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The Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) graduate program issues one Master of Science degree with two connected and distinct specialization areas: 1) Human Development and Family Science, consisting of 30 credit hours, and 2) Human Development and Family Science with specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), consisting of 54 credit hours. These two emphasis areas share foundational courses and the Marriage and Family Therapy students will also complete clinical training.

Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The primary emphases of the department are human development and family processes within the context of larger sociocultural systems. The distinguishing feature of HDFS is this contextual focus. Individual lifespan development is viewed as transpiring within a web of close relationships/family relationships, and family systems are seen as both context for individual and interpersonal behaviors and as units nested in larger sociocultural environments. Our unique niche is a commitment to family diversity and a multicultural perspective in research, teaching, and service. In each of these areas, we focus on the diversity that characterizes human development within the family context. Because we define family diversity and multiculturalism broadly, our focus is on the multitude of ways that individuals within families may differ, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, family structure, nationality, geographic location, and sexual orientation.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Master's
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Community - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Doctoral
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Doctoral
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Older Adults (Gerontology) - Master's
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

The mission of Saint Louis University's Medical Family Therapy program is to train marriage and
family therapists who are engaged in service to individuals, couples, families and the
community. Through a scholarly and reflective process, the faculty are involved in the
development of professional clinicians who understand and recognize the primacy and
importance of scientific inquiry, diversity and social justice; who respect and accept multiple
perspectives; and who strive to practice in a collaborative engagement with other professionals
and the community.

M.A. in Family Therapy (medical family therapy concentration):
The M.A. in Family Therapy is based on a systemic/relational view of individuals, couples and
families. It fulfills the course and practicum requirements toward licensure in the State of
Missouri as a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist. The program requires a minimum of 60
credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Prerequisites include 18 credit hours in the
behavioral sciences. Program requirements include didactic courses, two semesters of
practicum, three semesters of internship in a community setting and the attainment of a
minimum of 500 hours of direct clinical contact. The concentration in medical family therapy
prepares student to function as part of an integrated care team in addressing the
biopsychosocial needs of individuals and families.

Ph.D. in Medical Family Therapy:
The Ph.D. in Medical Family Therapy is based on a systemic/relational view of individuals,
couples and families. It prepares clinicians to work within an integrated care health setting in
collaboration with medical and mental health professionals. Coursework focuses on theory,
practice and research in the field of couple and family therapy with an emphasis on intervention
in primary care medical settings and as adjunct health providers in specialty care. The doctoral
program involves a minimum of 51 credit hours of coursework beyond the master's degree, plus
comprehensive examinations and original research culminating in the dissertation (12+ credit
hours). The Ph.D. has a clinical component in which students are trained in both mental health
and medical settings as part of an integrated care team of health professionals. Students are
required to complete a nine to twelve month internship.

The Marriage and Family Therapy Doctoral Program at Saint Louis University is accredited by
the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education of the American
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. The Ph.D. program is available as a part-time or
a full-time program.

Career Paths:
Possible careers include academic positions, research, clinical positions in medical and mental
health centers, private practice and consulting.

Areas of Study
  • Counseling (Child, Couples, or Family) - Master's
  • Therapy (Couples, Marriage, or Family) - Doctoral
Last Updated

The Department of Human Environmental Studies houses the Family Studies Program. It is one of six options in the Department. Family Studies has five faculty that are teaching at both the main campus and the regional campuses in southeast Missouri. The family Studies Program operates three Centers that are used for practicum and internship rotations for the majors and minors in Family Studies. The Centers are University School for Young Children, the Horizon Enrichment Center for Developmentally Disabled Young Adults and the Hoover Center Adult Day Program. In addition, Family Studies staff conduct grant programs and research that yearly total 1.1 million dollars.

Areas of Study
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Master's
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated

Our department is a community of scholars dedicated to developing transformational leaders, who excel in meeting the diverse educational needs of children and families in Missouri, our nation, and the world.

Through teaching, research, and service, the childhood education and family studies department is committed to be a model and resource for enhancing the quality of life and promoting the inherent rights of children and families.

Areas of Study
  • Child or Adolescent Science/Studies - Undergraduate
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Master's
  • Development (Child, Human, or Family) - Undergraduate
  • Early Childhood - Master's
  • Early Childhood - Undergraduate
  • Family Science/Studies - Undergraduate
CFLE Approved
Last Updated