Master of Science in Addiction Studies

Be an effective and ethical provider in addiction treatment

Psychology Department

Master of Science
in Addiction Studies

We develop professionals with the knowledge and values to be career-long learners, and effective and ethical providers in addiction treatment. We serve the state of Connecticut by providing the highest quality training in best practices for treating and preventing substance use disorders through integrated behavioral health services with a focus on treatment and recovery in high need and high demand areas.

Our core objectives

  • Provide the highest quality training in evidence-based interventions.
  • Increase the number and diversity of professionals in the addiction prevention and therapy field.
  • Provide community-based outreach education in prevention and treatment of problems associated with alcohol, opioids, cannabis, tobacco, and other drugs.
  • Prepare our graduates to obtain Connecticut licensure as alcohol and drug counselors (LADC).

Our special strengths

  • Preparing graduates to effectively work with underserved populations
  • Providing training in diverse settings, with diverse populations
  • A focus on integrated behavioral health services
  • Training leaders who can become effective advocates in their local and state community for evidence-based treatment and prevention of substance use disorders such as alcohol and opioid use disorder
  • Training graduates in a non-stigmatizing, harm reduction, biopsychosocial approach to treatment of SUDs in the context of overall health and well-being

The MS in Addiction Studies produces professionals who can:

  1. Apply evidence-based principles to lead effective individual, family and group counseling for SUDs.
  2. Develop and implement best-practice treatment plans and propose risk reduction interventions.
  3. Employ and articulate the professional values and ethics specific to intervention and prevention in this field.
  4. Utilize the diagnostic criteria for Substance Use Disorders (SUD; DSM-5) and related psychological disorders across diverse populations, and provide referral, consultation and collaboration with mental health providers and/or medical providers to ensure continuity of care, adherence to best practice treatment standards for the individual’s Co-occurring Diagnosis (COD), and achieve through the treatment of SUDs & CODs, optimal treatment outcomes.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to conduct effective program reviews on addiction services and psychopharmacological treatment.

Admission Requirements

  1. Applicants must hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education at time of entry into the program.
  2. One official transcript mailed to the Office of Graduate Admissions from each college or university previously attended, including all earned grades and degree.
  3. Applicant’s cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) must be at least a 3.0 for admission consideration.
  4. It is preferred for students to have skills (e.g., completed coursework) in the following areas:
  • basic understanding of the DSM-5-TR
  • applied experience in psychology, mental health, addictions, or a related field
  • research methods in the behavioral sciences

Such courses are not required. Applicants should specify the relevant courses or experiences they have completed.

Once requirements are met, an interview with the department admissions committee will be scheduled. Acceptance letters are sent within 3 weeks of interviews.

Applications for the M.S. in Addiction Studies Program for Spring and Fall 2024 are open!

Students may start in either the Fall or Spring semester. Applications can be completed online.

NOTE: Please email the Program Coordinator, Dr. Mary Murphy, at if you are interested in more information about applying. 

Selected candidates are invited for interviews. The program actively recruits students who represent a variety of cultures, ethnicities, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Students accepted into the program are guaranteed a place for Spring 2024 if accepted before December 31, 2023. Applications are accepted after that date on a rolling basis until all places in the program are filled.

Call the Addiction Studies program. 
phone: (203) 837-8459

Please allow some time for our response

Program Brochure 

WCSU Psychology Awarded Major HRSA Grant for M.S. in Addiction Studies

The Master of Science in Addiction Studies program at WCSU has been awarded an Opioid Workforce Expansion Program grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

The grant was designed to improve training in evidence-based prevention, assessment, and treatment for opioid use disorders and other substance use disorders for providers in Connecticut.

Specifically, this grant will allow us to:

  1. Strengthen our relationships with community partners and build new interdisciplinary partnerships in support of substance use prevention and treatment.
  2. Increase the number of students that we support through stipends at training and internship sites each year. The grant provides significant financial support for all students who are approved for a HRSA-supported internship during their Masters degree.

4+1 Graduate Masters Degree Pathway for WCSU Psychology Majors

Advanced Standing Option

Individuals with demonstrated competency in substance use disorder counseling evidenced by exemplary performance in relevant undergraduate coursework and field placements, as explained below, may apply for Advanced Standing.

WCSU Internal Candidates 

The WCSU Psychology Department provides a sequence of 4 courses (16 credits) as preparation for acquiring a CADC (Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification). Students who have completed at least three courses of this sequence at WCSU and a relevant field placement are eligible to apply for admission with Advanced Standing to the M.S in Addiction Studies program. Criteria for eligibility are:

  • An undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Completion of at least three of the four courses in the WCSU Substance Use Counseling sequence (three of: PSY 392, PSY 393, PSY 394, PSY 395) with a grade of B or higher in each course
  • Completed a field placement through PSY 306, or PSY 439, or the equivalent as determined by the Psychology Graduate Admissions Committee, e.g. prior work experience in the substance use disorders field

Applications for Advanced Standing (internal and external candidates) should be submitted to the Psychology Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Mary Murphy, LADC, Ph.D.

Students admitted with Advanced Standing will complete 30-31 credits for the M.S. in Addiction Studies. Their course of study will be determined with their graduate advisor according to their individual skills, training, and expertise.

Student & Alumni Spotlight

Sebastian Perumbilly

M.S. in Addiction Studies, Class of ’25

Sebastian Perumbilly

Seb is a tenured faculty member at our sister school (Southern- Department of Marriage and Family Therapy) and just received notice that he was promoted to Full Professor starting Fall ’24! While working hard in our program this year, he was also selected to present his research on couples and family therapy at the World Family Therapy Congress of the International Family Therapy Association in Japan this month. Next, he is set to start his M.S. in Addiction Studies clinical internship at Yale School of Medicine/VA Connecticut Healthcare System in the Fall under the clinical supervision of Dr. Ashley Martin, the Director of the Early Psychosis Intervention Coordination (EPIC) Program at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS). In addition to providing clinical services to veterans with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders, Seb will also study the relationship between substance use and the development of psychosis. Congratulations for all your accomplishments this year Seb! 

Charline Plasczynski

M.S. in Addiction Studies, Class of ’24

Charline Plasczynski

Charline has excelled this year as a full-time student in the M.S. in Addiction Studies program, impressing the faculty for her work both in and outside of the classroom. Starting as an undergrad here at WCSU (’21), Charline has been an integral member of the softball team and last week was honored as the Little East Conference (LEC) Softball Player of the Week for her outstanding play in the Wolves conference on the road in MA. While completing her full-time coursework in the M.S. program she also completed her 300-hour, 6-month long clinical internship with the Bureau of Prisons, providing counseling in both an adult and adolescent prison. As a new internship site for us, Charline impressed her supervisors so much that she paved the way for future WCSU students to be welcomed there for their internship placements. She also currently holds a Graduate Assistant position at WCSU, working closely with the Dean of Student Success & Engagement (Dean Julie Perrelli) and the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. Director (former graduate from our M.S. in Addiction Studies program, Prof. Roberta Murtagh, LADC, MBA, MS). In this role, Charline is sharing the knowledge learned from our program to help reestablish the C.H.O.I.C.E.S. program on our campus, bringing back much needed substance use prevention education services for WCSU students. We are very proud of all of your achievements this year Charline and congratulate you on your upcoming graduation this summer!

Frequently Asked Questions

For both full-time and part-time students, classes begin in the Fall. Full-time students can complete all program requirements in a year; part-time students in two years.

Student tuition rates and fees, and information on financial aid, can be found at:

Student Expenses

Yes. Contact the Graduate Coordinator for information.

Some designated courses are offered online.

This is scheduled after review of application materials.

Yes. This is arranged by the student with approval of the Graduate Coordinator. A variety of placement sites are available.

Applications are encouraged from a variety of related fields.

The new Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Act of 2018 is now offering to repay student loans for those who agree to work in designated shortage areas after graduation. Information can be obtained at:

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Program ➔

Dr. Shane Murphy

Shane Murphy, Ph.D

Hear from Dr. Shane Murphy, discussing the WCSU M.S. in Addiction Studies program on the Connecticut Certification Board Scope of Practice podcast.