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Addiction and Mental Health

Addiction and mental health are intimately related, with the state of a person’s mental health affecting how they cope with everyday stresses, and addiction in turn impacting their mental health.

Addiction and related mental health comorbidities and social issues have become increasingly common in today’s society, presenting a major challenge to individuals, their families and our community. Addiction has both psychological and physical components, whereby an individual continuously engages in damaging behaviour such as gambling or substance use, despite harmful consequences. It is characterised by compulsivity and a loss of control.

A range of responses are available to support people experiencing addiction, and the challenge of linking them to the most appropriate of these is a serious one. Much depends on understanding the relationship between addiction and mental health, and recognising the role we all play in the pathway to recovery.

At the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences we offer you a number of multidisciplinary degrees in addiction studies, some of which also incorporate mental health. Our postgraduate degrees are delivered fully online, while our undergraduate degrees (which have related courses), are delivered on-campus.

International Programme in Addiction Studies

This unique program is a collaboration between three of the world’s leading research universities in the field of addiction science: the University of Adelaide; Virginia Commonwealth University; and the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London.

The International Programme in Addiction Studies offers three nested graduate program options: a Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master of Science degree. In each, you will be taught all aspects of addiction, including pharmacological, psychosocial and public health and policy approaches, by world subject-area experts. As no campus attendance is required, you can undertake the degree anywhere in the world, and you will have the opportunity to develop international networks with other students and leading academics.

We offer postgraduate courses ideal for working professionals

The Graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies provides an advanced understanding of how drugs and alcohol exert their effect, the biological processes of addiction, and various treatment options. It is ideally suited to professionals—including medical practitioners, nurses, psychologists, social workers, pharmacists, educators, law enforcement officers, counsellors and project officers—who wish to enhance their understanding of alcohol-and-drug-related issues while continuing with their regular work commitments from Australia or abroad.

The degree does not require attendance at classes or examinations. Instead you will be guided through rich online content to build your learning.

The Graduate Diploma in Addiction and Mental Health provides a broad educational experience covering the scientific basis of addiction, mental health and related comorbidities, comparative epidemiology, evidence-based interventions, research methodology and national addictions and mental health policy. Suited to a wide variety of professionals, including social workers, nurses, medical practitioners, counsellors and educators, it will prepare you for senior roles in drug and alcohol organisations, policy development, research and management.

Undergraduate study in Addiction and Mental Health

If you’re thinking of pursuing a career in addiction or mental health, the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences offers opportunities to undertake a major in addiction and mental health within our health and medical sciences and psychological science degrees.

A world-class study experience

Whichever degree you choose, your learning in addiction studies and mental health at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences will be based around the latest theory and research, and guided by outstanding educators who are themselves world-class researchers.

You will graduate prepared to undertake important work in the addictions field—work that has a positive impact on individuals, families and communities.


Addiction and Mental Health degrees

Undergraduate degrees

Postgraduate coursework degrees

Postgraduate research degrees

AdelaideX free online open courses


How to apply

Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework degrees

Applications to all University of Adelaide undergraduate and most postgraduate coursework degrees are made online through the South Australian Tertiary Admissions Centre (SATAC). You’ll find specific requirements for each degree on Degree Finder - make sure you read these thoroughly before applying.

Are you an international student? See our step-by-step international students application guide for more information about how to apply for an undergraduate degree.

Higher degrees by research

A key component of a successful postgraduate research experience is finding the best supervisor to help you achieve your investigative goals. Depending on your area of interest, there are several avenues for you to explore potential postgraduate research topics and locate a supervisor. For an overview of all research within the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, visit our Research website and explore our areas of research.

Once you're ready to apply, visit the Adelaide Graduate Centre, which administers both domestic and international postgraduate research applications. If you have any queries, contact fhsresed@adelaide.edu.au.

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