Group of Students Having an In-Class Discussion

Addiction Counseling & Prevention

Addiction counselors and prevention specialists play important roles in our communities. At USD, you'll develop the educational foundation and skills you need to provide support to individuals dealing with substance use disorders.

Why Study Addiction Counseling & Prevention?

As an addiction counseling and prevention major at USD, you will learn to provide the highest quality counseling to individuals experiencing substance use disorders. Our department is a community of learners who engage in critical thinking, prioritize respect and practice teamwork as they prepare to join health care teams. Here, you'll find faculty who care about your success and classes that spark your curiosity. Students will gain hands-on experiences alongside future practitioners in a variety of disciplines, achieving the confidence needed to be effective leaders and team members. Students pursing the bachelor's degree will graduate having met the academic standards for this field in the state of South Dakota, ready to make a difference in detoxification, inpatient and outpatient care facilities, transitional living, correctional facilities and prevention education programs.

Become a prevention specialist who can face tomorrow's challenges with poise while improving the lives of others as an addiction counseling and prevention major.


Degrees & Offerings

Addiction Counseling & Prevention (B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

Through the addiction counseling and prevention program, you'll gain theoretical knowledge regarding the nature, etiology, prevention and treatment of substance use disorders. This foundation will be valuable in a wide range of careers. Graduates of this degree will be eligible for addiction/prevention credentialing through the South Dakota Board of Addiction and Prevention Professionals (SDBAPP). Requirements may differ from state to state; students interested in practicing elsewhere should contact their state addiction and prevention certification/licensure board to ensure courses meet requirements for certification.

Addiction Counseling & Prevention: Treatment (B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

Addiction Counseling & Prevention: Prevention (B.S.)

  Vermillion Main Campus and Online

Addiction Counseling & Prevention (Minor)

  Vermillion Main Campus

A minor in addiction counseling and prevention will help you develop critical thinking and leadership skills that will serve you in any career. You'll take courses addressing the study of substance use disorders, individual and group addiction counseling, and legal and ethical issues related to the addiction profession.

Addiction Counseling & Prevention (Certificate)


This online certificate is designed to prepare addiction and prevention professionals to meet the specialized academic course requirements for South Dakota certification. The required coursework for the undergraduate certificate in addiction counseling and prevention can be applied toward a bachelor's degree.

Program Details






Known for Excellence

With qualities like small class sizes, specialized programs and incredible student opportunities, USD is not your typical university. What makes us unique is what makes your education exceptional.

Student Opportunities

As a student at USD, the opportunities available to you extend beyond the classroom. Explore your interests, find your community and experience your education to the fullest extent through the following opportunities.

The real-world experiences you gain through an internship will equip you with valuable skills that will set you apart after graduation. 

Our students receive shadowing, service learning and supervised internships in a variety of addiction treatment and prevention settings. Internship site preceptors consistently comment on the high level of skills and preparedness of our students.

Upper-level majors in addiction studies are encouraged to attend the South Dakota Association of Addiction and Prevention Professionals state conference. Through opportunities like this, you can network with your peers and learn from professionals in the field.

USD is home to more than 170 student organizations, including clubs housed in the Department of Addiction Counseling and Prevention. You may be interested in joining The Coalition of Addiction Students and Professionals Pursuing Advocacy (CASPPA) to make friends, develop new skills and explore your interests. The CASPPA aims to educate professionals about the importance of addiction treatment and prevention legislation. The organization's goals are to raise awareness about the addiction counseling and prevention program at USD and participate in legislative advocacy pertaining to the addiction and prevention profession on a state and national level.

Explore Student Organizations

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in addiction counseling and prevention.
Professor Lecturing to a Class

Addiction Counseling & Prevention

A national leader in addiction counseling and prevention education for nearly 50 years, we emphasize state-of-the-art, evidence-based approaches through community partnerships and hands-on experiences.

Faculty & Staff

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Addiction Counseling and Prevention. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in evidence-based practice in the treatment of substance use disorders, medication assisted treatment, addiction counseling, trauma and addiction psychopathology, addictive family systems and more.
Bio Image for Faculty Member Kelly Bass

Kelly Bass

Chair-Social Work
Bio Image for Faculty Member John Korkow

John Korkow

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Amy Orr

Amy Orr

Advisor, Instructor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Mary Merrigan

Mary Merrigan

Emeritus Faculty
Faculty Default

Christina Berger

Program Assistant I
Bio Image for Faculty Member Diane Sevening

Diane Sevening

Emeritus Faculty
Counselor Speaking to a Patient During a Session

Prioritizing Community

Our communities need addiction counselors and prevention specialists who can support the health of individuals and families, and these careers are in high demand. With an education in addiction counseling and prevention, you can be a change-maker in hospitals, community mental health centers, rehabilitation facilities, criminal justice agencies, educational programs, employee assistance programs and treatment centers, among other facilities.
Two nursing students in red scrubs look at a clipboard with a medical student in a white lab coat.

Become the Leader Your Patients Need

Your future patients have complex health care needs that extend beyond a single area of expertise. They should have an expert, compassionate care team that can work together to help them live healthy, fulfilling lives.

At USD, we prepare you not only to thrive in your unique career path but also to collaborate effectively with health care professionals from a variety of fields. With the state's only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school, USD offers a learning environment that mirrors the health care industry – bringing you and your peers together to learn, study and practice as coordinated teams. You'll graduate with the skills, knowledge and connections you need to make holistic healing possible.

Surprisingly Affordable

USD offers low tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students, as well as scholarships, financial aid and employment opportunities to help make your education even more affordable.

Undergraduate Tuition & Costs

Learn more about tuition and fees for undergraduate students and see how your out-of-pocket costs at USD compare to those at other colleges and universities. Visit the Undergraduate Tuition & Costs Detailed page for program specific costs and fees. 

Financial Aid

Navigating options for how to pay for college can be challenging, but you are not alone. The Office of Financial Aid will work with you and your family to explore how you can make your college education even more affordable.


USD awards nearly $9.5 million in scholarships each year. View our scholarships to see which ones you may qualify for and how you can apply.

hear from a usd alum

Success story Kelsey Barrett smiling.
Professors don’t just teach from textbooks, but from their past field experiences. Learning from realistic situations taught me what to expect from a source who’s actually been there. It’s easy to tell they care about addiction’s evolution in the country. The way they adapt course content to match today’s issues will make me a more successful addiction professional.

Kelsey Barrett M.A., CRADC

M.A. Addiction Counseling & Prevention '17
B.S. Addiction Studies '16
Young Adult Group Therapist, Compass Health Center
Normal, Illinois

Take the Next Step