Marriage and Family Therapy (Ph.D. in Human Development)

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus

Instructions: Residential/On Campus 

Our Marriage and Family Therapy content area of the Human Development program integrates research-based knowledge with human-based values.

Intensive Research Opportunities 

Teaching Apprentice Program

Funding through Assistantships 

Clinical Training at Family Therapy Center

Our Doctoral Program in Marriage and Family Therapy

Individuals, couples, families, and communities face numerous challenges. Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) offers potential solutions that can enhance quality of life as well as individual, family, and community mental health and well-being. Students in the MFT program in the department of Human Development & Family Science at Virginia Tech focuses on research and scholarship that promotes well-being in individuals, families, and communities.  

Why Study Marriage and Family Therapy Here?

The Virginia Tech Marriage and Family Therapy PhD Program, in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, is the oldest continuously accredited MFT doctoral program in the nation, attracting students from across the country and around the world.   Students, faculty, and graduates have singular records of achievement, winning prestigious honors, holding important positions, and publishing some of the most respected articles in the field.

What You'll Study

Student scholarship takes place not only in the classroom, but also through mentorship, research, and clinical practice. Students may participate in wide-ranging faculty research projects using diverse methodologies and dealing with issues such as clinical processes and intervention, vulnerable families, trauma and resilience, participatory research, and policy.

Programs of study are individualized, permitting inclusion of significant coursework in specific subjects related to marriage and family relationships across the life course. 

Careers of Program Graduates

Numerous rewarding career opportunities are available for graduates the Human Development program. In academe, career options for graduates include teaching, research, and extension service. A wide range of career options also exists outside academe: Program development and evaluation, policy analysis and advocacy work, and administration and supervision in private and public human services agencies are just a few examples.



Our Faculty 

  • Grandparent-Headed Families
  • Grandparenting
  • Aging Families and Marriage and Family Therapy
  • Community-Based Interventions
  • Research Methods and Policy
  • Psychosocial health and Well-Being of Sexual and Gender Minority Youth and their Families
  • Affirmative Family Therapy Practices
  • Qualitative Research Methods
  • Mixed-methodology and Community-Based Participatory Intervention Development
  •  Relationship education
  •  Marriage and family
  •  Therapy resilience
  • Marriage and Family Therapy


Marriage and Family Therapy Research Highlights

MFT faculty employ theoretically rich research questions with rigorous analytic techniques, resulting in publications in top-tier academic journals and other academic sources including Ageing and Society, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Journal of Couple and Relationship Therapy, and Family Relations. Human Development faculty across the focus areas of Adult Development and Aging, Child and Adolescent Development, Family Studies, and Marriage and Family Therapy often collaborate on research and service projects. Graduate students are often a part of research projects and subsequent publications through collaborations with Human Development & Family Science faculty and faculty in other departments such as Psychology. 

Research Centers

Students interested in applying to the Marriage and Family Therapy (Ph.D. in Human Development) degree should contact the MFT coordinator, Dr. Megan Dolbin-MacNab by email at

Visit our office at 366 Wallace Hall, 295 West Campus Dr, Blacksburg, VA 24061 

Domestic Application

*Fall: Janurary 5

International Application

*Fall:  Janurary 5

*Deadline for admission with full consideration for funding:  January 5


Cindy Smith
Director of Graduate Studies
303 Wallace Hall
295 West Campus Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Megan Dolbin-MacNab
Marriage and Family Therapy Area Coordinator
840 University City Blvd Suite 1
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Human Development and Family Science
366 Wallace Hall (0416)
295 West Campus Dr
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Phone: 540-231-4794
FAX: 540-231-7012