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PgCert | Postgraduate Taught

Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

Entry year
Entry requirements
1 year (Part Time)
Places available
Please note, the start date of this course may have changed. Check for latest updates.
  • Overview

    This PG Certificate course has been suspended for 2020 entry due to coronavirus and is not available for admission in September 2020. The next intake will be in September 2021 and applications can be submitted from mid-September 2020.

    The overarching aims of the PG Cert, PG Dip and Masters in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders is to enable professionals from a range of sectors working in substance use, mental health and related fields to build on their existing knowledge and skills and to use them effectively within their current work environment. It also aims to develop the participants’ understanding of the range of theories informing substance use, and to assist workers to translate these theories into effective practice. These learning objectives will ultimately enrich the lives of individuals, families and communities who are in receipt of services provided by the

    The programme will have a pragmatic focus and this will enable practitioners to learn about a range of multi-disciplinary assessment tools, methods of interventions and the necessary skills to work with substance use across a range of settings. Substance use problems permeate work with a range of service user groups, from the more obvious groups, i.e. working with substance use and mental health, to working with children and families, learning disability offenders and older people.

    You can study flexibly by working around your professional duties. These programmes have been accredited by the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Education and Training Partnership.

    Candidates will be afforded the opportunity to take each of the three modules of the programme of study as a stand-alone module (20 credits) or collectively to obtain the PG Cert in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders (SUDs).
    These will include:
    Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders : Prevalence, Legislation and Theoretical Concepts
    Substance use Disorders and Co-morbid mental health disorders
    Substance use and Substance Use Disorders : International Contexts.

    Please note that this course is not eligible for a Tier 4 visa.

    Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders highlights

    For Social Work candidates only the Certificate meets all six of the professional requirements in the ‘Specialist’ category in the Professional in Practice framework, and on completion candidates will be conferred with the Specialist Award.

    Professional Accreditations

    • The Social Work postgraduate programmes have been accredited by the Northern Ireland Professional in Practice Education and Training Partnership and offer a range of professional awards and requirements at the consolidation, specialist and leadership levels.

    Career Development

    • Professional Development For multi-disciplinary applicants the programmes offer relevant CPD opportunities as well as recognised qualifications accredited by the University which will augment their professional development and enhance the development of further opportunities in their chosen field of practice.

    Student Experience

    • The PG Cert programme is taught by a number of highly skilled academics and practitioners who are currently working or researching and teaching in substance use disorder settings. This marriage of pragmatic skills based knowledge with corollary evidence based learning will greatly enhance the student learning experience.
    “The PG Cert in substance Use and substance user disorders provides graduates form a range of social and health care professions with a variety of opportunities to develop their specific areas of learning and skills in practice. Increasingly, our graduates operate within teams which consist of workers from a range of professional backgrounds and there is a need to hone skills and knowledge which are relevant to the multi-disciplinary environment."

    Dr Anne Campbell, Programme Director

    Brexit Advice

    Information on the implications of Brexit for prospective students.

  • Course content

    Course Structure

    The MSc in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders is a module Masters programme whereby students can complete the PG Cert in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders and then have the option to enrol on the PG Dip and subsequently to enrol on a Masters by thesis module.

    The Pg Cert in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders is awarded to students who successfully complete three 20 credit taught modules.

    Core Modules (20 CATS points each)

    Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders : Prevalence, Legislation and Theoretical Concepts
    Substance use Disorders and Co-morbid mental health disorders
    Substance use and Substance Use Disorders : International Contexts.

    People teaching you

    Dr Anne Campbell
    Assistant Director PG Studies, Programme Director


    Career Prospects

    Continuing professional registration in all areas of health and social care is predicated on continuing professional development..

    The Department of Health has highlighted that health, social care workers and social workers demonstrate their competence covered in the curricula of the Social Work postgraduate programmes.

    Learning and Teaching

    Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:




    Assessments associated with this course are outlined below:

    Assessment methods include written assignments case study material based on candidates’ practice.

    A variety of assessment methods for the Certificate will be used including written assignments, a reflective analysis on how the student applies relevant theory to their practice in two different cases and an assignment critically reflecting on how the student has enhanced the practice of colleagues drawing on the knowledge in this module.


    The Graduate School

  • Entry Requirements

    Entrance requirements

    Normally a 2.2 Honours degree or above or equivalent qualification acceptable to the University in a relevant subject. Equivalent qualifications include the Pre-2007 Post-Qualifying Award in Social Work.

    Social workers seeking entry to the programme must:

    a) Be registered with the Northern Ireland Social Care Council (NISCC);

    b) Hold an Honours Degree in Social Work (2.2 or equivalent), Diploma in Social Work, CSS, CQSW or predecessor equivalent. Social Workers trained outside of NISCC jurisdiction must produce a letter of comparability with these awards or a letter of verification issued by NISCC;

    c) Have completed the Assessed Year in Practice or have at least one year post- qualifying experience if graduated prior to the AYE implementation.

    Non social workers seeking entry to the programme must:

    a) Have two years’ experience of working with clients who have experienced substance use or mental health issues.

    Applicants who do not satisfy the above but who are holders of an equivalent approved professional qualification or work experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

    International Students

    For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.

    English Language Requirements

    Evidence of an IELTS* score of 6.5, with not less than 5.5 in any component, or an equivalent qualification acceptable to the University is required. *Taken within the last 2 years.

    International students wishing to apply to Queen's University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research. Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) immigration requirements for English language for visa purposes.

    For more information on English Language requirements for EEA and non-EEA nationals see:

    If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be offering Academic English and Pre-sessional courses online only from June to September 2020.

    • Academic English: an intensive English language and study skills course for successful university study at degree level
    • Pre-sessional English: a short intensive academic English course for students starting a degree programme at Queen's University Belfast and who need to improve their English.

    INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)

  • Fees and Funding

    Tuition Fees

    Northern Ireland (NI) £2,047
    England, Scotland or Wales (GB) £2,300
    Other (non-UK) EU £2,047
    International £5,633

    All tuition fees quoted are for the academic year 2020-21. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

    More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

    Additional course costs

    All Students

    Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.

    Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library. If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.

    Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.

    If a programme includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.

    Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.

    There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.

    Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders costs

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    How do I fund my study?

    The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500 per NI / EU student for postgraduate study. Tuition fee loan information.

    A postgraduate loans system in the UK offers government-backed student loans of up to £10,609 for taught and research Masters courses in all subject areas. Criteria, eligibility, repayment and application information are available on the UK government website.

    More information on funding options and financial assistance.

    International Scholarships

    Information on scholarships for international students, is available at

  • Apply

    How to Apply

    Apply using our online Postgraduate Applications Portal and follow the step-by-step instructions on how to apply.

    Apply now

    Terms and Conditions

    The terms and conditions that apply when you accept an offer of a place at the University on a taught programme of study.
    Queen's University Belfast Terms and Conditions.

    Download a prospectus