Academic Calendar Winter/Summer 2021

Social Work and Human Services

Substance Abuse Counselling certificate

Note: This program is unavailable until further notice.

Alcohol and drug abuse is a growing problem in society and an increasing number of individuals are seeking help in treating their addiction problems. Similarly there is an increasing number of people working in the social services and related fields who are seeking additional training in order to become more effective with their client groups.

The Substance Abuse Counselling program is designed to produce beginning professionals who recognize their own limitations and strengths and are prepared to undertake professional development on an ongoing basis. Intervention skills will be developed on individual, group, and family levels. Emphasis will be on providing knowledge of alcohol and drug dependencies, techniques of working with clients with dependencies, and knowledge and skills relating to specific client groups. Substance abuse counsellors may or may not be recovering people, but undertaking this training is not part of the recovery process. Prospective students are expected to lead a life free from substance abuse or risk being removed from the program.

This program is offered as a post-graduate certificate to those holding diplomas, certificates, or degrees in allied fields (such as education, health care, criminal justice, social services, etc.) and is geared towards a post-basic level of educational achievement.

Entrance requirements

As this program is structured as a post-secondary program for those already holding professional or para-professional credentials, all applications will be assessed on an individual basis by the director. The admissions requirements are as follows:

  1. Interview with the Substance Abuse director, during which time personal suitability for working with people with addiction problems will be assessed.
  2. Sustained work history (approximately five years) evidencing stability.
  3. Evidence of professional or para-professional credentials.
  4. Applicants must meet the Degree/diploma level English language proficiency requirement. For details on how this requirement may be met, see the English language proficiency requirement section of the calendar.
  5. Formal training in counselling skills. Individuals lacking such training may be provisionally accepted but required to complete HSER 120 and 200 (or acceptable equivalents) prior to registering in HSER 500, 501, and 502. Students may substitute a videotape demonstrating counselling skills in lieu of formal training.
  6. Two recent letters of reference.
  7. Minimum of four years sobriety for recovering individuals.
  8. Willingness to undergo a criminal record check.

Students who do not meet these requirements might consider Qualifying Studies.

When to apply

This program is not currently accepting applications.

How to apply

  1. Apply online at

    Additional documents required for a complete application:

    • Official transcripts (or interim transcripts) from all post-secondary institutions attended showing grade/course achievement as per entrance requirements. To be considered official, transcripts must be sent directly to UFV from the originating institution; see the Transfer Credit section for details.
    • An additional application information form detailing all past work and volunteer experience and education (include social service related and other; available at
    • A letter stating why applicants want to enter the program and what has brought them to make this career choice. Please refer to the kinds of experiences had in this field, either paid or volunteer.
    • At least one recent letter of reference from a past employer, teacher, or volunteer supervisor who can comment on suitability to work in the field.

  2. Applicants must attend an interview. Out-of-province applicants may be able to make special arrangements with the director.
  3. Applicants for the certificate program will be accepted until the program is full.

Basis for admission decision

  1. All complete applications received by January 31 will be reviewed. Applications received after this date will be reviewed if space permits.
  2. Personal suitability of applicants will be assessed using a point rating system. Points are awarded for past academic education, all work or volunteer experience (social services or other), demonstrated writing ability, reference letters, personal statement and the group interview. Admission will be granted on a first-qualified, first-served basis to those scoring above the required threshold, and who have completed a successful interview.
  3. A successful group interview. The group interview generally consists of four to six student applicants and two SWHS department members. Applicants should be prepared to discuss their career goals and knowledge of the field, and are expected to demonstrate appropriate interpersonal and life skills.
  4. Only those who submit complete applications and score the minimum required points will be called for a group interview. Every effort will be made to give an admissions decision within two months of the application deadline.

If the program is full, qualified applicants will be placed on a temporary waitlist. If students meet the entrance requirements and a space becomes available before September 1, they will be contacted. After September 1, the waitlist is void.

In cases where interim transcripts are submitted, an admissions decision may be made conditional upon completion of academic requirements. Proof of completion of entrance requirements is due by the end of the first week in August.

Fees and additional costs

See the Fees and Other Costs section. (Please note: HSER 500, 501, 502, 510, 511, 512, and 530 are offered on a cost-recovery basis with higher tuition fees.)

The certificate program is offered part-time only, and does not qualify for financial aid. Some bursaries are available. Contact the Financial Aid and Awards office for more information.

Some employers may be willing to sponsor their employees; prospective students are urged to approach their employers about this possibility.


The program is located at the Abbotsford campus.

Program outline

Semester I (Fall)

Course Title Credits
HSER 500 Counselling Skills for Addictions Work 2
HSER 501 Group Facilitation Skills for Addictions 2
HSER 510 The Nature of Substance Abuse 2
HSER 527 Integrative and Self-care Seminar 1.5

Semester II (Winter)

Course Title Credits
HSER 502 Family Work in Addictions 2
HSER 511 Pharmacology and Psychobiology of Addictions 2
HSER 512 Community Treatment: Assessment and Referral 2
HSER 528 Integrative and Self-care Seminar 1.5

Semester III (Summer)

Course Title Credits
HSER 530 Substance Abuse Practicum 6

Practicum regulations

Acceptance into the program does not guarantee practicum placement. Students will be individually assessed as to their readiness, in terms of skills, attitudes and knowledge, for the practicum. Practica are primarily in the Fraser Valley and students are not guaranteed the placement of their choice. Students will generally begin their practica after the completion of the first semester, although the practicum can be started later. Students working in the field may be allowed to do some, but not all, of their practicum hours in their workplace.

Workload and classroom expectations

In addition to the classroom modules, students will be required to read, study, and prepare assignments outside of class and can expect to spend an additional three to six hours per week outside of class. In addition they will be required to make videotapes in UFV's lab.

Program continuance

A GPA of 2.00 (C average) is required for graduation and practicum placement. Students who do not complete a prerequisite course may be allowed to register for a subsequent course at the discretion of the program head. UFV reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient registration. Continuation of the program will be dependent upon adequate enrolment.

Undergraduate continuance

Students enrolled in undergraduate courses (courses numbered 100 or above) must maintain an undergraduate Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) of at least 2.00 to remain enrolled in Good Academic Standing at UFV. Students in Good Academic Standing will have no registration limits placed on them. Failure to meet the minimum CGPA requirement will result in restrictions on registration and may eventually lead to academic suspension from undergraduate studies at UFV. Students on Academic Warning or Academic Probation are limited to registering in 10 credits. For further details, see the Academic standing and undergraduate continuance section of the academic calendar. Academic standing is governed by UFV's Undergraduate Continuance policy (92).

Course listings

For complete details on courses see the course descriptions section.

Current Students