Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
Steve West, Ph.D., CRC
Ball Hall, Room 100
The program in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling is projected to begin accepting applications Fall of 2025. Although five of our other master's degrees in counseling have been reviewed and are accredited, the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling programs has yet to undergo the accreditation process. When sufficient outcome data (student admissions, performance, and graduation information) is available, we will seek to have the program reviewed for accreditation by CACREP.
The Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program is a clinically-focused and prepares students to engage in Marriage, Couple and Family therapy practice with theoretical, clinical competence, and research-informed competence. The course requirements will allow graduates of the program to meet the educational requirements of the Tennessee License of Marital and Family Therapist offered by the Tennessee Board for Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Marital and Family Therapists, and Licensed Clinical Pastoral Therapists.
The field of Marriage, Couple and Family Counseling is one of the fastest growing helping professions. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (see www.bls.gov), the profession is expected to grow 22% by 2029, adding some 14,800 new jobs. This is a notable figure, given the BLS estimates the national average for growth of new jobs to be 4% overall. The national median wage for Marriage, Couple and Family Counselors is currently estimated at $49,610; in Tennessee the average median wage for the profession is a healthier $52,440. The BLS estimates the need for an additional 187 Marriage, Couple and Family Counselors in the next nine years.
Faculty in the Counseling Division engage in a variety of cutting edge and societally relevant research. Faculty in the division run multiple research labs covering numerous topics including models of counseling supervision, access to healthcare, adverse childhood experiences, and forensic counseling, among others. Students work with faculty and publish and present their findings as co-authors. The department has a robust history of sending our doctoral students to professional conferences around the world. Learn more about our research here.
All applicants to the MS concentration in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling must first apply to the Graduate School. You can find information on the application process here or go directly to the application system here.
Entering students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, have strong academic credentials, and show promise for graduate study and professional practice in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling. Although many factors are considered in the admissions process, generally all applicants must:
- Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university.
- Applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in their major and/or last two years of study.
- Applicants must have taken the GRE at the time of application and have a minimum score of 140 on each the Verbal and Quantitative portions of the exam.
- Fall 2025 Semester Application: March1
- Spring 2026 Semester Application: October 1
Applicants must apply through the university's online system here. All applicants must submit:
- Official transcripts of all colleges attended at both the undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) levels
- GRE scores (Verbal, Quantitative, Analytical Writing)
- Three letters of reference. These letters must be specifically written for current application into the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program, signed by the reference, and printed on his/her official letterhead. Academic references are strongly desired (at least one is required), and should be in an appropriate position to make academic recommendations (e.g., current or former advisor or professor). Professionally applicable sources will be accepted; personal references will not be accepted.
- A personal statement (1-3 pages) that must include applicant's goals and rationale for applying to the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling concentration. In this statement, applicants may include a brief description of career experiences (teaching or research in the area, working with Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling populations, etc.), and explain how these experiences are linked to their educational aspirations. All personal statements should be well-articulated and demonstrate professional writing quality (formal; accurate grammar and spellings).
- A professional resume that delineates previous work, educational experiences, membership and involvement in professional organizations, and scholarly activities. The resume should support the potential for strong performance in the program.
The Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling program requires 60-credit hours for completion. All courses are required. Courses completed within the last five years at an accredited college or university will be considered for transfer on a course-by-course basis. The degree plan for the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling MS includes the following:
Required Core Courses:
- COUN 7411: Foundations of Counseling
- COUN 7531: Group
- COUN 7541: Theories of Counseling
- COUN 7551: Assessment
- COUN 7561: Career Counseling
- COUN 7571: Clinical Techniques
- COUN 7710: Addiction Counseling
- COUN 7750: Multicultural Counseling
- COUN 7885: Legal and Ethical
- EDPR 7117: Lifespan Development
- EDPR 7521: Intro to Research Methods
- COUN 7720: Systems in Family Therapy
- COUN 7721: Theory and Techniques of Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
- COUN 7722: Couples Counseling
- COUN 7724: Advanced Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
- COUN 7725: Sex Therapy
- COUN 7950: Practicum in Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling
- COUN 7951: Internship Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling (9 hours)
Students must complete all courses with a B average (3.00) or higher, for a total of 60 credit hours. In the semester of graduation, the student must submit the Apply to Graduate form to the Graduate School and a Master's Degree Candidacy form to the Graduate Analyst in Ball Hall 215 (3798 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38152) by the deadline specified by the Graduate School.
- American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- American Counseling Association
- Association of Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards
- International Association of Marriage and Family Counselors
- International Family Therapy Association
- National Council on Family Relations
- Tennessee Counseling Association