Graduate Certificate in International Addiction Studies: Advanced Concentration

 The mission of the addiction studies certificate with a concentration in advanced international addiction studies is to offer students around the world an in-depth, evidence-based, multidimensional and cross-cultural understanding of both essential and advanced topics in the field of addiction studies, including biological, psychological and public health perspectives on the etiology and treatment of addiction and evidence-based addiction policy. This will be accomplished through distance-learning technologies.

The Advanced Certificate is aimed at students who are interested in developing an in-depth knowledge of addiction science which goes beyond fundamental topics to include an understanding of addiction in special populations (youth, the mentally ill, pregnant women), the formulation of addiction policies and major policy issues facing the world today, and biomedical treatments for addiction. This program provides an in-depth opportunity to explore and critically analyze current issues and controversies in the field, without the need to complete an original research project as required for the related M.S. program.  Students likely to benefit from the program may include clinicians working with substance abuse or dependence, counselors interested in improving their use of evidence-based treatment or policy makers who want to ensure the implementation of evidence-based policy and prevention.  In addition, students pursuing such programs as psychology, rehabilitative counseling, and pharmacology / toxicology may wish to enroll in this programme as well as a way to enhance their competency in the field of addictions. 

The curriculum consists of the six 4-credit courses (24 credits) required of students in the Master’s program: Biological Basis of Addiction; Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions; Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addiction; Addiction Policy; Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacology; and Treatment of Addiction:  Critical Issues.  Only the two research related courses, Research Methods and the Research Project, are not required.   Students will be exposed to an international perspective, as the courses are offered collaboratively with King’s College London and the University of Adelaide (Australia). The Advanced Certificate in International Addiction Studies at VCU is equivalent to a Graduate Diploma in International Addiction Studies at the University of Adelaide or a PostGraduate Diploma in International Addiction Studies at King’s College London.  All three universities confer this Certificate.

The Advanced Certificate may be pursued on either a part time or full time basis.  Five of the six courses are offered between August and May with one course required during the summer session. 

Students who complete the Advanced Certificate will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an appropriate level of knowledge of the current elements of addiction science, in the areas of the biology of addiction, psychosocial and pharmacological approaches to and treatments for addiction, and public health approaches to addiction and international addiction policy.
  • Demonstrate an appropriate familiarity with the research literature and the ability to evaluate and critique publications in the field of addiction science.
  • Use effective written communication skills to present information related to addiction causes, interventions, treatments, and policies using appropriate vocabulary, figures, tables, and citations.
  • Think critically about issues and controversies in the field of addiction treatment and policy.

These skills will assist the professional to critically appraise the information found in publications or on the Internet in order to translate research on addiction into more effective treatment, prevention practices and policies, integrating the latest addiction knowledge into his/her practice.

Students who successfully complete the Advanced Certificate programme with a passing grade in all courses (GPA of 3.0 or higher) have up to three years to apply the completed coursework towards the M.S. in Addiction Studies.  If a student completes the required research work, the lower level credential must be surrendered before the Master’s degree is awarded.  Courses taken more than four years prior to the time of the student’s application will not be considered transferable and will need to be repeated.