Addiction Counseling

Concentration Coordinator

Frances Ellmo, Ph.D.
Ball Hall 304d
Memphis, TN 38152
(901) 678-2841


Program Overview

The program in Addiction Counseling is new and has not yet admitted it first class. Although our other master's degrees in counseling have been reviewed and are accredited, the Addiction Counseling programs has yet to undergo the accreditation process. When sufficient outcome data (student admissions, performance, and graduation information) is available, we will seek to have the program reviewed for accreditation by CACREP.

The Addiction Counseling program is designed to prepare diverse, knowledgeable, and skilled counseling professionals to work in a variety of settings to increase access and improve the quality of addiction treatment, support research and prevention, and promote the care of patients with addiction issues. The training model provides students with training in comprehensive, evidence-based interventions for substance use and addictive disorders that are person-centered, population-focused, and delivered in a continuum of care, from prevention to recovery.

The degree plan has been developed to allow graduates of the program to meet the educational requirements for the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) credential offered by the NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, the State of Tennessee's Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC) governed by the Board of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classifies Addictions Counselors as "Substance Abuse, Behavior Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors" (BLS, 2019). The ten-year expected growth of this profession is 22.5%; a figure more than two times greater than that of 8% expected growth of other professions (BLS, 2019). Nationally, the field is expected to grow by 68,500 additional professionals during the period from 2018 to 2028 (the most recent forecast available from the DOL). Currently, there are 708 addictions treatment centers in Tennessee, and an additional 3,940 addictions treatment centers in border states. 

Faculty Research

Faculty in the Counseling Division engage in a variety of cutting edge and societally relevant research and our doctoral students will be expected to join in their work. Faculty in the division run multiple research labs covering numerous topics including models of counseling supervision, access to healthcare, adverse childhood experiences, and forensic counseling, among others. Students work with faculty and publish and present their findings as co-authors. The department has a robust history of sending our doctoral students to professional conferences around the world. Learn more about our research here.

Admission Requirements

All applicants to the MS concentration in Addictions Counseling must first apply to the Graduate School. You can find information on the application process here

Entering students must possess a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, have strong academic credentials, and show promise for graduate study and professional practice in Addiction Counseling. Although many factors are considered in the admissions process, generally all applicants must:

  1. Hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  2. Have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in their major and/or last two years of study.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester Application: March 1
  • Spring Semester Application: October 1

Application Procedures

Applicants must apply through the university's online system here. All applicants must submit:

  1. Official transcripts of all colleges attended at both the undergraduate and graduate (if applicable) levels
  2. Three letters of reference. These letters must be specifically written for current application into the Addictions Counseling program, signed by the reference, and printed on his/her official letterhead. Academic references are strongly desired (at least one is required), and should be in an appropriate position to make academic recommendations (e.g., current or former advisor or professor). Professionally applicable sources will be accepted; personal references will not be accepted. 
  3. A personal statement (1-3 pages) that must include applicant's goals and rationale for applying to the Addiction Counseling concentration. In this statement, applicants may include a brief description of career experiences (teaching or research in the area, working with Addiction Counseling populations, etc.), and explain how these experiences are linked to their educational aspirations. All personal statements should be well-articulated and demonstrate professional writing quality (formal; accurate grammar and spellings).
  4. A professional resume that delineates previous work, educational experiences, membership and involvement in professional organizations, and scholarly activities. The resume should support the potential for strong performance in the program.

Program Requirements

The Addiction Counseling program requires 60-credit hours for completion. All courses are required. Courses completed within the last five years at an accredited college or university will be considered for transfer on a course-by-course basis. The degree plan for the Addictions Counseling MS includes the following:

Required Core Courses:

  • COUN 7411 Foundations of Counseling
  • COUN 7531 Group Counseling Processes
  • COUN 7541 Theories of Counseling and Personality
  • COUN 7551 Assessment Techniques
  • COUN 7561 Career Counseling
  • COUN 7571 Clinical Techniques
  • COUN 7730 Crisis Intervention
  • COUN 7750 Multicultural Counseling
  • COUN 7885 Legal and Ethical Issues
  • EDPR 7117 Lifespan Human Development
  • EDPR 7521 Introduction to Educational Research

Concentration Requirements:

  • COUN 6783 Alcohol / Drug Abuse Services
  • COUN 7100 Theories of Addictions
  • COUN 7101 Treatment Planning and Relapse Prevention in Addictions Counseling
  • COUN 7102 Process and Behavioral Addictions
  • COUN 7710 Addiction Counseling

Clinical Field Placement Requirements:

  • COUN 7633 Practicum in Addictions Counseling
  • COUN 7644 Internship in Addictions Counseling (COUN 7644 must be taken for 9-credit hours)

Graduation Requirements

Students must complete all courses with a B average (3.00) or higher, for a total of 60 credit hours. In the semester of graduation, the student must submit the Apply to Graduate form to the Graduate School and a Master's Degree Candidacy form to the Graduate Analyst in Ball Hall 215 (3798 Walker Ave., Memphis, TN 38152) by the deadline specified by the Graduate School.

Professional Organizations