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Master of Science in International Addiction Studies (IPAS) MSc

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The Master of Science in International Addiction Studies (IPAS) course offers students cross‐cultural exposure to critical prevention and treatment practices, as well as research and policy issues in the field of addiction. This programme provides unique opportunities to study addiction in its broadest sense and examine key issues from an international perspective

Key benefits

  • A unique programme that focuses on the similar international trends in policy, global epidemiology of substance-related morbidity and mortality, and evidence-based treatment and prevention practices.

  • Exclusive online access to lectures produced exclusively for the course by International experts in the addictions field.

  • Course members are considered students of all three universities concurrently with access to all online resources available from each of the partners.

  • You will receive personalised support from our dedicated module leaders throughout the course.

  • Course graduates will receive a triple-badge diploma jointly conferred by the three teaching institutions.

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 Michael Lynskey and Dr Anna Williams

Further details

Course contact for further information

Programme Leader: Dr Anna Williams

+ 44 (0)20 7848 0682



Programme Email

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Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience

Department Addictions Department Division of Academic Psychiatry



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Learn about Master of Science in International Addiction Studies (IPAS)

In the heart of London

The Master of Science in International Addiction Studies (IPAS) 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.

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Course detail



The Master of Science in International Addiction Studies (IPAS) course 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 graduates around the globe via distance learning. You will have access to the latest information on topics ranging from the biological basis of addiction and treatment as well as prevention and policy. The course will help you to compare global perspectives and translate this knowledge into more effective prevention and treatment practices and evidence‐based policies worldwide.


Course format and assessment


Pre-recorded lectures are audio-streamed within the Virtual Learning Environment and delivered online. You will also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study.

Biological Basis of Addictions

Lectures (20 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addiction

Lectures (25 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies

Lectures (25 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions

Lectures (20 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues

Lectures (20 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Addiction Policy

Lectures (25 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (30)|Selfdirected study (80)

Research Project 

Lectures (30 hours) |Discussion Boards and Live discussions (100)|Selfdirected study (300)

Contact time is based on 24 academic weeks. Typically, one credit equates to 10 hours of work.

Course Assessment

The primary methods of assessment for this course are written examinations, coursework and practical individual/ projects.  The study time and assessment methods typically give an indication of what to expect. However, these may vary depending upon the modules. 

Extra information

King’s College London is regulated by the Office for Students.


Year 1

Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Biological Basis of Addictions (20 Credits)
  • Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addiction (20 credits)
  • Treatment of Addiction:  Pharmacotherapies (20 credits)
  • Treatment of Addiction:  Psychosocial Interventions (20 credits)
  • Treatment of Addiction:  Critical Issues (20 credits)
  • Addiction Policy (20 Credits)
  • Research Project (60 Credits)
Optional Modules

There are no optional modules

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

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 http://www.ipas.vcu.edu/

Personal statement and supporting information

Please outline your relevant experience in the field.

Application closing date

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home fees: USD $32,400
  • Full time overseas fees: USD $32,400
  • Part time Home fees: MSc USD $14,000 (first year) USD $18,000 (2nd year) | PG Certificate USD $10,800 | PG Diploma USD $21,600
  • Part time overseas fees: MSc USD $14,000 (first year) USD $18,000 (2nd year) | PG Certificate USD $10,800 | PG Diploma USD $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 http://www.kcl.ac.uk/study/pg/funding/sources/pgt.aspx

The International Scholars in Addiction Studies (ISAS) scholarship programme, which offers half-tuition scholarships, has been available to IAS 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:


In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for:

  • books if you choose to buy your own copies library fees and fines
  • personal photocopies
  • printing course handouts
  • society membership fees
  • stationery
  • graduation costs.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Graduates 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 graduates have also taken policy positions in national and international organisations, while others have undertaken further academic research and gone on to complete a PhD or a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.


Blue box with King's College London rankings. Starting with, 7th in the UK for research quality. Followed by, 6th in the UK for research power. Concluding with, 4th among multi-faculty universities for research Impact. The source is research excellence framework 2014

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