BYU’s marriage and family therapy program named No. 1 in nation

First-year clinical psychology Ph.D. students stand outside the Comprehensive Clinic where the marriage and family therapy program is located. (Kate Green)

BYU’s marriage and family therapy program in the School of Family Life was recently named No. 1 in the nation for its research productivity.

“I think it is a great honor and tribute to faculty and students over nearly 20 years now who have been committed to doing the highest quality research in the area we care about,” said Professor Jonathan Sandberg, who is currently serving as the MFT program director. 

The national ranking is based on findings in a study that examined scholarly works published between 1999 and 2015 by faculty in accredited U.S. doctoral programs.

BYU marriage and family therapy program director Jonathan Sandberg expresses gratitude to students and faculty for their hard work and dedication to accomplish this title. (BYU)

Sandberg gave credit for the ranking to the “high-quality students and faculty” who continue to enhance the program. According to Sandberg, most doctoral programs want BYU MFT program’s master students.

“More important than the number of articles read or cited is the number of students who were influenced by the process of participating in research and learned how to think critically, theorize about change, analyze data and draw conclusions,” Sandberg said.

BYU MFT program graduate Sami Simpson is now a Ph.D. student at Virginia Tech studying family therapy. Simpson cherished her experience in the BYU MFT program, expressing gratitude to the program for what it taught her and how it helped prepare her for her doctoral program and future career.

“BYU’s program is a name that is recognized nationwide,” Simpson said. “It was very helpful when I was interviewing for schools because they knew right away that I had quite a bit of research experience just based on the fact that I graduated from BYU.”

Simpson continued to explain the benefits such as the clinical training hours and the extensive research experience she gained from being a part of the program.

“The MFT program gave me extensive and expert clinical experience and training,” Simpson said. “When I came to (the Virginia Tech doctoral) program and transferred in my clinical hours, I had more hours than the other students. Additionally, more of my hours were done with couples and families than any other student.”

Other students in the MFT program had experiences just like Simpson, gaining advantages unique to BYU’s MFT program. The MFT program and its faculty will continue to assist undergraduate and graduate students with their research to prepare them for their future careers to ensure successes like Simpson’s.

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