Why earn a psychology master’s degree online? As a field, psychology is an incredibly broad subject that has applications in numerous industries, from education and counseling to marketing and human resources. While many online psychology graduate programs don’t lead to licensure (this means you couldn’t work as a practicing psychologist) they do provide valuable training for people who want to enhance their career or branch out into a new one. They’re also a necessary stepping stone for anyone who eventually wants to earn a Ph.D. in Psychology.
So if you think you might benefit from a program that will teach you all about human behavior, emotions, social interactions, and thought processes, you might want to consider earning an online master’s degree in psychology. Here are some of the top programs to help get you started.
We created this ranking list to highlight the best master’s degrees in addiction counseling online. These include online programs in addictions, substance abuse, rehabilitation counseling, chemical dependency, and other similar fields. We also considered general psychology/counseling programs that feature a specialization option in the subject of addiction.
To define the best schools for addiction studies, we rated graduate programs in four categories: affordability (average tuition rate), accreditation, accessibility, and coursework. We awarded more points to programs that have specialized accreditations – from CACREP, for example – and offered their classes entirely online (except for required practicums). Also, our ranking favors programs that provide targeted – rather than general – career training. We assessed this feature by looking at the number of courses (both required and elective) in substance abuse and addictions counseling that the program offers in its curriculum.
Once we had collected all the data, we assigned points to each program in each category, tallied the totals, and calculated the final scores. The 20 highest-scoring schools earned anywhere from 9 to 24 points. Scroll down to find out which one has the top addiction studies degree program online!
Ranking Top 20 Master’s Degrees in Addiction Counseling Online
#20. Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies – Center City, MN
Online Master’s in Addiction Studies
Given that the Betty Ford Foundation is nearly synonymous with addiction treatment, it should come as no surprise that the organization’s accredited online master’s degree in addiction studies earns a spot on this list. The curriculum includes a strong focus on treating the mental and medical health issues that often accompany addiction, and it includes three required on-site residencies as part of your coursework. (Note that the residencies are just four days in length.) The program is also quite flexible; you can opt for one of three start dates, choose full- or part-time study, and customize the degree with electives.
Average Tuition: $32,574/yr
#19. Lewis University – Romeoville, IL
Online Mental Health Counseling MA: Addiction Studies Component
At Lewis University, you can add an Addiction Studies component to your M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. In doing so, you’ll take a three-course sequence in specific substance abuse and drug counseling classes. These courses offer preparation for two exams: Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. Adding this component also allows you to replace the standard general counseling internship (a requirement of the program) with an experience more closely targeted to your field of interest. However, keep in mind that to earn your affordable master’s degree in addiction counseling online you will need to attend a one-night weekly class on campus.
Average Tuition: $14,410/yr
#18. Nova Southeastern University – Ft Lauderdale, FL
Online MS in Counseling: Substance Abuse Counseling Concentration
Fort Lauderdale’s Nova Southeastern University has one of the best online addiction counseling degree programs for students interested in prevention programming. That’s because the addiction counseling concentration comes in two tracks: Substance Abuse Counseling and Substance Abuse Counseling and Education. The latter is a hard-to-find option that focuses heavily on “scientifically supported models of prevention programming” and includes two required practica. If you opt for the more traditional Substance Abuse Counseling concentration, you need only complete a single practicum. This option also includes more general coursework in topics like psychopharmacology and co-occurring disorders.
Average Tuition: $19,175/yr
#17. West Virginia University – Morgantown, WV
Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling
After completing the accredited addiction studies degree program online through West Virginia University, you’ll be ready to seek licensure in several states. But before graduating, you’ll need to spend two weeks at the school’s Morgantown campus. During that time, you’ll complete two classes in counseling theories and techniques. Otherwise, you can earn your degree from home and can choose a convenient location for your required internship. And while the program is designed for a two-year schedule, working professionals can spread their courses out over three years if a slower pace is more convenient.
Average Tuition: $16,119/yr
#16. Regent University – Virginia Beach, VA
Online MA in Human Services: Addictions Counseling
By incorporating biblical teachings into its curriculum, Regent University distinguishes itself as one of the best online addiction counseling degree programs for Christian students. For example, you’ll learn about “faith-based interventions” that you can apply as part of your ministry or your professional work. Professors will also encourage you to consider the spiritual aspects of helping others conquer their addictions. But Regent has plenty else to offer besides its faith-based foundation. For one, the school uses innovative course delivery methods that include podcasts, real-time chats with instructors, and asynchronous chat room conversations. And it also addresses addictions beyond just alcohol or drugs, including food, gambling, sex, and more.
Average Tuition: $13,226/yr
#14. Antioch University – Yellow Springs, OH (Tied)
Online MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Substance Abuse and Addictions Concentration
On this online master’s degree in addiction studies ranking, Antioch University stands out in part for its rigorous experiential learning requirements. Not only will you complete a semester-long practicum, but you’ll also spend three semesters (900 hours) at an internship site. Plus, you’ll attend two required residential colloquia at the school’s campus in Culver City, California. This hands-on work comes at a small cost: The degree requires three full years to complete. Also note that this program only offers a concentration Substance Abuse and Addictions – not a full degree. However, the three-course series covers dozens of relevant theories that you can apply to your internship or practicum.
Average Tuition: $10,450/yr
#14. Liberty University – Lynchburg, VA (Tied)
Online Master of Arts in Addictions Counseling
The largest Christian school in the world, Liberty brings its substantial resources to bear on its top master’s degree in addiction counseling online – and the results speak for themselves. One of its biggest selling points is its affordability. Average tuition falls just short of $8,500 and easily qualifies the program as one of the most cost-effective ways to earn an online counseling degree. Liberty is also a great choice if you have relevant coursework under your belt; the school lets you transfer up to 50% of your program hours. And the Christian-centric coursework – including a required class in “Integration of Spirituality & Counseling” – lets you marry your faith with your professional goals.
Average Tuition: $8,430/yr
#12. Carlow University – Pittsburgh, PA (Tied)
Online Master of Science in Professional Counseling (MSPC): Addictions Track
Carlow University offers two distinct programs, each of which caters to applicants with distinct career goals. First, the 60-credit M.S. in Professional Counseling will prepare you for licensure in Pennsylvania. But if licensure isn’t your goal, the 48-credit option will save you both time and money. Fortunately, both accredited addiction studies degree programs online offer both full- and part-time study as well as a specialization in Addictions. This track comprises four courses and prepares you for certification as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor, which could lead to a job in either corrections or a mental health setting.
Average Tuition: $16,391/yr
#12. Wright State University – Fairborn, OH (Tied)
Online Master of Rehabilitation Counseling: Chemical Dependency
On this online master’s degree in addiction studies ranking, Wright State stands out for offering a slightly different take on the subject. True to its name, the Master of Rehabilitation Counseling – Chemical Dependency degree centers around rehabilitation. As such, the required internship and practicum are both in rehabilitation counseling, and your coursework focuses on counseling practice and addiction theory and treatment. And all this laser-sharp focus on the subject pays off: graduates of the program have an impressive 91% pass rate on the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam, far higher than the 70% national average.
Average Tuition: $18,182/yr
#11. Union College – Barbourville, KY
Online Master of Science in Substance Abuse
If you’re looking for an affordable addiction studies degree program online that accepts transfer credits and is approved for both veterans and active-duty military, Kentucky’s Union College could fit the bill. On top of those benefits, the school’s M.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling will appeal to those who seek a broad curriculum. Required courses include both the science-heavy (“Biological Systems of Chemical Dependency,” for example) and the sociological (“Multicultural and Diversity Issues”). And the required practicum gives you experience in a variety of settings, where you’ll provide counseling to individuals as well as groups, families, and couples.
Average Tuition: $9,650/yr
#10. Thomas University – Thomasville, GA
Online Master of Science in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling: Addictions and Alcoholism Specialization
Although Thomas University’s tuition already comes in on the lower end of the price spectrum, the school also offers generous degree-specific scholarships – making it one of the most affordable online addiction counseling degree programs in the country. Addiction-specific awards include a scholarship for students who want to work with disabled people and one for those who demonstrate a strong interest in advocacy and service. Beyond the financial benefits, Thomas also boasts membership in Chi Sigma Iota, the international counseling honor society. Through this chapter, you can participate in charity-based work, take advantage of special training, and generally enrich your educational experience.
Average Tuition: $12,490/yr
#9. University of Oklahoma – Norman, OK
Online Master of Prevention Science
Among the most unique of all the programs on this list is OU’s Master of Prevention Science. This accredited master’s degree in addiction counseling online comes with a robust, prevention-focused curriculum that will prepare you to earn the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium’s Certified Prevention Specialist credential, a leading qualification in the field. In addition, the program provides flexibility in the form of fully online and hybrid delivery options as well as a student-choice capstone (pick from a thesis, research project, or comprehensive exam). Note that OU doesn’t generally accept life experience for course credit, with the exception of professional training from those with a background in law enforcement or the military.
Average Tuition: $15,221/yr
#8. University of the Cumberlands – Williamsburg, KY
Online Master’s in Addiction Counseling
On this online addiction counseling degree program ranking, the University of the Cumberlands stands alone when it comes to affordability. The average tuition hovers just under $6,000, making the Master’s in Addiction Counseling both accessible and practical for working professionals. But that’s not the only benefit of attending UC. Most significantly, it offers the country’s only online program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Plus, the degree’s dual-licensure track readies you for credentialing as both an LPC and a certified addiction counselor. All this comes with the flexibility and understanding of a school designed specifically for working adults, from rolling admissions to a generous transfer credit policy.
Average Tuition: $5,970/yr
#7. Monmouth University – West Long Branch, NJ
Online MA in Addiction Studies
Flexibility is the name of the game at New Jersey’s Monmouth University. With summer, hybrid, and fully online courses plus full- and part-time study options, you can easily customize this degree to meet your needs. But no matter when and where you earn this top master’s degree in addiction counseling online, you’ll acquire the skills you need to work in rehab centers, long-term treatment facilities, community mental health centers, and more. Also, Monmouth’s program will prepare you to earn the Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential in New Jersey. That means you’ll need to complete 3,000 hours of supervised counseling before graduating.
Average Tuition: $24,856/yr
#6. Virginia Commonwealth University – Richmond, VA
Online Master of Science in Addiction Studies
Offered in partnership with King’s College London and Australia’s University of Adelaide, the accredited online master’s degree in addiction studies at VCU features a decidedly global bent. Indeed, the curriculum incorporates the latest international scholarship on addiction research, prevention, treatment, and even policy. You’ll benefit from (virtual) FaceTime with experts from across the globe and graduate with a cross-cultural perspective you won’t get from rival programs. This program is an especially great fit if you want to work on policy at the international level, but it also prepares you for myriad leadership positions in the field.
Average Tuition: $19,207/yr
#5. Washburn University – Topeka, KS
Online Master of Arts in Human Services/Addictions Counseling
Kansas residents in particular will appreciate Washburn University’s M.A. in Human Services with an emphasis in Addiction Studies, as the degree prepares graduates for licensure as both a Licensed Master’s Addiction Counselor (LMAC) and a Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselor (LCAC) in the state. To provide the requisite training, this top addiction studies degree program online serves up a comprehensive curriculum that touches on both traditional methods of practice as well as more integrative, holistic approaches. The degree also requires plenty of hands-on work, including an applied research course, two practica, and an upper-level class in “Clinical Supervision.”
Average Tuition: $12,628/yr
#4. Indiana Wesleyan University – Marion, IN
Online Master of Arts with a Major in Clinical Addictions Counseling
A Christian worldview informs the accredited online addiction counseling degree program at Indiana Wesleyan. As such, participants should be ready to incorporate their faith and spirituality into their counseling practice. Christian ethics also inspired the school to participate in the NAADAC Minority Fellowship Program for Addiction Counselors, a tuition-assistance program that supports “culturally competent” addiction counselors who want to work with minority groups and underserved populations. For example, eligible applicants might state their intent to practice in the LGBT community or provide counseling to refugees. The bottom line: this generous stipend will help make an already affordable degree even more attainable.
Average Tuition: $13,000/yr
#3. Ottawa University – Ottawa, KS
Online Master of Arts in Counseling: Addictions Counseling
Ottawa University offers an MA in Counseling with a concentration in Addictions Counseling. The general core coursework will ensure that you receive broad exposure to the field through required courses like “Social/Cultural Concerns in Counseling” and “Psychological Testing.” Once you’ve acquired a solid theoretical foundation, you’ll move on to advanced coursework – including a field placement that prepares you for licensure in both Arizona and Wisconsin. During this internship, you’ll have opportunities to reflect on your experiences through classroom discussions with peers. However, you’ll also need to complete two week-long summer residencies in Phoenix before graduating from Ottawa’s accredited master’s degree in addiction counseling online.
Average Tuition: $11,485/yr
#2. University of South Dakota – Vermillion, SD
Online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies
The University of South Dakota offers one of the best addiction studies degree programs online for students focused on the future. While the degree also addresses contemporary issues, it does so with an eye toward developing advanced problem-solving skills you can apply to any future challenge. In addition, the degree includes unique and highly focused courses like “Native Americans and Substance Use” and “Working with Families on Alcohol and Drug Issues.” Another key benefit? Applicants who already have a bachelor’s degree in addiction studies (or a related field) can opt for the advanced M.A. track, which comes with fewer credit hours for a quicker path to graduation.
Average Tuition: $12,025/yr
#1. Governors State University – University Park, IL
Online Masters in Addiction Studies
Governors State earns top marks on this online master’s degree in addiction studies ranking and on similar lists, and it’s easy to see why. For one, the flexible program lets you combine fully online classes with hybrid options for maximum convenience. What’s more, it offers a truly comprehensive curriculum that covers everything from pharmacology and prevention to research and treatment planning. The program also emphasizes multicultural viewpoints as a way to prepare you for work in diverse communities. Lastly, the degree earns top points for pragmatism: you’ll collaborate with a faculty advisor to select three credits that tie directly to your education or career goals.
Average Tuition: $12,952/yr
You’ve reached the end of our list of top addiction studies degree programs online.
By OPD Staff