Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy

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Total Semester Credit Hours Required

A minimum of 90 semester credit hours above the bachelor’s degree, including 6 semester credit hours for dissertation. (Proficiency in statistics is required as part of the program, including completion of a 6000-level statistics course.) 30 of 90 hours must be research courses. Consult with advisor for appropriate/approved research courses.


Two-thirds of the total semester credit hours will determine the major.

Note: The specific course requirements and total semester credit hours are developed in cooperation with and approved in a meeting of the student’s graduate advisory committee. The department chair also approves individual doctoral degree plans based on current departmental requirements.

Research Tools

The Department of Family Sciences requirement is currently consistent with the university requirements as described in the Graduate School General Requirements section of this catalog. Check with the department for any possible additions in acceptable courses to meet the research tool requirement. These requirements of 12 student credit hours are a part of the 90 semester credit hours minimum described above and are included in the 30 hours of research courses required.

Qualifying Exams

A student seeking the doctoral degree in Family Studies must take the First Year Qualifying Examination in Family Studies before completing 18 semester credit hours. All students are required to complete all course work on the degree plan prior to taking the comprehensive qualifying examinations. The only exception to this rule is that a Family Therapy student may be completing the final semester of internship during the semester when the comprehensive qualifying examination is taken. A student should enroll for the first semester of dissertation (FS 6983) during the semester when the comprehensive qualifying examination is taken. The three-day comprehensive qualifying exam is approximately two-thirds on the major and one-third on the minor or related area. The exam will be prepared by the chair of the advisory committee from questions submitted by the committee members. An oral exam will follow successful completion of the written exam, normally within 10 days. The written and oral examination may be repeated one time.

Final Examination

A comprehensive oral examination will include a defense of the dissertation and the research on which it is based, as well as questions concerning the major. The final examination may be repeated one time.

Committee Requirements

Dissertation Committee

All dissertation committees are comprised of a minimum of three graduate faculty members.  At least two of the committee members must represent the major discipline (component). The committee chair must have full graduate faculty standing.  Additional committee voting members must have associate or full graduate faculty standing. 

External committee members may be requested by the committee chair by submitting a CV and request to the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.  They serve in addition to the required three member committee as an ex-officio committee member.

Degree Plan Committee

All degree plan committees are composed of five graduate faculty members. 

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy Program of Study (90 semester credit hours, including relevant master's coursework)

Lifespan Human Development (must be completed before beginning Internship)
Theories of the Family
Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Counselors (must be completed before beginning Internship)
Prepracticum (must be completed before beginning Internship)
Family Sexuality (face-to-face class format only)
Health, Illness, and Families
Family Therapy Required Courses (24 SCH)
FS 5553Principles of Marital Therapy (must be completed before beginning Internship)3
FS 5563Family Therapy I (must be completed before beginning Internship)3
FS 5853Family Systems (must be completed before beginning Internship)3
FS 5883Family of Origin (must be completed before beginning Internship)3
FS 6233Issues and Ethics in Professional Development (must be taken at TWU and must be completed before beginning Internship)3
FS 6243Theories and Strategies for Intervention In Family Therapy (must be taken at TWU)3
FS 6563Family Therapy II (must be taken at TWU)3
FS 6863Family Financial Counseling (must be taken at TWU)3
Family Sciences Doctoral Required Courses (12 SCH)
FS 6003Advanced Study of the Lifespan3
FS 6403Theory Building in Family Sciences3
FS 6413Current Research and Issues in Family Sciences3
FS 6423Readings in Family Sciences3
Professional Competencies (19 SCH)
Students must complete applications and be approved during the semester preceding enrollment for each semester of Internship.
FS 6544Advanced Internship in Family Therapy (4 semesters minimum; must be taken at TWU)16
FS 6253Supervision in Family Therapy (taken during 3rd or 4th semester of Internship)3
Research (15 SCH)
FS 6693Advanced Quantitative Research Methods In Family Sciences (Prerequisite: A master's level research methods course and a graduate-level statistics course.)3
FS 6793Advanced Qualitative Research Methods In Family Sciences (Prerequisite: A master's level research methods course.)3
FS 6873Applied Multivariate Statistics for Family Sciences (Prerequisite: Graduate-level statistics course.)3
FS 6983Dissertation3
FS 6993Dissertation3