Admission process

The program begins in Autumn Quarter and admits students once a year.

  • Application deadline: January 15, 2020 
  • Screening: The Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Admissions Committee completes an initial applicant screening process based on the application materials only.
  • Group interview: In March/early April, finalists are invited to meet with members of the committee for an all-day group interview process. It is highly recommended that applicants participate in the group interview process*.
  • Recommendation and approval: Admission to this program depends on recommendation by the MFT faculty and approval from the chair of marriage and family therapy.
  • Timeline: The entire process is usually completed within 12 weeks after the final deadline for applications.
  • Probationary period: All students are admitted on a probation status to allow faculty to be certain that students are fully prepared for placement in an internship site.
  • Full admission: For placement in an internship site to occur, full admission is required. To be considered for full admission, students must complete a minimum of 11 units in the MFT program, average a 3.0 GPA or better in all courses, and be recommended for continuance by MFT faculty.

*Telephone interviews are also permissible, but only in exceptional circumstances.

Admission requirements

Official transcript, showing a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in any field.

  • Minimum 3.0 GPA in the last 45 quarter credits (30 semester credits) of coursework completed before applying for admission, or in all undergraduate work, whichever is higher.
  • Courses in the social and behavioral sciences, 24 quarter credits (18 semester credits), are preffered but not required. 


  • Applied statistics and a course in individual life-span development must be completed (at a regionally accredited institution) prior to full admission to the program.
  • If you have not already taken sufficient courses in the social and behavioral sciences, you are encouraged to take courses from the areas of theories of personality; theories of counseling; abnormal psychology; developmental psychology; or family studies.
  • You may elect to take the psychology subject test of the GRE. Those who earn a score of 500 or higher may waive any unfinished prerequisite coursework, with the exception of the statistics and individual life-span development courses.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • A minimum score of 293 (only verbal and quantitative, 950 for the older version of the test), or 388 scaled score (35 raw score) for the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is preferred.
  • It must be taken within 5 years of the deadline date for your application to the program.
  • If you already have a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution, submit an official transcript on which the master's degree is posted and the GRE/MAT will be waived.
  • Candidates with significant qualifications and exceptional recommendations who fail to meet the GPA or GRE/MAT minimum scores may still be considered for admission to the MFT program, because all students are admitted on a probationary status.

Three letters of recommendation (professional, academic, and personal)

  • One from a person professionally qualified to recommend you for a field of this nature (e.g., mental health counselor, marriage and family therapist, pastoral counselor, psychologist).
  • One from a person qualified to evaluate your academic ability (e.g., educator).
  • A third recommendation may include a reference from an employer and/or supervisor from a volunteer experience.

Resume, including relevant work experience.

Personal statement, three to four pages, typed, and double-spaced. It should address:

  • Your career goals.
  • Professional and personal strengths as they apply to the mental health profession.
  • Your rationale for seeking a degree in marriage and family therapy.
  • Why you choose to attend SPU.
  • Personal and professional life experiences, and how they converged to motivate your application to the MFT program.

International students

Applicants for whom English is not their first language:

  • You must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS exam.
  • You must obtain a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test or 80 on the computer-based test.
  • We will also accept scores of 7.0 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam.

Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents:

  • You must provide an official confidential statement of financial support covering each year of intended enrollment.

Kara Bazzi

Kara Bazzi’s Story

“As an undergraduate at the University of Washington, I decided to embark on a mission trip to Jerusalem to work in a rehabilitation center for children. As a pre-medicine student, I was expecting the trip to draw me toward the children’s physical ailments, but instead it clarified my passion for psychology.”