Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

The Ph.D. in Family Therapy consists of 90 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree, with at least 30 of the 90 credit hours focused on research courses, completion of a dissertation, and an internship across two semesters focused on two of the following areas: research, grant writing, supervision, college teaching, clinical specialization, and advanced clinical theory. The Ph.D. in Family Therapy requires 60 semester hours of courses beyond the master’s degree. 

The following prerequisite courses, or reasonable equivalents, will be completed in the student’s Master's degree program; if not, they must be taken during the Family Therapy doctoral degree program. In addition, students must have completed an internship experience in their Master's degree program (minimum of 12 months & 500 (200 relational) direct client contact hours).
Lifespan Human Development
Family Sexuality
Theories of the Family
Statistics for Family Sciences
Clinical Diagnosis and Treatment Planning for Counselors
Multicultural Counseling
Principles of Couple Therapy
Foundations of Family Therapy Theory
Research Methods in Family Sciences
Family Systems
Issues and Ethics in Professional Development
Family of Origin
Systemic Clinical Theory & Applications to Contemporary Challenges
FS 6243Advanced Applications of Family Therapy to Contemporary Challenges3
FS 6563Family Therapy II (Advanced Family Therapy Theory)3
FS 6903Special Topics (Rotating topic - must be approved by advisor)3
Foundations of Teaching, Supervision, & Leadership
FS 6253Supervision in Family Therapy (Application required, with minimum of 100 relational client contact hours and instructor approval)3
FS 6343Effective College Teaching Methods3
FS 6433Grants Writing in Family Sciences3
Advanced Research
FS 6003Advanced Study of the Lifespan3
FS 6193Advanced Statistics for Family Sciences3
FS 6203Frameworks and Ethics for Qualitative Research in Family Sciences3
FS 6403Theory Building in Family Sciences3
FS 6443Research and Issues in Family Sciences3
FS 6693Advanced Quantitative Research Methods In Family Sciences3
FS 6793Advanced Qualitative Research Methods In Family Sciences3
FS 6893Multivariate Statistics3
FS 6903Special Topics (Structural Equation Modeling & Dyadic Analysis)3
Specialty Area/Career Goals
Select one from the following:3
Academic Life and Scholarship
Family Financial Counseling
Psychopathology and Exceptionalities in Childhood and Adolescence
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Therapeutic and Crisis Interventions for Children and Adolescents
Neurodevelopmental and Genetic Disorders In Children
Cross Cultural Psychology
Social Epidemiology
Foundations of Health Science
Health Advocacy and Leadership
Strategies in Health Education Delivery
History of Health and Medicine
Principles and Methods of Teaching Health Professionals
Global Health
Environmental Health
Foundation of Reading: Physiological And Psychological Dimensions
Nature of Literacy in the Adolescent Years
Seminar on Social Organization and Disorganization
Social Psychology Theory
All electives must be approved by the student’s doctoral degree plan committee prior to enrolling in the courses.
Advanced Experience
FS 6913Independent Study (Advanced Practical Experience in Family Therapy (2 semesters) Choose two of the following areas: Supervision, Advanced Research, Teaching, Advanced Clinical Theory & Practice, Grant Writing)6
See Advanced Practical Experience section in the Family Therapy Doctoral Student Handbook for application and course requirements.
FS 6983Dissertation3
FS 6993Dissertation3
Students are expected to complete their formal degree plan during a meeting with their major advisor and doctoral committee before completing 15 hours of courses.
Total SCHs60


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.  If a grade of C or below is earned two times while in any Family Sciences doctoral program, the student will be dismissed from the program.

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 advisory committee 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.

Grading Specific to the Family Therapy Program

All Family Therapy students are required to earn grades of "B" or better in all graduate courses.  If less than a "B" is earned, students must retake the course the next available semester the course is offered.  If a student earns two non-passing grades ("C" or below) in any courses during their program, s/he will be dismissed from the program.  Even though students have retaken a course and earned a passing grade for one (1) course, it does not negate the consequence associated with this two non-passing grades requirement.

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination consists of written and/or oral comprehensive examinations conducted by the candidate’s advisory committee and administered at least one academic year before the degree is expected to be conferred, ordinarily not earlier than during the last semester of the second full year of graduate study. In no case may a student be excused from the qualifying examination. (NOTE: The student must have met research tools and any residence requirements before taking the qualifying examination.) Additional information regarding the qualifying examination process and criteria in Family Therapy can be found in the Family Therapy Ph.D. Student Handbook at the Department of Family Sciences website.

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 only be repeated one time. Failure to pass this exam results in dismissal from the program.

Criminal Background Check

Passing a criminal background check may be required by TWU and/or certain facilities associated with the required clinical work or for certifications/licensures. If students are unable to be cleared on any of these requirements, they may not be eligible to continue in the program or become certified/licensed.