Program Start 

Fall (Program elements begin in June/July)

Estimated Total Program Tuition


Religious orientation


Entering Class Size

Approximately 15-20% of applicants are accepted into the program, generally resulting in an admitted class of less than 30.

Fieldwork Hours Accrued during program

Students must complete 500 direct client contact hours, 250 of which are with families and couples. Students must additionally have a minimum of 100 hours of supervision, 50 hours of which must be via access to the live data of therapy (i.e. live, videotape, or audiotape supervision).

Personal Psychotherapy Requirement During Program

All students must engage in an individual, couple, family, or group therapy experience with a qualified professional during the program. Students must complete a total of 12 continuous sessions prior to graduation.

Comprehensive Exam/Culminating Project/Thesis/Etc:

All students must complete the Capstone Experience requirements. This includes: CSP 710A: Professional Seminar: Master’s Project and CSP 710B: Professional Seminar: Personal Theory of Therapy Position Paper.

Application Process

Application Deadline

Cal State Apply application (opens on October 1): December 15

Decision Desk application: December 15

Transcripts and GRE scores: January 12

Undergraduate GPA Requirement

The minimum GPA required by the university is 2.85 for domestic applicants or 3.00 for international applicants. If you don't meet the GPA criteria, you may still be accepted but be on probational acceptance.

GRE Requirement

Yes, however we do not have a minimum GRE score required, and do not keep a record of the average scores of admitted students as we look at the application package as a whole rather than just the numbers. We also do not require the GRE Psychology test.

Prerequisite Courses

There are no specific coursework or degrees required to apply to the MFT program.

Application highlights

Personal Statement
Write a personal statement based on the following prompt:

The MFT Admissions Committee is interested in getting to know you as a developing person and professional. Please supply the Committee with a double-spaced 2-3 page reflective essay on the following areas:

  • What attracts you to the SDSU program compared to other training programs?
  • What personal life experiences have been very important to you in helping you prepare to be a mental health professional, counselor or marriage and family therapist?
  • What unique multicultural experiences have you experienced in your life that have been meaningful to you in preparing to work as a mental health practitioner, counselor or marriage and family therapist?
  • What specific events that stand out in your schooling or working life that are important stepping stones for you in training to be a mental health practitioner, counselor or marriage and family therapist?

Letter of Recommendation
Contact three individuals who you have interacted with both personally and professionally and would be able to write a letter of recommendation for you. Past applicants have submitted letters from former employers, professors, community leaders, and other people who know them well.  A recommender’s background in psychology or counseling area is not required. The best recommendations come from those who can speak to a student’s professional qualifications and interpersonal qualities.

Make a 5-6-minute video on your phone or some other video recording device and upload it with the other online program application materials in Decision Desk.

Questions for the Video:

  • Tell us what you are most passionate about in becoming a mental health professional, counselor or marriage and family therapist.
  • What do you most want to learn in your choice of program?
  • What do you imagine at this time will be your contribution to  working with others to provide them with helpful mental health services?

(see program website for complete application requirements)

Interview Requirement

Yes, small-group interviews.

Producing excellent Marriage and Family Therapists who are multicultural thinkers, skilled with Diverse families and committed to social issues and change.
— San Diego State University

Program Summary

(Reprinted from program website.)

San Diego State University's Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Program is a full-time cohort model program with new enrollments once a year. It is an intensive program offering extensive clinical experience and rigorous academic studies to prepare students to practice as highly competent entry-level MFT's. In order to complete all requirements of the program students typically complete two years of study including 3 summers starting in early June of the first year and finishing at in the end of August in the second year.

Graduates of our program are able to provide therapeutic services and facilitate related change processes with a focus on social justice in variety of settings. As students, they participate in learning and practicing systemic and social constructionist ideas through the culturally-infused curriculum, and intensive strength-based, community-focused clinical training. Our affordable program is accredited by Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Our courses interweave four themes (multicultural development, social constructionist-relational vantage point, developmental view of behavior, and larger social context/systems). For detailed information on the MFT program and its expectations, please refer to an example of Essential Guide provided to MFT students.