How to Apply - MFT

HDFS Graduate Programs

Applications for admission are processed online by the School of Graduate Studies. The School of Graduate Studies forwards completed applications to the department for review. Please contact the School of Graduate Studies at for questions specific to the application process.

Admission Requirements

In order to be admitted to our Master of Marriage and Family Therapy (MMFT), Master of Science with a Marriage and Family Therapy Specialization (MS), or the Human Development and Family Studies (PhD) with Marriage and Family Therapy concentration at Utah State University, application requirements are:

  • Curriculum vita or resume
  • MFT Cover Letter/Statement of Purpose (see below for details)
  • MFT Essay (see below for details)
  • E-mail addresses for three people (at least two from an academic) who can write about your academic and professional abilities. These individuals will be contacted via email, and will be 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.
  • Applicants to our PhD, MS, and MMFT programs are required to submit an academic writing sample of three to five double-spaced pages in length.  Examples may include a class paper, literature review, undergraduate or master's thesis, or an in-progress or published scholarly manuscript.
  • Students for whom English is a second language must demonstrate English proficiency on the TOEFL exam.
  • Prerequisite courses (these must be taken before you begin the program):
    • Social Science Research Methods
    • Statistics
  • During the application process, choose which degree you are seeking:
    • Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy (Non-thesis option)
    • Human Development & Family Studies MS, with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy (Thesis option)
    • Human Development & Family Studies PhD, with an MFT concentration

MFT Application Process

Six-eight students are admitted each year. Selected finalists will be invited to participate in an interview in February. The purpose of the interview is to provide an opportunity for candidates and faculty to get to know one another so that each can make informed decisions about the appropriate fit of the program and student. Students will then be invited into the program. All finalists must be approved by the Human Development and Family Studies Department's Graduate Admission and Finance Committee. The selected students will be notified as soon as possible following the interviews and will have one week to respond. A letter of acceptance is required as well as a telephone call. Alternates also will be selected.

MFT Cover Letter/Statement of Purpose

Your application should include a cover letter/statement of purpose that is one page, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font. The most important part of the cover letter is to include:

  • Which MFT-specific courses (MFT, Human Sexuality, Abnormal Psychology/Psychopathology) you have taken (include the course name and number).
  • List the 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).
  • For more information, see Tips for Applying to Graduate School.
For PhD applications, your Statement of Purpose should also include:
  • Fit with the department emphases, content areas, and areas of faculty expertise (see Faculty Research page).
  • Educational and occupational goals.
  • Short- and/or long-term professional goals following graduation.

MFT Essay

Your essay should be 4-5 pages, double spaced, Times New Roman, 12-point font. Use headers. Please include your current address, email, and telephone number at the beginning or end of your essay. Use your best writing skills to convey your thoughts. Make sure you proofread and have other people read it. Your essay should cover the following topics/sections:

  • Tell us about your journey to choosing MFT as a profession. Of all the possibilities, why did you choose MFT?
  • Talk about the experiences that you have (personal and professional) that you feel have prepared you to pursue a graduate degree in MFT. What specifically did you learn (skill-wise and about yourself)?
  • 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. Also, discuss what you expect to contribute to an MFT student cohort of 6-7 students.
  • What do you most want to get out of an MFT graduate program? In addition, what are your professional goals? (You don’t have to have it all figured out, but we want to understand more about your direction).
  • How do you anticipate that the USU program and faculty members can help you accomplish your goals?  Be specific.
For PhD applications, your Essay should also cover the following:
  • Describe your clinical interest areas and expertise.  What presenting issues/problems are you most drawn to and what specific populations do you prefer working with?  How have you developed expertise and knowledge in these areas (trainings/education, conferences/workshops, publications, etc))?
  • How do the above expertise and interest areas tie in with your research (basic and applied)?  Where do you see your research going over the next few years?
  • What attracts you to applying for the PhD program at Utah State University?  What are your current goals over the next ten years?
  • Name one or two faculty members that you want to work with, specifically how you see their experience/interest area helping you to reach your research and academic goals.

Your essay should contain all of the information above, but feel free to use your own creativity and writing ability to decide how to organize your essay. Keep in mind that the MFT essay is the most important part of your application and is the most effective way for us to gain insight into who you are as a person. We strongly suggest you read the tips for applying to graduate school and follow them, which will make you a more competitive applicant.

Apply Now Tips for Applying to Grad School

Contact Information

RaNae Wamsley

RaNae Wamsley

Graduate Program Coordinator

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

Application Deadline
December 15 – Applicants must submit a complete application (including cover letter, essay, letters of reference, transcripts, and academic writing sample) to the School of Graduate Studies.