MSc Substance Use

Specialise in Substance Use and its impact on people who use substances, family members, communities and contemporary societies.

Substance Use

Key facts

  • Award Masters / MSc, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate
  • Start date September 2021
  • Duration Part-time: 3 years
  • Mode of study Part-time, Stand-alone modules, Mixture of online and classroom delivery

Our MSc Substance Use is ideal for professionals looking to develop their career in the field of substance use as well as individuals looking to build on their undergraduate studies. The course syllabus explores how substance use affects people who use substances, family members, communities and contemporary societies. In recognition of both the complexity of the needs of people who use substances but also the integration of the practice field in substance use, the course offers a unique interdisciplinary focus through its suite of optional modules. You’ll have the opportunity to expand your knowledge on substance use, related policies and interventions, at local, national (Scotland and UK) and international levels within a context of partnership working.

With elective modules in specialist subjects such as housing, public health or rehabilitation, you’ll develop a range of skills which will significantly enhance your confidence and employability in the field of substance use.

Top reasons to study with us

On successful completion of this programme, you should be able to achieve the following objectives.

  • Evaluate and criticise theories and concepts expressed to account for substance use and assess how these have informed the development of substance use policies and intervention.
  • Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to forefront and current issues of UK and international policy approaches to substance use.
  • Appraise and critically evaluate major international and local approaches to practice with a focus on partnership working to address the complexity of substance-related problems.
  • Critically review approaches to working with different groups of substance affected individuals and families and the implications these may have on individuals and communities.
  • Use up-to-date evidence-based practice and policy research in the field of substance use and appraise information to formulate new understandings and creative solutions to the substance problem.
  • Demonstrate independent critical and reflective thinking in relation to the use of evidence in shaping and developing research.
  • Assess and reflect on the ethical underpinnings of research, policy and practice.
  • Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise, including peers, more senior colleagues and specialists.
  • Demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to the field of substance use through the critical assessment of evidence to conduct a literature review and/or design research.
  • Reflect on personal, professional and societal values and the ways these might impact on development of drug policy and practice.
  • Exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in time management and academic activities and take responsibility for own work.
  • Adopt the position of active global citizens who are socially, culturally and environmentally aware of the complexities of the substance use problem and its implications for substance affected individuals and families and communities.

If you’re interested in studying a module from this course, the Postgraduate Certificate or the Postgraduate Diploma then please email Graduate Admissions to discuss your course of study.

The Drug Research Network Scotland (DRNS) is hosted in the University, as well as the Salvation Army Centre for Addiction Services and Research.

When you study for a MSc Substance Use at the University of Stirling, you’ll be introduced to leading-edge empirical and theoretical research in a vibrant, multi-disciplinary environment.

Underpinning the expertise of our staff, the University of Stirling scored highly in the most recent Research Excellent Framework (REF 2014) – a UK-wide assessment of universities’ research output. In the Social Work and Social Policy unit of assessment, highlights included:

  • 78% of our overall research activity was assessed to be internationally excellent or world-leading
  • 100% of research environment factors assessed as internationally excellent or world leading
  • 100% of our research impact was assessed as world leading or internationally excellent
  • We were judged to have the 2nd highest research power in Scotland and 13th highest in the UK

What our students said

Carol Scott
Carol Scott
MSc Substance Use
I would advise anyone considering doing a course at Stirling to go for it! The support from the tutors and other staff has been outstanding and I have always been able to work flexibly alongside my full time job.
Read Carol's story

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