Education for the higher educated

Comparitive Drug and Alcohol Studies, MA

Middlesex University

  • Description
  • Overview

This course is designed for those who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of drugs and alcohol issues, policies and interventions within a comparative context. It offers a high quality Masters course relevant to policy makers and practitioners, and to students and researchers working in, associated with, or preparing to enter, the field of alcohol and drug use/problem use/addiction.


The use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco has become a major concern for most governments throughout the world. This has resulted in increasing international and European collaboration to devise policies and approaches to address problems related to substance use. There has also been a considerable expansion in research, data gathering and scientific publishing in many countries and various action plans and strategies have been produced.


This MA is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse drugs and alcohol use/problem use/addiction and their responses from a multi-disciplinary and cross-national perspective. The Masters is being run jointly by four universities: Middlesex University (England), Aarhus University (Denmark), Ljubljana University (Slovenia) and the University del Piemonte Orientale “A. Avogardo” (Italy). Students on the Masters will have access to a group of European teachers and students, thus will have opportunities to share research findings as well as experiences and personal knowledge about their own countries. They will also have opportunities to study in partner universities or undertake placements in Europe and International Agencies, should they wish to do so.


The programme is taught primarily through distance learning methods complemented by some face-to-face intensive tuition. The ‘Introduction to drug and alcohol studies’ module  is delivered as a 4 ½ day face-to-face intensive study block at one of the partner institutions.  It brings together staff and students from the other countries delivering the programme. Travel and accommodation expenses are self-funded.   Students have the option to study in partner universities or undertake placements in European and international organisations.  There are also opportunities for career development through utilising work-based learning approaches and internships.

We welcome applications from graduates with a good honours degree, or equivalent qualification, in an appropriate subject.  We also consider candidates with other relevant qualifications and individuals with a minimum of three years’ work experience.  Those without formal qualifications need to demonstrate relevant work experience and the ability to study at post-graduate level.

The addictions field is multi-disciplinary and entrants will come from a range of different educational and professional backgrounds including nursing, social work, probation, research, and management.  The MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies will be a valuable asset to developing and furthering a career in the drug and alcohol field either in the UK or abroad.  There are a number of career options in research, public or government services, voluntary organisations, and non-governmental organisations.  Students will be able to develop careers in research and practice within the field of drug and alcohol practice, education and research, both nationally and within the wider international context.


The Masters provides opportunities for career development for those interested in pursuing links with European and international agencies, by offering work-based learning approaches, and organising work in the field in relevant agencies and in providing possible progression to PhD level studies.

The programme is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse drugs and alcohol use/problem use/addiction and their responses within an international context.   It combines a number of core modules and optional modules (including the option for work-based learning and internships).  All students complete a 12,000 word dissertation under the supervision of a member of staff on their topic of choice.


Most modules are delivered via distance learning and e-learning techniques, but there are opportunities for on-campus teaching, ‘master classes’ and intensive ‘block’ teaching.  Some modules combine more than one delivery method.

Modules are assessed via a range of coursework including essays, research proposals, portfolios, reflective accounts, and reports.


All students have to take the following modules:

  • Introduction to drug and alcohol studies (core) (20 credits) (distance learning and intensive teaching week) - CRM 4080
  • Substance use and addiction theories (core) (20 credits) (distance learning) - CRM 4081 
  • EITHER: Research methods for drug and alcohol studies (core) (20 credits) (distance learning) -CRM4082
    Evidence-based practice applied to prevention and treatment (core) (20 credits) (distance learning and intensive teaching week) - CRM 4088
  • Drug and alcohol policies in Europe (core) (20 credits) (distance learning) - CRM4083
  • Dissertation in drug and alcohol studies (core) (60 credits) (distance learning) - CRM4981


Students choose two of the following option modules:

  • Drugs and crime in Europe (option) (20 credits)  (distance learning) - CRM 4084
  • Harm reduction with drug users(option) (20 credits) (distance learning and intensive teaching week) - CRM 4085
  • User perspectives in drug and alcohol treatment (option) (20 credits) (distance learning) - CRM 4086
  • Cultural and social aspects of drug and alcohol use (option) (20 credits) (distance learning) - CRM 4087
  • Internship (option) (20 credits) - CRM 4089
  • WBL (option) (20 credits) - CRM 4980

Level University
Incompany No
Open enrolment Yes
Lead time 24 months
Costs (indication) More than € 4,550
Titles No title
Required language skills English
Country United Kingdom
Completion Diploma