About The Family Institute’s Online Programs

The Family Institute at Northwestern University offers online counterparts to two of its on-campus programs—the Master of Arts in Counseling and the Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Both programs feature online curricula as rigorous as their in-person options, blending live, online classes with clinical field placements and consistent support.

Upon completion, students earn the same degree as on-campus master’s degree students and are prepared to pursue licensure and provide high-quality behavioral health services in their communities.

The CACREP-Accredited Online Master of Arts in Counseling

Counseling@Northwestern is the CACREP-accredited online Master of Arts in Counseling program from The Family Institute at Northwestern University. The program prepares students to become a self-reflective clinical mental health counselor who applies various counseling theories and evidence-based practices to help people in need. Students focus on three core components during their time in the program: self-reflection, diversity, and clinical training.

Careers for Licensed Counselors

Counselors licensed for independent practice are legally permitted to practice clinical mental health counseling autonomously. While the exact scope of practice varies from state to state, most licensed counselors diagnose and treat mental health concerns. Licensed counselors may work in agencies, private practice, and other settings. Many accept third-party insurance reimbursement and they also provide mental health consultation and supervision.

After earning an MA in Counseling, counselors must become licensed to practice. The requirements for a counseling license are state-specific and include additional post-master’s supervised clinical hours and examination.

Graduation from a CACREP-accredited program is the first step but does not guarantee eligibility for licensure in all states. Licensure requirements vary from state to state, with some requiring more clinical field placement hours and/or coursework than CACREP standards. Graduates will need to meet their state’s licensure requirements which typically include a national exam and postgraduate supervised clinical hours to be fully licensed to practice independently. Once students have enrolled in the program, Counseling@Northwestern will work with them to meet their field placement hour requirements and discuss any postgraduate coursework requirements in their resident state. Every effort is made to help students meet licensure requirements in their state(s) of practice.

Licensure requirements differ from state to state, but some state licensing boards require a master’s degree from a CACREP- or CORE-accredited program. We encourage students to research the requirements specific to each state.

Counseling@Northwestern Accreditation

Northwestern University is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Northwestern University’s on-campus Master of Arts in Counseling Program and the Counseling@Northwestern online program have received an eight-year accreditation from CACREP. The CACREP accreditation renews in 2023. A CACREP-accredited program allows students to be license-eligible in most states. Some states require more clinical field placement hours and/or coursework than the CACREP standards. Once students enroll in the program, Counseling@Northwestern will work with students to meet their field placement hour requirement and discuss any postgraduate coursework requirements in their resident state.

The COAMFTE-Accredited Online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy

MFT@Northwestern is the COAMFTE-accredited online Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy from The Family Institute at Northwestern University. The program upholds high standards for classroom instruction and clinical training, providing the skills necessary for a career focused on strengthening and healing diverse populations of families. Students learn the integrative systemic therapy (IST) model, created and researched by The Family Institute at Northwestern faculty to provide a collaborative and systematic approach to treatment of families, couples, and individuals.

MFT@Northwestern Licensure

Licensed marriage and family therapists are legally permitted to practice autonomously. Once licensed, marriage and family therapy professionals work in private practice, mental health agencies, and other settings to help families, couples, and individuals work through life’s challenges and develop client-focused solutions.

After earning an MS in Marriage and Family Therapy, therapists must become licensed to practice autonomously. The requirements for a marriage and family therapy license are state-specific and include additional post-master’s supervised clinical hours and examination.

Graduation from a COAMFTE-accredited program is the first step but does not guarantee eligibility for licensure in all states. Licensure requirements vary from state to state, with some requiring more clinical field placement hours and/or coursework than COAMFTE standards. Every effort is made to help students understand and prepare for the licensure requirements in the state(s) where they intend to practice. Licensure requirements differ from state to state, but most state licensing boards require a master’s degree from a COAMFTE-accredited program. We encourage students to research the requirements specific to each state.

MFT@Northwestern Accreditation

Northwestern University is regionally accredited by North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The on-campus and online branches of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Northwestern University are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE): coa@aamft.org. A COAMFTE-accredited program provides the graduate education required for students to be license-eligible in most states. Each state also requires an examination and a specified amount of supervised postgraduate, clinical work for licensure.