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Ph.D in Couple and Family Therapy (CFT)

College of Human Development and Education ⋅ Department of Human Development and Family Science

Program Mission and Overview

Our faculty is committed to developing the next generation of scholars in the field of CFT through a dedicated mentoring process that prepares students for future leadership roles in academic and research settings as well as clinical administration and supervision. The program is particularly committed to training scholars who have the potential to lead the field of CFT to be more inclusive of marginalized communities and embrace the values and ethics associated with social justice.

“The CFT program at NDSU has clearly made a significant and lasting impact on the field of family therapy … Their efforts to raise the visibility of the need for training programs to make the issues of diversity and social justice central to training of all CFTs are deserving of recognition and is a model for the entire field of couple and family therapy.” Doug Sprenkle, Ph.D.                             

LGBT Affirmative Training

We are committed to providing an LGBT affirmative environment for all students, faculty, staff, and clients who use our on-campus therapy center. The program is recognized as the leading program in field in teaching students the knowledge and skills associated with becoming an LGBT affirmative researcher, supervisor, and therapist.

“The (NDSU CFT) program is the pre-eminent couple and family therapy program in the country in training culturally competent therapists to work with LGBT clients and families”  Leigh Leslie, Ph.D.

Program Requirements

CFT Doctoral Program Course Requirements & Proposed Plan of Study

In addition to completing doctoral coursework, students also complete the following program requirements:

  1. Clinical contact in the on-campus therapy center 
  2. 180 hours of supervisory experience 
  3. Nine month research, teaching, or clinical internship experience 
  4. A comprehensive/preliminary project which includes the submission of a research article for publication and a proposal for presentation at a national conference
  5. Produce and defend a dissertation


The entire program has been designed to meet the newest version (Version 12) of the Standards of Accreditation of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). According to these new standards, we are eligible to apply for full accreditation as soon as the first cohort of students completes the course work and clinical requirements of the program. This means that our program will apply for accreditation within three years of admitting the first cohort of doctoral students. Once the program is accredited, all students who have graduated from the program previously will be considered to have graduated from an accredited program.

The NDSU CFT Master’s program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).  COAMFTE collects student achievement data on graduation rates, exam pass rates, and licensure rates.  Accredited programs are required to report Student Achievement Criteria data on an annual basis.  Learn more about student achievement criteria and performance information here.

For More Information

Tom Stone Carlson, Ph.D., Professor and Program Coordinator


COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria Data Disclosure.
COAMFTE Student Achievement Criteria page

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Published by North Dakota State University

Last Updated: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 2:03:26 PM