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    Harding University
  May 28, 2023
2021-2022 Academic Catalog 
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2021-2022 Academic Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy (MFCT), MS

Mental Health and Wellness Mission Statement:

The mission of Harding’s Mental Health and Wellness program is to prepare counselors to provide caring, compassionate and competent counseling services in a variety of settings to a diverse population. To that end, students will be provided with current, practical, and ethical education consistent with Harding’s Christian foundations equipping them to be effective counselors capable of facilitating health change, growth and development.

Program Overview:

This entry level 60-hour Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree prepares candidates in advanced knowledge and skills to become leaders and practitioners in the field of marriage, couple, and family counseling/psychotherapy. Practice is given in utilizing current counseling principles in real-world settings through practicum and internship experiences. Candidates are equipped with strategies including systemic, cognitive, affective, or behavioral interventions that address wellness, personal growth, crisis and mental health including pathology. This program will provide candidates with competencies (as defined by CACREP, ACA and AAMFT) designed to positively impact a variety of people across the lifespan.

This program provides training in marriage, couple and family counseling emphasizing advanced work in family systems, the current DSM, individual and group counseling, relational counseling, addictions, crisis and trauma. The program includes classroom and field experiences that develop competency in advanced counseling/psychotherapy practice.

This degree can lead to professional credentialing as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in most states. It can also lead to professional credentialing as a Licensed Professional Counselor in Arkansas and provides preparation for professional counseling practice in a variety of settings including but not limited to school based mental health, community, clinical mental health, private practice and ministry.

Students who complete the program are eligible to take the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Regulatory Boards (AAMFTRB) Exam and the National Counselor Examination (NCE) offered by the National Board for Certified counselors (NBCC). They are also eligible to become members of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), American Counseling Association (ACA), and the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA).

Admission Requirements for the MS in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy:

Admission to Harding University is determined on an individual basis with the following criteria considered: (1) academic preparation, (2) character, (3) educational interests and (4) academic potential. Effort is made to admit all students who qualify and who can benefit from the unique educational program and opportunities available at Harding irrespective of their religious faith, national origin, sex, race or color. When applying, students should be aware of the distinct mission of Harding University and be willing to commit themselves to upholding institutional values.

Applicants for the MS Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree program must:

  1. Hold a bachelor’s degree and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.50 or more, or 2.75 on the last 60 hours, attested by official transcript(s); OR an earned master’s degree from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, attested by an official transcript.
  2. Successfully complete the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) with a minimum score of 385 or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with a minimum score of 900 in combined verbal and quantitative scores on the GRE tests taken prior to August 1, 2011. On GRE tests taken on or after August 1, 2011, the required score for the combined verbal and quantitative will be 286. When requesting the score from the Educational Testing Service please reference Harding University code 6267.
  3. Abide by the University Code of Conduct. Counseling students must also abide by the Graduate Policies and Procedures and the Mental Health and Wellness Handbook.
  4. Applicants holding a master’s degree will be evaluated individually to ensure CACREP master’s criteria is met.

Provisional admission for the MS Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree program:

A student who does not fully meet the requirements listed above may receive provisional admission, with the approval of the counseling faculty, if he or she holds a baccalaureate degree from an institution accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation with a cumulative grade point average below 2.50 but not less than 2.34, attested by official transcript(s). Provisional status is removed when the student completes 12 graduate hours with at least a 3.0 grade point average, six of which must be in the academic area of concentration.

Application Procedure

  1. All applicants are required to submit a Graduate College Application Service (GradCAS) application via the GradCAS website.
  2. Candidates will need to go to this website and complete the web application, submit GradCAS application fees, and send official transcripts from each university attended to GradCAS.
  3. In addition, applicants must submit letters of reference that focus on the applicant’s academic and professional abilities.
  4. Applications must include a professional resume.
  5. Applicants must complete a personal interview with the professional counseling faculty. The interview will include a writing prompt and assessment of the candidate’s professional objectives, professional commitment, level of self-awareness, and compatibility with the counseling program.

Application Review and Selection of Candidates

Each applicant will be interviewed by the program area graduate faculty. This interview will determine the candidate’s professional objectives, professional commitment, and the compatibility of the program with his or her goals and interests. The applicant must complete an impromptu writing sample at the time of the interview.

The chair of Mental Health and Wellness or the director of each specific program may request additional information from the applicant prior to final approval for admittance to the program.

Other Program Requirements:

Upon acceptance into the program, students must consult with the director or assigned advisor of their program concerning the required course of study, register for classes online through Pipeline each term, and complete financial registration with the Business Office online.

All requirements of the MFCT program must be completed within eight years from the time of acceptance into the program. Course work that is taken more than eight years before graduation will not be accepted.

Transfer and International Students:

Up to 9 hours of credit for coursework from other institutions accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation may be transferred if the institution is accredited by NCATE, TEAC, or a similar accrediting organization and the earned grade is a B or higher. All transfer hours are subject to the approval of the chair of Mental Health and Wellness and must be completed before a student’s last semester.

Students who (1) speak English as a second language, and have (2) not previously completed an undergraduate degree from an institution within the United States accredited by an agency nationally recognized by the US Department of Education or the Council for Higher Education Accreditation must meet a minimum score on a nationally recognized test of English language proficiency such as the TOEFL or IELTS. 

Minimum TOEFL scores acceptable for admission to the university are 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), or 79 (internet-based test). The minimum IELTS score is 6.0. Scores must not be older than two years prior to the date of application to the university. Please note that individual programs may have more stringent minimum requirements.

Academic Standing Requirements

These requirements are common to all programs in education and are listed in the Cannon-Clary College of Education  section. Professional Counseling students should refer to their student handbook for program requirements.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum: 60 Hours

To earn this Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree, a student must successfully complete the following: (1) core coursework, (2) written comprehensive exams, and (3) an oral interview. This 60-hour Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy degree meets the core requirements for counseling as defined by CACREP. It also includes course and practicum/internship requirements established by COAMFTE in accordance with state licensure regulations.

Optional Elective: 3 Hours

Students seeking to become dual licensed as LMFTs and LPCs in Arkansas, and other states, are encouraged to take this elective course. It is sequenced as part of the program but is not required for the MS MFCT degree.


Requests for degree may be submitted prior to a student’s final semester but must be submitted no later than the first week of the final term. The graduation fee must be paid before graduation.