The New School for Social Research

  • The CMHSAC Program And The CASAC

    Who Should Consider the CMHSAC?
    The CMHSAC was created to meet a number of curricular and programmatic needs in the psychology department at the New School for Social Research (NSSR). Specifically, it is a program that was designed to be particularly attractive and beneficial to:

    1. Those students who do not intend to continue on to doctoral study but would like to significantly enhance their marketability after graduation;
    2. Students who currently work with substance abusing or dually diagnosed populations and who would like to complement their practical experience with formal academic training and credentials; and
    3. Eugene Lang seniors, students in the accelerated Lang BA/MA Program, NSSR MA and PhD students who intend to enter into a career in the substance abuse field.

    CMHSAC Program Details
    Admission to Program

    There are no separate requirements for admission to the CMHSAC program. All students who have been admitted to the General MA Program in the Psychology Department are also eligible to enroll in the CMHSAC. However, students will not be considered enrolled in the program until they have completed an enrollment form and submitted it to the Psychology Student Advisor's office. Copies of the enrollment form are distributed during the first few weeks of the Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling Course. There is no deadline for enrolling, and students are free to take any number of the required courses before submitting a formal application. However, students should be aware that until a formal application is submitted, they will not be eligible for fieldwork placements or able to register for the seminar on Ethics.

    Advising and Registration
    It is extremely important that students confer with the student advisors prior to registering for any of the courses offered in the CMHSAC. Please see the CMHSAC Student Handbook (PDF) for recommended course sequences. Visit for additional information regarding the registration process.

    Tuition and Fees
    The latest fee schedule can be found on the New School website at The New School reserves the right to alter this schedule of fees without notice.

    Course Requirements
    The CMHSAC degree requirements consist of a total of 30 credits, nine of which are in the area of substance abuse. All of the courses are usually offered once a year. The three required courses for the CMHSAC (Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling; Advanced Issues in Substance Abuse Counseling; Psychopathology III) are offered during the regular academic year during certain semesters. Please see the CMHSAC Student Handbook (PDF) for further details.

    Eligibility for admission to the doctoral program
    It is important to reiterate and emphasize the fact that electing to pursue a CMHSAC degree does not in any way preclude a student from applying for admission to the doctoral program. CMHSAC students who wish to apply to the doctoral program are subject to the same admission requirements that apply to those enrolled in the general MA program. These requirements include a satisfactory grade point average; passing the comprehensive exam; successfully passing both an MA-level research methods course and the Assessment of Individual Differences course; and completing the elementary statistics requirement. There are some caveats, however:

    1. Given the possibility that some students will feel disadvantaged in their ability to take some of the so-called "comps-relevant" courses as electives, students are strongly encouraged to audit as many comps-relevant courses as their schedule allows.
    2. The one-credit Ethics course and the two-hour online Child Abuse Reporting training are not CMHSAC course requirements but are among the New York State-OASAS academic requirements for CASAC eligibility. Students who wish to complete all of the academic requirements to sit for the CASAC exam must take the Ethics course (increasing their total credits to 31) and the free two-hour training in Child Abuse Reporting, which is completed as part of the Advanced Issues in Substance Abuse Counseling Course.
    3. Students who wish to apply for admission to the clinical PhD program will also have to take the Research Methods, Intro to Stats and Research Design, and History and Systems courses. Thus, they will not take elective courses but instead will complete one additional "A"-level course.
    4. The Adult Psychopathology course is not part of the required CMHSAC curriculum, but it is required for the CASAC eligibility and is also part of the Clinical MA track.

    Description of CASAC Requirements
    The CMHSAC Master's Degree Program by itself does not satisfy all of the CASAC requirements. There are also requirements for work experience and supervised practical experience that must be met either before, during, or after CASAC exam. However, the CASAC academic eligibility requirements (and hence, eligibility for a CASAC-T certificate and sitting for the CASAC exam) can be easily met by taking, in addition to the required CMHSAC courses, Adult Psychopathology, the 1-credit Seminar on Professional Issues and Ethics, and the online Child Abuse Reporting training. Note: A master's degree in psychology is considered the equivalent of 4,000 hours of work experience. Consequently, the required amount of work experience for CMHSAC graduates is only one year, rather than the customary three years of full-time paid work. For more information on the CASAC requirements, please consult the CMHSAC handbook or the student coordinator. Information is also available at New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) website. More information can also be found in the CMHSAC Student Handbook (PDF).