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Addiction Psychology and Counselling MSc


The MSc is a well-established route to a professional career in counselling in the addictions field. Accredited by the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP) it meets the training needs for you to become accredited as an addiction counsellor.

You'll normally have a professional, employment or voluntary work interest in addiction but will not necessarily be a graduate. However, if you have an interest in the psychology of addiction and seeking a career in counselling, you'll have particular interest in this programme. Some work experience  in health, community and social services settings is normally required, and it is expected that in the first year you'll seek experience in appropriate work settings related to addiction. In the second year students must have a counselling placement sufficient to provide 100 hours of supervised practice  before entering the final year.

This course distinctively:

  • explores the psychological basis of generic and counselling strategies
  • equips you to assess psychological models of counselling approaches;
  • provides for a supervised professionally-oriented empirical research dissertation in the final (MSc) year

These professional aims are underpinned by a detailed study of the psychology of addiction embracing the main theories of the development of addictive behaviours; the principal approaches to counselling and treatment of addictive disorders; and training in research in the field of addictions.


Key course information - ordered by mode
Mode Duration Start date Location
36 months
Start Date
Southwark Campus

Case studies


All modules are assessed by coursework including essays, observational assessments and reports, professional logs, a case study and project proposals.

Year 1

  • Theoretical foundations of addiction and counselling psychology
    You'll be introduced to psychological theory and research that is essential to our understanding of counselling theory and practice in both generic and addiction counselling. You'll explore a range of available research on the causes and treatment of addiction, allowing you to begin to make your own judgments about the suitability of treatment approaches. In addition you'll be provided with an account of the principal psychological theories of the person in society that have influenced the development of current counselling practice.
  • Therapeutic counselling theory and practice
    You'll examine in detail the principal approaches taken in counselling and psychotherapy in relation to addiction therapy.  Four of these have straightforward applications of psychological theory to psychotherapy as follows: Applications of Cognitive Therapy, Motivational Approaches to Addiction Treatment, Mindfulness based Therapies and Group Theory, Structure and Process.  Finally, you'll look at the Minnesota Method which is associated principally with the practical application of a mutual help social movement for alcoholics and other "addicts" (e.g. AA and NA).
  • Professional practice in addiction counselling
    You'll examine the main concepts and debates in counselling, from bothhistorical and current perspectives, and the different approaches required inrelation to gender, culture, age, and history of trauma will be considered.You'll consider the impact of group processes on our theoretical and practicalunderstanding of the counselling relationship systematically, and of the skillsrequired in achieving our counselling goals. You'll be provided with a contextin which you can experience for yourself the process of coming together as agroup, and also, with a different facilitator, practice the skills required inleading a therapy group.

Year 2

  • Advanced addiction psychology
    This module develops the Addiction Psychology teaching established in Year 1, but to an advanced level.  You'll engage in creative dialogue with addiction psychology researchers in the context of your own explorations in planning research, and in exploration with your teachers of the clinical applications of research findings. The two themes are linked by a common emphasis on the development of novel, theory- and evidenced- based procedures for prevention and treatment of addictive disorders.
  • Advanced theory and practice in therapeutic counselling
    You'll engage with experienced addiction counsellors in the context of your own explorations in counselling practice. Your counselling performance will be enhanced in relation to: interaction skills; strategic management of counselling challenges; communication of clinical insight; awareness of professional responsibilities and opportunities; understanding of self as counsellor.
  • Research methods in professional practice
    You'll be introduced to statistics and research methods appropriate to the field.  For students who are already familiar with basic research methods, this course will build on your existing knowledge and encourage more critical thinking.  This module emphasises professional research skills whilst building on your knowledge in addiction psychology and counselling. You'll be asked to formulate your own research questions and consider methods you might use to respond to those questions.

Year 3

  • Research project in addiction psychology/therapy
    Your research project is the final stage of the MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling. It is intended that in the project the elements of knowledge and understanding, skills  and professional competences acquired during the successful completion of the modules studied in Years 1 and 2 are brought together in a piece of academic research within the boundaries of any area related to addiction psychology and addiction therapy. Your resulting dissertation makes use of primary sources of information in order to critically analyse and test/examine a derived research question. The project should be based on methodologies explored in the research methods component of Year 2.


There is a rapidly increasing demand for addiction counsellors in health and social services and a variety of community settings. Students may apply to the Alcohol Research (UK) for financial support to cover the cost of fees. Employers are also frequently prepared to give financial support to those counsellors, nurses, social and community workers and others whose employment involves working with those who are experiencing problems associated with addiction.

LSBU Employability Service

We are University of the Year for Graduate Employment - The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018

LSBU is committed to supporting you develop your employability and succeed in getting a job after you have graduated. Your qualification will certainly help, but in a competitive market you also need to work on your employability, and on your career search.

As an LSBU student you have access to the Employability Service and its resources during your time here and for two years after you graduate.

Our Employability Service will support you in developing your skills, finding a job, interview techniques, work experience or a placement/internship, and will help you assess what you need to do to get the career you want at the end of your course. LSBU offers a comprehensive Employability Service, with a range of initiatives to complement your studies, including:

  • Direct engagement from employers who come in to network with students
  • Job Shop – daily drop in service to help with, tailoring CVs, cover letters and applications, sourcing online resource, mock interviews and general job searching. One to one appointments for further support also available
  • Mentoring and work shadowing schemes
  • Higher education achievement report - The HEAR is designed to encourage a more sophisticated approach to recording student achievement, which acknowledges fully the range of opportunities that LSBU offers to our students.
    It pulls into one certificate: Module grades, Course descriptions, Placements, LSBU verified extra-curricular activities
  • Employability workshops - delivered free to students all year round on a variety of related topics
  • Careers fairs throughout the year to really focus your thoughts on a career after university

Find out about any of these services by visiting our student employability page


The course has developed close links with leading treatment providers, e.g. drug and alcohol teams in the public and charitable sectors, residential and day care treatment providers in the private sector, thereby facilitating the clinical placement of our students. This has also ensured that the course, whilst remaining intellectually stimulating and academically well informed, has a firm foundation in practical application. As a consequence our students are normally able to secure the required professional placements during the course and appropriate employment in addiction services operated by the public, private or independent sectors.


James Binnie

School/Division: Applied Sciences / Psychology
Job title: Lecturer; Course Director, BSc Psychological Counselling

James Binnie is a Lecturer in Psychology and Course Director of the BSc Psychological Counselling.

Dr Zoë Boden

School/Division: Applied Sciences / Psychology
Job title: Senior Lecturer; Course Director, MSc Mental Health and Clinical Psychology

Zoë Boden is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Course Director of the MSc Mental Health and Clinical Psychology.

Dr Jacqueline Lawrence

School/Division: Applied Sciences / Psychology
Job title: Senior Lecturer; Course Director, MSc in Addiction Psychology and Counselling

Jacqui Lawrence is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Course Director of the MSc Addiction Psychology and Counselling.

Dr Antony Moss

School/Division: Applied Sciences / Psychology
Job title: Director of Education and Student Experience for the School of Applied Sciences

Antony Moss is Director of Education and Student Experience for the School of Applied Sciences.

Prof. Marcantonio Spada

School/Division: Applied Sciences / Psychology
Job title: Professor of Psychology; Head of Psychology

Marcantonio Spada is Professor of Psychology and Head of the Division of Psychology.


Teaching and learning

Entry requirements

Typical applicants are working within drug/alcohol or related fields, with the intellectual competence to work at postgraduate level, and demonstrable character strengths for counselling. Desirably, you would have previous training in psychology/counselling and an inclination towards research.

Prospective students will need demonstrable ability to undertake work at a Masters level. For example Honours degree or professional qualifications at 2:2 level/Bachelor degree equivalent to UK Second Class Honours Lower Division/ Plus relevant experience indicative of a motivation to specialise in the addictions area.

How to apply

International (non Home/EU) applicants should follow our international how to apply guide.

Instructions for Home/EU applicants
Mode Duration Start date Application code Application method
36 months
Start date
Application code
Application method

Full-time/part-time postgraduate students and research students apply through the UK Postgraduate and Statistical Service (UKPASS). Full details of how to do this are supplied on our How to apply section for postgraduate students and our How to apply section for research students.

Postgraduate applicants are required to provide up to two references as part of their application.


Students should apply for accommodation at London South Bank University (LSBU) as soon as possible, once we have made an offer of a place on one of our academic courses. Read more about applying for accommodation at LSBU.


It's a good idea to think about how you'll pay university tuition and maintenance costs while you're still applying for a place to study. Remember – you don't need to wait for a confirmed place on a course to start applying for student finance. Read how to pay your fees as a postgraduate student.

Postgraduate Application Service

Book a session with one of our specialist Postgraduate Advisors. Over a one on one Advice Session they'll advise you on postgraduate degrees at LSBU that match your interests and experience. Book an Advice Session.

Fees and funding

Fees are shown for new entrants to courses, for each individual year of a course, together with the total fee for all the years of a course. Continuing LSBU students should refer to the Finance section of our student portal, MyLSBU. Queries regarding fees should be directed to the Fees and Bursary Team on: +44 (0)20 7815 6181.

The fee shown is for entry 2017/18.
UK/EU fee: £4166.67International fee: £6250
AOS/LSBU code: 3127Session code: 1PS00
Total course fee:
UK/EU £10416.67
International £15625

For more information, including how and when to pay, see our fees and funding section for postgraduate students.

Possible fee changes

Current regulatory proposals suggest that institutions will be permitted to increase fee levels in line with inflation up to a specified fee cap. Specifically, LSBU may be permitted to increase its fees for new and existing Home and EU students from 2017/18 onwards. The University reserves the right to increase its fees in line with changes to legislation, regulation and any governmental guidance or decisions.

The fees for international students are reviewed annually, and additionally the University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in line with inflation up to 4 per cent.

Postgraduate loan (PGL) for Masters study

If you are starting a postgraduate course, studying for a Masters-level qualification either full- or part-time from 1 August, you may be entitled to apply for a £10,280 postgraduate study loan. Find out more at our postgraduate fees and funding section.

Postgraduate Advice Service

You are invited to book a one-to-one appointment with one of our Postgraduate Advisors. They offer a 30 minute face-to-face session where you can get tailored advice on fees and funding. Book a 1-2-1 Advice Session.


We offer students considerable financial help through scholarships, bursaries, charitable funds, loans and other financial support. Many of our scholarships are given as direct Tuition Fee discounts.

Overview of scholarships and fee discounts for postgraduate students. Key scholarships and discounts below.

Vice-Chancellor Scholarships

Students holding an offer of a place on a postgraduate course will be invited to apply for a Vice-Chancellor Scholarships.

LSBU Graduate Loyalty Scheme

This scheme gives eligible undergraduate students and alumni a discount of their taught postgraduate tuition fees when they enrol on one of our postgraduate taught courses starting this year. Read more about the Graduate Loyalty Scheme.

International students

As well as being potentially eligible for our undergraduate scholarships, International students can also benefit from a range of specialist scholarships. Find out more about International scholarships.

Please check your fee status and whether you are considered a home, EU or international student for fee-paying purposes by reading the UKCISA regulations.

Case studies

Select a case study and read about practical project work, students' placement experiences, research projects, alumni career achievements and what it’s really like to study here from the student perspective.

Prepare to start

We help our students prepare for university even before the semester starts. To find out when you should apply for your LSBU accommodation or student finance read How to apply tab for this course.

Suggested reading list

  • West, R. (2006) Theory of Addiction. Oxford : Blackwell. 
  • Anthony Moss & Kyle Dyer (2010) Psychology of Addiction. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Enrolment and Induction

Enrolment takes place before you start your course. On completing the process, new students formally join the University. Enrolment consists of two stages: online, and your face-to-face enrolment meeting. The online process is an online data gathering exercise that you will complete yourself, then you will be invited to your face-to-face enrolment meeting.

In September, applicants who have accepted an unconditional offer to study at LSBU will be sent details of induction, which is when they are welcomed to the University and their School. Induction helps you get the best out of your university experience, and makes sure you have all the tools to succeed in your studies.

Read more about Enrolment and Induction.

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Contact information

Course Enquiries - UK/EU

Tel: 0800 923 8888

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6100

Get in touch

Course Enquiries - International

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7815 6189

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