Start Dates

  • September 03, 2024


Program Delivery

  • In Class
Tuition & Fees

Domestic: CAD $11,073
Estimated Book Costs: CAD $1,500

Program Description

The two-year Addiction Studies Diploma program will provide learners with comprehensive knowledge and preparation for a career in the addiction field. This program prepares learners to integrate theory and practical skills to work with individuals, families, groups, and communities. In addition to foundational skills, learners reflect on their beliefs and values to develop relevant professional skills to work with a diverse clientele including multicultural and Indigenous populations. Addiction Studies Diploma graduates work in support roles non-profit and private agencies, including community-based organizations, schools, addiction services, residential settings, senior care facilities, and government organizations.

Course Listings Request More Information Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Admission Requirements

Academic requirements
  • Credit in English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development (GED) test with a standard score of 520 in Language Arts: Reading and Writing


  • Satisfactory results on the Bow Valley College Admissions Test
Pre-practicum requirement

The Addiction Studies Diploma program includes practicum placements in agencies where employers require a Police Information Check (PIC) with a Vulnerable Sector Search (VSS). Results of this check may restrict opportunities for placement in a practicum. The Police Information Check must be obtained before the start of the practicum and may need to be renewed more than once while enrolled in a program.

Learners do not need the PIC in order to be accepted into the program. They will be directed as to when to complete the PIC directly prior to their first practicum by the Practicum Coordinator and their instructors.

English language proficiency requirements

See English language proficiency requirements page for details.


Transfer opportunities are available to a variety of institutions. Transfer credits are reviewed and accepted on an individual basis by the institution to which you apply. See our most current transfer agreements here

Course Listings Request More Information Applying FAQ
Domestic Applicants

Welcome Centre
South Campus – Main Floor

Employment Rate


Training Related Employment Rate


Based on 2019-2020 domestic and international students who self-reported finding employment or training-related employment within 6-12 months after graduating.

Course Listing

Full course outlines are available here.

Curriculum subject to change.

Term 1

Required CoursesCredit

This course focuses on the theories, practical skills, and broader issues to guide work in the field of addiction. Learners reflect on their beliefs and values to develop a professional practice drawing upon and respecting the richness and depth of Canada's multicultural society and special populations. Learners explore the types of addiction, the breadth of addiction treatment theory, and how theory informs addiction treatment practice.

Through practice and reflection, learners nuture personal and professional relationships using interpersonal communication skills. With a focus on other-oriented communication, learners demonstrate how inequities and power dynamics influence relationships.

This first-year composition course introduces learners to academic writing and critical thinking. They read and analyze sociopolitical, cultural, and gender issues in texts with an emphasis on experiences of people whose voices were historically silenced, particularly those of Indigenous communities in Canada. Learners develop strategies to communicate their own ideas and integrate them with those of others by quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing source material. Learners present their written assignments professionally according to APA formatting guidelines.

This course provides an introduction to the diverse Indigenous Nations of Canada, while looking at the effects of colonialism in both historical and contemporary times, and from multiple perspectives. This course will orient learners to the current goals and challenges of Indigenous communities in Canada today. Learners are encouraged to situate themselves in Truth and Reconciliation and the Calls to Action, especially as they relate to their chosen field of work.

This introductory course provides learners with a basic understanding and an overview of the field of psychology. Attention is given to major psychological perspectives and the fundamentals of scientific thinking, biological factors, sensation and perception, cognitive processes, personality, social influences and human motivation. Learners will be encouraged to apply what they learn to their own lives and the world around them.

Term 2

Required CoursesCredit

This course examines substances, both illicit and prescribed, and their potential physiological impacts from both historical and contemporary perspectives. Learners will examine substance classifications, regulations, treatments and interventions. In addition, learners address the effects of a variety of substances on basic human anatomy and physiology, and how those effects are potentially exacerbated by addictive substance use. Learners apply this knowledge in the creation of prevention plans, harm reduction plans, and interventions.

Prerequisites: none

This course prepares learners for a career in the addiction field. Learners use reflective analysis to build competencies working with a variety of populations across a broad range of agency settings. Learners prepare for interviews through practice activities, as well as identify the attributes of an addiction professional. Learners also complete the required documentation and demonstrate skills essential to securing a practicum placement and future employment.

Prerequisite: ADDC1101

The course focuses on the signs and symptoms of various mental health disorders. Learners examine signs and risk factors of suicide including suicide behaviours for individuals within special populations including Aboriginal communities. In addition, learners identify the roles of members within multi-disciplinary teams and the resources and supports available.

Prerequisites: none

In this course, learners develop knowledge of and practice with assessment tools. Learners focus on the creation and management of documentation, including the maintenance of current, accurate, and objective case files and records. In addition, the course examines the fundamentals of case management and integrative client services.

Prerequisite: ADDC1101

Learners examine the theory and skills for intentional interviewing. The course focuses on the development of interviewing skills and the ability to adapt these skills to suit individual interviewee's needs. Learners develop a portfolio of interviewing competencies to enhance their professional practice.

This course is an exploration of the concepts of living a holistic balanced life according to Indigenous approaches to healing and wellness, and in the areas of the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. By incorporating experiential wellness activities, learners gain insights into how to support clients on their journey of healing, balance, wellness, and harmony.

Term 3

Required CoursesCredit

This practicum course provides opportunity to integrate theory into professional practice. In this course, learners work within inter-disciplinary teams to develop skills and intervention strategies to provide services for clients and communities. In addition, learners are given the opportunity to evaluate their practicum activities to the scope of practice found in the Canadian Addictions Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) competency profile. Learners integrate the holistic cultural approaches in support of Indigenous and special populations in recovery.

This advanced course focuses on building skills for working cooperatively with children and adults in a family. The course covers diverse family structure and relationships as well as issues facing families today. The course involves instruction, role play, and integration on theories of practice with difficult family dynamics. Discussions include family theory from diverse perspectives.

Prerequisite: 12 credits.

Social policy guides and enables the structural and systemic responses to social issues. You will develop your capacity for influencing social change, while examining the effect of social policies on the human service fields where you will work. You will investigate the relationships between economic, social, and political forces and discover the foundations for human service policies in Canada. Together with peers, you will reflect on key Canadian social policies and weigh their impacts on our lives, to address social problems.

Working with and facilitating groups is a key activity for the human services professional. In this course, learners explore the stages of group development, group roles and norms, theoretical frameworks, intervention, group design, implementation, and evaluation. Learners develop facilitation skills for groups with varying themes and makeup.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human growth and development and typical behavioural responses throughout the lifespan. You will analyze human development across four domains: physical, cognitive, social, and emotional. Emphasis is placed upon the stages of development and their linkage to common events occurring during these stages.

Term 4

Required CoursesCredit

A key issue in addiction is client relapse. This course examines prevention through the use of relapse planning strategies such as identifying and coping with high-risk situations, enhancing self-efficacy, eliminating myths, relapse management, and cognitive restructuring. Learners also focus on how to design, implement, and evaluate prevention programs and practices that meet the needs of the community. In addition, learners plan for the integration for holistic and cultural approaches to support Aboriginal and special populations.

Prerequisite: ADDC1101

The efficacy of program development delivery and evaluation is key to the addiction field. In this course, learners examine the cycle of program development using a range of evaluation models. Learners develop skills in program evaluation including conducting needs assessments, focus groups, and survey methodologies.

Prerequisite: ADDC1101

In this course, learners build on previous learning and practice to develop advanced addiction services skills. The practicum placement provides further opportunity to integrate theory into increasingly independent professional practice. Learners work within inter-disciplinary teams to develop advanced skills and intervention strategies for clients and communities. In addition, learners are given the opportunity to compare their practicum activities to the scope of practice found in the Canadian Addictions Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) competency profile. Leaners integrate the holistic cultural approaches in support of Aboriginal and special populations in recovery.
Prerequisite: ADDC2998

This course focuses on the theoretical and practical principles of effective leadership. Learners explore the theory, structure, and management of organizations as a foundation for program development in the context of human services organizations and funders.

Career ElectivesStudents must also complete one (1) of the following courses.

Learners examine the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on individuals, their families, communities, and societal systems. As part of this examination, learners discuss the ethical issues surrounding prenatal alcohol exposure. They examine the pathways and process of a diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). Learners analyze the complex behaviours exhibited by individuals with FASD to assess their needs and to determine priorities to support those individuals and their families. They explore supports and services available to individuals who are living with FASD.

In this course, learners examine the core components of health and wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention within the context of the Canadian health care system. In addition, learners explore strategies to promote and advocate for healthy living for themselves and in their professional practice.

This course provides an overview of Canadian civil and criminal law, its history, and structure. The civil law component provides the learner with foundational knowledge of the operation civil legal systems and the interests involved. The course explores Canadian criminal law through the examination of constitutional law, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms as well as the substantive and procedural law contained in the Criminal Code.

This course provides an introductory overview of the discipline of Sociology. Learners explore human behavior, stratification, social institutions, and sociological theory and methods. Learners examine how social positions shape lives, and how people adjust to social and cultural environments.

Program FAQs

No appointment is needed to visit the Welcome Centre. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays. Or, you can drop us an email at info@bowvalleycollege.ca.

International students should contact the International Education Office at international@bowvalleycollege.ca or call 403-410-3476.

Bow Valley College Career Services exists to connect employers with Bow Valley College learners, alumni, and clients.

While there are several agencies that will not accept a practicum learner with a criminal record, there are agencies that will. Learners who are concerned about their background checks are encouraged to reach out to the Practicum Coordinator early in the program to discuss what options might be available.
If you have prior work experience or have taken courses comparable to those required under this program at another institution, you may be eligible for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) or transfer credit.

All requests must be submitted prior to the start of the program.
To be successful in the addiction studies field, learners are encouraged to have a strong commitment to the community and to the empowerment of others while engaging in their own personal reflection and self-care. In addition, graduates of this program are strongly encouraged to participate in continuing education to stay current in the field.
The diploma can be completed full-time over four terms (two years). Some learners choose to take an additional term or year to complete the program.
All learners in the Addiction Studies Diploma program must complete two practicum placements in their second year of the program in order to graduate. One practicum takes place in the fall term and the second practicum placement takes place in the winter term. Learners are able to choose from a variety of placements, including community-based agencies, mental health programs, residential settings, and on reserves in Calgary and surrounding areas.

Learners must successfully complete ADDC1101 – Introduction to Addiction Studies and ADDC2302 – Suicide and Mental Health Early Intervention, as well as be enrolled in six Addiction Studies courses as a pre or co-requisite to enroll in the practicum course.

Learners will also have to complete a Police Information Check (PIC) prior to their first practicum.
Learners do not need the PIC in order to be accepted into the program. They will be directed as to when to complete the PIC directly prior to their first practicum by the Practicum Coordinator and their instructors.
Addiction Studies Diploma learners registered for the ADDC2998 and ADDC2999 practicum courses will work directly with the Practicum Coordinator in order to find a practicum placement. All learners will be provided with an Agency Guidebook outlining the various agencies that typically will accept Addiction Studies practicum learners.

Learners will meet individually with the Practicum Coordinator to discuss the best agencies for their learning needs, and will then be encouraged to apply to multiple agencies decided on between the learner and coordinator with hopes that the learner will receive requests for interviews by the agencies and eventual offers.

**While the Practicum Coordinator and Addiction Studies team will provide guidance and support to the learner, practicum placements are not guaranteed, as interviews and offers are dependent on agency needs at that time.
Graduates of the Addiction Studies Diploma work in addiction-related non-profit and private agencies, including community-based organizations, schools, addiction services, residential settings, and government organizations.

Regardless of whether you are taking an online course, it is important to have access to a computer, as all face-to-face and online courses require regular access to D2L, our online learner software program. Learners are encouraged to login to D2L and their mybvc email daily to make sure they are receiving up-to-date information from instructors and college announcements.

If you are taking an online course, you should make sure your computer has the following applications:

• Reliable internet access – DSL or cable connections are highly recommended.
• We recommend Windows 7 or 10 (preferred) or Mac OS software; Microsoft Office 2013 (minimum); Adobe Acrobat Reader; and a media player such as Adobe Flash Player, QuickTime, or Windows Media Player.
• Some courses might require additional software or applications packages. You will be given this information before starting the course.
• We recommend Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, and Safari as browsers. D2L does not work well with Internet Explorer.

The approximate cost of textbooks and other supplies is estimated at $750 per term.
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