Graduate Level - Certificate in Alcohol Studies

This certificate is designed for individuals with an interest in alcohol and drug use disorders.  Students receive foundational knowledge in the biomedical, cultural, historical and psychological aspects of alcohol and associated dependency. They receive knowledge about clinical treatment and assessment of alcohol and drug use disorders and learn how to work effectively in the field through an independent study practicum/internship/research placements.


Students must have a bachelor’s degree, graduate degree or be currently enrolled in a graduate program.

Curriculum Requirements:


Course Number


Foundations in Alcohol Studies: Biology, Psychology & Sociology Provides a review of the essential information about alcohol’s acute and chronic effects on biology and behavior and the sociology of its use and misuse.



Independent Study of Alcohol-Related Issues

Opportunity to pursue an area of interest concerning alcohol use and misuse under the supervision and guidance of a faculty member.



Practicum: Clinical Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Use Disorders

Prerequisite: Previous experience in direct patient care. Required for students in degree programs that provide specific training in counseling or psychotherapy, such as clinical psychology (Ph.D. or Psy.D.), counseling psychology, social work, or psychiatric nursing.






*Note: These courses do not fulfill CADC educational requirements.

Bachelor's Level - Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Counseling

This certificate program is comprised of 6 courses which integrate the content areas required for Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors in New Jersey for a total of 270 educational hours.

Class 1: An Introduction of Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders (Course 13:047:101)

An Introduction to Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders is the initial course for students enrolled in the 18 credit Bachelor's Level Certificate Program at the Rutgers Center of Alcohol Studies. This course is offered in a hybrid on-line and in-person format. This course addresses the social, biological, and psychological factors of the major drugs associated with therapeutic and recreational use and abuse. Topics include drug use as a social problem, theories and treatment of addiction, how drugs work, detrimental health effects of drug use, and legal/ethical confidentiality issues. The aim of this course is to introduce CADC students to the basic concepts relevant to understanding addictive behaviors.

Class 2: The Brain Mind Experience: How Drugs Impact Brain Functioning (Course 13:047:102)

course provides a general overview and introduction to the psychopharmacology of alcohol, and major drugs classes as well as prescription drugs commonly used in treating mental health and addiction issues. It covers basic pharmacology and neuroscience, specific to addiction counseling. Students will learn the strengths and limitations of a strictly disease-based approach to understanding addictive behaviors, and ways to integrate this information into the bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach. Students will conceptualize the role that biologically based etiological factors play in the development of addictive disorders, and how those factors serve to promote continued drug/alcohol use despite serious health consequences. The course will also examine the impact of age, race, gender, social class, culture, ethnicity, spirituality, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and physical and mental ability on biologically based issues related to addictive and co-occurring disorders.

Class 3: Drug and Alcohol Use Disorders: Assessment and Diagnosis (Course 13:047:104)

This course provides an overview of the field of addiction counseling with an emphasis on developing a detailed understanding and foundation of skills in the use of specific strategies, procedures, and interventions in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of substance abuse. It will focus on the assessment and diagnosis of common addictive disorders. Students will learn how to develop a therapeutic alliance, conduct a comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment, and develop systematic diagnostic summaries utilizing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Fifth Edition (DSM 5). Students will learn how to evaluate a variety of assessment instruments for addictions, and to assess the impact of age, race, gender, social class, culture, ethnicity, spirituality, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and physical and mental ability on recovery from addictive disorders.

Class 4: Case Work, Case Management, and Community Resources (Course 13:047:103)

Emphasis in this course will be placed on treatment planning and case management skills for clients dealing with substance use disorders (SUDs) and any co-occurring disorders or life issues. Students will gain knowledge and practical skills in case management, ongoing monitoring and assessment, and referral of clients to appropriate services as needed. Students will learn about coordinated care systems and the importance of treatment teams, including how properly to consult with supervisors, counselors, professionals, and/or other service providers to assure comprehensive, quality care for clients. Topics such as HIV and the wide variety of services available in New Jersey will be covered, in addition to NJ systems for Families and Children, Disabilities, Mental Health, Employment, and Criminal Justice.

Class 5: Evidence-based Treatment: Current Perspectives and Approaches (Course 13:047:105)

Students will be introduced to a range of evidence-based treatments including motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, crisis intervention, twelve-step facilitation, and contingency management. This practice based course focuses on addiction counseling skills for work with individuals, couples, families, and groups, particularly for clients presenting with co-occurring disorders. Students will learn basic counseling and communication skills through lectures, small group discussions, and role-plays. Issues of multiculturalism and diversity will be presented and developed throughout the course via readings, discussions and student writing assignments and will be infused throughout the course content.

Class 6: Counselor Training and Professional Ethics (Course 13:047:106)

This course focuses on counselor training and ethical decision making as well as professional development for professionals working with clients dealing with substance use disorders (SUDs). Students will gain knowledge of the professional and ethical responsibilities assumed by counselors through the operationalization of key formal ethical cannons. Case vignettes will encourage the exploration and application of ethical codes within clinical scenarios. Students The course will familiarize students with ethical responsibilities, clinical supervision, and the importance of continual growth through post certificate professional education. Federal, state, and licensing act regulations will be covered. Students will also identify the personal and professional risks to health and mental health for social workers and addictions counselors, and learn self-care and other strategies to ensure professional effectiveness. The relevance and study of compassion fatigue will be addressed. Experiential exercises geared towards expanding students' awareness and understanding of the psyche/soma relationship will serve as the basis for discussion of self-care, professional and personal well-being. Finally, students will participate in practical preparation for licensing, including mock exams, case presentations, application completion, and job applications.