What is the difference between the DA and the PhD?

While the Doctor of Arts degree and the Doctor of Philosophy degree do share coursework during the first two years in the program, the difference in the two degrees has to do with their areas of focus and application. The Doctor of Arts degree is more clinical in nature, and the final assignment in that program is the Doctoral Project. The Doctor of Philosophy degree has more of a research focus, and the final assignment in that program is the Dissertation. An important question to ask yourself is “What do I want to do with this degree?” If you are interested in a) developing curriculum to use for psychoeducational purposes, as part of ministry settings, to enrich a specific population group, or b) getting specialized training in an area of clinical expertise, the DA will be a good fit for you. If you are interested in a) completing research in an area of interest to you, or b) teaching in higher education, the PhD will be a good fit for you.


Does this program prepare me for licensure as a marriage and family therapist?

Becoming licensed as a marriage and family therapist has 3 parts: 1) the educational requirements, 2) the post-education clinical hours and supervision, 3) the licensing exam. Our doctoral programs help students to meet the educational requirements (#1) and are not involved with students completing #2 and #3. Please note that licensing requirements vary by state. Our program meets educational requirements for the state of Pennsylvania. Because state requirements vary and can often change, prospective students residing outside of Pennsylvania and/or intending to complete a practicum outside of Pennsylvania, should contact the State Licensing Board in their respective state prior to enrolling in the MFT program. Educational and professional requirements and qualifications vary by state and country, and it is the student’s responsibility to seek the appropriate guidance before beginning any academic program. We are happy to consult with students in this process.

If I already have my MFT license, do I need to take the practicum course since I have already met the state requirements for licensure? Is there another option for me?

All students in our program are required to take practicum at least one time, for 100 client contact hours. Since you do not need our program to meet educational requirements for licensure, you would only need to take practicum one time. Students are required to be supervised during their practicum, but the supervision is required as a program requirement, not because of the state. We require all students to take practicum regardless of licensure status since we want to see them demonstrating skills learned in the program.

How do I make my application stand out?

First, be sure to connect with your admissions counselor; your admissions counselor is the best resource for you as you work through the application process. Second, in your application to our doctoral program, it is important that the admissions committee can see that you have thoroughly addressed the topics outlined in the statement of purpose and statement of faith instructions. Specifically, for the statement of purpose, be sure to incorporate the program goals that are found on the DA home page or PhD home page. Your application will stand out when you can clearly articulate how those goals coincide with your personal and professional objectives. We often see essays that share a student’s personal and professional objectives; however, they have not been connected to the goals of the program. Likewise, for the statement of faith, address both the impact of your family of origin and your faith journey. An essay that emphasizes one and inadequately addresses the other has not fulfilled the parameters of the instructions. The more clearly you demonstrate your ability to respond to the topics, and provide evidence of doctoral-level writing ability, the more your application stands out.

Are the MFT programs accredited?

Eastern University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which is a regional accreditation for all programs at the University. Learn more. At present, the MFT programs do not have a program specific accreditation, such as COAMFTE, CACREP, or MPCAC. 

What are some examples of DA projects and dissertations completed by students in this program?

DA Projects:

  • The African American Woman and the Need for Self-Care
  • Emotionally Focused Therapy: A Culturally Attuned Model for Latino Couples
  • Forming a New Bond with Oneself: Creating Space for the Heart to Speak
  • The Influence of Culture on Stress & Depression in Asian Adolescents
  • Relational Aggression in Girls: A School Based Psychoeducational Group Curriculum
  • The Spiritual Resilience Council for Formerly Incarcerated Black Males


  • Bereavement Experiences of African American Women following Death-Related Loss
  • The Christian Therapist in Community: Ethical Issues Related to Multiple Relationships in Church-Related Counseling Centers
  • "Going into the fire without getting burned." Use of Self-Preserving Approaches to Family Communication by Men Living with Cancer: A Grounded Theory Study 
  • A Qualitative Study on the Role of Grace in Recovery from Addiction as Experienced Through Participation in Alcoholics Anonymous or Other Twelve Step Programs
  • Self-Differentiation and Healthy Family Functioning in First Generation Indian Immigrant Families 
  • Wearing a Mask to Supervision: A Phenomenological Exploration of Black Female Therapists and Covering in Cross-Racial Supervision