The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy will offer an online graduate MFT program starting this summer, in addition to the residential graduate program.
The program will feature three degree tracks and will be facilitated through ACU’s new learning management system, Canvas.
The Department of Marriage and Family Therapy has been discussing the addition for several years, said Dr. Jamie Goff, associate dean of the Graduate School and chair of the Department of Marriage and Family Therapy.
“Now we have some financial resources available to us through the Graduate School that weren’t available before,” Goff said. “And that has made it possible for us to offer it online.”
The department expects high demand for the online program due to the rapidly growing marriage and family therapy industry, Goff said. Only two accredited graduate online programs exist at the moment.
Although the online program won’t be open to accreditation until the first class graduates, the residential program’s 31-year accreditation streak bolsters the reputation of the infant online modality.
“There is a lot of demand for MFT in general, but there is even more demand for MFT graduate degrees online,” Goff said. “Because a lot of the folks interested in doing this are second-career, many of them have families, and many have to work full-time.”
Goff and the department hired subject-matter experts in the field to assist with the course migration from residential to online. In addition, instructional designers are working alongside the experts to ensure the program is as high-quality as the residential program.
The online program will be identical to the residential program content-wise, but the research and mentoring opportunities offered by the residential program situate it as a better option for PhD preparation, Goff said.
“If you’re doing an online program, you’re probably interested in a master’s degree and want the clinical training, but you are not really looking beyond that in terms of research experience,” Goff said.
Elizabeth Watters, senior family studies major from Tomball, said she is applying for the residential graduate program, but thinks the online program will be a popular option.
“The main highlight, to me, is that it will really open it up to a lot of people,” she said.