"Policies and practice in the drugs and alcohol field are undergoing significant changes across the globe. It is imperative to adopt a comparative approach – across nations, substances, and disciplines – to analyse these developments."Dr Karen Duke, Associate Professor in Criminology
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.
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. It brings together staff and students from the other countries delivering the programme. Please note that travel and accommodation expenses are self-funded.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UK/EU and international students are eligible to apply for this course.
If you have relevant qualifications or work experience, academic credit may be awarded towards your Middlesex University programme of study. For further information please visit our Accreditation of Prior Learning page.
We accept the equivalent of the above qualifications from a recognised overseas qualification. To find out more about the qualifications we accept from your country please visit the relevant Support in your country page.
If you are unsure about the suitability of your qualifications or would like help with your application, please contact your nearest Regional office for support.
You will not need a visa to study in the UK if you are a citizen of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. If you are a national of any other country you may need a visa to study in the UK. Please see our Visas and immigration page for further information.
You must have competence in English language to study with us. The most commonly accepted evidence of English language ability is IELTS 6.5 (with minimum 6.0 in all components). We also normally require Grade C GCSE or an equivalent qualification. Visit our English language requirements page for a full list of accepted tests and qualifications.
If you don't meet our minimum English language requirements, we offer an intensive Pre-sessional English course.
Entry onto this course does not require an interview, portfolio or audition.
Applications for postgraduate study should be made directly to the university. Please visit our Postgraduate application page for further information and to apply.
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. Students will be able 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.
Find out about our wide range of postgraduate scholarships worth up to 50% of the tuition fee.
MA Comparative Drug and Alcohol Studies
|Part-time course fees 2016*||UK/EU Students||International Students|
|Masters (120 taught credits|
+ 60 credits for dissertation)
|£55 per taught credit + £27 per dissertation credit||£84 per taught credit + £42 per dissertation credit|
*Course fees are subject to annual inflation so the total costs for part time study are shown here as a guide
Find out about our flexible payment plans for UK/EU students, and how they can help you spread the cost of your course.