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M.A. MFT Program: Specialization in African American Family Studies

Students in the M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy: African American Family Studies program will gain knowledge of not just principles and issues, but understand the needs of the African-American community.

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2 years full-time or 4 years part-time

62 credits needed for completion

This program prepares graduates to sit for the California MFT exam

M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy: African American Family Studies Specialization

The M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy: African-American Family Studies Specialization degree program explores mental health theory and practice from a deeply culture-centered perspective, preparing students to become professionals who use a culturally relevant approach to therapy.

This MFT program is offered in a “cohort” model where all students progress through the program at the same pace. Students in our Master’s in Family Therapy: African-American Family Studies degree program also have the opportunity to receive an extensive amount of fieldwork opportunities.

Sample MFT Courses

Advocacy in the African-American Community

This course will explore the current health status of African Americans, and in particular examines the impact of the mental health systems and their policies, practices, and structures. The role of mental health professionals in advocacy with health systems in the black community will be discussed.

African-American Families, Historical Trauma and Recovery

This MFT course will address emotional and physical wounds associated with historical trauma, including slavery, segregation, racism, social stratification, current inequities, and experiences of violence, as they relate to the African-American family and community. The course will explore emerging theories of historical trauma and will also address issues of access and culturally appropriate resources as well as interventions and treatment from multigenerational, community, and strengths-based perspectives.

Other Marriage and Family Therapy Specializations



The master’s in MFT programs satisfies all of the requirements of SB 33 and the Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) (Business and Professions Code Sections 4980.36c, d e 4980.39, 4980.40, and 4980.41).

The MFT programs prepare graduates to sit for the California MFT exam to earn a Marriage and Family Therapist License awarded by the California Board of Behavioral Science.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Specialization

Students wishing to qualify additionally for licensure as a Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in the state of California, may do so via selection of the LPCC Specialization, which includes the following courses, totaling 5 units:

  • MFT 670 Career Development Theories and Techniques (3 units)
  • MFT 681 Advanced Topics in Addictions Counseling (1 unit)
  • MFT 683 Advanced Topics in Psychopharmacology (1 unit)

Admission Requirements

  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission and values of Pacific Oaks College
  • Completed Application for Admission
  • Application Fee
  • Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • Resume
  • Personal statement
  • Official transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Two letters of recommendation; one must be from a current or previous supervisor
  • Interview
  • Essay for specialization

Fieldwork Requirements

One hundred percent of students secure clinical training placements within community agencies—enabling students to complete the pre-graduate portion of the 3,000 supervised hours required for the California MFT licensing exam.