Master of Science in Counseling: Concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling

The Master of Science in Counseling: Concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling (MFCC) provides the student with a degree that can lead to practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) in California. Marriage and family therapists (MFTs) are counselor specialists trained to provide assessment, diagnosis, and intervention for individuals, couples, families, and groups to achieve more adequate, satisfying, and productive relationship, mental health functioning, and social adjustment. The training curriculum emphasizes a culturally-informed and inclusive approach, and a developmentally-informed systemic-familial-relational orientation to counseling. Graduates of the MFCC program work in public and private mental health agencies, schools, universities, hospitals, private practice, and a variety of community service and advocacy settings. The MFCC curriculum meets all of the educational requirements for LMFT licensure in California. MFCC students who wish to be endorsed by the Department of Counseling as meeting the educational requirements for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in California must also complete an emphasis in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 

Program Learning Outcomes

  1. Human development. To understand concepts of normal development including physical, sexual, emotional, social, cultural, personality, cognitive, and career development; and to understand concepts of abnormal development, including behavior disorders and substance abuse.
  2. Theoretical Framework. To understand theories of counseling.
  3. Generic Counseling. To provide knowledge and training in individual and group counseling methods; consultation and basic interviewing and helping skills.
  4. Socio-cultural Factors. To understand the characteristics and trends related to various cultural, economic, and ethnic groups, including such factors as disability, gender, and life style.
  5. Career Development. To provide knowledge of career information, job satisfaction, job-seeking skills, and instruments used to assist career choice.
  6. Assessment, Evaluation, and Research. To provide a working knowledge of assessment tools and research findings useful to the practitioner.
  7. Professional Development. To provide knowledge about the professional, legal, and ethical foundations of counseling, and to be aware of the community resources and cultures of the various agencies service the public.
  8. Personal Growth Factors. To learn the appropriate use of insight into self and others in the development of empathic, helping relationships. The DoC strongly suggest that students consider some kind of counseling hat will enable them to focus upon themselves in a meaningful way.

Graduate Programs in Counseling

General Information

At least 60 units of approved graduate work are required for the Master of Science degrees. All students go through a basic core sequence of academic courses including four semesters of supervised counseling practicum and internship and electives according to their area of specialization. Two-year fieldwork placements are required in two different settings. The department works collaboratively with over 150 community agencies that provide service and training opportunities for our students. These agencies are carefully screened to meet our standards. Fieldwork placements are viewed as an integral part of the training of prospective counselors.

Once admitted to the program, students may petition the department’s program coordinator and chair for up to 12 units of appropriate post-baccalaureate degree work taken in other institutions within seven years from the date students plan to graduate. Courses taken for another degree or credential may not be counted toward the master’s degree. Courses taken at other institutions after admission to the graduate program may not be counted toward the master’s degree. Refer to Graduate Admissions and Graduate Studies, Transfer Credit from Other Institutions for more information.

It may be possible to complete the M.S. program either as a full-time student or as a part-time student. Throughout the program, students' course schedules may involve daytime, late afternoon, and evening classes. Classes are offered fall and spring semesters (rarely offered in the summer and generally not available online).  Students must expect that their personal and work schedules will need to be sufficiently flexible to accommodate fieldwork requirements and department class schedules.

Admission to Program

Applicants are admitted as conditionally classified graduate students in the fall semester only - there are no spring admits. Admission to the department involves the following procedures:

  1. Complete the GRE General Test1, paying particular attention to the Written Analytical Section of the GRE. See note below. International students are required to complete the TOEFL (see International Application Submission information at
  2. Complete Cal State Apply application.
  3. Submit the Cal State Apply application by January 15.
  4. International students applying to the program should see International Application Submission information for additional requirements (


There are no required prerequisites. However, prior courses in theories of personality/counseling, development through the lifespan, and psychopathology are recommended. Admission is considered for fall only admit and prospective students are considered using a holistic admissions application process. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 units is required in addition to other criteria such as academic, professional and experience.

COUN 690 is a recommended (but not required) undergraduate course that introduces students to the field of counseling. It is advisable that students take this course prior to admission into the program.

Access to Counseling Courses Prior to Admission

Applicants are generally not allowed to take graduate level counseling courses unless they are formally admitted to one of the three graduate degree programs in Counseling. There are rare exceptions made by petition (contact the Department for petition form). 

Students shall not take any courses numbered 700 or above and count them toward their SF State bachelor's degree; however, SF State students may indicate on their graduation application that they wish to have these courses applied to their graduate work if taken in the final semester before graduation. Completion of these courses does not guarantee admission into the program.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One

All applicants must successfully demonstrate writing proficiency with a score of 4.0 or better on the Analytic Writing section of the Graduate Record Examination (TOEFL score will be used for international applicants). This must be taken prior to applying to the program. The score must be submitted in your application package. Those who do not meet the minimum writing expectation upon admission will be required to take a writing course (Coun 700), within or prior to their first semester of the program.

Level Two

Satisfied by demonstration of English competency on the culminating experience paper for COUN 892.

Clinical Proficiency Requirement

Students must earn a grade of B or better in the following courses:

COUN 705Counseling Practicum3
COUN 706Counseling Skills and Process3
COUN 736Advanced Counseling Process3
COUN 890Integrative Counseling and Internship3
COUN 891Case Studies and Internship Seminar3

Counseling (M.S.) Concentration in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling — Minimum 60 units

Required Courses (60 units)

COUN 700Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy3
COUN 702Developmental Foundations for Counselors3
COUN 703Psychological Foundations for Counselors3
COUN 705Counseling Practicum3
COUN 706Counseling Skills and Process3
COUN 715Assessment in Counseling3
COUN 720Career Counseling3
COUN 736Advanced Counseling Process3
COUN 738Addictions3
COUN 794Seminar in Research3
COUN 811Group Counseling Process3
COUN 827The Consultation Process1
COUN 833Social and Cultural Foundations in Counseling3
COUN 857Law and Ethics for Counselors3
COUN 858Couple and Family Counseling I3
COUN 859Counseling Aspects of Sexuality2
COUN 860Couple and Family Counseling II3
COUN 861Seminar on Child Treatment3
COUN 890Integrative Counseling and Internship3
COUN 891Case Studies and Internship Seminar3
COUN 892Culminating Experience for Counselors3