Master of Arts in Family Counseling

Coursework for the 60 credit hours Master of Arts in Family Counseling program fulfills the requirements for state licensure, the CACREP Specialty Track, the National Academy for Certified Family Therapists, Inc., and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Clinical memberships. Although most accrediting bodies use the words “Marriage and Family” to describe their specialty, this program has elected to use the word “Family” to represent what the program believes to be a better description of the practice methods.

The Family counseling program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Graduates of CACREP accredited programs are eligible to sit for the National Counselor Exam (NCE) during their last year of study. The eight core curricular areas of CACREP are the comprehensive foundation of the exam questions used for the NCE. After successful completion of the NCE and upon graduation, one can then apply for the National Certified Counselor credential through the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC).

application requirements

Counselor Education admits students twice a year, in January and August. The deadline to submit a complete application for the program for the spring term is Aug. 15. The deadline to submit an application for the fall term is March 15. Counselor Education deadline dates differ from other Northeastern M.A. program deadline dates.  

To formally apply, applicants must submit the following to Graduate Admissions and Records, Northeastern Illinois University, 5500 North St. Louis Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60625-4699. Applicants must also attend the Preadmission Workshop (PAW) as part of the application process:

Applicants to the M.A. in Family Counseling program must meet the admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research and the following additional requirements:

  1. Submit recent scores for the general test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores will be considered along with other aspects of the application; and

  2. Participate in an evaluative Preadmission Workshop (PAW) after application materials have been submitted. The Department of Counselor Education admits students twice a year, in the spring and fall terms. Admission to the program is competitive. It is possible for an otherwise acceptable applicant to be denied admission due to the competitive strength of the applicant pool. Those not selected for admission may reapply only once.

Approximately two weeks after the application deadline, Counselor Education sends an email to applicants reminding them of their PAW date. Please contact the Department at (773) 442-5550 if you applied to the program but have not been contacted regarding your PAW confirmation.


Certificate in Couple & Family Counseling

The Certificate in Couple & Family Counseling (CFC) provides specialized training for counseling students and counseling professionals interested in learning how to apply evidence-based systemic theory, assessment, and intervention to their work with individuals, couples, and families. Students who complete the 6 course (18 credits) CFC are eligible to accrue hours of supervised clinical experience and complete the National Marriage and Family Therapy Exam for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the State of Illinois. Additional information regarding licensure as an LMFT can be found on the website of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation - https://www.idfpr.com/profs/MarrFamTherapy.asp

Application Requirements: 

A graduate degree in Counseling or closely-related mental health field from an accredited university program that meets the academic and clinical requirements for licensure as a Master’s level mental health professional

OR

Enrollment as a graduate student or graduate student at-large at Northeastern Illinois University’s Counselor Education Programs.

For additional information regarding the application process for the Certificate in Couples & Family Counseling please email counsedu@neiu.edu or click on the application - Certificate in Couple & Family Counseling Application

Eligibility to Enroll in Classes

Once applicants are officially admitted to a program, they may register for classes during online registration periods. Those who have not yet been reviewed for selection may take only one course before being admitted: COUN 401 Professional Orientation and Legal/Ethical Practices. If an applicant is formally accepted into the program, the credits for the course will count towards their degree requirements. However, taking a course as a student-at-large does not guarantee admission to the program. Applicants admitted to the fall semester may begin taking classes in the summer semester.

The Department of Counselor Education allows non-degree seeking students to take courses as a student-at-large under certain circumstances, such as completing deficiencies for licensure.  To request approval to take a course as a non-degree seeking student, please click on the following link and complete the form:   https://www.neiu.edu/academics/college-of-education/content/permission-take-courses-counselor-education-student-large. We will contact you with an answer within five working days of receiving your form.

Authorization to enroll in courses as a non-degree seeking student in Counselor Education does not constitute admission to any of the Department's programs.  Students who wish to pursue a master's degree in counseling must submit a formal application to Graduate Admissions.  Non-degree seeking students can enroll only in courses for which they have been authorized by this Department.  Some of the courses in the Department are not open to non-degree seeking students.

Curriculum in Family Counseling

Family Counseling requires a minimum of 60-credit hours (20 courses):

COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-407Mental Health Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-421Advanced Marriage And Family Counseling3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
COUN-431Couple And Family Systems Study3
COUN-432Counseling Couples3
COUN-445Practicum I:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
COUN-465Internship I:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
COUN-475Internship II:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
Total Hours60

Clinical Experience

During the fall semester of the year before planning to do Practicum/Internship, students meet with their advisor to review readiness for Practicum and to sign the application form. Applications for clinical experience are distributed at the mandatory Practicum Orientation meeting or may be printed from the forms tab of the Department website. Applications for Practicum/Internship are due November 1 for fall placements of the following year. Students must attend a mandatory orientation meeting before submitting the application form. The date and the place of the orientation meeting are posted on the Department website, listserv, and Departmental bulletin boards. All applications must be reviewed and signed by the student’s advisor. The student may then submit the signed application and the student’s resume to the Coordinator of Clinical Experiences. 

Practicum: Practicum is a 100 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 50 hours of clinical contact with clients (contact hours), and is a prerequisite for Internship. Practicum is offered in the Fall semester.

Internship: Internship is a 600 hour, field-based experience which requires a minimum of 250 hours of clinical contact with clients, of which 150 must involve direct work with couples and families. Students are strongly encouraged to complete all coursework prior to beginning Internship. Students earn six credit hours for internships I and II.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

Prior to graduation, students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. The DPE application must be completed and signed by the student and their advisor and submitted to the Department of Counselor Education no later than two weeks prior to the exam date. Students in the Family Counseling program may take the examination after completion of 39 credit hours of the following coursework:

COUN-401Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-421Advanced Marriage And Family Counseling3
COUN-430Social & Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
COUN-431Couple And Family Systems Study3
Total Hours39

Curriculum Requirements for Certificate in Couple & Family Counseling

Required core courses
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-421Advanced Marriage And Family Counseling3
COUN-431Couple And Family Systems Study3
COUN-432Counseling Couples3
Electives - select any two of the following:6
Children And Youth In School And Family Systems
Addictions Counseling
Psychopharmacology
Medical & Psychosocial Aspects Of Disability
Trauma And Crisis Counseling
Case Conceptualization & Treatment Planning
Aging And The Family
Total Hours18

This sample curricular map is provided to guide program planning for graduate students in the Family Counseling program. This guide should not replace regular consultations with your program advisor. For specific recommendations of courses not identified, please consult your program advisor. Please note that students may choose to attend either full-time or part-time, depending on their need. 

The Plans of Study for the programs in Counselor Education should be used as general guidelines for the completion of courses.  These plans suggest how a student might complete a program in two calendar years by beginning in the fall semester and attending through two summer semesters.  There are many factors that affect how students complete their programs, including whether they begin in the fall or spring semesters and whether they attend full-time or part-time. 

All students in the Family Counseling program have a mandatory orientation at the beginning of their program and have a faculty advisor who will help in the planning of each student’s course of study.

First Year
Term 1Hours
COUN-401Professional Orientation Legal/Ethical Practices3
COUN-402Developmental Counseling3
COUN-403Theories Of Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 2
COUN-405Individual Counseling Skills3
COUN-420Introduction To Family Counseling3
COUN-430Social Cultural Diversity In Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 3
COUN-406Group Counseling3
COUN-427Diagnostic Systems For Counseling3
COUN-432Counseling Couples3
 Term Hours9
Second Year
Term 1
COUN-409Career Development3
COUN-415Children And Youth In School And Family Systems3
COUN-431Couple And Family Systems Study3
 Term Hours9
Term 2
COUN-421Advanced Marriage And Family Counseling3
COUN-404Assessment And Evaluation In Counseling3
COUN-407Mental Health Counseling3
 Term Hours9
Term 3
COUN-425Addictions Counseling3
COUN-408Research Seminar3
 Term Hours6
Third Year
Term 1
COUN-445Practicum I:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
 Term Hours3
Term 2
COUN-465Internship I:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
 Term Hours3
Term 3
COUN-475Internship II:Group Supervision In Couple And Family Counseling3
 Term Hours3
 Total Hours: 60