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PgDip|Postgraduate Taught

Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders

Entry year
Entry requirements
2 years (Part-time)
Places available
30 (Part Time)

This multi-disciplinary programme is designed to enable substance use professionals, mental health workers, social workers, nurses and workers from allied health and social care sectors to gain an understanding of substance use disorders, including definitions, UK and international contexts and the application of theory in practice.

The PG Dip in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders will build upon the knowledge gained in the PG Cert programme and will enable the candidates to enhance critical thinking skills, utilise methods of reflective analysis, and consider individual, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary team working within the sector. They will also be given a reflective period in which to analyse their learning from each of the teaching sessions and think about how the information may be best disseminated to colleagues in their respective teams. This reciprocal knowledge flow will be facilitated via an online discussion forum whereby participants will be afforded the opportunity to apply the information from teaching sessions to their work cases after sharing information with work-based colleagues.

The programme of study will develop practitioner confidence and skills in the complex areas of substance use and substance use disorders. 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). Alternatively, students can complete six modules (three from the PG Certificate in SUDs and a further three credits from the PG Dip programme) and thereby obtain the PG Diploma in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders.

Please note that this course is not eligible for a Student route visa.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 31 July 2024 at 4pm. Late applications may be considered.

The Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders programme responds to the needs of its students with updated, current and evidence-based information which will enhance their PG educational experience through vibrant and interactive learning pathways.

Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders highlights

Internationally Renowned Experts

Over 88% of research submitted by colleagues from Criminology, Social Policy, Sociology and Social Work to the Social Policy and Social Work Unit of Assessment was similarly judged to be World Leading or Internationally Excellent. An endorsement of the quality of our research and its impacts in areas such as the penal system, mental health and trauma; work once again achieved through work undertaken in partnership with the health, social care and criminal justice sectors.

Career Development

Professional Development

For all multi-disciplinary students, 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.

For Social Work students only, the Diploma will meet a number of the professional requirements in the Leadership category in the Professional in Practice framework.

For all students, the programme provides the opportunity to enhance special dual diagnosis skills within a multi-disciplinary teaching environment.

Student Experience

The programme leader and lecturers have developed and nurtured subject proficiency via their own practice, teaching and research in relation to their specialist area. They impart this trilateral expertise to the students via teaching on the PG Diploma programme.

Course Structure

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

The PG Diploma in Substance Use and Substance Use Disorders is awarded to students who successfully complete six 20 credit taught modules.

People teaching you

Programme Director


Teaching Times

Teaching will take place in four day blocks for each module. These are usually timetabled for a Friday/Saturday, 10am –4pm, over a two week period.

Learning and Teaching

Learning opportunities available with this course are outlined below:

  • Cognitive Skills

    Teaching and learning methods to achieve Cognitive Skills are commensurate with adult learning theory and entail formal lecturing, student-led learning, online interaction, seminars and workshops.


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 Diploma 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 School is situated across a suite of three buildings in Belfast's Queen's Quarter. We provide student and staff common rooms, computer suites and designated study spaces.

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The information below is intended as an example only, featuring module details for the current year of study (2023/24). Modules are reviewed on an annual basis and may be subject to future changes – revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year.

  • Year 1

    Core Modules

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 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.

Application deadline: Wednesday 31 July 2024 at 4pm

Late applications may be considered.

Applicants are advised to apply as early as possible. In the event that any programme receives a high number of applications, the University reserves the right to close the application portal prior to the deadline stated on course finder. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Application Portal against the programme application page.

International Students

Our country/region pages include information on entry requirements, tuition fees, scholarships, student profiles, upcoming events and contacts for your country/region. Use the dropdown list below for specific information for your country/region.

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.

  • 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.



Career Prospects


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

The Dept. of Health has highlighted that health, social care workers and social workers demonstrate their competence covered in the curricula of the PG Dip in Substance Use programme.

Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award for extra-curricular skills

In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Graduate Plus/Future Ready Award. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.

Tuition Fees

Northern Ireland (NI) 1 £4,867
Republic of Ireland (ROI) 2 £4,867
England, Scotland or Wales (GB) 1 £6,167
EU Other 3 £14,333
International £14,333

1EU citizens in the EU Settlement Scheme, with settled status, will be charged the NI or GB tuition fee based on where they are ordinarily resident. Students who are ROI nationals resident in GB will be charged the GB fee.

2 EU students who are ROI nationals resident in ROI are eligible for NI tuition fees.

3 EU Other students (excludes Republic of Ireland nationals living in GB, NI or ROI) are charged tuition fees in line with international fees.

All tuition fees quoted relate to a single year of study unless stated otherwise. Tuition fees will be subject to an annual inflationary increase, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

More information on postgraduate tuition fees.

Additional course costs

There are no specific additional course costs associated with this programme.

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.

How do I fund my study?

The Department for the Economy will provide a tuition fee loan of up to £6,500 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 £11,836 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 - please check this link regularly, even after you have submitted an application, as new scholarships may become available to you.

International Scholarships

Information on scholarships for international students, is available at



How to Apply

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

Apply now

When to Apply

The deadline for applications is normally 30th June 2021. In the event that any programme receives a high volume of applications, the university reserves the right to close the application portal earlier than 30th June deadline. Notifications to this effect will appear on the Direct Entry Portal (DAP) against the programme application page.

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.

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