M.A. in Addiction Counselling

Level 9
1 – 2 Years
Start Date
Sept 2018
€6,165  – €7,165


This MA in Addiction Counselling is currently within the validation process with Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and will be offered from September 2018, subject to validation by QQI. It is expected that it will complete validation processes between April to June of this year. The programme meets the educational requirement for professional accreditation with Addiction Counsellors Ireland and Counselling Membership of the Association of Professional counsellors and Psychotherapists but it also looks beyond the current minimum education requirements for professional accreditation  in Ireland. Taking a lead from the North American system, it is intended that this programme will enable learners to critically evaluate institutionalised practices and values, and act as agents for challenge and change in their professional contexts.

This programme will provide students with both theoretical and practical opportunities for working in addiction counselling within a variety of contexts in the  statutory, community and voluntary sector. The programme has been designed to facilitate students who wish to become professionally accredited by Addiction Counsellors Ireland to meet their professional accreditation criteria.

It will support students to go beyond their own prior experience. The opportunities embedded within the programme for the development and demonstration of critical thinking skills, and theoretical knowledge transfer should mean that graduates of the MA in Addiction Counselling will be prepared to lead, plan, educate, consult, manage, design, evaluate and advocate effectively in the contexts in which they are working.


The M.A in Addiction Counselling is designed for practitioners who hold a Primary Level 8 degree in health or human science areas and who wish to specialise in Addiction Counselling. It is likely to be attractive to professionals who for example, work with diverse and marginalised groups of people with addiction difficulties, or are experiencing social exclusion because of the consequences of addiction. The primary focus will be working with individuals and groups but also at community and policy levels as leaders in their field.

This programme is designed for those who wish to break down barriers to access evidence based interventions  and create opportunities for high quality treatment experiences for all who need them. Modules within the course are designed to build personal capacity, collaborative problem solving skills and an understanding of the systems and context within which individuals may be best supported.

As part of this Masters programme, you will study the fundamental theories of Addiction Counselling as well as psychotherapeutic skills and engagement.  There is also a module specifically supporting you in understanding Addiction. In addition you will study evidence based practice and research methods and design.

All of these modules are designed to support you to apply all these elements of learning during the 150 hours of client work you are required to engage with in a practicum module as well as in the completion of a dissertation. The programme combines both theory and practical skills in a way that supports the academic and professional development of the learner.

The MA in Addiction Counselling is currently within the validation process with Quality Qualifications Ireland (QQI) and will be offered from September 2018, subject to validation by QQI.

QQI have overall responsibility for the quality of 3rd level academic programmes in Ireland.

The course commences this September (subject to validation by QQI) and can be taken on a full time or part-time basis. Individual modules may also be taken on a stand alone basis. Taught Modules are taken across two twelve week terms through a combination of classroom based modules as well as some that are blended. Blended learning combines face to face and web based teaching and learning, which allows the learner to access classes in person or using on-line facilities to allow for a better work/life/study balance. In certain modules mandatory attendance is a requirement.

Course Fees

The tuition fees for the Full -Time programme are €6,165 (completed over 1 year) or €7,165 where the programme is taken on a Part time basis (completed over 2 years). Students can pay in instalments and all fees are fully protected under our Protection of Enrolled Learners’ Policy.

All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby, in the event of the provider ceasing to provide the programme for any reason, enrolled learners may transfer to a similar programme at another provider, or, in the event that this is not practicable, the fees most recently paid will be refunded

How can I complete this Course?

The Programme may be completed on a Full Time basis over 3 Semesters in one Calendar year or on a Part time basis over two years (6 semesters). The programme uses a blended learning approach.

In that regard, students will engage in classroom-based learning, with both traditional face-to-face contact and synchronous delivery through the VIRI classroom, in addition to directed web-based e-learning.

Learners will engage in work-based learning and independent research, and will receive tutorial support for these modules (please refer to the indicative time-table).  Lectures will be timetabled over 36 weeks.

These weekly lectures will be delivered primarily through synchronous classroom-based learning and the VIRI classroom, which will be normally timetabled on one evening per week and Saturdays across the Academic Year with Practice Support and Academic supervision extending into the Summer Semester.

The programme timetable has been scheduled to facilitate blended learning. Delivery will take place through synchronous delivery which will involve classroom-based sessions, which will be available on-line through the VIRI classroom.  Bearing in mind the benefits to students of collaborative and peer learning, and the importance of intellectual discourse and peer support, it was considered important to facilitate face-to-face classroom based learning alongside the synchronous on-line delivery. The more practical modules of the programme will require students to attend in person.

Learners will engage in work-based learning, and will be required to undertake 150 hours of a Professional Placement; 30 hours of will normally be taken from Week 8 in Semester 1, with 6 hours per week being completed across Semester 2 (72 hours) with the remaining 48 hours being completed in Semester 3.

Structure of Course

The Programme is divided into Modules each of which has Educational Credits (ECTS) associated with them. Each Module may also be taken on a stand alone basis. It is also important to note that students who complete 60 ECTS and who wish to exit the programme without completing their Dissertation may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The course covers a range of subjects which are structured to develop competent professional practitioners. The subjects covered are designed to be both practical and theoretical as per the table below:

MA in Addiction Counselling
Module Name Credits
Addiction Counselling & Evidence Based Psychosocial Interventions 5 ECTS
Understanding Addiction 5 ECTS
Psychotherapeutic Skills & Engagement 5 ECTS
The Substance Use Continuum 5 ECTS
Non Substance Related Addiction 5 ECTS
Comorbidity & Addiction 5 ECTS
Inter-Agency & Inter Disciplinary Working in Addiction 5 ECTS
Professional Placement 10 ECTS
Research Methodologies & Design 10 ECTS
Dissertation 30 ECTS
Elective 5 ECTS
Total Credits 90

The programme has been designed to enable learners to demonstrate their academic and reflective learning in appropriate ways. The assessment strategy accommodates different learning styles and therefore the programme assesses learners using a range of practical assignments, essays, learning journals, examinations, reflective exercises and projects.

How will I be assessed?

The completion of a research based dissertation is a central part of the Masters programme and each student is supported by an academic supervisor for the entire period of their dissertation.

What supports will I have?

At ICHAS, every lecturer and member of staff is committed to excellence in education and professional practice. Each Module has a Module Leader who works with students to enhance their learning and will provide formative and summative feedback throughout every module. Each programme has a Programme Co-ordinator and in addition you will have direct access to the Programme Leader and the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Dissertation and Practicum are central elements of the Masters programme. Each student will undertake these modules under the direction of an Academic and Practicum supervisor respectively for these modules.

Who Awards My Qualification?

On successful completion of the programme, your qualification is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). QQI is one of the principal Irish awarding body for 3rd level education in Ireland and sets the standards for awards on the NFQ. Because this programme is both validated and awarded by QQI, the Award you receive is recognised in Ireland and internationally. See www.qqi.ie for further information.

Where Can I progress to on completion of the course?

On successful completion of the MA in Addiction Counselling , students will be qualified  to access  Level 10 Programmes  on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

What are the entry requirements for this course?

To undertake the MA in Addiction Counselling , applicants must meet the following requirements;

Successful applicants will be required to hold a minimum of a second class honours degree (2.2) at Level 8, or its equivalent, in a health or human science related discipline. The nature of the programme allows for the consideration of candidates from a variety of backgrounds. Related disciplines therefore include community and health care work, social sciences and humanities related programmes such as psychology. Those with relevant experience will also be considered through APL/RPL.

  • Applicants are required to:
    • Complete and submit the completed application form <download here>and provide all requested information.
    • Complete an interview process, which is designed to explore your reasons for taking the programme and to ensure that it is suitable for your needs.
    • Provide certification of competency in English indicating a minimum score of 6.5 IELTS (If Applicable)
    • Complete the Garda vetting procedure.

If you have any queries in relation to this course please contact the college on 061 216288 or email us on info@ichas.ie where we will be only too pleased to assist you.

Applicants intending to access lectures online must have suitable equipment and broadband access as specified on the blended learning information page.

This programme requires learners to participate in practice placements that will bring them into contact with individuals who have potential vulnerability and in which they will be in a position of trust. In the interest of public trust and confidence, procedures are in place to ensure that only applicants who can demonstrate suitable motivation and characteristics are eligible for selection or progression.

It is important to remember that the impending introduction of statutory regulation by the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (Coru) in the fields of Counselling and Psychotherapy should be an important consideration when choosing courses of this type and when considering career options following completion.

The Department of Health has repeatedly emphasized that QQI qualifications(or their equivalent) will be required for registration with Coru.

This programme has been found to meet the Award Standards as set out by QQI.

The Government has committed to increased funding of mental health initiatives.

This qualification offers many opportunities for employment or for career progression. Graduates with qualifications in Addiction Counselling at Masters level find employment in a range of public services, Community & Voluntary Sectors and Private Practice.

Employment prospects within the Public Sector include work as:

Work within health, social care and addiction sectors in the public service are characterized by a range of titles and grades which range from addiction support worker to project officer and involve those employed in existing disciplines including nurses, social workers, social care practitioners, doctors, clinical psychologists among others. This programme will draw upon those who either wish to study for the first time or those who are already in employment in one of the range of disciplines referred to already. For that reason, it is impossible to be prescriptive relating to the particular job titles which may apply to employment opportunities, so the title ‘Addiction Counsellor’ is used here as a generic descriptor.

  • Counsellors with the Health Services Executive
  • Counsellors or Project Workers with community-based support initiatives

Employment prospects within the Community & Voluntary Sectors include work as:

  • Counsellors or Project Workers.
  • Counsellors or Project Worker with dedicated Addiction Services/Centres
  • Voluntary, social and community-service projects and initiatives
  • Specialist Addiction Counsellors.

Employment prospects within Private Practice include work as:

  • Addiction Counsellors in the area of general private practice
  • Addiction Counsellors in the specialist areas of work where compulsion or addiction are a feature; e.g. eating disorders, gambling, sex, internet etc..

The MA in Addiction Counselling has many distinctive features that make it one of the leading programmes of this type. For Example;

  • It meets the new QQI Award Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.
  • This programme is part of a suite of programmes that have been validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), ensuring the quality of its teaching and assessment strategies, programme content and quality.
  • It is delivered by lecturers who are experts in the fields of study within the Programme.
  • Recognised nationally and internationally. On completion you will receive the Europass Diploma Supplement in addition to your degree parchment.
  • It is professionally accredited by professional bodies within the Psychological Therapies Forum.
  • It adopts a Flexible structure, meaning that students may study at a pace and duration that fits in with their lifestyle demands – students may study on a modular basis or spread the period of their studies over a timeframe that suits them.
  • It teaches topics that have a proven evidence base of effectiveness.
  • It combines a well balanced match of theory and practice.
  • This course facilitates a progression route to PHD and professional doctorate level programmes.
  • It provides higher level education to increase employment opportunities for graduates in a range of different areas including; working with young people, women at risk of domestic violence, the elderly and those with mental health issues etc.
  • It utilises blended learning approaches offering a flexible approach for all students through face to face and on-line learning.
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M.A. Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy – Graduate 2011

Joining ICHAS at diploma level, my aspiration was to discover what counselling was about. After the diploma and through the Level 8 and Level 9 programmes, it became more about discovering who I was and then becoming a reflective counsellor. Understanding my self was most important if I was to help others with their journey. An additional benefit from this course was meeting so many different people from different backgrounds and with different views which taught me more about working with people, as a client or otherwise.

The college, course, staff and peers enabled this journey for me, where I have become a more holistic person. Now that I have ended up with a Masters in Counselling & Psychotherapy through the various challenges along the way is a great achievement for me.


Sinead MCGuinness
(Graduate of the MA in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy; BA (Hons) in Counselling and PsychotherapyBA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I began my voyage with ICHAS in Studying for the BA degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy studies was the beginning of my voyage with ICHAS. I never imaged what an amazing voyage this would be and all the amazing people I would meet along my way.  I am still on my voyage and still meeting amazing people and still learning every day. My studies with ICHAS went further than I could ever have believed with finding myself growing both on a personal and professional level. The college at all times (more…)


Patrick Fitzgerald
(BA in Counselling Skills and Psychotherapy Studies)

I came into ICHAS knowing that I wanted to help and work with people. Currently in my third year and all I can say is that I am amazed by how much I have grown both as a person and as a student. I was out of education for two years before starting and had fears and reservations about my ability as an academic and still not fully sure what I wanted to do with my life. The environment here compared to University’s or Institutes is not focused on just delivering the content and getting you through your degree or masters. Here they are looking at the individual behind the books and making sure that each student receives the same quality engagement that I have not seen anywhere else. ICHAS has allowed me over the last three years to see my true potential and ability through the stimulating learning environment here. I recommend this college to anyone looking into the areas of Counselling and Psychotherapy due to the high level of engagement with peers and lecturers.

Phone: 061 216 288
Walton House, Lonsdale Rd., National Technology Park,
Castletroy, Limerick, Ireland