2024 Student Ethics Competition

AAMFT is proud to announce the eight annual Student Ethics Competition. This competition is designed to encourage MFT students to foster an interest in ethics issues and enhance their ability to analyze and respond to the various ethics issues that they will undoubtedly encounter throughout their careers. In this team competition, participants will submit an essay analyzing and responding to a hypothetical scenario.

Eligibility and Team Composition:

The competition is open to student members of AAMFT, residing in the US and Canada, who are currently enrolled in a Master’s, Post-Degree Institute (PDI) or PhD program.

Professional Members including Clinic Fellows may now enroll in the competition only if they are the only Professional Member in a team and the Professional Member is not the team leader. 

Each team must consist of a minimum of two and a maximum of three individuals. Each member of the team must be enrolled in an academic program during the Spring 2024 school semester.

There will no longer be categories of teams competing separately. Master's, PDI, and PhD student will compete in teams for the same competition. 

Participants may only participate on one team.

Each team must identify a Team Leader. All communications will be sent by email to the Team Leader.

Each fully registered team will be assigned a Team Letter, which will provide anonymity when essays are reviewed by the judges.


Registration for the 2024 Student Ethics Competition opens from February 23 to April 7th, 2024. The hypothetical for the competition will be released on Monday, April 8, 2024. The essays are due on May 19, 2024.

Visit the survey here, please have all of your information ready and filled out before you submit.

Incomplete registration forms will disqualify a team from eligibility, so be sure to complete the form before submitted. Do not submit more than one form per team.

Distribution of Case Scenario:

The ethics case hypothetical will be distributed to eligible teams on Monday, April 9, 2024.


Participants are encouraged to use all available resources to analyze the hypothetical scenario (e.g. articles, books, the AAMFT Code of Ethics. Resources available on AAMFT’s website, peer consultation). However, the submitted essay must be the original work product of the team members only. The submitted essay cannot be something that was previously published. Team members are not permitted to utilize AAMFT’s legal/ethics consultation service as a resource for this competition.

Essays are limited to 5 pages, double spaced, using 11 or 12 point font, with one inch margins. Further instructions on format will be provided when the hypothetical is released.

Do not include team member names or other identifying information in the essay. If any team member names or other identifying information are included in the essay, the names and identifying information will be redacted by AAMFT staff prior to distributing the essay to the judges for review.

Due Date for Submissions:

Submission are due by 11:59pm, EST on Sunday, May 19, 2024. All submissions must be submitted through a survey, which will be made available to registered teams beginning on April 8, 2024. Submissions sent elsewhere will not be scored.

Criteria for Judging Submissions:

The essays will be reviewed and scored by judges made up of members of the AAMFT Ethics Committee according to criteria to be determined.

Depending on the volume of submissions, former members of the AAMFT Ethics Committee and current and former members of the AAMFT Judicial Committee may be asked to assist in reviewing and scoring submissions.

In the event of a tie, the categories will be weighted from greatest weight to least weight as follows: decision making process, thoroughness, issues spotted, formatting.


There will be a first, second, and third place for the winning teams. Each member of the first place team will receive a cash award in the amount of $200. In addition, each member of the first place teams in each category will be invited to attend the 2025 AAMFT Leadership Symposium including airfare and hotel if the conference is in-person.

The second place team will receive a cash award of $200 and an award plaque of recognition.

The third place team will receive a cash award of $100 and an award plaque of recognition.

In addition, the names of the team members on the winning teams in each category will be published in AAMFT’s publications, and the winning submissions will be posted on AAMFT’s website.

Winners Announced:

The winning teams will be announced in June 2024.

Any taxes are the responsibility of the individual winners. By submitting an essay, participants consent to the use of their name in AAMFT publications and for their submissions to be posted on AAMFT’s website. Competition is void where prohibited. Awards not payable where prohibited.

If you have questions, please first see the FAQ page. If not answered there, questions about the Annual Student Ethics Competition can be sent to ethics@aamft.org.

View the winners from the 2023 Student Ethics Competition here  .
View the winners from the 2022 Student Ethics Competition here .
View the winners from the 2021 Student Ethics Competition here .
View the winners from the 2020 Student Ethics Competition here
View the winners from the 2019 Student Ethics Competition here.  
View the winners from the 2018 Student Ethics Competition here.
View the winners from the 2017 Student Ethics Competition here


Legal and Ethics Fact Sheets

The AAMFT has developed a series of fact sheets concerning the legal and ethics issues that most frequently arise in a therapist’s practice. Each fact sheet provides general information on an important topic.


Code of Ethics

The AAMFT strives to honor the public trust in marriage and family therapists by setting standards for ethical practice as described in this Code. The ethical standards define professional expectations and are enforced by the AAMFT Ethics Committee. 


Legal and Ethics Columns

AAMFT’s Family Therapy Magazine (FTM) has featured many articles over the years on legal and ethical issues that marriage and family therapists frequently encounter. Written by AAMFT members and staff, these FTM articles provide valuable information on dealing with the major legal and ethical concerns faced by therapists.


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