Program Overview

Mastery of substance use disorders counseling requires superior competency in the delivery of best practices, in combination with strong client-centered clinical skills. The Master of Science degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling is designed to foster the necessary advanced knowledge and skills, allowing counselors to address the increasingly complex challenge of effectively addressing substance use and co-occurring disorders. The program is strongly centered on expertise in the theory and application of evidence-based practices (including motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapies), co-occurring disorders competency, culturally responsive and anti-oppressive practice, ethics and professionalism, and integration of new research findings into clinical practice.

Program Outcomes
  • Distinguish key elements of the investigative process and scholarly review, thus developing competency in evaluation of clinical and social research.
  • Examine and appraise the evidence base for specific best practices in substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders counseling.
  • Critique the evidence base for specific best practices in substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders counseling with regard to multicultural inclusion and anti-oppressive practices.
  • Develop competency in applying evidence-based practices with fidelity in clinical and community-based settings in ways that are culturally appropriate and specific.
  • Formulate a personal commitment to anti-oppressive practices and a plan for implementing such practices in clinical and community-based settings.
  • Evaluate the principles of ethical behavior and decision-making, and create a personal code of professional ethics.
  • Demonstrate healthy personal behavior and self-care consistent with culturally and personally appropriate standards of health and wellness.
  • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills at a professional level appropriate for effective substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders counseling.
  • Qualify for the state of Minnesota LADC (Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor).
  • With additional coursework, qualify for the state of Minnesota LPC/LPCC (Licensed Professional Counselor/Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor).

More information about this program

Admission Criteria

This is a summary listing only. See Applying to the Program for full details on application requirements, admission criteria, and deadline information.

  • Graduate Application
  • $20 non-refundable application fee (waived for graduates of Metropolitan State University)
  • Official transcripts
  • Three professional references
  • Current resume
  • Admission essay
Transfer Credit

Up to 12 credits may be transferred from other graduate programs. A review of transfer eligibility will be made by the Graduate Program Coordinator. The course work must have been taken from a regionally accredited university. The credits that are being requested for transfer must have been taken at the graduate level (a course number of at least 500 or higher). A course is eligible for transfer only if no degree was granted, a letter grade of B or better was earned in the course, and the course was taken within 5 years of admission.

Additional Information

Foundation Courses (11 credits)

HSCD 600: Foundations, Models and Evidence-Based Practices
HSCD 601: Theory and Practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
HSCD 602: Advanced Motivational Interviewing: Theory and Practice
HSCD 650: Evaluation and Utilization of Research

Core Courses (29 credits)

HSCD 603: Ethics and Professional Practice
HSCD 610: Evidence-Based Group Counseling
HSCD 611: Culturally Responsive and Anti-Oppressive Practice
HSCD 620: Psychopharmacology
HSCD 630: Integrated Care: Screening and Assessment
HSCD 631: Integrated Care: Treatment and Recovery Planning
HSCD 632: Integrated Care: Harm Reduction and Case Management
*HSCD 640: Clinical Supervision (pending approval)
PSYC 611: Advanced Lifespan Developmental Psychology
PSYC 648: Psychopathology

Research Applications (4 credits)

HSCD 651: Master's Project Seminar
HSCD 650I: Master's Project

Clinical Applications (4 credits)

HSCD 681: Practicum I
*HSCD 682: Practicum II (pending approval)

Academic Standing

Students must maintain satisfactory academic progress to remain in the graduate program and to maintain financial aid eligibility. Only courses with a letter grade of B- (2.67) or better count toward degree requirements; a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 is required for graduation. Grading in the program is letter grade only; pass/fail grading is not an option.

If a student receives a letter grade of C+ (2.33) or below in any graduate course, s/he will be placed on academic probation. If a student receives a letter grade of C+ or below in two courses, s/he will be dismissed from the graduate program.

If a student has been dismissed from the program for unsatisfactory academic progress, s/he may apply for readmission after one calendar year has passed. To reapply, students must submit an updated resume and a letter indicating what circumstances have changed and how s/he plans to successfully complete the program. The admissions committee reviews the request and responds in writing.

Time to Completion

Full-time students (8 credits per semester) complete the program in two years. Part-time students (2-6 credits per semester) complete the program in three to four years.

Students have eight years from their first semester of graduate study to complete the degree program requirements. Students may request an extension of the time limit by writing to the Graduate Program Coordinator. Such requests must be received prior to the expiration of the time limit. Requests for extensions should include reason(s) for requesting the extension, a summary plan to complete graduation requirements, and a specific date for the extension to expire. Extension decisions are made by the Graduate Program Coordinator and are not automatic and cannot be appealed.


Resident Faculty: Therissa Libby (program coordinator), Glen Spielmans; Community Faculty: Derrick Crim, Sue Fust, Tamarah Gehlen, Shvonne Johnson, Amanda Richards

Contact Information

After reviewing the information provided on the website, if you have specific questions regarding the MS in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, you may email General questions about the applying process can be directed to

Additional Program Information 

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List


Requirements ( 48 total credits)