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Online Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy: Trauma Studies Specialization

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Location: Online

The online M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy: Trauma Studies Specialization addresses the continued prevalence of trauma in families, individuals, and communities.

Open to all California residents, this online MFT program is 100% synchronous, with class meetings delivered live to encourage students to engage as a learning community.

2½ years full-time
61 credits required for completion

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

The online Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy: Trauma Studies degree program at Pacific Oaks College combines MFT training with an in-depth understanding of trauma diagnosis and intervention. The program is ideal for students who wish to explore and understand the praxis of trauma, mental health, and social justice. Graduates from this program will be prepared to pursue careers working with various populations in counseling centers, private practice, governmental agencies, and other mental health facilities.

Pacific Oaks has established partnerships with mental health facilities throughout Los Angeles, Pasadena, and surrounding areas. This affords students in the online MFT program the opportunity for intensive supervised field experiences, preparing them for a practice that serves diverse populations.

Other Marriage and Family Therapy Specializations (Pasadena campus)


The master’s in MFT programs satisfy 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 credits:

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

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 California in the Los Angeles and Pasadena areas.

Historical Trauma

This course will explore historical trauma and its definitions and origins. Historical trauma, poly-victimization, intergenerational trauma, post-traumatic stress symptoms and ethnic violence will be studied in relation to mental health practice and community well-being. This course will study the impact of conquest, colonization, genocide and slavery on oppressed ethnic populations. This course will expose students to current, culturally defined, evidence-based and emerging practices aimed at mediating the psycho-emotional impact of historical trauma on families.

Military Trauma and the Family

This course will prepare graduate-level students to understand the impact of military culture on family life and trauma. The course will focus on trauma-informed skills to address both the physical wounds and the complications of the less visible wounds military personnel experience. These may include PTSD, substance abuse, behavioral addictions, suicide, sexual assault, traumatic brain injury, and other health-related issues. The course examines the communities and families of returning veterans, with a focus on the family dynamics during the pre-deployment, deployment, and return-from-deployment phases.



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