A young man and a young woman hold a discussion.

Marriage, Couples & Family Counseling

Address mental health and relationship problems with individuals, couples, families and children from a family systems perspective.

Marriage, Couples & Family Counseling – Master of Science (M.S.) 

In the Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling option at Montana State, candidates gain the skills to address a variety of mental health and relationship issues from a family systems framework. In addition to family systems theory, students are well grounded in individual and group counseling theories and how they can help their future clients, whether they be individual clients, couples, families or children. Interpersonal issues between family members, the family and outer environmental systems are specifically highlighted.

In addition to Marriage, Couples and Family Counseling, the Counseling program at Montana State also offers a M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and an M.Ed. in School Counseling.




Professors in the Counseling department include Anna Elliott and Rebecca Koltz, who secured a $70,000 grant from the Montana Healthcare Foundation to power a partnership between Montana State University and the Gallatin City County Health Department to fund in-home referrals to low-cost counseling services at the Human Development Clinic.  




An illustration of a head in profile, the light bulb illuminating the skull.

Carnegie Classified
The prestigious Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education® ranks Montana State University among the Top 5 public, 4-year universities for Very High Research Activity with a STEM-dominant research doctoral program.


WICHE Partnered Program
This graduate program honors the WICHE partnership for students from 15 western states. If you’re a resident of a WICHE state, you qualify for tuition significantly less than standard non-resident tuition. Learn more.


CACREP Certified
All three of Montana State’s Counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), which is required in at least 23 states for the educational requirements for licensure. 




Fund Your Education

The Graduate School at Montana State is dedicated to helping students secure funding to support their time at MSU. Some resources the Department of Health & Human Development and the Graduate School offer includes:

Additionally, teaching assistantships may be available within the Department of Health & Human Development. Counseling assistantships can include a summer appointment in addition to the academic year appointment. Research assistantships may be available with individual faculty members who have funded grants or contracts. Stipends vary depending on the type of appointment, the requirements of the job, the experience of the applicant and available funding.

Human Development Clinic

Candidates in the Counseling program have the opportunity to work at the Human Development Clinic, which is staffed by faculty and graduate students alike. The purpose of the clinic is twofold:

  • to provide low-cost mental health services to the adults and children of the Gallatin Valley and beyond
  • to serve as a training facility for graduate students in marriage and family counseling and mental health counseling. All graduate student counselors are supervised by university faculty who are licensed mental health professionals

All requests for services remain confidential, and those services include individual counseling; couple, child and family counseling; career counseling; Parenting Through Divorce workshops; consultations and referrals; and opportunities for continuing professional development and education.





Careers after Graduation

Counseling alumni embark on a wide range of careers within 10-years of their graduation.

Nearly 72% are working in for-profit and about 16% for private practices. Top industry employers include AllCounseling.com and Bozeman Therapy and Counseling.

Across all career paths the estimated salary of alumni within 10 years of graduation ranges from $30,000 to $150,000 with an average of $60,000 (source of data Academic Analytics).



Admissions Requirements

Note: no GRE Required.

Each program within the Graduate School at Montana State has its own particular requirements for admission, and the Counseling program is not different. To ensure that you start your application on the right foot, please review the admissions requirements for the Counselingprogram. This includes any additional deadlines that the Department of Health and Human Development may have aside from the Graduate School, which does practice rolling admissions.