In Fall 2020, Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology will launch a new graduate program, M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT). This degree will equip students with the ability to serve in a variety of settings — Christian and secular — as an effective therapist through integrating clinical skills and personal development with a biblical curriculum.

“With the ongoing rise of mental health issues in our society, there is a greater need for trained therapists than ever before. Our graduates will approach their service with a heart that has been shaped by Christ and an approach that is well-integrated with a biblical worldview,” said Clint Arnold, dean of Talbot. “Our goal is to equip clinicians whose patterns of thought, heart, and action impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. Our graduates will endeavor to facilitate the overall, long-term well-being of individuals and their families.”

Coursework for the master’s program will focus on theory and methods, personal development, spiritual formation and professional preparation. With a broad range of course emphases, students will obtain a well-rounded education, providing them with the tools to know how to ethically and biblically approach a wide variety of real-life scenarios.

“Marriage and Family Therapy graduates are prepared to assume professional positions in family service agencies, private practice, employee assistance programs, hospitals, health care organizations, schools and other clinical and organizational settings as well as in churches and para-church organizations,” said Arnold. “Talbot has traditionally attracted students from over 40 different countries and from many different ethnicities. This program will serve numerous communities and have a global reach.”

The standard length for the 64-credit, residential MFT program is three to six years, depending on the background and courseload of the student. The program includes a year-long internship in community sites under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional, where the student will accumulate more than 300 practicum hours with real clients. 

In addition to courses, students will undergo three co-curricular requirements designed for personal development: Spiritual Direction through Talbot’s Institute of Spiritual Formation, personal psychotherapy with a licensed clinician and a graduate research and writing course devised to prepare students to write their first research paper. The program will also offer intercultural experience and competency through working with families in Southern California. Students will study how race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender and sexuality shape experience and counseling best practices. Students will be able to process their experiences and education through a cohort community within the program.

The MFT program is specifically structured to prepare graduates for licensure in California. The curriculum meets the educational requirements of the Board of Behavioral Science (BBS) in California and adheres closely to the standards of the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE).

Students can apply now to start the program in Fall 2020. Questions about admissions requirements should be directed to Graduate Admissions at or (562) 903-4752.

Written by Emma Vandine, iBiola Reporter intern. For more information, contact Brenda Velasco, senior director of university communications, at (562) 944-0351 ext. 5340, or at