Skip Navigation

Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: PSYC620 Course ID: 4048 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course guides graduate learners in advanced level study of addictive disorders, including the historical and social context of the addictive process and the neurobiology of substance dependence. Course foci include the assessment of addiction, the substances of abuse, issues experienced by special populations, and available treatments for substance abuse and addiction.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
01/25/21 - 07/02/21 07/05/21 - 08/29/21 Summer 2021 Session B 8 Week session
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Students successfully completing this course will:

1. Investigate seminal and contemporary theories of addiction and treatment models
2. Assess the magnitude of substance abuse and dependence problems in the U.S., including issues related to substance use assessment.
3. Articulate characteristics of the major substances of abuse.
4. Examine issues experienced by special populations of substance users, including behavioral addictions such as problem gambling and sex addiction.
5. Evaluate current trends and related issues in the field of substance abuse and addiction intervention and treatment.
6. Apply to case studies key concepts in treatment plan development and intervention for clients.
7. Critically analyze peer-reviewed publications from the body of literature focused on substance abuse and addiction.
8. Demonstrate APA style and writing skills commensurate with graduate level studies.


It is expected that graduate students will exhibit advanced level critical thinking, the ability to synthesize multiple sources of information, writing skills, and academic integrity in all course activities. With the exception of forum posts, assignment submissions completed in a narrative essay or composition format may not be written in first or second person (“I” or “you”). All writing must follow the citation and reference style established by APA the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. (2019, Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association), in size 12 Times New Roman, 11 Georgia, 11 Arial, 10 Lucinda Sans Unicode or 11 Calibri font, double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides of the page and include a cover page with the following centered vertically and horizontally: Title of the Paper, the title of the paper is bolded on the title page. Name, your name starts on the 3rd line after the title. The Univeristy name, Course, Instructor, and Due Date. Page number in the upper right corner on the Page Header. With the rare exception of briefly quoting specific statistical research findings, in which case the publication’s author and year date of publication must be properly cited with quoted material placed inside quotation marks, all submitted content MUST be paraphrased (summarized in the student’s own words) with correct source citations properly formatted in APA style. IMPORTANT NOTE: Source citations are not required in Forum posts (either Initial or Reply Posts).

Source citations are not required in Forum posts (either Initial or Reply Posts).

The APUS Library has resources available for APA style formatting and source citation and some additional sources are available in the classroom.

Unless otherwise instructed for individual assignments, students may not use commercial websites as the basis for completion of any assignments. Encyclopedia websites, such as Wikipedia or Encarta, dictionaries, blogs, or opinion slanted news media outlets, and commercial Internet sources such as Web MD or may not be used for any writing assignment. Scholarly, peer-reviewed journals from the APUS Online Library must be used for assignment completion.


FORUMS: Due Weeks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, & 8
This course includes weekly forums requiring participation in interactive dialogs with classmates and the professor about course-relevant topics. Forums are graded scholarly dialogs with both general posting and topic focused requirements, located on the classroom Forums page.

EXAMS: Due Weeks 4 and 8
Students will complete two open-book, non-proctored, untimed essay examinations, a midterm exam covering the first four weeks of the course, and a final exam covering Weeks 5 through 8. Specific instructions for this assignment are located in the classroom Assignment page.

This course includes a Case Study Analysis, an assignment which provides the opportunity to read and conceptualize a clinically-based case, using information from the course text and the scholarly literature. The Case Study Analysis is completed in three phases which include (1) selection of a case (from the supplied list) and submission of a relevant area of interest from the scholarly literature (due by end of Week 1); an annotated bibliography (due by end of Week 3); and the final analysis (due by end of Week 7). Specific instructions for this assignment are located in the classroom Assignment page.


Course Requirement Points Possible Percentage of Total Course Points Possible
Forums [8 @ 100 points each] 800 32%
Case Study and Topic Selection 50 5%
Annotated Bibliography 150 15%
Midterm Exam 140 14%
Case Study Analysis 200 20%
Final Exam 140 14%
TOTAL 1480 100%

Other readings as assigned – Direct links to all “Additional Readings” can be found in weekly Announcements and through the Lessons tabs in the classroom.

Book Title:Principles of Addiction : Comprehensive Addictive Behaviors and Disorders, Volume 1 (Ebook available in the APUS Online Library)
Publication Info:Elsevier Science & Technology
Author:Peter M. Miller
Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.