The New School for Social Research

MA Concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling

  • The Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling (CMHSAC) is an optional academic and clinical training program offered in conjunction with the master’s degree in General Psychology at The New School for Social Research (NSSR). The curriculum brings together courses in the treatment of substance use disorders and other addictive behaviors as well as general principles of psychology, providing students with a unique foundation for work in this field. Program benefits include the following:

    • Students who enroll in the CMHSAC participate in field placements in New York City treatment agencies, receiving practical and applied training in treating substance use disorders.Although direct clinical experience is not required as part of the curriculum for the CMHSAC master's degree, it is strongly encouraged.
    • After completing all the required courses and graduating from the CMHSAC and MA Program in General Psychology, students will have met the 350 education and training requirements set by New York State's Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) and will be eligible to apply to New York State for a CASAC-Trainee (CASAC-T) certificate. Graduates who take the CASAC exam and receive their CASAC-T will not be granted full CASAC certification until they have completed the required 2,000 hours of work experience, which can be done at a variety of OASAS-approved treatment facilities in New York City. Read more about obtaining the CASAC-T on the OASAS website.  
    • Earning the CMHSAC gives graduates a competitive edge among their colleagues in the field. CASAC-certified CMHSAC students are employable in New York State as substance abuse counselors at hundreds of treatment sites in New York State, giving them a distinct advantage over students in other Psychology master's programs.
    • The CMHSAC employs a harm reduction orientation, putting this program at the cutting edge of training in the treatment of substance abuse disorders and other addictive behaviors. The CMHSAC regularly sponsors workshops, events, and trainings that promote a harm reduction orientation.
    • Earning the CMHSAC gives graduates a competitive edge among their colleagues in the field. CASAC-certified CMHSAC students are employable in New York State as substance abuse counselors at hundreds of treatment sites in New York State, giving them a distinct advantage over students other Psychology master’s programs.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: CMHSAC students who petition to enter a PhD program are subject to the same admission requirements as students enrolled in the master’s degree program in General Psychology: an acceptable grade point average; passing both a master's-level Research Methods course and the Assessment of Individual Differences course; and meeting the statistics competency requirement. 

    Information and Questions

    Students are advised to consult with their student advisors and review the CMHSAC Handbook before registering for CMHSAC-related courses.
    Questions about the Concentration in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling? Email us at MHSAC@newschool.edu.

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