Frequently Asked Questions

What are your admissions requirements? How do I apply?

Complete information on the application process can be found at Admissions Requirement or the How to Apply page. Graduate Admissions is here to help you through the process, so if you have any questions please feel free to contact us at (877) 669-8872, fill out an online request for information, or email us at for more information.

Why has the program increased in units and requirements?

In 2009, the state of California passed a new bill making numerous changes to the educational requirements for marriage and family therapist (MFT) licensure and intern registration. Some of the major changes include an increase to 60 units and 225 practicum hours. Our curriculum has been approved by the CA Board of Behavioral Sciences and meets all current educational requirements.

What makes Vanguard’s program distinctive?

Vanguard University of Southern California is a university of Christian liberal arts and sciences. It is within this faith-based context that we offer a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology degree, which meets the educational requirements for licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California. The goal of the Graduate Program in Clinical Psychology is to equip its students to serve with excellence as Christian mental health professionals. Our goal is met by providing the highest quality of rigorous academic training, guided professional development, and integrative faith based learning in a collaborative and supportive environment.

For specifics on what makes our program unique, go to our Mission and Distinctions webpage.

Who will I be in school with?

Our student body is diverse in many ways. They:

  • range in age from early twenties to fifties, with an average age of 34,
  • have a variety of educational and career backgrounds, such as pastoral/ministerial, police, small and corporate business, education, etc., and
  • are culturally diverse, with over 30% coming from a minority background.

We not only believe that this diversity enhances the quality of our program, but that it also fosters personal growth in our students and faculty which allows us to be better therapists.

Who will I be taking classes from?

Our faculty is dedicated to creating the finest academic environment for your graduate degree. They are deeply committed to our mission, that of equipping our students to serve with excellence as Christian mental health professionals. One reason that mission has been consistently fulfilled is that the professors bring to the program a wide variety of academic training, interests, and experience. Meet our faculty and find out more about them at Graduate Psychology Faculty.

What times are classes offered?

We strive to serve the needs of working professionals and full-time students in our program by offering afternoon and evening classes.

  • A three unit course is three hours, once a week, for fifteen weeks.
  • Our classes are typically offered on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday from either 3:30-6:30 pm or 7:00-10:00 pm.
  • An evening only track is available and allows students to graduate in four years, taking only evening courses two to three nights a week.

How long will it take to graduate?

  • Typically students complete the program in three years.
  • The program can be completed in two years (five semesters) by taking a minimum of 13 units per semester.
  • Students may also attended part-time and complete the program in four years.

Go to the Sample Curriculum Schedule page for examples of two and three year programs.

How much does it cost?

The current costs of our program are available at the Graduate Psychology Costs webpage. Keep in mind, financial aid offers scholarships based on GPA and need which can decrease the overall cost of the program. The scholarships are listed on the VU Financial Aid webpage – Grants and Scholarships for Graduate Programs – and more financial aid information can be found at Graduate Psychology Financial Aid Forms.

Is your program accredited or approved?

We are a California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) approved school for offering the educational requirements to be licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in California. You can see our most recent pass rates for the licensing exams on the BBS website.

Vanguard University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

American Psychological Association (APA) Accreditation – APA only accredits doctoral level programs in psychology. Since our program is a Masters level degree APA does not accredit us.