Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Family, Consumer, and Human Development


Thorana S Nelson


The purpose of this study was to understand how recent graduates of marriage and family therapy (MFT) master's programs experienced mentoring relationships. Fifteen recent graduates from six different MFT master's-level programs were interviewed about their experiences with mentoring relationships. Graduates shared their experiences regarding forming mentoring relationships, how these relationships affected elements of the program experience, the frequency and duration of contact, and mentors' influence after graduation. All 15 participants reported having at least one mentoring relationship and graduates described the variety of roles that their mentors took within the relationships. Characteristics of mentors are discussed in terms of positive and negative traits, and participants discussed how their mentors influenced and alleviated program stress. Graduates reported that after graduation, concerns included licensing, job placement, and the national exam, though most reported receiving little assistance in this area. Graduates offered recommendations about mentoring for current mentors, students, and MFT programs. Qualitative analyses of the interviews are discussed in terms of common themes introduced by the graduates and implications for future practice and research are discussed.