Applying to the Program

Admissions Criteria

Enrollment in the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program is limited due to the intense clinical training students receive. Applications for fall admission are due by December 31. All necessary supporting documents must be on file by that date to guarantee consideration for admission the following academic year. We encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible.

The Program encourages the application of all qualified candidates who are interested in becoming professional marriage and family therapists. Candidates who hold a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university are eligible to be considered for admission. Applicants usually have an undergraduate degree in one of the behavioral or family sciences. Applicants without such a background are also encouraged to apply, but may be required to take some prerequisite undergraduate coursework (i.e., Introductory Psychology, Human Development) at the discretion of the program director.

Individuals who represent a broad range of backgrounds and life experiences are encouraged to apply.

Admissions considerations include:

  • Academic performance
  • Work experience
  • Motivation for graduate study
  • Evidence of commitment to working with families
  • Potential for success in the program and as a marriage and family therapist
  • The Graduate School Application Requirements

Application Procedures

Please note that applicants are required to complete two applications:
Northwestern University Graduate School Application

Notice of Background Check

The Family Institute at Northwestern University requires all applicants who have received conditional admission to either the Master of Arts in Counseling Program or the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy Program to complete an online background check to determine criminal history. Having an adverse criminal history finding does not necessarily preclude admission. Determinations are considered on a case-by-case basis. In the event that information from the background report is utilized in whole or in part in making an adverse decision with regard to an applicant's admission, before making the adverse decision, the Institute will provide the student with a copy of the consumer report and a written description of his or her rights under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Northwestern University Graduate School Application and Requirements
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is NOT required nor a factor used in consideration for admission.
  • Application for Admission completed though The Graduate School Online Application (paper copies are not accepted)
  • Non-refundable Application fee of $95.00 paid by credit card at application submission
  • A digital copy of your official transcript from each post-secondary institution attended, documenting all courses taken whether or not within a degree program, grades received and degrees earned
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
  • Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required if English is not applicant’s native language
  • A Statement of Purpose (5,000 characters maximum)

The Admissions Committee is more interested in you, the person, who seeks to be a marriage and family therapist. Your Statement of Purpose should be written so that we may better know you. Please respond to the following questions:

1. What personal and family experience have influenced you interest in a career as a marriage and family therapist?
2. What academic and professional experiences have influenced your interest in a career as a marriage and family therapist?
3. What attracts you to the field of marriage and family therapy (as opposed to social work, counseling, or clinical psychology)?
4. What attracts you to the MSMFT Program here at Northwestern University?
5. Describe a time in your life when things didn’t go well for you. Describe the circumstances of this time and how you handled the challenges associated with it.

MSMFT Program-Specific Application and Requirements

Questions regarding the Program Specific application or supplemental material, please contact:

Education Program Coordinator
The Family Institute at Northwestern University
618 Library Place
Evanston, IL 60201
Telephone: 847-733-4300, ext. 206
Fax: 847-733-0390
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

University Policy Statements
It is the policy of The Family Institute at Northwestern University not to discriminate against any individual on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, age, handicap or veteran status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, or services or in the educational programs or activities it operates, in accordance with civil rights legislation and University commitment. Any alleged violations of this policy or questions regarding the law with respect to non-discrimination should be directed to Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services, 720 University Place, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1147, 847-491-7458; Office of the Provost, Rebecca Crown Center, 633 Clark Street, Evanston, Illinois 60208-1101.

Northwestern University reserves the right to change without notice any statement in this application concerning, but not limited to, rules, policies, tuition, fees, curricula and courses.