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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology

Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with Emphasis in Marriage & Family Therapy: Daytime Format

Program Overview

Cost: $1,700 per unit
Units: 62
Terms: Fall
Length: 2 Years
Location(s): Malibu
Format: Daytime

The Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology program will prepare students to serve individuals, couples, families, and groups as a licensed marriage and family therapist (LMFT) or a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) in California.

This cohort-based program provides students with a clinical and practice-based course of study, exploring the social and psychological implications of socioeconomics and how poverty and social stress affect the ability of individuals, couples, and families to thrive. Employing the practitioner-scholar model of professional training, rigorous coursework is paired with in-depth clinical training, allowing students to develop key clinical skills and gain experience working directly with clients. Upon graduation, students will have met all educational requirements to sit for the LMFT or LPCC licensure exams in the state of California.

This program is offered both on-ground and online.

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Quick Facts

  • 2yrProgram Completion
  • 130+Clinical Practicum Sites
  • 22-23Cohort Size
  • MalibuCampus Location

Program Benefits

  • Access to major-university resources at the #46-ranked university in the US*
  • Outstanding faculty, recognized experts, scholars and clinicians
  • Supervised clinical experience beginning in the second term of the program
  • Dedicated placement team to help find and secure practicum and internship placements
  • Cohort model designed for strong peer support and lifelong professional relationships
  • Small class sizes providing a supportive learning environment and meaningful student-faculty interactions
  • Opportunities to participate in student-lead interest groups, including Psi Chi, Research and Practice Team (RAPT), Spanish Language Enhancement Association for Therapists (SLEAT), and Christian Association for Psychological Studies (CAPS)
  • Extensive networking opportunities through our alumni network with more than 20,000 professionals
  • Access to graduate student housing and amenities at our scenic Malibu campus
  • Antiracism and antidiscrimination statement: The daytime format MACLP program and GSEP psychology division stand in solidarity against racial inequities and injustice and other forms of discrimination and oppression. We are committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment that is enriched and strengthened by diversity including but not limited to race, ethnicity and national origin, gender and gender identity, sexuality, class, age, ability status, and religion. GSEP also encourages all community members to engage in critical learning and reflection to strengthen our capacity for being effective, active, and outspoken against all forms of racism and intersectional oppression.

* U.S. News & Report, Best Colleges Rankings, National Universities

Career Outcomes

Therapists and counselors are needed in many clinical and professional settings, including hospitals, schools, government agencies, and private practice. After earning your degree, you may pursue professional licensure and employment in a variety of roles, including:

  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor
  • Mental Health Counselor
  • Clinical Director
  • Clinical Supervisor
  • Executive Coach

Employment Potential

  • The number of jobs in Individual and Family Services is expected to grow 23%*
  • California has the nation's highest employment demand for graduates of Clinical Psychology master's programs**

*U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017
**2017-2018 Burning Glass Report on Employment Potential for Selected Programs


Mitch Martens

I needed that small, intimate experience, and that's what you got on the Malibu campus. I needed that day-to-day personalization, not only with classmates but with my professors, so it proved to be right for me.

Class of 1993


I am interested in this program. Where should I begin?

The first step in the process, and the best way to get all of your questions answered is to attend an information session. We have upcoming online and in-person information sessions, as well as tours of the Malibu Graduate campus. If you have not already signed up and are in the area, you can register here. If you're unable to attend an information session, contact us at 310-568-5664 to set up a one-on-one appointment

What's the admission period? When will I know if I am accepted?

We admit students one time per year and operate on a "Competitive Entry" process. This means we review and accept applicants after the application deadline and all applications are compared to each other. Our application deadline is February 3rd. Typically we send out letters by the end of March

Do I need to send in all application materials at once?

No. You can send in different parts of your application as they are completed. We will hold any materials that arrive under your name, but we will only begin tracking you as an applicant when we receive your full application and fee.

What are my chances of being accepted into the program?

In seeking quality applicants, we utilize a holistic approach in our thorough review of each and every application. This means that we do not disqualify any applicant based on any one part of their application.

What are the admission requirements?

Admission requirements can be found here.

Will professional references be accepted?

References should come from individuals who are familiar with your professional and academic abilities. Recent college graduates should have at least one academic recommendation, while applicants who have been out of college more than three years may use either academic or professional recommendations. Letters can be sent in lieu of the forms provided in the application booklet and online, though ideally a letter accompanying the form is best. The letter must be sent on official letterhead and in a signature sealed envelope. It can be sent directly to GSEP or to the applicant, who then sends it to the GSEP admissions department at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.

Can foundation classes be waived?

Because students are expected to have an excellent foundation in psychology with a degree in psychology or closely related field, there are no foundation classes in the day program. It is designed as a lock-step, cohort-based program in which students attend all classes together with their cohort.

Can the GRE be waived?

GRE (General Test) scores are needed to adequately compare and rank applicants. The scores cannot be waived and the MAT is not accepted in lieu of the GRE. However, you can take the GRE more than once and we consider your highest score.

I am an International Applicant. What additional admission requirements do I need to submit?

Applicants who attended schools outside the United States are required to submit certified transcripts in English. Submitted transcripts must include a cumulative grade point average (GPA on a 4.0 scale, A = 4.0) that has been evaluated by a NACES member credential service (www.naces.org) such as the World Education Services, Inc. (www.wes.org) or the International Education Research Foundation (www.ierf.org)

If you have not completed your bachelor's degree at the time of application, submit a current transcript. Upon degree completion, you are required to provide official transcripts in a sealed envelope prior to enrollment.

Mailing Address:
Pepperdine Graduate School of Education and Psychology Admissions
6100 Center Drive 5th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90045, USA

International applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit a minimum passing score of 550 on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL). The computer-based TOEFL test requires a minimum passing score of 80. Information concerning the availability of this test in foreign countries can be obtained by contacting TOEFL, Educational Testing Services, Princeton, NJ 08540, USA or online at www.toefl.org. As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit a score of at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam. You can find out more at www.ielts.org

What is the difference between the two master's programs in psychology?

The MA in Psychology program provides students with a theoretical and practical understanding of the principles of psychology within the framework of a strong clinical emphasis. This program prepares individuals for doctoral study in psychology or positions in human services, vocational counseling, or marketing.

The MA in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy provides the knowledge and experience needed to work as a clinician, in private practice or with an agency, by preparing students for the Marriage & Family Therapist (MFT) and/or the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor License in the state of California. As part of the curriculum, students are required to gain supervised counseling experience in approved clinical settings. This program is designed for students who wish to gain knowledge and develop skills necessary for providing high-quality psychotherapeutic services in a variety of settings. It is also excellent preparation for doctoral programs.

The MA in Clinical Psychology Program is offered in a daytime format or evening format. The daytime format program is a cohort-based program designed for full-time students. It is offered on Pepperdine's Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu and can be completed in two academic years. For more information about the evening format program, click here.

How long does the program take to complete?

The day program takes two academic years to complete and spans six academic terms. It begins in the fall. Students are enrolled in a fall (15 weeks), spring (15 weeks), and summer (7 weeks) term during each of the two years of the program.

When and where are the classes offered?

The full-time, day-format program is available only at our Malibu campus. Classes are held from 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 or 5:30 pm. During the first semester, students attend class two full days and one half day. From the second semester on, students come to campus twice a week for a full day for their classes, which allows time during the rest of the week for students to work at their practicum sites.

During the fall and spring terms, each class meets once a week; during the shorter summer term, each class meets twice per week. The program is lock-step and the schedule of classes is predetermined.

Can I change programs if my interests change?

You may switch from the day program to one of the evening programs; however, it is not possible to transfer into the day program from an evening program or to transfer back to the day program once a switch to the evening program has been made.

Does Pepperdine assist with clinical practicum experience?

Yes. MFT Clinical Training and Professional Development staff assist students with locating Pepperdine-approved clinical practicum sites. The clinical training staff visit and evaluate established and potential sites, while maintaining the online Field Placement Directory (Handshake), which lists sites approved by Pepperdine. Career Services also helps with resumes, cover letters, and mock interviews. The PSY 661: Preparation for Practicum class also prepares students for practicum experience.

What are the requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)? Can I become licensed in other states?

The Pepperdine MFT program is designed to ensure that our graduates will have met all academic requirements to sit for the MFT or LPCC licensure exams in the state of California . An overview of licensure requirements can be found here.

Overall, our graduates have been quite successful in pursuing licensure in other states; however, because licensing requirements vary across states, we strongly recommend that you contact the licensing board in the state in which you are interested in working prior to starting the Pepperdine MA in Clinical Psychology program.

Can I go straight on to the doctoral program from the masters program?

There is a separate application process for admission into the Pepperdine Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) program. Applicants to the PsyD program have a completed master's degree, or will have completed a master's degree prior to starting the program. Acceptance to one of the masters in psychology programs does not guarantee admission to the PsyD program. However, the MA in Clinical Psychology program is an excellent preparation for various doctoral programs.

How many students are admitted and when do decisions go out?

We aim for an entering class of approximately 45-46 students, who are then divided into two cohorts of 22-23 students each. These students remain in their cohort for the entire program. Admissions decisions go out mid to late March.

Are there any scholarships or grants available for the Daytime program?

On average,*70% of our students receive the Colleague's Grant, which covers up to 25% of tuition. Awards are based on financial need and a FAFSA is required. The Daytime program is the only Master's program at GSEP that offers the Colleague's Grant.

*Based on years; 2016, 2017, 2018.

When and where are classes?

Classes are held at the Drescher Graduate Campus on Pepperdine's main Malibu campus. Students attend classes 2 ½ days per week during their first term (Fall) in the program, and then attend classes 2 days per week in subsequent terms. Classes are held between 9am-4pm (and for a couple of terms in the program, extend until 5:30pm).

The program is considered a full-time program and students take between 11-14 units during the Fall and Spring terms, and between 6-8 units during the Summer term. Fall and Spring terms are 15 weeks long and the Summer term is 7 weeks long.

I don't know anything about "practicum." What is this?

As part of their experience in the program, students will conduct clinical work with clients at training sites in the community – this experience is referred to as "practicum." This practicum traineeship is required as part of the preparation for eventual licensure as either an LMFT or LPCC in California. Students in the program begin their practicum traineeship during the second term (Spring term) of the 1st year of the program.

To prepare for the practicum traineeship, during the 1st term of the program, all students take PSY661: Preparation for Practicum. This course helps students prepare resumes and practice mock interviews, provides guidance in applying to practicum sites, and helps prepare students for what it will be like to work with clients in psychotherapy. GSEP has relationships with over 130 clinical practicum sites, and the number is always growing. These sites serve a diverse array of clients, from children to older adults.

Starting in the Spring term of the 1st year of the program, students take 4 terms of PSY662: Clinical Practicum, which is a course that provides ongoing support for students while they are working as practicum trainees.

What practicum sites are available to students?

Students from the Daytime program are highly regarded in the clinical training community and a wide variety of practicum sites are available to students in our program. Students have the opportunity to work with children, adults, families and/or couples. Practicum sites range from working in general counseling centers to more specialized populations, such developmental disorders, trauma, addiction, geriatrics, grief, faith-based, homelessness, school-based, LGBTQ issues, etc.

During the first semester in the program, students work with the Clinical Training Coordinator and their Preparation for Practicum Instructor to obtain a practicum site in the community. Students are able to review practicum sites and student feedback through Pepperdine's online job platform called Handshake. Questions and additional information about a site and whether it is a good fit can be addressed in individual meetings the Clinical Training Coordinator or Sr. Program Administrator.

Will this program prepare me to eventually become a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) or a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC)? Do I have to choose an LMFT or LPCC track while in the program?

The program fulfills the educational requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC licenses in California. After graduation, the state requires additional practice and exam requirements before one can be licensed.

Students in the program take a single curriculum that fulfills the educational requirements for both the LMFT and LPCC licenses. The total number of client contact hours required during one's graduate program is higher for the LPCC license; however, hours earned at practicum count towards both the LMFT and LPCC license requirements. Therefore, if a student wishes to have the option to seek eventual licensure as either an LMFT or LPCC (or both), (s)he would plan to meet the number of client contact hours required for the LPCC license during their practicum traineeship.

Why is the GRE required for this program, but not required for the evening format program? 

Because we admit a limited number of students once a year at one campus location, we use the GRE as an additional tool in seeking well-qualified applicants. However, we utilize a holistic approach in our thorough review of each and every application and consider all aspects of an individual's application. The Evening format program admits students 3 times a year for 3 satellite campus locations at West Los Angeles, Encino, and Irvine.

What if I am interested in both the Daytime and Evening format programs?

We encourage you to apply to the Daytime format. If you are waitlisted or denied, you can automatically be considered for the Evening format program and receive an immediate decision.

The Evening Format program utilizes a traditional class schedule format with classes at 4:15pm – 7:00pm and 7:15pm – 10:00pm. Evening program students typically have schedules that are independent of their peers instead of the cohort model which is used in the Daytime program in Malibu.

Can I apply even if I am not a psychology major?

Application to the daytime MACLP program requires a major in psychology or a closely related field (e.g., sociology, child and family development) or the equivalent of a minor in psychology or a closely related field. For additional information on courses that would constitute the equivalent of a minor in psychology, please contact Kelley Hill at kelley.hill@pepperdine.edu for specifics.

Can you connect me with a current student or alum to hear their perspective on the program?

Yes! We have an extensive alumni network as well as current students who are willing to share their experience in the 2-year program. Please email kelley.hill@pepperdine.edu to be connected to an alum or current student.

Where do students live while attending the program?

Students who are enrolled in the program can live in the Drescher Graduate Campus Apartments or in the surrounding Los Angeles area. Many students live in Calabasas, San Fernando Valley, and Santa Monica.

Drescher Campus Apartment pricing varies between each semester; however, it is usually posted on the Housing and Residential life section of the university website. Students are able to live on-campus throughout the duration of program. Each Graduate Student Apartment houses four students. Students living in the Drescher Campus Apartments have their own room and a storage room, along with a shared kitchen, living space and bathroom, with two sinks. Photos of the inside of these apartments can be found on Pepperdine's housing website: https://community.pepperdine.edu/housing/gsep/

Do students have time to hold a part-time job? 

Some students in the daytime program work part-time. We recommend students work no more than part-time while enrolled in the program due to the course load and practicum requirements. Many students find work on campus or in the surrounding area while they are in the program. Employment opportunities are listed on Pepperdine's online job platform called Handshake.

Contact Us

Kelley Hill

Enrollment Officer
Recruitment and Admissions
Pepperdine University
Graduate School of Education and Psychology