Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies MA | Middlesex University London
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Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies MA

Learn about the course below

Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies MA

Code
PGL408
Start
October 2019
Duration
2 years, part-time
Attendance
Distance learning, attendance at induction
Fees
£7,800 over two years (UK)
£13,500 over two years (INT)
Fees may be subject to change
Course leader
Karen Duke

Please note that the next available start date for this course is October 2019

The use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco has become a major concern for most governments across the world. This has resulted in increasing international and European collaboration to devise policies and approaches to address problems related to substance use/misuse. There has also been a considerable expansion in research, data gathering and scientific publishing in many countries and various action plans and strategies have been produced.

Why study MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies at Middlesex University?

This master's degree is designed for those who want to expand their knowledge and understanding of these drug and alcohol issues, including policies and interventions, within a comparative context. It is relevant to policy makers and practitioners, and to students and researchers working in, associated with, or preparing to enter this field.

Over the course of the programme you will gain the knowledge and skills required to investigate and analyse drug and alcohol use, problem use, addiction, and their responses, from a multi-disciplinary and cross-national perspective.

The master's is being run jointly by four universities: Middlesex University; Aarhus University (Denmark); University del Piemonte Orientale "A. Avogardo" (Italy); and Universitas Miguel Hernandez de Elche-Alicante (Spain). With access to a group of European teachers and students, you will have opportunities to share research findings as well as experiences and personal knowledge about your own countries. You will also have the chance to study in partner universities or undertake placements in Europe and international agencies and gain career development through utilising work-based learning approaches and internships.

The programme is taught primarily through distance learning methods complemented by some face-to-face tuition. The 'Introduction to Drug and Alcohol Studies' induction is delivered as a four-and-a-half-day face-to-face intensive study block at one of the partner institutions (In 2017, this will be held at Universitas Miguel Hernandez de Elche-Alicante in Spain). It brings together staff and students from the other countries delivering the programme. Please note that travel and accommodation expenses are self-funded.

Course highlights

  • Unique comparative perspective
  • Delivered by experts at four universities across Europe (Denmark, Italy, Spain and the UK)
  • Students have the opportunity to work and collaborate with staff and fellow students across Europe and internationally
  • Option to study in partner universities or undertake placements in European and international organisations, such as the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
  • Opportunities for career development through utilising work-based learning approaches and internships
  • Possibilities for CPD study.

What will you study on the MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies?

All students are expected to attend the Induction, 'Introduction to Drug and Alcohol Studies', at the beginning of the programme which is delivered as a face-to-face intensive study block over four-and-a-half days at one of our partner institutions*.

This induction aims to:

  • Introduce students to the content and requirements of the programme, to the lecturers in the partner universities, and to an international group of students
  • Emphasise the comparative and multi-disciplinary nature of the programme
  • Raise awareness of sources of information and to provide guidance in selecting and using 'evidence' and information from research or other sources
  • Provide an introduction to main concepts, theories and issues to be addressed in the programme
  • Provoke a critical appreciation of the problematic and complex nature of drug and alcohol studies
  • Lay the foundations for students to work collaboratively with others in our partner universities.

Overall, the programme consists of five compulsory modules (including an Induction module), plus a Dissertation and two optional modules.

*Please note that travel and accommodation expenses are self-funded.

Not all of the optional modules listed will be available in any one year. Module availability is dependent on staffing and the number of students wishing to take each module.

  • Core modules

    • Introduction to Drug and Alcohol Studies (Induction)

      This module aims to introduce students to the content and requirements of the programme and of this module, to the lecturers in the partner universities, and to an international group of students; to emphasise the European and multi-disciplinary nature of the programme; to introduce them to sources of information and to provide guidance in selecting and using evidence and information from research or other sources; to provide an introduction to main concepts, theories and issues to be addressed in the programme; to provoke a critical appreciation of the problematic and complex nature of drug and alcohol studies; and to lay the foundations for students to work collaboratively with others in partner universities.

    • Substance Use and Addiction Theories

      Using a 'life course' approach, this module aims to develop skills in the interpretation of different stages in the course of substance use and addiction through an examination of drug use patterns and addiction theories. It also aims to enable students to critically evaluate the different theoretical approaches and develop the abilities in applying them to policies, strategies and interventions.

    • Responses to Drug and Alcohol Use

      This module aims to provide a broad understanding of the multi-disciplinary interventions at clinical and preventive level to tackle drug use and dependence. The student will learn how to apply knowledge of research methodologies and techniques in order to provide definitions and analyse the complex interaction between prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction, to develop intervention projects or scientific works by applying relevant knowledge and skills and to elaborate evidenced-based intervention strategies at individual or group level, in the drug and alcohol field.

    • Drug and Alcohol Policies in Europe

      This module aims to develop a critical approach to analysing how policies are developed, implemented and evaluated at international, national, and local levels. There will be a focus on European policy within a global context and students will be encouraged to examine their own national and local policies within this broader context. Students will draw on a range of policies on alcohol, drugs and tobacco to explore and critique the relationship between national policy and international policy (e.g. from WHO, UNODC and the EU). They will compare and contrast policy approaches to prevention, harm reduction and treatment across a number of countries and analyse the importance of different cultural, social and political contexts on policy formulation and implementation.

    • Dissertation

      This module aims to provide students with the opportunity to develop a detailed and advanced understanding of a particular aspect of drug and/or alcohol policy and practice. Students will define their own topic area, write a proposal for their dissertation work, conduct a comprehensive review of existing knowledge on the subject, formulate a methodology for conducting their own enquiries and write an in-depth report of the findings of their research. Alternatively, students may choose to conduct a theoretically oriented piece of work involving the systematic analysis of an issue or area of policy/practice.

  • One of the following:

    • Research Methods for Drug and Alcohol Studies

      This module aims to familiarise students with major approaches to research; develop their skills in designing a research proposal; enhance their skills in qualitative and quantitative methods; enhance their critical appreciation of research; and ensure students are able to apply relevant approaches and methods to their own research project or extended literature review at master's level.

    • Evidence-based Practice Applied to Prevention and Treatment

      This module aims to enable students to take decisions on the bases of scientific evidence in order to tackle the different aspects of substance use and addiction problems. It considers the main features of evidence-based practice and the scientific standards for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.

  • Two of the following:

    • Drugs and Crime

      This module aims to develop advanced skills in the application of criminological theories and concepts in relation to drugs, drug use and drugs control, and in critically analysing the relationship between drugs and crime. Students will critically evaluate the laws, policies and institutions of drugs control within their social, political and economic contexts, and compare and contrast the role of the criminal justice system in responding to drugs in various countries. The module also aims to foster a critical interest in the reform of drugs control policy and institutions at both national and international levels.

    • User Perspectives

      This module aims to critically assess and reflect upon the central aspects of employing a user perspective in both drug and alcohol services and academic research. In relation to service provision, this perspective enables the student to challenge existing practices towards users and to re-examine ideas about motivation, goals and outcomes in drug and alcohol treatment processes. In research a user perspective will help students to shift their focus away from abstract and objective estimations of use towards a focus on power relations and the life-worlds of alcohol and drug users.

    • Cultural and Social Aspects of Drug and Alcohol Use

      This module aims to enable the students to critically assess the differences and similarities between societies and historical periods in alcohol and drug use patterns. Students will be able to recognise different patterns of use through diverse sources, including research in the field but also the images offered by literature, art and music, including the meanings and pleasure that individuals seek through alcohol and drug consumption.

    • Integrated Work and Learning

      This practical experience module provides the means for students to link academic work with 'real-world' work experience related to their specific programme. The aim is to enable the student to conceptualise the relation of theory to policy decisions within the wider world context. It is envisaged that the student will reflect and analyse areas of knowledge relevant to the workplace/placement learning experience and develop personal knowledge through review of learning. This learning experience provides students with the opportunity to enhance their skills of self-expression, communication, self-reliance, cooperation and team working within an area of work related to their chosen pathway.

You can find more information about this course in the programme specification. Module and programme information is indicative and may be subject to change.

How is the MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies taught?

This course is taught primarily through distance learning methods complemented by some face-to-face teaching. The compulsory teaching includes an induction delivered as a four-and-a-half day face-to-face intensive study programme at one of our partner institutions. It brings together staff and students from the other countries delivering the programme. Travel and accommodation expenses are self-funded.

Assessment
Students' knowledge and understanding is assessed by various methods including coursework essays, online exams, research proposals, policy analyses, case study analyses, portfolios and reflective diaries.

  1. UK & EU
  2. International
  3. How to apply
  1. UK & EU
  2. International

How can the MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies support your career?

The addictions field is multi-disciplinary and entrants will come from a range of different educational and professional backgrounds including nursing, social work, probation, research, and management. The MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies will be a valuable asset to developing and furthering a career in the drug and alcohol field either in the UK or abroad.

There are a number of career options in research, public or government services, voluntary organisations, and non-governmental organisations. The course aims to provide graduates with the knowledge and practical skills to develop careers in research and practice within the field of drug and alcohol practice, education and research, both nationally and within the wider international context.

The Master's provides opportunities for career development for those interested in pursuing links with European and international agencies, by offering work-based learning approaches, and organising work in the field in relevant agencies and in providing possible progression to PhD-level studies.

Dr Karen Duke
Associate Professor in Criminology

Dr Karen Duke is an Associate Professor in Criminology specialising in research on the development of drugs policy and the interfaces with the criminal justice system. She has published books, articles, chapters and official reports in this area. She is one of the Editors in Chief of the peer reviewed journal, Drugs: education, prevention, and policy and the author of the book, Drugs, Prisons and Policy-making (Palgrave MacMillan). She has over twenty years of experience conducting research and evaluations for various organisations including the Home Office, Department of Health, the former Central Drugs Co-ordination Unit (Cabinet Office), the Royal Society for the Arts and the European Commission (FP7 ALICE RAP, Work Package on Stakeholders in Addiction).

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