Application Deadlines

  • Feb 15
    Fall semester admission only
  • May 15
    Fall semester admission only

Early submission of completed application is highly recommended. Completed application files are reviewed following each deadline and interviews are scheduled upon review completion. Admission decisions are made within two weeks after completed interview and applicants are notified via U.S. mail by the Master of Science in Alcohol and Drug Counseling program.

Information Sessions

The MSADC offers limited information sessions and you are highly encouraged to attend one if possible! Top three reasons to attend an information session:

  • Learn how the program can help you be successful
  • Engage with program staff and network with peers
  • Remove obstacles and develop an actionable academic plan

No information sessions are scheduled at this time.

If you are unable to attend, and if after reviewing the information on the website you have further questions about the program, you are welcome to make an appointment with Professor Therissa Libby via email

Admission Criteria

  • An earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university (or equivalent) with a total undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale)

    • Priority is given to applicants with an earned baccalaureate degree in a health, behavioral or social science. However, an applicant with an earned baccalaureate degree in another field may be considered if the field is in some way related to a health, social or behavioral science OR if the applicant has work experience relevant to providing alcohol and drug services.

    • Students with a GPA lower than 3.0 may be admitted conditionally and could progress to full admission upon completion of at least 8 graduate level credits with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

  • The following undergraduate coursework, while not required, significantly strengthens your application:
    • Statistics (STAT 201 or equivalent)
    • Abnormal Psychology (PSYC 300 or equivalent)
    • Research Methods (PSYC 312, HSER 368 or equivalent)

Application File

A complete application file consists of two parts (three for international students.) Begin the application process by completing the online graduate application. Once you've applied online, you can log in to the Applicant Portal using your StarID and password to upload your remaining documents, submit your references, and check on the status of your application.

Part One

  • Online Application - You will use your Minnesota State StarID to complete the application. If you don't have a Minnesota State StarID you will create one at the beginning of the application.
    • If you do not have or choose not to provide your Social Security number (SSN) please follow the No SSN instructions to activate your StarID.
    • If you encounter difficulty with the online application please email
  • Non-refundable application fee; pay online
    • The current fee of $20 is waived for graduates of Metropolitan State.
  • Official transcripts
  • Must show a baccalaureate degree or equivalent earned from a regionally accredited institution with grade-point average or narrative description describing courses completed.
    • Transcripts from ALL schools attended after high school and from any graduate or professional programs are required.
    • All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated (course-by-course) by either ECE (preferred) or WES.
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to
    • Paper transcripts should be sent directly from the sending institution (preferred) to: 

      Metropolitan State University
      Attn: Graduate Admissions
      700 East Seventh Street
      Saint Paul, MN 55106

Part Two

  • Resume: Upload
    • Work experience: Preference will be given to applicants with at least 2000 hours (equivalent to one year full-time) paid employment in an agency, program or other settings that offer alcohol and drug-related services. However, promising applicants without such experience will also be considered.
  • Admission Essay: upload
    Please submit no fewer than five and no more than seven pages that include:
    • Professional purpose: Briefly explain your purpose in becoming a counselor or enhancing your existing counseling practice. Include thoughts on your shorter- and longer-term goals, as well as your inspirations or motivations for choosing this particular field.
    • Explanation of a theory/model of addiction: As appropriate to your level of experience, briefly explain your preferred theory of addiction. Include what you know about causal elements, research evidence and an example of the application of this theory/model.
    • Explanation of a counseling approach: As appropriate to your level of experience, briefly explain your preferred counseling approach. Include an overview of the approach, research evidence and an example of how you would use or have used this with a client.
    • Statement of self-care: Include a brief narrative regarding your commitment to self-care, as well as freedom from mental health, physical health, and substance use problems that could impair your objectivity and effectiveness as a counselor (consistent with the state of Minnesota's expectation for those holding professional licensure as alcohol and drug counselors).
    • Applicants should remind their references of the application deadline when speaking with them.
  • Professional References: Submit reference contact information using the online application.

    • Provide three references from professional sources, at least one of which is a current or former college instructor, and at least one of which is a current or former work supervisor. Personal references will not be considered.

    • Ask at least one of these individuals to attest that you have at least two years of freedom from mental health, physical health, and substance use problems that would impair your objectivity or effectiveness in performing the duties of a professional counselor.

    • Once submitted, references will receive a "no reply" email from Minnesota State with a link to the recommendation form.

    • References should check junk mail if the email is not in their inbox. The link is good for 60 days, however, the application deadline may be sooner.

  • In-person Interview: Final candidates participate in an in-person admissions interview that includes an evaluation of listening and empathy skills.
    • Program staff will follow up with final candidates to schedule this interview. If circumstances such as geographic distance restricts a candidate's ability to participate in an in-person interview, the program may consider conducting the interview via video conference.
    • If you are currently licensed in alcohol and drug counseling, professional counseling, social work, marriage, and family therapy or psychology, please bring a copy of your unencumbered license to the interview.

Part Three - International Students Only

In addition to parts one and two, international applicants in the U.S. or abroad, on any type of visa, are required to provide this information for admission to the university.

  • Proof of English proficiency (official TOEFL or IELTS score)
    • Minimum scores: TOEFL 80 IBT, 213 CBT, 550 PBT or IELTS 6.5
    • IBT=internet based; CBT=computer based; PBT=paper based
  • Financial statement (F1 visa only)
  • Immunization records
  • Copies of passport, visa, I-94, and international home address and phone numbers

Visit International Student Services graduate admissions for part three details.

Submit materials to the Graduate Studies Office via mail using the mailing address below or by email to

Questions about applying to the MSADC?

Questions about the online application, fee, transcripts/transcript evaluations, online references and document upload feature can be sent to (preferred) or you can call 612-659-7150.

Questions about Part Two requirements or the program in general can be sent to (preferred) or you can call 651-793-1501.

Contact Information

Graduate Studies Office
MEC Building, Office 4003
1300 Harmon Place
Minneapolis Campus

Mailing address:
1501 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Email address:

Master of Science in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
Metropolitan State University, Saint Paul Campus
700 7th Street East
Saint Paul, MN 55106