Contemporary Family Therapy

, Volume 41, Issue 1, pp 47–55 | Cite as

The Way In: Most Effective Ways to Draw Potential Applicants to MFT Master’s Programs

  • Ruoxi ChenEmail author
  • Jason P. Austin
  • Alexandria C. Hughes
  • Stephen E. May
Original Paper


Successful student recruitment is key to the flourishing of the field of marriage and family therapy (MFT). In this mixed methods study, guided by the theory of planned behavior, we interviewed 21 undergraduate juniors and seniors on their attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control with respect to applying to MFT master’s programs within 2 years of graduation. Using their responses, we constructed and administered a survey to 174 participants. The survey included both direct and belief-based measures of attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control towards applying. Overall, subjective norms (i.e., perceived social pressures from family, friends, professors and advisors, and MFT insiders) had the greatest predictive power of potential applicants’ intention to apply. We discuss the implications for MFT student recruitment, and offer specific recommendations.


MFT master’s programs Mixed methods Public outreach Student recruitment Theory of planned behavior 



We would like to acknowledge support for this project from the Hanna Spyker Endowed Chair Research Grant from the College of Health Sciences at University of Louisiana at Monroe. We are very grateful to Dr. Wendel A. Ray for his support of this research project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Authors of this study report no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants before their participation in the study. This research does not involve animals.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Health SciencesUniversity of Louisiana at MonroeMonroeUSA
  2. 2.University of Louisiana at MonroeMonroeUSA

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