Heal and strengthen relationships as a Christ-centered practitioner Marriage & Family Therapy (M.A.)

Prepare to help families as a clinically skilled, relationally competent practitioner. The M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy from Wheaton College integrates Christian belief and counseling practice with the best of contemporary scholarship and professional standards.


Credential Type

  • M.A.

Major Credits Required

  • 60


  • 2 years


  • Residential, Cohort Model

22% Project Job Growth

Enjoy a fulfilling career in an high-demand field. (BLS, 2022)

On-Site Counseling Center

The Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic is the only facility of its kind among Christian colleges.

89% Alumni Licensure Rate

Compared to the COAMFTE benchmark of 70%.

Request Information

Or reach out to us anytime at graduate.admissions@wheaton.edu.

MFT 10th Anniversary

Strengthen couple and family relationships Why Wheaton for Marriage & Family Therapy?

Relationships can be challenging, especially today. More than ever before, there is a growing need for Christian therapists. Our M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy trains you to strengthen families by integrating clinical competency with a Christian perspective.

We hold that relationships from a biblical, systemic, and personal perspective are vital to human development to initiate change in the family system. We seek to equip clinically competent marriage and family therapists who intervene effectively to promote, restore, sustain, and enhance positive functioning in clients.

Wheaton College MFT Mission Statement

We seek to form Marriage and Family Therapists who are clinically skilled and who integrate their personhood as followers of Christ in their professional and personal lives; who value interpersonal justice and the diversity of clients and client systems; and who work toward the goal of healthy and whole relationships, giving specific attention to those on the margin of society and those who are underserved.

COAMFTE Graduate Achievement Data Table

Read about our graduation rates, licensure rates, and more.

Download PDF

Should I choose Clinical Mental Health Counseling or Marriage and Family Therapy?

While there are many similarities between Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC), our programs offer two distinct approaches:

  • CMHC emphasizes an eclectic approach to working with clients including cognitive-behavioral, psychodynamic, person-centered, and systemic approaches.
  • MFT emphasizes the individual-in-context and systemic theory as foundational in conceptualizing relational and clinical issues.

Learn More about the Programs’ Distinct Qualities

Our Curriculum

The M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy Program Curriculum is designed to form skilled and competent marriage and family therapists who integrate their personhood as followers of Christ, as well as to meet the licensure requirements for the state of Illinois.

Your course requirements will include a mix of theory and real-world application.

Please see the graduate course catalog for current requirements as well as the most up-to-date course numbers, titles, and descriptions.

Sample Courses

Marriage & Family Therapy core and elective options include:

  • Individual & Family Life Cycle Development
  • Ethics & Professional Practice
  • Psychopathology & the Family
  • Trauma & Addiction
  • Human Sexuality
  • Clinical Development 

Developing Your Professional Identity Engage in Experiential Learning & Spiritual Growth

As a graduate student at Wheaton, you'll not only participate in rich, real-world experiences in professional counseling settings — you also will develop personally and spiritually within an active, supportive learning community.

MFT Clinic

Gain Clinical Experience

Our Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic is the first and only faith-based training clinic of its kind in Illinois. This unique facility provides much-needed care to couples and families who would otherwise not be able to receive such services.

From live therapy observations as a first-year graduate student to clinical practicums around Chicagoland to your final internship, you will gain hands-on experience with clients.

Central and Eastern European Mental Health Advisory Conference

Engage in Research & Industry

Participate in therapy- and psychology-related research groups with faculty and students, perhaps even present at national academic and industry conferences including our own Family Systems Conference.

You can also connect and collaborate with classmates and colleagues through membership in professional organizations such as the American Counseling Association and the American Association of Christian Counselors.

grad students sitting talking laughing banner image

Get Involved On Campus

Our graduate students are actively engaged on campus and in the local area. They participate in worship services, volunteer with community organizations, attend lectures (like our Scandrette Series), go on field trips, and much more.

They also join (and lead) student groups such as the Graduate Student Council and Graduate Psychology Student Association.

Our Faculty Compassionate and Intelligent Educators

Our core faculty members are engaged in clinical practice, research, and professional development in the field of marriage and family therapy. We openly discuss various views on the nature of God, personhood, brokenness, and healing so that we can understand how our faith and learning shapes our clinical practice. 

Jake Johnson, PhD, LMFT Headshot

Jake Johnson, PhD, LMFT

Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical Training Coordinator, Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy
Smyrna Khalaf, Ph.D. Headshot

Smyrna Khalaf, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Counseling
Wendy R. Smith, Psy.D.  Headshot

Wendy R. Smith, Psy.D.

Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Clinic at Wheaton College, Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy
David Van Dyke, Ph.D. Headshot

David Van Dyke, Ph.D.

Marriage and Family Therapy Program Director, Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy
Hana Yoo, Ph.D. Headshot

Hana Yoo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy

Success After Wheaton What Can You Do With a Master's in Marriage & Family Therapy?

Our Marriage and Family Therapy graduates are professionally qualified to work with individuals, couples, families, and groups. They pursue licensure and clinical work in Illinois and other states across the U.S., as well as in countries in Eastern Europe, South Asia, South America and in other areas around the world.


Our graduates find meaningful careers in a wide range of clinically related activities including family and individual counseling, restorative work with refugees, substance use treatment, and mental health policy. They work in settings such as:

  • Community or missions agencies
  • Private practices
  • Hospitals
  • Behavioral health centers
  • Outpatient treatment centers
  • Inpatient treatment facilities
  • Churches and parachurch organizations
  • Specialized therapy practices (i.e. Christian counseling, therapy for children, divorce, trauma)
  • Alternative careers including nonprofit work (i.e. case management), Policy/Advocacy, and Missionary Member Care

Companies & Organizations

Graduates pursue licensure and clinical work in multiple states across the U.S., as well as in countries in Eastern Europe, South Asia, South America and in other areas around the world. They work for organizations, institutions, and companies such as:

  • Center for Relational Empowerment (Evanston)
  • Evergreen Counseling (Wheaton)
  • Grow Collective (Chicago area)
  • Innervisions Counseling (Milwaukee)
  • Cedar Tree Counseling (Geneva)
  • Wellspring Center for Counseling
  • Minnesota Renewal Center (St. Paul)
  • Relational Wellness Counseling (Barrington)
  • Midtown Nashville Counseling
  • Cultivating Hope Therapy (Kansas City)
  • The Point Church at Signal Mountain (Tennessee)
  • Youth Villages (Boon, North Carolina)
Marriage and Family Therapy Graduates 2017 Wheaton College Graduate School
Investing in You

Financial Wellness

The Wheaton College Graduate School Student Financial Services team can help you understand how much your graduate studies will cost and what financial aid options -- such as graduate assistantships, loans, payment plans, and scholarships -- may be available to you. 

Learn About Graduate Financial Aid
Billy Cleary
Promoting healing. Strengthening bonds.

Alumni in Action

“All of the faculty members bring a unique relational piece to this program. They accept us as we are, and they accept us where we are along our trajectory in life.”

— Billy Cleary '18, LMFT

Billy Cleary's approach as a clinical director and therapist is informed by his life experiences which prioritizes the person over the objective. Through collaboration, curiosity, and drive individuals and systems can change and heal.

As a therapist, Billy believes that creating a space to collectively navigate social and relational issues promotes healing and change, thus strengthening bonds. His focus at TELL is to build upon its mission to support individuals, families, and communities throughout Japan and help restore relationships for the international and Japanese community.

Next Steps

Interested in becoming a Christian counselor with expertise in relationships? The Wheaton College M.A. in Marriage & Family Therapy might be right for you. Request more information or start your application today.