The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60 credit hour program (20 courses) leading to the Master of Arts in Family Counseling.

The M.A. in Family Counseling program fulfills the educational requirements of licensure as professional counselors in the State of Illinois: Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Associate Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (ALMFT), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). The Family Counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Education Programs (CACREP). Find out more information at Counselor Education’s accreditation, licensures and credentialing.



The Family Counseling program at Northeastern Illinois University prepares students to work as counselors with individuals, couples, families, and groups from a systemic perspective in order to foster and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships. With an emphasis on mastering clinical skills within a relational context, students prepare to work with diverse clients for a wide array of clinical issues including, but not limited to, conflict, parenting decisions, behavioral problems, sexuality, divorce, grief, or other family transitions.  

Graduates of the Family Counseling program will be able to provide competent individual or conjoint therapy for members of a couple or family and will be eligible to work in a variety of therapy settings, such as community mental health agencies, substance abuse treatment centers, hospitals, clinics, crisis centers, court services, youth agencies/facilities, managed behavioral health care organizations, and private practice.  

The program delivers a comprehensive academic curriculum and supervised clinical experiences that integrates the standards of the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educations Programs (CACREP) and fulfills the requirements for professional licensure in the State of Illinois as both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (ALMFT/LMFT) and Professional Counselors (LPC/LCPC).


The Family Counseling program trains graduate-level students as counselors who will demonstrate knowledge and clinical competence in the areas of:

  • theoretical and historical foundations of marriage, couple, and family counseling, including assessment and case conceptualization from a systemic perspective that incorporates individual and family life cycle development within a multicultural context.
  • understanding the impact of contextual factors such as poverty, socioeconomics, gender roles, addiction, culture/ethnicity, age, religion, medical/mental health issues, aging, and governmental policy on individual, couple, and family functioning.
  • clinical practice with individuals, couples, families, and groups from a strengths-oriented, wellness-focused perspective.
  • practice management of couples and family therapy, including treatment planning, documentation, and service delivery from a systemic perspective.
  • professional identity as a relational therapist, including credentialing, legal and ethical issues related to the practice of competent conjoint therapy with couples and families.


The courses required to complete the Family Counseling program are:

Foundation Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 401 Professional Orientation & Legal/Ethical Practices
  • COUN 402 Developmental Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 403 Theories of Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 404 Assessment & Evaluation in Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 405 Individual Counseling Skills (3 cr)
  • COUN 406 Group Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 408 Research Seminar (3 cr)
  • COUN 409 Career Development (3 cr)
  • COUN 415 Children & Youth in School & Family Systems (3 cr)
  • COUN 420 Introduction to Family Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 425 Addictions Counseling
  • COUN 427 Diagnostic Systems for Counseling
  • COUN 430 Social & Cultural Diversity in Counseling

Family Counseling Courses:

  • COUN 421 Advanced Marriage & Family Counseling (3 cr)
  • COUN 431 Couple and Family Systems Study (3 cr)
  • COUN 432 Couples Counseling & Human Sexuality (3 cr)

Elective Course:

  • Elective Course #1 (consult with faculty advisor)

Advanced Clinicals:

  • COUN 445 Practicum: Group Supervision in Couple & Family Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 465 Internship I: Group Supervision in Couple & Family Counseling** (3 cr)
  • COUN 475 Internship II: Group Supervision in Couple & Family Counseling** (3cr)

Clinical Experience (Practicum and Internship)**

Practicum and Internship consists of 700 hours of documented field-related experience, of which a cumulative 300 hours of face-to-face counseling is required. COUN 445 Practicum: Family Counseling is a 100-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 50 hours of direct contact with clients. COUN 465 Internship I: Family Counseling and COUN 475 Internship II: Family Counseling together consist of a 600-hour, field-based experience requiring a minimum of 250 hours of clinical contact with clients. A minimum of 150 of these clinical contact hours must be counseling couples and/or families.

Departmental Proficiency Examination (DPE)

All counselor education students are required to pass a comprehensive departmental proficiency examination (DPE) prior to graduation. This exam is offered annually in February, June and October. 

Apply to the M.A. in Family Counseling program