A female student of the Addiction Studies Certificate program

Addiction Studies

  • Credential 
  • Location Offered 

The Addiction Studies Certificate Program

This certificate gives students the opportunity to take a collection of courses (by their own design) that specialize in the area of addictions. Students must satisfy the Degree English Requirement, and complete 6 credits of required courses in psychology and one required second year methods course. A senior course in theories of addiction is also required but offered across a number of departments. These courses were selected/created to give students an appreciation for research, a strong background in pharmacology and addiction. The remaining courses can be chosen from a variety of disciplines that deal either directly or indirectly addictions.

This credential is considered embedded as it has been designed to be to be taken as part of a degree or diploma in an area of the student’s primary interest. For example, students interested in criminology could benefit from a working understanding of addictions if they were going into policing, probation or juvenile services.  

Courses have been selected from 8 different departments. However, there are no guaranteed seats for students registered for this credential. Each department has its own rules for reserved seating and cross-department enrolment policies. Students attempting to register in classes across this credential are encouraged to contact individual instructors or program advisors and enquire about enrolment possibilities.

Success in this program is in the hands of each student: the more you focus on addictions in each of the courses the more knowledge you will accumulate on this complex and difficult topic. A student’s primary degree will in part define where each student will focus. Students graduating with a degree and this credential should be better prepared to understand the interaction between their area of interest and addictions.

Completion of 30 credits as follows:

Required Courses

University Degree English Requirement

2nd Year Methods Course* (3 credits)

PSYC 205 – Introduction to Biopsychology (3 credits)
PSYC 345 – Drugs and Behaviour (3 credits)
One of PSYC 441 – Theories of Addiction, or HSD 369 - Perspectives on Substance Use, or CYC 361 – Understanding Substance Abuse in Child and Youth Care Practice (3 credits)

Optional Courses - twelve to fifteen credits from the following options:

PSYC 327 – Health Psychology
PSYC 326 – Learning**
PSYC 332 – Community Psychology
PSYC 403 – Forensic Psychology
PSYC 430 – Abnormal Psychology**
PSYC 432 – Fundamentals of Clinical Psychology**  
PSYC 436 - Psychopathology of Childhood and Adolescence
PSYC 445 - Clinical Neuropharmacology
PSYC 440 – Clinical/Counseling Techniques**
PSYC 499 or 499B - Field Placement in Psychology***

SOCI 209 - Social Inequality
SOCI 240 - Social Control and Resistance
SOCI 291 - Field Study in Sociology***
SOCI 340 - Sociology of Health and Illness

CRIM 131 - Introduction to the Criminal Justice System
CRIM 200 - Aboriginal Issues in the Canadian Criminal Justice System
CRIM 204 - Deviance, Crime and Social Control
CRIM 251 - Intro to Policing
CRIM 210 - Youth in Conflict with the Law
CRIM 241 - Corrections
CRIM 290 - Alternative Conflict Resolution
CRIM 440 - Alternate Conflict Resolution and Negotiation Skills
CRIM 475 - Applied Research/Field Placement

First Nation Studies
FNAT 101 - Exploring Indigenous Identities
FNAT 404 - Internship***

Health and Human Development/Social Work
SOCW 270 - Social Work Practice in Mental Health and Addictions
SOCW 280/281/380/480 – Internship***
CYC 210/310/410 - Internship***

ANTH 312 - Medical Anthropology
ANTH 316 - The Anthropology of Homelessness
ANTH 493 - Internship***

PHIL 211 - Existentialism I

Political Science/Global Studies
POLI 151 - Law and Politics in Canada
POLI 221 - Canadian Politics and Government
POLI 330 - Comparative Public Policy

* Acceptable second year methods courses include PSYC 204, CRIM 220, SOCI 250, SOCW 280, SSID 250 and others evaluated on a case by case basis.

** Required or recommended for entry into MA in Counselling Psychology.

*** Only one Field Placement/practicum can count towards this certificate and there has to be a substantive component related to addictions, confirmed by the Addiction Studies Coordinator.

Note: Many of the above listed courses have prerequisites. Students are encouraged to talk to the individual professors if they do not have the required prerequisites as those requirements may be waived.

The coordinator may accept additional courses towards this certificate on a case by case basis.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

General admission requirements apply.

Notes on Admission

Students completing this certificate concurrent with and embedded within a VIU degree or diploma do not need to apply to this program. They should let their degree or diploma advisor, program coordinator, or the Registration Centre know of their intention.

As this credential is designed to supplement a student’s primary degree or diploma, employment opportunities will be based on their primary degree.

Domestic Fees

Tuition and Other Mandatory Student Fees

When applying to the program, applicants will be charged a non-refundable application fee.

When applying to graduate, students will be charged a non-refundable graduation and alumni fee.

Some courses have additional fees to pay for extraordinary class–related expenses.

Fees for One Year


Tuition (30 credits x $156.80 per credit)


Student Activity fee (4% of tuition)


Student Services fee (30 credits x $6.93 per credit)


VIU Students' Union fee (8 months x $20.90 per month)


Health and Dental Plan fee ($275.00 per year)





The Health and Dental Plan fee is in effect only for full-time students at the Nanaimo Campus.  

All fees are subject to change without prior notice.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Students new to VIU not intending to take this program co-current with a VIU degree or diploma should note that applications for admission are accepted between October 1 and March 31. Applications received after March 31 are considered late and will be processed as space permits.

Program Start Date Accepting Applications Campus
Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Sep 7, 2021
Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Carine Hutchinson
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2283
Email: Carine.Hutchinson@viu.ca

Chair Contact

Name: Elliott Marchant
Phone: 250-753-3245 ext. 2136
Email: Elliott.Marchant@viu.ca


Note: this credential is considered embedded as it has been designed to be to be taken as part of a degree or diploma in an area of the student’s primary interest.

For information on any previous versions please check our Program Archive Page.