Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling (M.A.)

Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling (M.A.)


Liberty University’s Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling degree (48-hour) exceeds the requirements set for certification as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) and, with 12 additional hours of coursework, meets the current academic education and degree requirements established by the Virginia Board of Counseling for licensure as a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Professional (LSATP). The faculty provide quality professional training from a faith-based perspective. The purpose of the program is to produce ethically and spiritually aware addiction counselors who possess the knowledge, values, skills, and personal dispositions to promote the mental health and holistic wellness of individuals and families across diverse populations. This purpose is achieved, in significant measure, through offering rigorous academic programs, dynamic online interaction with faculty, and carefully structured internships. Students interested in licensure or certification in addiction counseling in states other than Virginia are required to contact the licensing boards of those states to obtain copies of their licensure laws and regulations. These will help students ensure they take all courses necessary for licensure or certification in addiction counseling in those states. The M.A. in Addiction Counseling does not lead to licensure as a licensed professional counselor or licensed marriage and family therapist.

Program Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate appropriate knowledge in all core curricular areas of addiction counseling in preparation for taking licensure or certification exams and in procuring employment in the addiction counseling field.
  • Evaluate research and apply it to their counseling practice in accordance with best practices.
  • Apply the ethical and professional principles, standards, and expectations that are integral to an addiction counselor's role and identity.
  • Integrate faith and spirituality into counseling where appropriate in an ethically competent manner.
  • Assess, diagnose and treat a diverse range of clients with addictive and co-occurring mental disorders using established best practices in addiction counseling.

Program Specific Admission Procedures

In addition to the General Admission Procedures outlined in this Catalog, applicants to the M.A. in Addiction Counseling program must have:

  1. Apply online or download graduate application and submit via mail.
  2. $50.00 Deferred application fee (Assessed during financial check in)
  3. Fax / scan unofficial college transcripts. Note: Unofficial transcripts may be used for acceptance purposes!
  4. Mail official college transcripts (sealed, unopened copy)
  5. Regionally or nationally accredited bachelor’s degree with at least a 3.0 GPA for admission in good standing
  6. TOEFL scores for students who speak English as a second language (score of 600 paper-based test; 250 computer-based test; 80 internet-based test)

Applicants must submit each of the items listed in the General Admissions Procedures to the Office of Graduate Admissions before being considered for acceptance to the program.

The applicant’s personal and professional disposition, integrity, and general fitness to practice counseling may be considered in the admission process. In addition, limited resources may indicate a need for limited enrollments, requiring the Department of Counselor Education and Family Studies to restrict admissions and to grant special admissions only under exceptional circumstances.

Transfer of Credit

Students may transfer up to 24 hours of coursework into the 48-hour M.A. in Addiction Counseling program. For a transferred course to replace a Liberty University course, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The school at which the course was taken must be appropriately accredited.
  2. The course credit must be at least three semester hours or five quarter hours.
  3. The student must have earned a grade of B- or better in the course.
  4. The course must overlap one of Liberty’s courses by at least 80%.

Courses related to psychology and counseling that meet all but the last criterion may be transferred in as elective courses. Course work must have been completed within the previous 10 years. Transfer credits will not be accepted for the following courses:

ADCN 505Techniques in Addiction Counseling3
ADCN 512Group Dynamics3
ADCN 667Diagnosis and Treatment Planning of Addictive Disorders3
CEFS 501Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling3
ADCN 693Addiction Counseling Internship I3
ADCN 694Addiction Counseling Internship II3
CEFS 506Integration of Spirituality and Counseling3

Credit will not be awarded for life experience or continuing education workshops.

Credits from a prior degree on the same academic level earned through Liberty University are considered transfer credits. Liberty University course work that is more than seven (7) years old must be repeated.


The 48-hour M.A. in Addiction Counseling degree program has been designed to exceed the requirements set for certification as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) in Virginia and, with 12 additional hours of coursework, meets the current academic education and degree requirements established by the Virginia Board of Counseling for licensure as a Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Professional (LSATP).

The program meets state licensure in many other states other than Virginia.  Information on the requirements of each state and the programs' compatibility with those requirements can be found at

Additionally, students are encouraged to visit their state licensure board to further familiarize themselves with the process, requirements, and post-graduation policies and procedures.

Evaluation and Retention

Students are responsible for meeting the academic and professional standards of Liberty University and the counseling profession. The following requirements apply to all students:

  1. Students are expected to use the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) “Code of Ethics,” this Catalog, the Graduate Student Honor Code, and the Liberty Way as guides for their behavior throughout their program. Each of these documents is available for reading and downloading from the respective organizational web sites. Students will undergo periodic evaluation by the Counseling faculty for suitability as students and prospective counselors.
  2. Students must remain in good academic standing, are required to maintain high ethical standards, and must demonstrate evidence of functional competency in fulfilling the professional roles required by the discipline.
  3. Consult specific program sections of this catalog for additional requirements.

Course Requirements

The M.A. in Addiction Counseling program consists of a minimum of 48 hours of coursework that provide students with a thorough background in all areas of addiction counseling, including the integration of faith and practice; individual and group counseling theories and skills; clinical practice; ethical, professional, and legal issues in addiction counseling; social and cultural factors in addiction counseling; appraisal and assessment issues in addiction counseling; and the application of research methodology and statistics to understand mental health issues. Addiction Counseling students take an additional 21 hours of specialized coursework in addiction counseling. Students’ internship experiences must consist of addiction-related work with individuals, couples, or families. These courses and internship experiences prepare those seeking licensure as LSATP in Virginia and/or certification for careers as addiction professionals in mental health agencies, hospital programs, private practices, ministry-related counseling centers, and other public and private facilities.

Detailed information, policies, and procedures regarding the various programs offered are provided in the Student Handbook. Students should familiarize themselves with the Student Handbook before they begin their studies and before they register for classes every semester.

Delivery Format: Online Only

  • Addiction counselor
  • Clinical case manager
  • Managed care specialist
  • Mental health services
  • Rehabilitation counselor
  • Substance abuse counselor
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