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UCC Adult courses

Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies - Dip

Course Fact File
CodeDSMAS
Duration2 years
Teaching ModePart-Time. See Additional Teaching Mode Information for more info.
QualificationsDip
NFQ LevelLevel 6/7
Fees€990 per year. See Fees and Costs for full details.
Next IntakeSeptember 2025
Venue

UCC Campus

Start DateSeptember 2025

Course Outline

This part-time Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies course invites students to engage with one of the most important contemporary issues of societal concern.  The course will provide students with an introduction to the knowledge, skills and values required to equip health and social care professionals and volunteers to loosen the grip that substance misuse and addiction has on the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and the health, social care and criminal justice resources of the state. Students will be provided with an understanding of how history, culture, addiction theory and policy inform and shape societal discourse, service provision and practice. They will receive grounding in the theoretical knowledge, models of addiction treatment, and the practical helping skills and values that underpin ethical practice in the field. Teaching on the Diploma will draw on contributions from a variety of academic and practice disciplines from both UCC and the HSE in the areas of social science, law, public health and epidemiology, to counselling, nursing, psychology and medicine. Please see below an introductory video about the course. 

Year 1 Modules (30 Credits)

  • SS1834: Understanding Drugs in a Social Context (5 Credits)
  • SS1835: The Role of Drug and Alcohol Policy (5 Credits) 
  • SS1836: Theories of Addiction and Practical Models of Intervention (5 Credits)
  • SS1837: Diverse Client Presentations (5 Credits)
  • SS1838: Basic Intervention Skills (5 Credits)
  • SS1839: Substance Misuse Prevention with Young People and Families (5 Credits)

Year 2 Modules (30 Credits)

  • SS2828: Facilitating Change in One-to-One and Group Settings (5 Credits)
  • SS2829: Introduction to Motivational Interviewing (5 Credits)
  • SS2830: An Introduction to Working with Dual Diagnosis (5 Credits)
  • SS2831: Relapse Management (5 Credits)
  • SS2832 Practice Placement – Initial Assessment of Client Need, Comprehensive Assessment of Client Need, Care-planning and Working with other Professionals and Settings (10 Credits)

Additional Teaching Mode Information

Tuesday evenings from 6 - 9:00pm during both semesters and there will be a number of Saturday workshops also that run from 10:00 - 4:00pm. Teaching will take place in the UCC main campus. 

Tutorials are also offered every week from 5 - 6pm prior to lectures.

Course Practicalities

Students will attend for lectures, seminars and workshops one evening per week between 5pm and 9pm per academic year in addition to a number of Saturday workshops. Consistent with the ethos of Adult Continuing Education at UCC, students will be fully supported with a range of academic supports including writing and referencing skills and a library tour and presentation on how to access and research information. Students are also entitled to access the full range of UCC pastoral supports including Student Health & Counselling, the Chaplaincy and Disability Supports as necessary.  Students proceeding to year 2 of the Diploma will have the opportunity to undertake a placement in a recognised treatment, rehabilitation or harm reduction setting where they will be supported and supervised by an experienced practitioner.

Assessment

Students on the Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies will engage in a range of diverse and interesting assignments which demonstrate that the expected learning outcomes of various modules have been achieved. There are no end of year examinations on this course. Assignments will consist of written essays, reflective journals/portfolios, presentations, case study role-plays and real-play examples of practice, and group projects. Students will also have the opportunity to visit some relevant addiction treatment settings. In Year 2, students will be Garda vetted and will complete 150 hours of placement in a recognised treatment, rehabilitation or harm reduction setting. Students on placement will be supported and supervised by an experienced practitioner.

Who teaches the course

The programme will be jointly co-ordinated and delivered by UCC and the Health Service Executive (HSE) Cork Kerry Community Healthcare Addiction Services. Teaching staff come from academic staff in a variety of UCC Departments and Schools including Adult and Continuing Education (ACE), Applied Social Studies, Law, Applied Psychology, Epidemiology and Public Health as well as experienced HSE Addiction service personnel. HSE lecturers have expertise in substance misuse prevention, community-based and residential addiction treatment, continuing care and research, policy development and implementation, medical, nursing, psychology, mental health, counselling, social work, social care, youth work, family support, law, health promotion and improvement, community development, community work and homeless services.

 

Why Choose This Course

The Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies will equip students with the baseline knowledge, skills and values necessary to work or volunteer in an area that can be very rewarding but challenging at the same time. The course will provide an introduction to the knowledge, skills and values required to equip health and social care professionals and volunteers to loosen the grip that substance misuse and addiction has on the health and well-being of individuals, families, communities and the health, social care and criminal justice resources of the state. Students on this programme will gain hands-on experience through agency visits as well as completing a placement in a recognised treatment, rehabilitation or harm reduction setting in Year 2.

Placement or Study Abroad Information

Students interested in pursuing professional accreditation with the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland may be required to take further courses of study.

Skills and Careers Information

The Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies is designed specifically around the core theme of applying addiction theory in a wide range of statutory or voluntary community-based health and social care practice environments. The programme has in the past attracted students from these professions and backgrounds and/or students have gone on to work as:

  • Community care workers
  • Gardaí
  • People in recovery/Family members
  • EAP officers
  • Health promotion and improvement professionals
  • Education professionals
  • Sexual health information /advice workers
  • Second level educators
  • Pastoral workers
  • Third level educators
  • Prison workers
  • School guidance counsellors
  • Probation officers
  • Home-school liaison staff
  • Social care workers
  • Education training board tutors
  • Addiction Counsellors
  • Department of social protection staff
  • Youthreach tutors
  • Youth workers

Requirements

Entry requirements are currently under review and may be subject to change.

  • Be at least 23 years of age by 1 January of the year of application
  • Hold a Leaving Certificate (or equivalent qualification)/QQI Level 5 qualification
    or
    Have a minimum of two years’ relevant work/voluntary experience as deemed appropriate by the programme Academic Director.
  • Submit a detailed application form prior to the closing date which will request applicants to present a supplemental statement indicating their reasons for applying for the course, who will support them, and the expected benefits to them personally and to their work or volunteering role
  • Applicants will be asked to include any employment or volunteering activities that may be relevant to this course as well as details of any other academic or professional training that they may have undertaken
  • Applicants will also be asked to provide the names and details of two persons who are willing to act as Referees. 
  • Applicants must satisfy Garda Vetting requirements

Applicants who are successfully shortlisted will be invited for Interview.

At interview, each applicant will be invited to:
1) discuss their application form;
2) outline their experience in the area of addiction;
3) demonstrate a level of interest in working or volunteering with those affected by substance misuse;
4) identify the potential application of the learning from the programme;
5) demonstrate their ability to cope with the academic demands of the programme;
6) demonstrate a level of self-awareness, maturity and stability, an ability to cope with emotional demands of the programme and an ability to be open and to reflect on oneself and one’s life experiences and communicate that to the interviewers.

Applicants that disclose a personal recovery process are required to be 2-years post-treatment before applying for the programme.

English Language Requirement: All applicants whose first language is not English must have attained IELTS Level 6.5 with no minimum individual sections 5.5 or the equivalent TOEFL score.

Fees and Costs

€990 per year.

The UCC/HSE Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies (DSMAS) Community Participation Bursary. Students who have achieved a place on the UCC / HSE Diploma in Substance Misuse and Addiction Studies programme are eligible to apply for the Community Participation Bursary. For further information on eligibility and the application process click Community Participation Bursary.

For further information on fees and financial supports please click here

 

How To Apply

During your online application you will be required to upload the following documents:

  • Birth Cert or Passport
  • Passport Photograph 
  • English Language Test Report [if applicable]
  • Supplemental Document 

Please download the following link Addiction Diploma Supplemental Document and upload the completed document as part of your application. 

Applications are now closed for our DSMAS programme at UCC, we will reopen the application process early 2025 for September 2025 intake. Please feel free to complete the expression of interest form to learn more about similar course offerings or details on when this course will reopen in 2025. 



 

 

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact

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