Graduate Certificate: Intermediate Concentration Curriculum

The Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies: Intermediate Concentration curriculum is comprised of three foundational courses/modules that can be completed over the course of 9-16 months. There are currently no electives available.  The course sequence for the program is listed below, followed by a description of each of the courses/modules.

Semester 1 (Fall)

Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addiction (IPAS 602) (Aug-Nov)
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Biological Bases of Addiction (IPAS 600)

Semester 2 (Spring) 

Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions (IPAS 601) (Jan-April)
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Course Descriptions


Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addiction

This course provides an introduction to basic concepts and research methods in Public Health and Epidemiology as they relate to the study of addictions, as well as an in-depth consideration of the personal, social, economic, and cultural burdens/costs associated with drug and alcohol abuse and dependence. Individual and community-based risk and protective factors related to addictions and primary and secondary prevention efforts aimed at reducing the addictions-related public health burden are also a focus. An online lecture format featuring presentations by leading researchers and policymakers in the field of addictions will be used, along with readings, online discussions, and writing assignments, to (1) gain a greater understanding of the enormous costs of addictions at every level of society, and (2) introduce students to some of the current thinking and programs related to the primary and secondary prevention of addictions.

Biological Bases of Addiction

This course/module is designed to provide an overview of the neuropharmacology of drugs of abuse and dependence, including basic principles of drug action as well as comprehensive coverage of the major classes of drugs (opioids, stimulants, nicotine, alcohol, sedatives, cannabis, hallucinogens). Students will study mechanisms of action, effects, pharmacokinetics as well as tolerance and dependence for each of these drugs/drug classes. The reasons for addiction including biological, genetic, cultural and other determinants will be discussed. Students will learn about laboratory-based methods used in addiction research.

Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions

This course/module is designed to explore the scientific basis and treatment of substance misuse from a psychological perspective germane to the management of drug, alcohol and nicotine dependence. Students will have the opportunity to evaluate the principles of different theoretical approaches underlying psychological assessment and evidence-based practice. During this course students will develop a critical awareness of the current literature related to psychological theories of addiction. Students will examine the use and comparative efficacy of different psychological therapies in clinical practice including brief interventions, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Interviewing /MET. Other interventions (case management, group work, self help, integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders etc) will also be examined along side the evidence base for Relapse Prevention, Contingency Management and Therapeutic Communities. Students will also have the opportunity to explore psychological approaches used with specialist populations such as young people and adolescents.