Postgraduate MSc

Applied Psychology (Addictions)

School of Health and Society





One year

Three year

Next enrolment

September 2024


In a nutshell

This course will equip you with valuable insights into topics including the psycho-pharmacology of addiction, the recent interest in addictive behaviours and the wide-ranging implications of addiction for society.

You'll find the course particularly relevant if you are working in the NHS or healthcare independent sector, including addiction clinics, and want to develop your knowledge and understanding of substance misuse and dependence, and other addictive behaviours. 

You will:

  • Gain knowledge and understanding of drug use and addiction relevant to a range of roles and environments.
  • Have the ability to focus on your own interests for the dissertation.
  • Focus on the application of theory and skills and learn how to transfer this to the workplace.

students accepted

This is for you if...


You work or want to work in a setting supporting those affected by addictions.


You want to help further research in this field.


You are hardworking and dedicated to developing your knowledge.

Course details

All about the course

The aim of this course is to enable you to develop a detailed knowledge and critical understanding of applied psychology in the context of addiction and addictive behaviours. You will consider psycho-pharmacological and biological mechanisms underpinning drug action and dependence, the more recent conceptualisation of behavioural addictions, and the broader social context of addiction.

The full-time route is structured over 12 months and comprises three 10-week semesters. In semesters 1 and 2, you will complete two taught modules in each semester. In semester 3 you will complete your dissertation under the supervision of one of the course tutors. If you choose to follow the part-time route you will complete the course over three years, completing two taught modules in each of the first two years and the dissertation in your third year.

The dissertation module on this course will also give you the opportunity to pursue an area of applied psychology and psychological therapies directly related to your own work or interest.

Year one

Research Methods in Psychology

You will develop a rigorous approach to the process of research and be prepared to complete research dissertation in the field of applied psychology and addiction.

The Psychopharmacology of Drugs and Addiction

In this module, you will explore the psychopharmacological and biological mechanisms that underpin drug action and dependence.

Addictive Behaviour

You will develop a theoretical and evidence-based critique of the psychology and treatment of addictions. You will also critically evaluate the range of addictive and compulsive behaviours to identify the range of complex problems and risks experienced by the 'addict' in western society.

Drugs, Addiction and Society

This module will provide you with an opportunity to consider the broader social impact of substance use and misuse.


Provides you with the opportunity to pursue an area of applied psychology and psychological therapies that directly relates to your own work or interests.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

What will I be doing?


This course is taught using a mixture of approaches including the following:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Workshops
  • Tutorials
  • Discussion/debates
  • Video presentation
  • Research seminars and workshops
  • Guest speaker presentations
  • The virtual learning environment, online resources and web-based learning / digital training packages
  • Student presentations
  • Directed study


You will be assessed in a variety of ways including:

  • Theoretical essays
  • Presentation
  • Research proposal
  • Dissertation

The School of Health and Society

The School of Health and Society is a forward-thinking, dynamic school with a commitment to lifelong learning and real-world impact.

We live in a rapidly changing world, and we’re keen to leave a productive legacy of helping people at all stages of their lives, improving their physical, psychological and social wellbeing. The school is also home to a state-of-the-art dedicated Psychology Laboratory

Staff profiles

Dr Lynne Marrow, Lecturer in Psychology and Programme leader of the MSc Applied Psychology (Addictions)

Lynne gained her PhD in behavioural neuropsychopharmacology from the University of Reading. Her research interests include: Dopamine systems, movement disorders, schizophrenia, depression, the reward system, substance misuse and aggression. View Lynne's staff profile.

Dr Simon Cassidy, Senior Lecturer in Psychology

Is a Chartered Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He is an experienced teacher, receiving the Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, and an experienced researcher. Current research projects include psychological resilience and self-efficacy and exploring cognitive style through brain imaging and eye movement. Cassidy, S 2012 'Intellectual Styles: Measurement and Assessment ', in: Sternberg, R J & Zang, L & Rayner, S (eds.), Handbook of Intellectual Styles: Preferences in Cognition, Learning, and Thinking, Springer Publishing Co., NY, USA, pp.67-89. View Simon's staff profile.

Dr Linda Dubrow-Marshall, Senior Lecturer and Head of Psychology

Linda is a HCPC Registered Clinical and Counselling Psychologist and a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist. She designed the in-house counselling service for the University of Salford. She researches cultic influences, CBT and physical health, technology enhanced psychotherapy and self-care and ethical issues for psychological therapists. Linda is also a fellow of the Higher Education Academy. View Linda's staff profile.

Dr Janine Crosbie, Lecturer

Janine Crosbie is the module leader for Drugs, Addiction and Society. Janine has interests in health behaviour, the impacts of society on behaviour and drugs, and education policy and their impacts. View Janine's staff profile.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

This course will help you to progress to leadership positions within the field of addictions and to advance to research roles.

A taste of what you could become

An Expert in Addictive Behaviours,

and more...


What you need to know

Applicant profile

This course is suitable for you if you're a psychology graduate (or graduate of a related discipline), or if you're a health and social care professional interested in focusing your interests in the addictions field and may act as a route towards an academic/research career. This course will also be of particular interest to you if you currently have a role, or wish to have a role, in providing services within addiction across the health, social welfare, education and youth justice services.

English language requirements

International applicants will be required to show proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Please note: Due to the structure of this programme, it is not available to applicants who require a Student Visa.

Standard entry requirements

Undergraduate degree

Upper second class (2:1) honours degree in psychology or other health/social care related discipline, e.g. counselling, health sciences, nursing.

Alternative entry requirements

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the formal entry criteria but who have an undergraduate degree and relevant experience or the ability to pursue the course successfully.

The Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) process could help you to make your work and life experience count. The APL process can be used for entry onto courses or to give you exemptions from parts of your course.

Two forms of APL may be used for entry: the Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL) or the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2024/25 £8,820.00per year
Full-time international 2024/25 £16,380.00per year
Full-time home 2025/26 £9,100.00per year
Full-time international 2025/26 £17,000.00per year

Additional costs

You should consider additional costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.

Scholarships for International Students

If you are a high-achieving international student, you may be eligible for one of our scholarships. Explore our international scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Still have some questions? Register for one of our Open Days or contact us:

By email:
By phone: +44 (0)161 295 4545

Enrolment dates

September 2024

September 2025