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Online. Affordable. Accessible.

The Online Master of Arts (M.A.) in Addiction Studies prepares substance abuse and counseling professionals for advanced levels of competency to address current and future addiction/prevention challenges in society.  Practicing professionals need graduate-level knowledge to address the complexities of today's client. Graduates of the Master's in Addiction Studies degree program will be eligible to the highest level of addiction/prevention credentialing through the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals. 

Online Master's degree in Addiction Studies participants should contact their State Chemical Dependency Certifying Body to assure courses meet certification.  Requirements may differ from state to state. For details regarding South Dakota's certification standards, please refer to the Certification Standards Manual of the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals.

This online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies program can be completed in as little as 33 credit hours (advanced track), or as many as 45 (standard track), depending on your Certification and academic background.

The ADS department is accredited through the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC).

All courses required for state Alcohol/Drug Certification are provided at the University of South Dakota by the Addiction Studies Department and are the only USD courses specific to alcohol/drug studies that have been approved by the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals. If you want to become an expert in addiction counseling and alcohol and drug abuse treatment, consider choosing our M.A. in Addiction Studies program.

Master of Arts in Addiction Studies Admission Requirements

Application requirements can be found at Graduate School Admission Requirements and include:

  1. Completed Graduate Application
    Apply Online
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Successful completion of a bachelor's degree as verified by official transcripts
  4. Cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.7 or higher (on a 4.0 scale)
  5. One year professional experience and/or supervised clinical/volunteer experience preferred. Each applicant will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
  6. Statement of Purpose (250 words)
  7. Resume
  8. Official transcripts from all institutions of higher learning attended
  9. Three (3) professional Letters of Recommendation
             Letter of Recommendation Form
  10. Applicants must provide a copy of a photo ID
  11. Applicants must complete a face-to-face interview. If applicant is not from the region, the interview can be completed via Skype or Elluminate
  12. Applicants must complete a background check before their first semester commences. Clearance can be completed by Verified Credentials, Inc. Please follow the instructions as directed on their website: Verified Credentials, Inc. You will be required to provide identifying information as well as a payment source. Results will be certified and returned to you as well as the ADS department.

For more information about the online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies, contact USD Online at 800-233-7937 or by e-mail at

The Master of Arts in Addiction Studies at the University of South Dakota has provided me with a career in the addiction field that is taking off fast.  I cannot even begin to express my gratitude to the ADS faculty for welcoming me in as a transfer student and showing me such patience and understanding.  I have never felt more confident and prepared for my future. Andre Taylor, '11 M.A.