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Courses MS in Addiction Studies

Master of Science in Addiction Studies

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Residency Requirement(s):

One six-day residency. See university policy 3.04.05 Attendance at Residencies, the Residencies page on Campus, and the Residency section, below, for more information. Also see each graduate school's residency courses.

Practicum/Internship Experience Requirement(s):

Minimum of 300 internship hours. See the Practicum/Internship Experience section, below, for more information.



Twelve Required Courses



48 quarter credits

Survey of Research in Human Development for Addiction Professionals

This course presents theories of human development and behavior throughout the lifecycle. Learners examine approaches for researching human development, including personality and moral development theory. Learners also focus on the developing person by applying biological, psychological, and addiction concepts. Must be taken during the learner’s first quarter. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Assessment of Addiction

Learners in this course examine the addiction-specific assessment process and apply assessment principles, measurement constructs, and testing strategies to evaluate diverse clients with a range of presenting issues. In addition, learners analyze screening and assessment results to diagnose substance-use disorders and determine goals and treatment recommendations. Learners also analyze legal, ethical, and cultural considerations related to screening and assessment in addiction treatment.

4 quarter credits
Principles of Integrated Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Learners in this course examine diagnostic categories, professional literature, and current issues associated with an integrated addiction treatment model. Learners also explore the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) classifications and diagnostic issues associated with multicultural populations. 

4 quarter credits
Ethical and Legal Issues in Addiction Treatment

In this course, learners evaluate current legal and ethical guidelines used in the addiction profession. Learners apply decision-making models and formulate effective collaboration strategies used to resolve legal and ethical issues that arise when working with children, adults, couples, and families. Learners also analyze how personal belief systems influence addiction professionals’ responses to those issues.

4 quarter credits
Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment

In this course, learners explore group counseling as an important aspect of addictions treatment, recovery, and relapse prevention. Learners develop a personal model of group treatment for substance-related and addictive disorders that is informed by counseling and group theories; ethical, legal, and cultural considerations; and group development models.

4 quarter credits
Theories and Models of Addiction Treatment

Learners in this course investigate the nature of addiction problems, studying various theories and models of addiction to evaluate the validity and efficacy of associated treatment approaches. Learners also utilize critical thinking skills in the application of theory to therapeutic work with specific populations.

4 quarter credits
Treatment Interventions for Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

Learners in this course investigate current treatment interventions for substance-related and addictive disorders. In addition, learners evaluate diagnoses for substance-related and addictive disorders and apply appropriate treatment. Topics include inpatient and outpatient treatment options, self-help groups, the use of alternative treatment modalities, and continuum of care including community resources, relapse prevention, and recovery planning.

4 quarter credits
Foundations and Current Issues in the Treatment of Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

In this course, learners gain and apply the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career as an addictions counselor. Learners analyze the history of addiction treatment as well as approaches to treatment and examine case management, including continuum of care. Learners also develop an understanding of ethical considerations, special populations, and general terminology for the field of addiction treatment.​

4 quarter credits
Implications of Addiction Treatment with Diverse Populations

This course is an introduction to the theory and research related to culturally competent addiction services and social justice advocacy. Learners consider the characteristics and concerns of diverse populations as they inform treatment and advocacy practices that promote optimal wellness and growth for individuals, couples, families, and groups. Learners also assess the influence of their own characteristics, attitudes, and beliefs on the counseling process; examine their roles in promoting social justice at multiple levels; and evaluate approaches for prevention of addiction issues in a multicultural society.

4 quarter credits

In addition, choose one from the following courses:

Supervision and Program Management in Addiction Treatment

This course presents an overview of various supervision approaches and the ways these methods support the development of addiction professionals. Learners explore addiction treatment issues associated with training, staff credentials, working with multidisciplinary staff, and ethics from research and administration perspectives. Learners also review various methods used to conduct contemporary addiction research, with particular emphasis on the emerging research practices and perspectives used for evaluating substance-related treatment programs.

4 quarter credits
Family Systems and Psychoeducation in Addiction

Learners in this course apply the lens of systemic thinking to examine how addiction impacts family systems. Learners assess the role of psychoeducation in treating and preventing addiction with individuals and families as well as other complex facets of addiction that include the role of family dynamics, the relationship between professional systems, models of recovery, and pathology. Learners also develop psychoeducation-informed family group therapy lesson plans.

4 quarter credits
Psychopharmacology and Medication Management

Learners in this course examine the neurobiological, behavioral, psychological, and physical effects of psychoactive substances on individuals and analyze the classifications, indications, and contraindications of commonly prescribed psychopharmacological medication. Learners also apply principles of psychopharmacology to the clinical practice of counselors and therapists, including consultation and interfacing with the medical community and other systems of care.

4 quarter credits

All academic courses listed below include specific residency, practice, or clinical experiences. Learners must complete prerequisites to be eligible to complete each course in the sequence.

ADD-R5941 *
Addiction Studies Residency

The residency includes both an online courseroom and a face-to-face residency experience. Learners engage in online courseroom activities to prepare themselves for the residency experience and focus on developing clinical addiction counseling skills, including building therapeutic relationships, performing therapeutic assessments, and applying ethical and legal standards of practice. During the face-to-face residency experience, learners integrate addiction theories for both individuals and groups. Learners then engage in post-residency online courseroom activities to assess knowledge gained. This course requires travel. Prerequisite(s): ADD5004, ADD5106, ADD5107, ADD5217, ADD5258, ADD5260, ADD5261, ADD5264, ADD5336. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
ADD6431 *
Addiction Studies Internship

This course is an online-directed, supervised internship during which learners fulfill the minimum of 300 total required contact hours. Of the 300 total hours, learners must provide direct services in an addiction-related setting for at least 120 hours. Learners must also complete 10 hours of face-to-face contact with field supervisors. This internship provides learners with specific clinical skills in interviewing, assessment, intervention, documentation, and consultation in a field setting relevant to addiction treatment. Grading for this course is S/NS. It is the learner’s responsibility to research and comply with the specific clinical experience requirements of their states. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite(s): ADD-R5941 and ADD5945 with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits






48 quarter credits


* Denotes courses that have prerequisite(s). Refer to the descriptions for further details.

Capella University cannot guarantee licensure, endorsement, other professional credential, or salary advancement. State licensing regulations and professional standards vary; learners are responsible for understanding and complying with the requirements of the state in which they intend to work. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella’s website (


The residency requirement for the Master of Science in Addiction Studies degree program is satisfied by completion of an online course consisting of preand post-residency activities and a six-day residency experience (ADD-R5941). The residency for the Master of Science in Addiction Studies degree program requires learners to receive a minimum of 40 total hours of training and practice in the areas of interventions assessment, diversity, culture, and ethics. Learners must have completed the residency requirement prior to starting their internship course (ADD6431).

Practicum/Internship Experience

Learners enrolled in the Master of Science in Addiction Studies degree program complete supervised onsite fieldwork experience as a requirement of their program. The internship (ADD6431) is an online course that requires completion of 300 hours of supervised fieldwork experience performed at an approved fieldwork site. Learners apply the skills developed throughout the course of their program while working in an addiction treatment recovery clinic, agency, or other setting that provides addiction treatment services.

What can I expect?

Each unit consists of readings, discussions, and other activities you will be expected to complete throughout the week. Assignments are due on Sundays, though not every course requires an assignment each week.

In each course, you will receive a detailed scoring guide that describes expectations for every graded assignment.

Grades are based on your participation in weekly reading discussions and completion of assignments. You will also be assessed on your ability to demonstrate an understanding of expected outcomes for your program or specialization. These outcomes are based on the needs and performance standards of your field or discipline.

Learn more about online learning at Capella.

Transfer Credits

There are many ways to reduce tuition costs, including transferring credits which may help save time and money. You can transfer up to 12 credits into this specialization.

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