Student Resources

Student Handbooks and Manuals

Find information about policies and procedures associated with our masters program in Couple and Family Therapy.

Download PDF of Student Handbook

Download PDF of CFTC Policy & Procedures Manual

The MS in Couple & Family Therapy requires that a student complete at least 500 hours of direct client contact, and 100 hours of clinical supervision with an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. The way in which the hours break down is very significant – so the following information is VERY important.

Each student in the MS in Couple & Family Therapy Program completes 12 months of internship at our onsite facility – the PNW Couple & Family Therapy Center; with an additional 12 months at an offsite Community Partner in an externship. This equates to a total of at least 24 months of supervised experience prior to graduation. 

Direct Client Contact Hours

A direct client contact hour is a block of time in which you are engaging in systemic psychotherapy with a client in the room with you. You must get at least 500 of these hours. Of the 500 hours:

  • A minimum of 250 must be “relational”
  • You can count up to a total of 250 hours of “individual” therapy
  • You may also get a maximum of 100 hours of teaming hours.

Video hours, phone calls, documentation / paperwork, and case management time does not qualify as direct client contact.

Relational Direct Client Contact Hour

A therapy session in which there is more than one client in the room participating in the therapy process. This includes couples, families, sibling pairs, roommates, friendships, co-workers, etc. The people in the room must have some kind of relationship together in order for it to be a relational psychotherapy hour.

  • You must get a minimum of 250 relational direct client contact hours in order to graduate.

Individual Direct Client Contact Hour

A therapy session in which there is only one client in the room. This can include adults, children, adolescents – anyone in which you are doing therapy with only one person at a time.

  • You can get a maximum of 250 individual client contact hours counted toward graduation.

Relational Group Therapy Direct Client Contact

A group therapy session (more than 2, 2-pair or more client systems) in which the therapy process is systemic or psychoeducational. These hours are included with the overall relational hours needed for graduation.

Individual Group Therapy Client Contact Hour

A group therapy session made up of two or more individuals who are not related or engaged in any kind of relationship for the purpose of psychotherapy or psychoeducation. These hours are included with the overall individual hours towards graduation.

Observation or Teaming Hours

You can earn up to 100 hours of “alternative client contact” or Team Hours. These hours are built into the system in order to provide some flexibility for training and to recognize the work that you will be putting in as good therapy colleagues. A Team Hour is a block of time that you dedicated toward working with a primary therapist on a case, observing and conceptualizing the case as a team – working on treatment even though you will not physically be in the room.

  • Individual Team – an hour where you observe an individual direct client contact hour.
  • Relational Team – an hour where you observe a relational (couple, family, etc.) direct client contact hour.

Supervision Hours

All students receive consistent and ongoing supervision by PNW CFT Core Faculty – who also serve as Clinical Supervisors. Only the supervision provided by PNW CFT Faculty count toward the graduation requirements. At minimum, students receive 1 hour of group supervision per week, and 1 hour of dyadic/individual supervision per week. At no time may a supervision ratio exceed 1 supervisor per 8 students.

Individual / Dyadic Supervision

This is a supervision session where you and up to one other student therapist are engaged in the supervision process with at least one approved supervisor.

  • You must get a minimum of 50 hours that count as individual to graduate (can be case consultation or raw data).

Group Supervision

Small group supervision of 8 students or less, and meeting with at least one approved supervisor.

You can count up to a maximum of 50 group supervision hours towards graduation (can be case consultation or raw data).

Case Consultation

This is a type of supervision in which no raw data is presented when discussing the case – and can be either individual/dyadic or group supervision. This would be a situation where you discuss the case, treatment approaches, what was said, etc., and get advice on how to move forward. The supervisor and your colleague(s) do not see or hear the client in anyway. You can count up to a maximum of 50 case consultation hours towards graduation (individual or group).

Video/Audio/Live – Raw Data

This is a type of supervision where you bring in either video recordings, audio recordings, or your supervisor watches a session occur live – and can be either individual/dyadic or group supervision. It is considered raw data supervision whenever someone in the group or dyad brings in video/audio or has a live session, for all people who participate.

  • You must get a minimum of 50 hours of raw data supervision (individual or group).

Special Circumstances – Supervision

When a student is at their 12 month internship at the CFTC, they may only see clients while PNW is open and in session. No clinical contact occurs during academic breaks. No supervision is necessary during these breaks for those students. However, the Program Director remains on call in case of emergency, along with their most recent Clinical Supervisor.

For those students at their Externship with a Community Partner – they are expected to see clients and remain clinically active year round. This includes when the university is closed for academic breaks. During this time when the university is closed, their immediate past Clinical Supervisor is on call for any clinical emergencies or questions/guidance. If the Clinical Supervisor is unavailable, the Program Director is the backup call. The student may also receive emergency guidance from their offsite supervisor (community placement supervisor).

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of assistantships are available to students in PNW’s Couple and Family Therapy program. Assistantship awards depend on funding availability, the student’s performance in their previous semester of assistantship and the student’s satisfactory progress. Assistantships awarded usually involve teaching, research, or administrative/office support.

  • Teaching assistantships may involve assisting a faculty member with teaching a class; advanced students may be offered an opportunity to independently teach a class.
  • Research assistantships involve helping faculty with research, such as conducting literature reviews, calling/interviewing participants, gathering and analyzing data, preparing reports, or preparing results for presentation at conferences or publication.
  • Administrative/Office Support assistantships often involve clerical and support tasks for a specific office, department, or center/facility. These may include processing documents, preparing and submitting reports, customer service, data entry, technology management or support, marketing and programming efforts, event planning, or various other tasks as needed.
  • Assistantships awarded are quarter-time, or 10-hours per week, and come with tuition remission and a small stipend. The small stipend is currently $2,800 per semester, paid out over the 5 months in a semester.
  • Summer tuition is waived if students have an assistantship the spring prior to and the fall after the summer in which tuition is waived. Students do not receive a stipend during the summer.
  • Assistantships do not cover fees, which run roughly $1000 per semester (that is, $1000 in the fall and $1000 in the spring) and $500 during the summer.

Our first priority is to ensure that all students receive an assistantship. Students may find hourly work on campus to supplement the stipend they receive with their assistantship. Assistantship support may be available for a maximum of  2.5 years.

Finding Graduate Assistantships

The CFT Program Director or designee will send out an email announcement whenever there are program, department, or college/university assistantships available. Typically, you will have to apply for these assistantships – so it’s good to have your CV or Resume ready!

Other than the department offerings, you can also find assistantships listed on the PNW Student Careers website hosted by Human Resources, or by perusing Handshake, an application/website with PNW that often has postings on it as well.

Program/Department/College Supported Hourly Work (Work-Study or Other)

A limited number of hourly or work-study positions may be available each semester or year – and will be offered and distributed in much the same way as Graduate Assistantships. Availability is limited and depends on funding and budgetary concerns. Much of the work that you would do in this hourly capacity is similar to that completed in graduate assistantship, however may be more unique and/or suited to a specialized skill set. You could end up supporting an instructor with a course, helping on some research, working in an office, focusing on marketing efforts, managing a social media campaign, developing new services for the community, or many other tasks.

  • Work-study or hourly work comes with an hourly wage (determined based on funding and previous experience/task) that is paid biweekly during the specified contract period. Tuition remission is NOT included as part of work-study or hourly employment. 
  • Typically, the hourly employment will be for about 10 hours per week, with greater flexibility in scheduling depending on supervisor and task needs.

The following coursework is required to earn the Master of Science degree in Couple & Family Therapy. You’ll notice that many of the courses are offered ‘every other year’ – either in odd or even years, depending on which course it is, and the semester it is offered. Additionally, some courses will be taken with either single cohorts (just the class you entered with) or, with two cohorts in attendance.

CFT 60000 Basic Systemic Therapy Skills – Fall, Every Year
CFT 61000 Classic Theories in CFT – Fall, Every Year
CFT 62000 Diagnosis and Assessment in CFT – Fall, Even Years
CFT 63000 Ethics & Professional Issues in CFT – Fall, Even Years
CFT 63500 Theories of Human and Family Development – Fall, Odd Years
CFT 64000 Diversity & Social Justice in CFT – Spring, Even Years
CFT 64500 Treating Trauma with CFT – Spring, Even Years
CFT 65000 Sexuality and Sex Therapy – Spring, Odd Years
CFT 65500 Couple Therapy – Spring, Odd Years
CFT 66000 Contemporary Theories in CFT – Fall, Odd Years
CFT 64700 Topical Issues in CFT – Summer, Odd Years
CFT 67500 Practicum in CFT (Repeats) – Every Semester
CFT 69500 Introduction to Research and Writing in CFT – Spring, Every Year
CFT 69600 Research Methods in CFT – Fall, Every Year
CFT 69700 Research Analysis in CFT – Spring, Every Year
CFT 69800 Thesis in CFT – Fall, Every Year
Total Credits: 63

Acknowledgement of the General Regulatory Structure and Practice/Licensure Requirements for the Practice of Couple (Marriage) and Family Therapy

It is the policy of the Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) Program to inform prospective and incoming students about the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Profession’s general regulatory structure and practice/licensure requirements. Because you are an incoming student, we are seeking your acknowledgement of and understanding of these important requirements.

There are typically 3 general requirements necessary to achieve full licensure as a marriage and family therapist in all states within the United States and provinces in Canada.

  1. The first step is to complete the educational requirements outlined by the state/province regulatory body as relevant to education in marriage and family therapy. The educational requirements in the first step are typically comprised of completion of a curriculum, accruing a certain number of client contact hours, and accruing a certain number of supervision hours, all of which occur within the graduate program.
  2. Step 2 involves the accrual of a certain number of direct client contact hours and supervision hours post-degree, defined by the state/province in their rules and regulations for the profession
  3. And, finally, the third step is passing an exam (written and/or oral) related to knowledge of marriage and family therapy. In some states/provinces, this exam may be able to be taken place right after graduation of your master’s degree, or it may be delayed until the completion of experience requirements (step 2).

Currently, each state has its own MFT regulatory board that oversees these requirements. As a result, the 3 general requirements outlined above frequently differ or vary from state to state. Moreover, each state may modify its requirements at any time.

When you are seeking an education in Couple (Marriage) and Family Therapy at PNW, you are working toward completing the first step toward the licensure process; therefore, the CFT Program at PNW assists you in meeting the educational requirements as you work toward licensure. The PNW CFT Master’s degree Program offers a COAMFTE Accredited onsite educational program that meets the educational requirements for many states, but has been designed to meet or exceed the requirements for the States of Indiana and Illinois. You can read more about Indiana’s and Illinois’ Requirements for Marriage and Family License on their websites as follows:

Rules & Regulations Website:



License Application & Information:



Board Website:



Students who would like to practice in other states should contact that state’s licensure board to determine their requirements for licensure.

NOTE: The Association of Marital and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AMFTRB) maintains a website that provides information about each state’s licensure requirements. Students are encouraged to check the website frequently for changes to licensure requirements.

As part of our program, you will be required to investigate and determine the requirements for the state/province in which you intend to practice upon graduation. This will typically be done when you enroll and complete course requirements for CFT 63000 Ethics & Professional Issues in CFT. If you have questions about the program’s alignment with professional licensure you may contact the Program Director: Dr. Christopher K. Belous at

Course Alignment to IN / IL License Requirements


Please Note: All students are required to sign and submit the Acknowledgment of Regulatory Alignment form (Text above, downloadable document) prior to the first day of classes in the CFT Program. This document outlines that we have aligned our program with Indiana and Illinois license requirements, and that it is your responsibility to ensure you can achieve initial licensure in your intended jurisdiction upon graduation. We will help you with this endeavor, mentor and guide you to provide the smoothest transition to professional life post graduation as possible.

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