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Graduation, Retention, & Dismissal Policies


In order to graduate from the Virginia Tech MFT Program the following requirements must be met:

A total of 51-54 credit hours are required for graduation. There are 13 academic courses (39 hours) in addition to 9 credits of practicum and 3-6 credits of thesis or independent study required for the master’s degree program. Fulltime students usually complete the sequence of courses in three years. Part-time students usually complete the sequence of courses in 3-4 years.

Before graduation from the program, students must complete a final examination consisting of thesis defense or presentation of the non-thesis project. In order to pass the final examination, a student may receive no more than one negative vote from the examining committee. A failed examination requires at least 15 weeks before scheduling the second examination.

In order to participate in Spring Commencement, students must have had their thesis or project proposal approved by March 1 (graduate school deadline for filing the application for Degree Card on Hokie Spa). Students must then complete their thesis/project defense prior to the end of the spring semester or have scheduled the defense for completion by the final graduate school date to defend (in the Spring) to walk in commencement.

For information on our graduation rates, please see our Student Achievement Criteria data.


Between 2005 and 2017, the Virginia Tech MFT Program has maintained an average retention rate of 84.70%. For a breakdown of retention by cohort, see the table below.

Virginia Tech Marriage and Family Therapy Program
Cohort # Entered # Left # Retained % Retained Avg % Retained
Fall 2005 10 2 8 80.00% 84.70%
Fall 2006 9 1 8 88.89%  
Fall 2007 8 2 6 75%  
Fall 2008 10 2 8 80.00%  
Fall 2009 10 3 7 70.00%  
Fall 2010 12 2 10 83.33%  
Fall 2011 11
1 10 90.91%  
Fall 2012 12 2 10 88.33%  
Fall 2013 9 2 7 77.78%  
Fall 2014 8 1 7 87.50%  
Fall 2015 9 1 8 88.89%  
Fall 2016 8 1 7 87.50%  
Fall 2017 13 1
12 92.31%
Fall 2018 10 2 8 80.00%  
Fall 2019 7 0 7 100%  

Remediation/Dismissal Policies

In order to retain good standing as an M.S. student, the Department faculty will determine if an individual is, on a continuing basis, making satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements. Each student’s progress is formally reviewed by the faculty yearly to assess satisfactory progress.

Students must maintain a 3.0 Quality Credit Average (QCA). Before graduation from the program, students must complete a final examination consisting of thesis defense or presentation of the non-thesis project.

The MFT program faculty takes responsibility to ensure the quality and competence of graduates to practice as marriage and family therapists and have developed a formal screening process for admission into the clinical practicum. For details on the clinical process, see Section 8: Screening Process in the Marriage and Family Therapy Master’s Degree Student Guide.

Each semester clinical supervisors conduct a Practicum evaluation of each student in the different areas of clinical competency. Clinical supervisors can conclude that the clinical proficiency of a student is not progressing at the rate needed for the student to continue practicum experiences at that time. Should a student's behavior be deemed detrimental to clients' welfare, the student may be required to discontinue practicum until a remediation plan is developed and implemented. As part of the remediation plan, personal therapy may be required along with a specified training program. A student may also be deemed clinically not proficient and will not be allowed to complete the 500 clinical contact hours required for graduation. The student will be apprised of this possibility as early as possible and will work closely with program faculty and clinical supervisors to correct deficiencies.

For further details on our program's remediation and dismissal policies, please see Section 19: Criteria for Remaining in Good Standing in our Marriage and Family Therapy Master's Degree Student Guide.