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International Programme in Addiction Studies MSc



The International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS) is a unique collaboration of three of the world's leading research universities in the field of Addiction Science: The Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, the University of Adelaide, and Virginia Commonwealth University. This partnership offers three nested graduate programme options available to students from around the globe via distance learning technologies. Students are introduced to the latest information on topics ranging from the biological basis of addiction to addiction treatment, prevention and policy.

Applications can be made via the Virginia Commonwealth University website

Key Benefits 

  • A focus on comparative international trends in policy, global epidemiology of substance-related morbidity and mortality, and evidence-based treatment and prevention practices make this programme truly unique.
  • Students have online access to lectures produced exclusively for the IPAS by international experts in the Addictions field.
  • All the material is accessible online via mobile, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, allowing flexible study.
  • Enrolled students are considered students of all three universities concurrently and have access to all online resources available from each of the partners.
  • Upon completion of the curriculum, students receive a triple-badge diploma jointly conferred by the three institutions.
  • Students receive individualised support from our dedicated module leaders throughout the course.

Our alumni work as mentors and guides for students in their local region. They provide additional support and guidance with a very local focus.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, Two years PT, August to August.

Study mode Distance Learning, Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180 / ECTS 90 for the Masters of Science Programme, UK 120 / ECTS 60 Credits for Post Graduate Diploma, UK 60 / ECTS 30 Credits for Post Graduate Certificate

Course intake No set number.

Course leaders Dr Anna V. Williams

Course contact for further information

Programme Leader: Dr Anna V. Williams, E –, P - +44 (0)20 7848 0682

Programme Administrator: Louise Braithwaite, E –, P – +44 (0)20 7848 0682

Programme Coodinator: Jackie Szczerbinski, E –, P – +44 (0)20 7848 0611

Programme Email: Website:

Course contact email

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Addictions Department


Entry requirements & how to apply

Students from outside the US must have qualified for an honours degree (level 2A or 1) or professional bachelor degree in an appropriate field of study at a recognised tertiary institution, or have a bachelor’s degree plus at least five years’ related professional work experience. US students should have completed a 4-year bachelor's degree in an appropriate field of study.  


English language requirements

  • Students must have a high level of proficiency in English, demonstrated by completion of a university qualification study in the English language, or by meeting one of the following English language requirements: an IELTS score of 7.0, a TOEFL score of 600 (paper based) or 250 (computer based).
  • Students must have good academic references
  • Students must have access to reliable internet and be computer literate

Application procedure

The host institution is currently VCU and this is where applications are processed. Expression of interest and applications can be made on the VCU webpage

Personal statement and supporting information

Please outline your relevant experience in the field.

Application closing date

The deadline for applications is 01 April 2016 for 2016 entry. Prior to this date all applications will be given equal consideration and considered on their individual merits. After this date and up to 01 July 2016 applications will be considered subject to the availability of places, thus we encourage you to submit your application as soon as possible. Please note that funding deadlines may be earlier.


Course detail


The programme focuses on addictions policy, programme development and evaluation as well as evidenced-based practice. Many postgraduate programmes concerned with substance abuse focus on clinical issues germane to service provision. This programme offers a unique study opportunity addiction in its broadest sense, covering key issues from an international viewpoint. Knowledge of basic statistics and data analysis methods are essential as the completion of a small research project is a key component of this programme.

The programme aims to develop professionals who are prepared to assume leadership roles in the addictions field throughout the world.

This is an opportunity for students in all areas of the globe, both urban and rural, to obtain a graduate degree delivered by top experts in the field in the three leading countries for addictions.

Full-time students take two modules at a time, part-time students take one module both running over a ten week semester. Full-time students should expect to spend about 30-40 hours per week on coursework. Part-time students can expect to spend about 15-20 hours per week. Time is spent following narrated lectures, set reading assignments, online discussion board, mandatory review exercises, writing essay assignments, and exams. There are four teaching periods across the year with a three week break at Christmas time, and another break for part-timers at the end of July/beginning of August.

Course purpose

The mission of the International Programme in Addiction Studies (IPAS) is to offer students cross‐cultural exposure to critical prevention and treatment practices, as well as research and policy issues facing the field. This programme will speed up the dissemination of the latest international addictions‐related knowledge, especially to remote locations around the world. The programme will also help students compare international perspectives, translating this knowledge into more effective prevention and treatment practices and evidence‐based policies within their own countries.

Course format and assessment

Pre-recorded lectures are audio-streamed within the Virtual Learning Environment (VCU Blackboard) and assessment is based on participation in non-synchronous online discussions, written assignments and unseen examinations.


  • Currently, there are plans to alter the term structure of the programme beginning in August 2016 to be more consistent with normal semester dates at our Universities.

    There will be  two teaching periods:

    • August-December and
    • January-June

    There will be a three-week break in the end of the year (around Christmas/New Year time) and a three-month break for first-year part-timers (MSc or Diploma students) between May and July.

    Full-time students

    • Take four modules per semester
    • Full-time students should expect to spend about 30-40 hours per week on coursework.

     Part-time students

    • Take two module per semester
    • Part-time students can expect to spend about 15-20 hours per week on coursework.

    Each course will last 15 weeks. Start dates for some modules will be staggered slightly and there will be staggered one‐week reading periods mid‐semester in each class.  These will allow for more focused study periods on specific classes. 

    Required Modules

    Required modules for the PG Certificate, PG Diploma and MSc:

    • Biological Basis of Addiction
    • Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions
    • Public Health Issues & Approaches to Addiction

     Required modules for the PG Diploma and MSc:

    • Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues
    • Addiction Policy
    • Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies

     Required modules for the MSc only:

    • Research Methodology in Addictions Module
    • Research Project in Addictions


    Addiction Policy
    Biological Basis of Addiction
    Public Health Issues & Approaches to Addiction
    Research project in Addictions
    Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues
    Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies
    Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions


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Career prospects

Past students from this programme have taken leadership roles in clinical settings, working as drug workers, substance misuse nurse specialists, psychologists, addiction psychiatrists and managers of addiction services. Our students have also taken policy positions in national and international organisations. Others have undertaken further academic research and gone on to complete a PhD or a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

 Please see a link to our 2015 Alumni Survey:



Learn about the International Programme in Addiction Studies

In the heart of London

International Programme in Addiction Studies is a distance learning online programme jointly delivered by top three research institutions in addictions: King’s College London; Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Adelaide. Listen to renowned programme directors to get an insight on how this programme focuses on addictions policy, programme development and evaluation.

Watch more videos

Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees - Home/EU


Full time tuition fees - Overseas

US$14,400 First Year and Second Year: US$18,000

Part time tuition fees - Home/EU

PG Certificate (Overseas/Home/EU) US$10,800, PG Diploma (Overseas/Home/EU) US$21,600

Part time tuition Fees - Overseas

PG Certificate (Overseas/Home/EU) US$10,800, PG Diploma (Overseas/Home/EU) US$21,600

Students are self-funded or funded by their employer or home government. If you are looking for additional funding, please visit our student funding database found at

The International Scholars in Addiction Studies (ISAS) scholarship programme, which offers half-tuition scholarships, has been available to IPAS students over the last seven years. Scholarships are awarded based on academic merit, although geographic distribution is also considered.  As the scholarship only covers part of tuition fees, qualifying students are required to pay any outstanding tuition charges, and must indicate their understanding of this responsibility upon acceptance of the scholarship. Information about the availability of scholarships for the 2016-2017 academic year will be posted in February 2016.

Please visit the VCU website for further information:

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