Are you thinking of taking a postgraduate course in Addiction Studies?

By Gemma Creagh - Last update


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The way in which we, as a society, collectively think about addiction has come a long way in the past few decades. Thanks to research and developments within the fields of medicine, social science, and psychology, addition is now recognised as a complex set of behavioural issues – and not simply restricted to alcohol or class A narcotics. We now understand how gambling, food, sex, over-the-counter medication, porn, video games can all pose massive problems for people who suffer from the disorder. The DSM 5 recognises substance-related addictions resulting from the use of 10 separate classes of drugs including caffeine, cannabis, and hallucinogens. While binge eating, compulsive buying, work addiction, and exercise addiction are also recognised afflictions that can ruin peoples’ health, lives, and mental well being.

Systemic Issues

Presently, there are very few people in our country not touched by addiction in some shape or form. This is partly due to the wide-ranging scope of the issue… It could be you, a friend, a loved one or a family member engaging in habitual, destructive behaviours. Addiction is a problem which affects people from every nationality, every fiscal background and the ramifications are devastating for the sufferer and their wider network. A postgraduate course in Addiction Studies is a weighty, worthwhile endeavour for everyone involved; it encourages tackling this problem in a constructive way.

Why take a postgraduate course on Addiction Studies?

Students study the subject of Addiction Studies at a postgraduate level for a number of reasons.

  • It’s interesting: Addiction Studies is a unique and compelling field. These courses touch on the complex tapestry of influences and issues facing the individual and society as a whole. They will give you a better understanding of yourself and your fellow man.
  •  Bright future: There is a wide range of opportunities available after you graduate both locally and on the international stage. You could work overseas for a non-profit, for the government, in politics – the world is your oyster.
  • Personal development: Perhaps you want to use your lived experience to help others. If you’ve been affected by these issues, you have a unique understanding and empathy for others.
  • Upskill: Many learners already work in areas which deal heavily with addiction. You might work, for an example, as a Garda, where a greater understanding of the issues and treatment surrounding this field can make you more effective at your job.
  • Make a real difference in your community: By using your knowledge reach out to people who are suffering, you are helping both them and society as a whole.

Thinking of applying? Here’s what you will need:

Most programmes will need a minimum Second Class Honours (2.2) Degree in any humanities or social science discipline from a recognised third level institution, or equivalent qualification. Many will accept professional experience too, as long as the field and level are appropriate. Some programmes might require a conversion course, some might not. It all depends on the course itself, so reach out to your potential training provider to see exactly what you will need.

Course Content

Presently, there are a number of courses around the country and each covers a varied range of subjects. Some might solely focus on talk therapy, others might have a scientific leaning. It’s up to you research which one has the most relevant syllabus for your ideal future career. What do you want out of your postgraduate course in Addiction Studies? If you are ever unsure, don’t be afraid to reach out and chat with one of the course administrators.

A few common subjects you might cover could include psychoanalysis, addition theory, treatment techniques, addition and family, research, CBT, psychopharmacology, ethics, drug and alcohol education and the biology of addiction. Depending on the programme you choose, you might also have work experience, clinic placement visits or on-site training.

What career opportunities are there?

A qualification in this area will help you if you want to further your career as a community care worker, Garda, EAP officer, Health promotion and improvement professional, guidance counsellor, probation officer, social care worker, education professional, second and third level educator, prison worker, addiction counsellor, department of social protection staff member or as a youth worker. You could go on to undergo further study up to PhD level or work in journalism or politics.

No matter where you end up, a postgraduate course in Addiction Studies will assist you in your personal and professional development. Work towards a rewarding career and search programmes now.


Gemma Creagh

Postgraduate Courses in Creative Writing
Sector overview: Business and Finance


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