How to Apply - MFT

HDFS Graduate Programs

What you need to know to apply:

  1. You apply to the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies forwards completed applications to the department for review.
  2. If you have questions about the application process, contact the School of Graduate Studies at
  3. There are prerequisites to our Master’s program:
    • Social Science Research Methods
    • Statistics
    • NOTE: They do not need to be completed to apply, but they must be done before you start the program.
  4. You will submit the following as part of your application to apply to the (1) Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT; non-thesis track); or (2) Master of Science with a Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization (MS; thesis track):
    • Curriculum vita or resume
    • MFT Cover Letter (see below for details)
    • MFT Essay (see below for details)
    • E-mail addresses for three references who can write about your academic and professional abilities
      • Two need to be from academic sources
      • References will be contacted via email and prompted to upload their letter of recommendation to a link sent to them from the graduate school.
    • Undergraduate transcript(s)
      • Overall GPA of 3.0 for last 90 quarter credit hours or 60 semester credit hours.
    • TOEFL exam results (if English is a second language)
    • NOTE: For applications accepted for admission in August 2023 or August 2024, the GRE and MAT are not required.
  1. During the application process, you will need to choose the degree you are seeking (you can change this once you’re in the program):
    • Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT; Non-thesis option)
    • Master of Science in Human Development & Family Studies with an MFT Specialization (MS, Thesis option)
    • Doctoral degree in Human Development & Family Studies with an MFT Specialization (PhD)
  2. For more information, see Tips for Applying to the USU MFT Master’s Program.

MFT Cover Letter/Statement of Purpose

The graduate school requires a cover letter that is one page, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font. Do not stress too much about this part.  Simply mention your interest in our program and make sure to include the following:

Master’s Degree:

  • MFT-specific courses (MFT, Human Sexuality, Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology) you have taken (include the course name and number).
  • Prerequisite courses you have taken (university, course name, number, and semester taken). If you have not fulfilled the prerequisites, you need to explain how you intend to fulfill them prior to beginning the program (you do not have to have them completed before you apply, only before you start the program).

Doctoral Degree:

  • Summarize your Master’s degree, including relevant research and clinical experiences
  • Mention why you have decided to pursue a PhD.
  • Highlight your educational and occupational goals
  • Fit with department emphases, content areas, and areas of clinical and research faculty expertise (see Faculty Research page).

MFT Essay

Your essay should be no more than 3 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font. Your essay is the most important part of your application. We want to get to know you from your essay. As a result, please address the following in some way:

  • Tell us about your journey to choosing MFT as a profession. Of all the possibilities, why did you choose MFT? What gets you excited when you think about becoming an MFT?
  • Talk about the experiences (personal and professional) that have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree in MFT. From these experiences, what skills did you develop, and what did you learn about yourself in the process?
  • What do you most want to get out of an MFT program? Why do you consider USU a valuable option for accomplishing these goals? Please specify two USU faculty with whom your clinical and/or research interests most align.
  • Highlight the personal skills and attributes that you will bring to our program. In doing this, make sure to address how you plan to cope with the rigors of a graduate degree in MFT, including how you have overcome specific challenges in the past.

Additional considerations for PhD essays (In addition to what’s required for the HDFS essay):

  • Clinical interest areas and expertise, including presenting issues/problems you are drawn to, clinical populations with whom you are most interested in working.
  • The intersection between your clinical interests and your research interests and goals and how the USU PhD program will help you accomplish your goals.
  • Fit with faculty in terms of clinical and research interests (be specific).

Your essay should contain all of the information above, but use your own creativity and writing ability to decide how to organize your essay.

An overview of the process and timeline for Master’s applicants:

December 15: The deadline to submit your application

Early January: Faculty review applications (we had 170 applicants last year)

Early to mid-January: Faculty may contact some applicants (~40) and request a 2-3 minute video as an intermediate step.

Mid to late January: We contact applicants (~16-20) and invite them to an in-person interview.

Early to mid-February: MFT Interview Day, consisting of the following:

Evening before interviews:

      • Dinner with faculty
      • Games with current MFT students

Interview day (order varies by student and is subject to change):

      • Faculty interview
      • MFT student interview
      • Mock Therapy
      • Writing experience
      • Experiential activity
      • Sorenson Center Clinic tour

Within one week of interview day: We contact those who have been accepted into the program for the following academic year (~6-8). Alternates are also informed at this time.

Note: PhD applicants will follow the HDFS department’s process and timeline. This typically involves application reviews in January followed by separate interviews (typically Zoom) with the HDFS graduate committee and MFT faculty in February.

MFT Application Tips

  • Look on the AAMFT website for possible accredited schools:
  • Know the difference between MFT, social work, counseling, and psychology. The clinical professions are different, and we need to understand why MFT is a good fit for you.
  • Do your homework. If you haven’t had an introductory course, try to get a general overview of MFT thoughts and ideas. Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods and Mastering Competencies in Family Therapy are a couple of good places to start.
  • It is great to have questions, but always look on the website first to see if your questions are answered there!
  • Feel free to schedule an in-person or virtual meeting with our faculty members. If in-person, we can invite some current students to come and answer your questions and give you a tour. We love our program and want to tell you all about it!
  • Your MFT essay is the most important part of your application. Use your best writing skills to convey your thoughts. Make sure you proofread and have other people read it.
  • The second most important part of your application is your letters of recommendation. Choose your letter writers carefully. Meet with them, if possible, and talk to them about your goals and why you are applying. A good letter writer will help you tell your story. You just have to give them enough information. It could be valuable to give them a rough draft of your MFT essay and your CV/resume. Make sure you give them plenty of time to write the letter.
  • We view your GPA as a gatekeeper. As long as you meet the minimum requirements, we consider your application. We recognize that there are a lot of other more important factors that determine whether you can be a good therapist or not.
  • We value human service experience and research experience. It is becoming increasingly hard for applicants to get an interview without both. We are pretty flexible as to what and how much, but we want to know that you’ve had some experience in working in the human services field (even brief volunteer experience work) and that you are open to understanding more about research.
  • Your application materials get you the interview, and then we use the in-person interview to really put together a cohort. So much of that is based upon how you interact with others and your general fit with our program.
Don't be discouraged if you are not selected for your first choice program. Remember that this field is competitive and there are many reasons good applicants are selected or deselected for programs: fit with marriage and family therapy, fit with the particular program, qualifications relative to the rest of the pool of applicants. If you are not selected and your passion is MFT, be persistent! Ask what you can do to improve your application, then do it; try again; try elsewhere.

Contact Information


RaNae Wamsley

RaNae Wamsley

Graduate Program Coordinator

Phone: 435-797-1501
Office Location: FL 205

Application Deadline

December 15 - Applicants to the MFT graduate programs must submit a complete application (including resume, cover letter, essay, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) to the School of Graduate Studies. Admission is for fall semesters only.