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MFT Master’s Program: Specialization in Latinx Family Studies

Hispanic Family Walking In Park Together
Location: Pasadena

Focusing on the unique challenges of the Latinx community, this M.A. program prepares each graduate to pursue licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

62 credits needed for degree completion
2½ years full-time
Offers extensive fieldwork opportunities

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M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy: Latinx Family Studies Specialization

The Marriage and Family Therapy master’s degree with a specialization in Latinx Family Studies at Pacific Oaks College equips graduates with broad preparation in marriage and family therapy as well as an emphasis on the needs of Latinx children and families.

This MFT specialization is intended to prepare culturally competent mental health professionals to serve the largest ethnic minority group in California. Students not only study traditional mental health theory and practice that prepare them for the MFT licensing exams, but they also learn from each other’s diverse styles of communication, family messages, immigration history, traditions, cultural practices, and spiritual beliefs.

This program is offered in a “cohort” model, providing a culturally transformational educational experience. Students start the program at the same time and continue with their fellow cohort members throughout their educational journey. Together, faculty and students create a learning community that provides an in-depth education and challenges both the personal and professional development of all participants.

Through partnerships with clinics and community-based organizations throughout Los Angeles and Southern California, students in this marriage and family therapy master’s program receive intensive supervised field experience that can help prepare them to move directly into the workforce as a Marriage and Family Therapy Associate after graduation.

Guided by a faculty body of professionals who represent varied mental health disciplines and extensive academic and community-based experience, students will examine the unique challenges of Latinx communities—including immigration, acculturation, trauma, culture, and advocacy.

Other Marriage and Family Therapy Specializations

Students pursuing an MFT degree with a specialization in Latinx Family Studies may choose to add a secondary specialization in Trauma Studies. Those interested in this additional specialization must submit a request to their academic adviser prior to the completion of their second semester.


The master’s in MFT degree program 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).

Pacific Oaks’ Marriage and Family Therapy degree programs prepare graduates to sit for the California MFT exam and to earn a Marriage and Family Therapist License awarded by the California BBS.

Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Specialization

Students wishing to qualify additionally for licensure as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) in the state of California may do so via selection of the LPCC Specialization, which requires a total of 280 face-to-face clinical training hours before graduation and 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)

MFT Fieldwork Requirements

Students must complete 225 hours of the pre-graduate portion of the 3,000 supervised hours required for the California MFT licensing exam to qualify for graduation. Most students secure clinical training placements within community agencies in the Los Angeles and Pasadena areas.

Sample Marriage and Family Therapy Courses

Psychopathology of Adulthood

A general view of the various definitions and forms of psychopathology is presented in a historical, sociopolitical, and cross-cultural perspective. The purpose and history of various diagnostic systems will be discussed. Using the DSM-V as the main paradigm, some of the most prevalent psychopathologies of our culture will be explored. The purpose and usage of DSM-V will be studied. Focus will be on building a cognitive diagnostic competence of, as well as an effective understanding and comfort with, the various mental health disorders. Self-reflections are a part of the entire class process. Attention will also be given to etiology, epidemiology, and treatment. Some of the main psychiatric testing tools will be examined. The class will offer practice in case presentation, reviewing cases, and developing diagnoses based on DSM-V criteria.

Latinx Family Systems

This marriage and family therapy course is an integration of selected clinical issues, clinical practice, and research in understanding the mental health issues experienced by diverse Latinx families. Central to this course is the development of a cultural lens in family work, and the understanding of diverse family structures among the various Latinx communities affected by immigration, deportation, and language acquisition and its impact on family well-being and mental health.

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