PGCert/PgDip/MSc in Addiction Studies
The MSc in Addiction Studies has been designed to provide advanced graduate education in the addictions, focussing upon recent advances in the conceptualisation of drug use and addiction, and its effective prevention and treatment. Throughout the programme, theoretical advances and evidence will be positioned within policy development and treatment contexts. Emphasis will be placed upon facilitating the transfer of knowledge and skills to the workplace or individual career aspirations.
The programme recognises that students coming onto it do so from a variety of backgrounds with the goal of extending their theoretical knowledge and practical skills beyond those related to the subjects that they studied at undergraduate level. For example, a nurse or youth counsellor may wish to increase their knowledge of molecular biology or psychopharmacology, whilst a psychology graduate may wish to increase their knowledge and familiarity with treatment options or build upon undergraduate research studies with a view to undertaking a PhD. It is for this reason that the programme commences with introductory modules that ensure that all students, regardless of background, have a basic understanding of the core concepts that underlie the clinical, scientific and public health aspects of addiction before embarking upon individual research and a more rigorous exploration of these areas.
The MSc in Addiction Studies has been designed within the framework of adult learning, flexible and blended delivery (including the incorporation of technology enhanced learning). It includes a flexible modular structure with exit points at the PGCert and PGDip levels. It is offered as a 1-year Full-time or 2 year Part-time course.
Individual learning contracts are developed and regularly reviewed with each student, to ensure a student-centred learning experience and to facilitate timely completion.
The MSc in Addiction Studies consists of seven modules, while the PG Certificate consists of 3 modules (1, 2 and 3 below). The following provides a brief summary of the Programme structure:
Module 1: Introduction to Addiction Science and Theory (30 Credits)
Module 2: Psychopharmacology of Drug Action and Addiction (15 credits)
A compulsory fundamental module which will explore the aetiology and nature of addiction problems, the historical development and theoretical perspectives of addiction as a health related problem. This module will also explore the theoretical and evidence-based underpinnings of current pharmacotherapeutic and psychosocial interventions for responding to addictive behaviour.
Module 3: Research Methods, Critical Appraisal and Statistics (15 credits)
A compulsory fundamental module which will explore the psychopharmacological and biological mechanisms underpinning drug action and dependence.
Module 4: Contemporary Advances in Addiction Research, Policy, Prevention & Practice (15 credits)
A compulsory fundamental module which is designed to develop research skills relevant to scholarship and evidence-based practice including critical appraisal, basic biostatistics and methodology.
Module 5: Advanced Addiction Practice (15 credits)
This module will introduce the concepts of policy development, prevention strategies and incorporate current/recent research conducted within the Addictions CAG.
Research Project (60 Credits)
This module provides further information on the theories and evidence base that guide clinical practice, and incorporates the clinical placement.
Optional Modules (30 credits): One taken from the following:
This module encompasses the conduct of a small research project to demonstrate the effective use of evidence within the fields of addiction science, policy and treatment.
Advanced Addiction Biology
This optional module is co-offered within the MSc in Neuroscience. It explores advanced biological constructs, such as neurobiology at the molecular and systems level, and genetic and environmental risk factors of addiction.
Advanced Clinical Management of Addiction
This optional module provides advanced knowledge and skills of the primary psychosocial and pharmacotherapeutic techniques that support effective addiction treatment.
A variety of learning methods are used including lectures, seminars, tutorials, journal clubs, practice supervision groups, clinical placements, field experience and self-directed study. This is augmented with the opportunity to share ideas and views with fellow learners either face-to-face or using a discussion board through the KEATS e-learning platform. Learning is supported by on-line self-directed learning packages and access to additional lecture material. Assessment is by essays, written examinations, OSCEs, and reflective learning techniques.
Selection is made upon the basis of the application and references. An interview may be required based upon the applicant’s qualifications and experience.
First degree (2:1) or equivalent (in either medicine or psychology; or in any subject related to the addictions followed by a relevant health-related postgraduate diploma or certificate); A candidate without a first degree but with a Professional Qualification or demonstrable significant professional experience may be considered with the following requirements: a) submission of a written essay; b) initial enrolment onto the PG Certificate in Addiction Studies (60 credits encompassing Modules 1, 2 and 3) with subsequent progression onto the MSc dependent upon completion of the PGCert with a Pass with Merit average across these fundamental modules.
Contact: Mr Karl Doyle at Msc-Addiction@kcl.ac.uk
International Programme in Addiction Studies (MSc)
The International Programme in Addiction Studies is a unique intensive programme of graduate study, delivered entirely online, leading to a degree of Master of Science in Addiction Studies. It can be taken one year full time or two years part time No campus attendance is required. This programme is available to students from all countries, but all online lectures, assignments and correspondence are conducted entirely in English.
The programme is jointly designed and implemented by the academic staff of three of the world’s leading universities in the growing field of addiction science; Virginia Commonwealth University, Adelaide University and King's College London.
Its aim is to develop professionals who are fully prepared to assume leadership roles in the addictions field throughout the world. The programme will provide students with an advanced educational experience covering the scientific basis of addiction, comparative epidemiology, evidence-based interventions (including pharmacological, psychosocial and public health approaches), research methodology and addictions policy. Lecturers will be selected from among the world’s leading authorities in each of these subject areas, while programme directors will be faculty members of the three participating universities
The firm scientific grounding of the programme, covering a range of areas from treatment to policy, and its unique international perspective make it appropriate for recent graduates and professionals working in a range of fields such as health, law enforcement, policy and education.
Virginia Commonwealth University is currently the host to the programme and is processing all applications online via this portal. All applicants are expected to have a first degree.
ADDICTION POLICY (VCU)
This course/module is designed to provide students of differing backgrounds with an understanding of the process by which international addiction health policy is formed and reformed around the use and misuse of both licit and illicit drugs. The course will look at the epidemiology of addiction around the world and the relationship between the burden of addiction and the corresponding effects of national and international drug policies.
BIOLOGICAL BASIS OF ADDICTION (Adelaide)
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, and 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 (KCL)
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/module, 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 (group work, self help) will also be examined alongside the evidence base for Relapse Prevention, Contingency Management and Therapeutic Communities.
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY IN THE ADDICTIONS (Adelaide)
This course/module is designed to enable students to develop knowledge and understanding of the different methodological processes underpinning research in the addictions. The research principles involved in hypothesis testing and estimation procedures will be covered as well as the generic skills necessary to undertake a small research project, analyze data and interpret statistical findings.
Students will have an opportunity to discuss the ethical issues that arise from working with and collecting data from vulnerable individuals such as those who use psychoactive substances
During this module and with the help of faculty, students will choose a research project for secondary analysis from a list of topics provided in December of the academic year in which the
project is to be completed. Alternatively, a topic for an appropriately structured systematic review and/or meta‐analysis can be proposed by the student. This will allow students to begin independent readings in their topic of choice and to gain a better sense of the plausibility of their project.
PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES AND APPROACHES TO ADDICTION (VCU)
This course/module 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.
TREATMENT OF ADDICTION: PHARMACOTHERAPIES (Adelaide)
This course/module is designed to provide an overview of the pharmacological management of alcohol and drug addiction. It will cover the management of withdrawal from alcohol, sedatives,opioids, cannabis and stimulants, as well as long‐term management of dependence on opioids, tobacco and alcohol. Additional topics include international perspectives on management of dependence, management of dependence during pregnancy, and the process of medication development.
TREATMENT OF ADDICTIONS: CRITICAL ISSUES (KCL)
This course/module is designed to enable students to gain advanced understanding of the critical issues involved in the identification, assessment, diagnosis and classification of individuals who misuse substances. Barriers to treatment (religion, etc.) will be considered. Students will explore and critically examine treatment options in special settings (for instance, prisons, criminal justice and employment) and in special populations (for instance, pregnancy, the homeless). Students will also have the opportunity to explore approaches used with specialist populations such as young people and adolescents.
RESEARCH PROJECT IN ADDICTIONS (Adelaide)
The final research project is a core requirement for the Master of Science Programme and is the key element distinguishing the MSc from a professional certificate or a postgraduate diploma programme. It provides the opportunity to demonstrate specialized understanding of the issue of collecting data from vulnerable groups, and the exercise of independent critical judgment. It also builds other skills, notably independence and creativity. The purpose of the research project is to have students demonstrate competence in the integration and analysis of data related to addictions to further the translation of this knowledge into more effective policies and practices, in keeping with the stated aims of the programme.
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Dr Anna Williams is a postdoctoral researcher at the Addictions Department, King’s College London. She also works as a module leader in the International Programme in Addiction Studies, an online MSc course offered by three internationally recognised universities: King’s College London (UK), Virginia Commonwealth University (US), and the University of Adelaide (Australia). Dr Williams graduated as a psychologist in Brazil, where she also completed her Masters Degree in Psychiatry. In 2011, she completed her PhD in Addiction Science at the Institute of Psychiatry (KCL), under the supervision of Professor John Strang and Dr John Marsden. Her PhD centred on the prevention of fatal heroin overdose by providing training and take-home naloxone to family members and drug users. The initial phase of this work involved testing the feasibility of the proposal, developing guidelines for the delivery of overdose training amongst family members and developing valid and reliable measures to test overdose management knowledge and attitudes. The final study tested the benefits of overdose training among this population using a randomised trial design. Dr Anna Williams has been invited as speaker at many different universities in the UK, Australia, Brazil and the in US. In the past few years she has offered support to the establishment of a number of take-home naloxone programmes across the country by providing training and advice. She is currently involved in research in the area of drug-related deaths, teaching and training activities and also provides advice to PhD students and supports departmental activities.
Dr Dyer is a Senior Lecturer in Addiction Science at Kings College London, and the Academic lead for Education and Training within the Department of Addiction (KCL), and the Addictions Clinical Academic Group (Kings Health Partners). He migrated from Australia to the United Kingdom in June 2008. He is a psycho-pharmacologist who completed his PhD within the Department of Clinical & Experimental Pharmacology and the Department of Psychology at the University of Adelaide.
Dr Dyer has been conducting research into the nature and treatment of drug dependence, the efficacy of point-of-collection oral fluid drug tests, the relationship between drug concentration and psycho-behavioural and cognitive impairment, medical education and workforce development. Parallel research areas include the diagnosis and management of mental health problems and neuro-cognitive impairment among drug dependent individuals; the assessment and management of illicit drug withdrawal and dependence; and the relationship between acute and chronic drug use and cognitive functioning, including the areas of drugs and driving and drug impairment in the workplace. This research activity has been supported by numerous research grants, and Government and Industry sourced funding. He has published his work in high impact medical, psychological and pharmacological journals, and promoted his work at numerous conferences and through the media. Dr Dyer serves on the Editorial Boards of two international journals (Drug & Alcohol Review; Addiction). He has served on numerous Government committees including the National Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Strategy 2007-2009 for the Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing; the Expert Committee on Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Acute Amphetamine Related Problems; the Ministerial Expert Working Group for the Introduction of Roadside Drug Testing in Western Australia; and the Australian Psychological Society National Drug Policy Working Group.
He is currently an Expert Advisor for the London Health Improvement Board Expert Panel on Alcohol, under the Mayor’s Chairmanship He has received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Western Australia National Australian Drug & Alcohol Award: Excellence in Treatment for establishing the East Perth Neuropsychology Clinic. Dr Dyer has been conducting research into the nature and treatment of drug dependence, the efficacy of point-of-collection oral fluid drug tests, the relationship between drug concentration and psycho-behavioural and cognitive impairment, medical education and workforce development. Parallel research areas include the diagnosis and management of mental health problems and neuro-cognitive impairment among drug dependent individuals; the assessment and management of illicit drug withdrawal and dependence; and the relationship between acute and chronic drug use and cognitive functioning, including the areas of drugs and driving and drug impairment in the workplace. This research activity has been supported by numerous research grants, and Government and Industry sourced funding. He has published his work in high impact medical, psychological and pharmacological journals, and promoted his work at numerous conferences and through the media.
Dr Dyer serves on the Editorial Boards of two international journals (Drug & Alcohol Review; Addiction). He has served on numerous Government committees including the National Amphetamine-Type Stimulants Strategy 2007-2009 for the Ministerial Council on Drugs Strategy, Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing; the Expert Committee on Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Acute Amphetamine Related Problems; the Ministerial Expert Working Group for the Introduction of Roadside Drug Testing in Western Australia; and the Australian Psychological Society National Drug Policy Working Group. He is currently an Expert Advisor for the London Health Improvement Board Expert Panel on Alcohol, under the Mayor’s Chairmanship He has received an Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Western Australia National Australian Drug & Alcohol Award: Excellence in Treatment for establishing the East Perth Neuropsychology Clinic.
Gerry Kandler is the Programme Administrator for IPAS at King’s College London. He holds a Master’s degree in Historical Studies gained from the University of Hertfordshire in 1997. He has worked in student administration for the past seventeen years both for the London based Middlesex University and the Hertfordshire based College of Osteopaths.
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