VCU, King’s College London and the University of Adelaide collaborate to offer a fully online Certificate in Addiction Studies available to students around the globe. No on-campus attendance is required, and students receive a degree from all three participating universities.

Program mission

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.

Program goals

  1. Knowledge of field of addiction science: Students in the program will develop an in-depth knowledge of the field of addiction science to enhance their ability to succeed in a variety of addiction-related settings.
  2. Ability to synthesize and apply advanced addiction-related knowledge: Students of the program will be able to synthesize and apply advanced addiction-related knowledge, including comparative international perspectives and approaches, to address key issues related to the treatment or prevention of addiction.
  3. Understanding and application of experimental results from addiction-related research: Students will develop the ability to interpret experimental approaches and results, and apply them to address key questions in addiction science and policy, as well as conceptualize the translation from research to policy, treatment or prevention.
  4. Communication skills related to addiction: Students will develop skills in communicating both core knowledge of addiction as well as the interpretation of research findings in a variety of formats.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Written communication skills: The candidate will use effective written communication skills to present information related to addiction causes, interventions, treatments and policies using appropriate vocabulary, figures, tables and citations.
  2. Advanced knowledge of addiction science: The student will demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge of the current elements of addiction science.
  3. Familiarity and understanding of research: Students will demonstrate an advanced level of fluency with the research literature, become familiar with research methods used in addiction science and demonstrate the ability to evaluate and critique publications.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university. These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on academic regulations for graduate students.

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Visit the academic regulations section for additional information on graduation requirements.

Apply online today.

Admission requirements

Admission requirements
Degree:Semester(s) of entry:Deadline dates:Test requirements:
CertificateFallJul 13TOEFL

Prospective students should apply through the VCU graduate admissions portal at Application to all three participating universities is accomplished through submission of the VCU graduate application. Once accepted, students are enrolled in all three universities and have access to the resources associated with all three schools. No on-campus classroom time is required to complete the degree.

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, applicants must:

  1. Have qualified in a related discipline for an honors degree (level 2A or 1) or a bachelor’s degree from a recognized tertiary institution in the U.S. Any applicant who does not meet this criterion should have (in addition to an honors or bachelor’s degree) significant professional work experience and approval of the program committee.
  2. Have a high level of proficiency in English, demonstrated by completion of a university qualification studied 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 260 (computer-based), or a minimum grade of C in GCSE English.

Students who are enrolled in the Certificate in Addiction Studies intermediate concentration and are maintaining a minimum GPA of 3.0 may elect to change their concentration to the advanced concentration at any time during their enrollment with the permission of the program director. Students will be awarded only one certificate, however, which will reflect their highest level of attainment.

Students who have completed the Certificate in Addiction Studies intermediate concentration may also, after a period away from study, choose to apply for the advanced concentration addiction studies certificate. Students wishing to continue their studies through this mechanism may count the earlier courses toward the advanced concentration, as long as they meet all admission requirements of the Graduate School and pending surrender of the lower-level credential before being awarded the more-advanced credential. 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.

Students completing either concentration in the Certificate in Addiction Studies may apply to the Master of Science in Addiction Studies program, also known as the International Programme in Addiction Studies and, if accepted, have their courses count toward that degree as long as they meet all admission requirements of the Graduate School. Courses taken more than four years prior to enrollment in the M.S. program will not be considered current and must be repeated.

Degree requirements

In addition to the general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to successfully complete 24 credit hours in the six required graduate courses.

Curriculum requirements

IPAS 600The Biological Basis of Addiction4
IPAS 601Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions4
IPAS 602Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addictions4
IPAS 603Addiction Policy4
IPAS 604Treatment of Addiction: Pharmacotherapies4
IPAS 605Treatment of Addiction: Critical Issues4
Total Hours24

The minimum total of graduate credit hours required for this certificate is 24.

Mary E. Loos, Ph.D.
Associate professor, Department of Psychology, and graduate program director
(804) 828-8019

Program website: