Couple and Family Therapy (MSc)

Welcome to the Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition’s MSc program in Couple and Family Therapy (PDF file) (MSc.CFT) at the University of Guelph.

As a student in MSc.CFT you will earn a Master’s of Science degree in Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy. You will participate in an intensive professional training program that combines academic course work and research with clinical training and supervision.

As a graduate of the MSc.CFT you will be a highly skilled mental health professional with recognized clinical training in couple and family therapy. Your training for the practice of relational and systemic psychotherapy will prepare you to become a member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

Solidarity Statement in Support of Anti-Racism

We express our opposition to racism and reaffirm our commitment to anti-racism as a core value. We condemn the systemic racist violence and police brutality against Black, Indigenous, and other racialized peoples in Canada and abroad. Racism has no place in our society, and we have a responsibility not only to condemn discriminatory behaviour, but also to take action to support inclusion for all. We recognize that statements of support for anti-racism alone are insufficient and must be accompanied by ongoing and concrete actions.

The Profession of Couple & Family Therapy – The Practice of Relational and Systemic Psychotherapy

  • Couple and family therapists (CFTs) work with the person in the context of their many relationships and broader social systems, spanning from those most intimate relationships found in the family to those at work, in the community, and in society.
  • CFTs address individual, couple, and family concerns from the perspective of relationships and the context of broader systemic influences; they see relationships as affecting people's sense of self and well-being.
  • CFTs explore patterns of communication and behaviour between partners, siblings, parents and children, or between the family and its network of social organizations. They help families consider the personal and social dimensions of their experiences and meaning-making.
  • CFTs believe that engaging people in exploration of these important intersections in their lives may invite them to consider and create changes in their lives that can have an impact ranging from the most subtle to the profound.

Professional Affiliations

This intensive two year program in theory, research, and practice is a recognized Education and Training Program with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO)  and is the only Master’s program in Canada that is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). This training prepares students to be Registered Psychotherapists with the entry-to-practice competencies specified by the CRPO.  It is also designed to meet the training requirements for membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) and the Canadian Division of AAMFT, including the various regional branches of that division, such as the Ontario Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (OAMFT). The MSc.CFT program was established in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Guelph in 1979, and was accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Marriage and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE) in 1989, and has maintained its accreditation since that time. FRAN’s MSc.CFT program at University of Guelph was the first to receive such recognition in Canada. The CRPO and AAMFT competencies for practice and codes of ethics are incorporated in course design and delivery, and demonstration of these competencies is the primary focus of student evaluation throughout the curriculum

Master's students in the Couple & Family Therapy Program are required to maintain registration as student members of the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy (AAMFT) throughout their graduate studies.


The practice of psychotherapy is regulated in Ontario by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO). Two other provinces (Quebec and Nova Scotia) also regulate the practice of psychotherapy and three more (BC, New Brunswick, and PEI) are in the process of developing regulations. The Federal Governments Agreement on Internal Trade (1994) and Ontario’s Labour Mobility Act (2009) allow those regulated as psychotherapists in one province to transfer their certificate of registration to another equally regulated province.  The CRPO does not have a residence requirement to become a member, meaning anyone in the world who meets the registration requirements for the College may make application to become a member. 


The Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) program, in accord with University policies on Human Rights and Diversity, is fully committed to non-discrimination in recruiting prospective applicants and in its admissions practices. As part of a vibrant, inclusive University of Guelph community, the Couple and Family Therapy program enthusiastically welcomes applicants from all interested persons who meet the University and Department admissions requirements.

The Admission Requirements link below outlines all the pertinent University and FRAN Department policies and practices related to admission to the CFT program. Prospective applicants are encouraged to fully review this information to determine if you meet the minimum requirements for entry into the CFT program.

This web-site is a primary recruitment tool for the CFT Program. Hopefully, you will find all the information you need to determine whether this is the place for you to pursue your graduate studies and career aspirations. For other information to help you determine whether the CFT program is a good fit, you may want to attend a University Fair (recruitment event) in which the University of Guelph is a participant – stop by the Department of Family Relations & Applied Nutrition booth to talk with people from the Department. Or, you can attend an on-campus Information Session hosted by the CFT program – see details on dates and locations on the link below. Or you can contact the Graduate Office of our Department (find contact information on the Department web-site home-page) if you still have unanswered questions.

Two other resources contain valuable information on Graduate Studies at the University of Guelph and the CFT program – these additional resources will also help you in determining whether the CFT program is a good fit for you.

  • University of Guelph web-pages for Graduate Students – numerous subjects and links.
  • The M.Sc. - CFT Student Handbook (access through the pdf link below) provides many details about how the CFT program engages students in academic courses and the unique clinical training component.

Also, check-out our on-campus clinical services and training center – The Couple & Family Therapy Centre – where the program graduate students work directly with clients from Guelph and the surrounding community.

Financial Support for CFT Graduate Students

The Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition offers financial support to qualified graduate students through a combination of financial planning support, scholarships , Graduate Teaching Assistantships (governed by CUPE 3913 – Unit #1), Graduate Research Assistantships, and other employment. See the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies website for helpful links to various information on financing your graduate education. The Claude A. Guldner Scholarship (included in the Grad Awards web-pages link above) is available to CFT applicants from minority groups.

Progress: Supporting Students Through Completion of the CFT Program

Once in the CFT program, graduate students at The University of Guelph have access to myriad institutional supports and academic policies designed to facilitate successful completion of each student’s graduate degree. These institutional policies and practices are thoroughly outlined in the University Graduate Calendar, see especially:

Section II – General Regulations 

Section III – General Information 

and Section IV – Degree Regulations 

CFT Student Handbook

Additionally, the CFTC Student Handbook 2019 contains further information on institutional policies and resources, as well as local CFT program practices designed to support graduate students in navigating graduate school and, especially, managing the unique dimensions of training to have a career as a couple and family therapist. See particularly Section II (pages 12 – 14) of the Handbook.