MA in Addiction Counselling

One Year Part-Time
Validated by
Dublin Main Campus
NFQ Level
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Course Overview

Looking to Pursue a Career as an Addiction Counsellor?

This is an ICHAS course delivered at Griffith College by ICHAS.

The MA is designed for practitioners who hold a Level 8 degree in health or human science areas and who wish to specialise in Addiction Counselling. The primary focus of this programme is working with individuals and groups, as well as at community and policy levels, as leaders in their field.

Why Should You Study an MA in Addiction Counselling? 

The MA has many distinctive features that make it one of the leading programmes of this type. It meets the QQI Award Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland. Students may seek Professional Accreditation with Addiction Counsellors Ireland. This programme is part of a suite of programmes that have been validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), ensuring the quality of its teaching and assessment strategies, programme content and quality.

You will also get an in-depth knowledge of a variety of special fields, as well as:

  • Delivered by lecturers who are experts in the fields of study.
  • Recognised nationally and internationally. Learners will receive the Europass Diploma Supplement and degree parchment upon completion.
  • Recognised by professional accreditation bodies within the Psychological Therapies Forum.
  • Utilises blended learning approaches, offering a flexible approach for all students through face-to-face and online learning, meaning students may study at a pace and duration that fits their lifestyle
  • Focuses on interventions with proven, evidence-based effectiveness.
  • Combines a well-balanced match of theory and practice.
  • Facilitates access to higher-level education, thus increasing employment opportunities for graduates in various areas where addiction is problematic.
  • Facilitates a progression route to PhD and professional doctorate-level programmes.

Intake Dates

  • Dublin - Part-Time - September 2024

Course Details

Professional Placement:

All students will undertake work-based learning as part of the programme – comprising 120 hours of direct client work (10 ECTS) in an approved placement setting.

In conjunction with the 120 client hours, students will undertake clinical supervision at a ratio of 1 hour of clinical supervision to 4 hours of client work, which equates to 30 hours of Clinical Supervision.

The Professional Placement module will also enhance students’ professional capacity to work confidently and independently in various settings. Some of the placement providers that we work closely with are Aiseiri Treatment Centres (Nationwide), Saoirse (Limerick), My Move Counselling (Limerick & Tipperary), Cuain Mhuire, Coolmine Treatment Centre, The Grove, Kerry.

Knowing Self:

Students are required to engage in a minimum of 50 hours of Personal Therapy or equivalent through this module. These hours may include certified participation in a therapeutic group process to a maximum of 50% of the total requirement.

Module Outline

The aim of the module is to facilitate students to critically evaluate the conceptual understanding of addiction as well as the personal, familial and societal implications of addiction. Learners will focus on theoretical explanations, epidemiological considerations as well as personal and familial consequences, specifically examining harm and harm reduction as well as recovery approaches over the period of the module and will be required to appraise the evidence base for a range of explanatory theories.

The aim of the module is to facilitate students to critically evaluate the differing approaches and methods used for the generation of evidence. The module will expose learners to a range of research paradigms and approaches. It will support learners to distinguish between a range of research designs and will pay particular attention to ethical research practice, placing particular emphasis on the rights of research participants.

The aim of this module is to support learners to acquire the attributes and skills necessary to work with clients using addiction counselling skills & competencies. Learners will focus on integrating theoretical aspects of addiction counselling and psychotherapeutic approaches within supported experiential learning contexts over the period of the module. They will be required to appraise the evidence base for a range of therapeutic approaches in the field of addiction counselling.

The aim of the module is to facilitate students to critically evaluate the conceptual understanding of evidence informed approaches with particular reference to cognitive behavioural approaches as well as the use of motivational Interviewing in addiction and addiction treatment. Learners will focus on theoretical explanations, as well as intervention considerations, over the period of the Module and will be required to appraise the evidence base for a range of explanatory theories.

The module aims to facilitate students to critically evaluate both Family aspects of addiction and the distinctive philosophical ethos of the Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) as a treatment intervention in addiction contexts. Learners will focus on understanding of both family dynamics in addiction contexts as well as the theoretical basis for the community Reinforcement Approach (CRA ) over the period of the module. They will be required to appraise the evidence base for its use and effectiveness while learning the skills of CRA.

The module will focus on the development of in-depth ‘personal’ knowledge through structured forms of psychotherapeutic engagement. This module will offer an experiential orientation introduction to personal psychotherapeutic experience.

The aim of the module is to facilitate students to explore and critically evaluate the concept of co-morbidity and the influence of trauma on the lived experience of addiction. Learners will examine a range of conditions which commonly co-occur with addiction, including polydrug use and a range of psychiatric and mental health disorders, as well as examine the influence of trauma and treatment modalities associated with co-morbid disorders and trauma experience associated with addiction.

This module aims to support learners in acquiring the skills, knowledge, and attitude to work within applied settings at a higher-order level using a defined structure to enhance ongoing performance. The field of addiction counselling has dimensions that extend beyond the acquisition of theoretic knowledge alone and the professional place.



This course is delivered part-time over two years. Lectures are delivered one evening a week from 6pm to 9pm and over approximately eight Saturdays from 9:30am to 4:30pm during the academic year (Sept-May). 


The programme utilises blended learning for theoretic elements of engagement. In-person attendance is required for skills-based modules. This allows the learner to access classes in person or online, allowing for flexibility in achieving a work/life/study balance.

How to Apply

Entry Requirements

  • This programme is designed for graduates in health and human sciences and in particular graduates of counselling-related programmes as well as, nursing, social care, social work, psychology and programmes in cognate areas who wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of the human condition.
  • The knowledge, skills and competence required to successfully participate in and complete this Level 9 Programme. Applicants will normally have successfully achieved a Level 2:2 award in a relevant Human Science Level 8 degree.
  • Those who have completed other relevant education programmes or have relevant professional experience, etc., where Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Acquired Prior Learning (APL) can be applied to the programme by submission of programme content, qualification, and assignments equivalent to an appropriate Level 8 award at an Honours 2:2 standard can also be considered.
  • All applicants undertake a selection interview to support applicants to make an informed decision regarding their choice of programme and to ensure suitability.
  • Successful applicants would be required to complete Garda Vetting at the College.
  • The minimum English language proficiency requirement for this programme is B2+ in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.5.


English Language

The minimum English language proficiency requirement for this programme is B2+ in the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, which is equivalent to an IELTS score of 6.5.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):

The College is committed to the recognition of prior learning attained both formally and informally. It may be recognised either to facilitate access to a higher education programme or to allow an award of credit as in the case of allowing exemption from a module.

It is the responsibility of the learner to make a formal written application to the College requesting an exemption and supplying all appropriate supporting evidence, i.e. transcript of results and module descriptor/syllabus including intended learning outcomes. Recognised prior learning is assessed on a case-by-case basis with an emphasis on academic and clinical experience.


Please note that not all study modes may be offered at all times; for confirmation, refer to the Intake dates on the Overview tab.

Tuition Fees

Study Mode: Part-Time / Blended

Dublin Main Campus

EUR 7,800.00

This programme is offered on a part-time basis only, and there are options around the payment of tuition fees with payment plans available to learners.

A central component of the ICHAS vision is the provision of flexible and affordable education for all.

The tuition fees for the programme are €7,800 (this includes a 2% PEL levy). In addition, students who opt for monthly instalments will incur an extra fee of €150 to avail of this facility. All fees are fully protected under our Protection of Enrolled Learners Policy.


On successful completion of the MA in Addiction Counselling, learners will be qualified to access Level 10 Programmes on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

Career Options:
This programme is designed to meet the requirements for professional accreditation with Addiction Counsellor Ireland, The Association of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (APCP), and the National Association for Professional Counselling & Psychotherapy. 

Graduates from this programme can be found working in various settings across the caring profession and can be found working in such as:

Ready To Take The Next Step?