Bachelor of Arts in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment

With its connections to the closely related disciplines of psychology, social work and criminal justice, Alvernia’s Bachelor of Arts in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program develops broad-based skills necessary to address the challenges presented by today’s complex addictions and mental health treatment problems. The program provides students with a solid core of knowledge and skills to prepare them for professional positions in a wide range of areas. The growing field has an increasing need for qualified, professional employees.

With 40 years of history, Alvernia’s Addictions and Mental Health Treatment degree is one of the oldest and best of its kind to be found at the college or university level. It was recently ranked #10 among the Top 25 Small Colleges for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees by SR Education Group, now known as Optimal. Graduates of Alvernia’s program enjoy a very high employment placement rate, and members of the Career Services Office are available to offer job search advice and help you prepare for your job search.

For those interested in Alvernia’s Adult Education Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program, click here to learn more. For the online program, click here.

Getting Started

Where You Can Get A Degree

The Bachelor of Science in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program is available at the following Alvernia University campus:

General Notes
  • A minimum of 123 credits are required for graduation.
  • Credits earned for COM 100 and MAT 100 do not count toward the 123 credits required for graduation; however, COM 100 students may petition for elective credit.
  • Where appropriate, courses required for the major can be used to satisfy General Education requirements. However, the credits earned for these courses are applied to either Gen Ed requirements or the major, not both.
  • Paths of Knowledge coursework may count towards major or minor requirements, but may not fulfill a second Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration requirement.
  • Students are expected to follow the catalog requirements for General Education, the major, and additional requirements.
  • A minor or second major within the areas listed under Paths of Knowledge automatically fulfills that area of the Gen Ed requirements.
Application Instructions

Through a rolling admission process, prospective undergraduate students — including first-year, transfer, and international students — may apply via the Alvernia web portal or The Common Application. To learn more about how to complete your application, please visit our application page.

Financing Your Education

There are options to assist in financing your education and making the tuition affordable. Visit our Student Financial Services page for a detailed overview of the process, including a link to complete the FAFSA application, as well as more information about tuition, the tuition payment plan and the tuition deferment program we offer. Alvernia’s Title IV code for the FAFSA is 003233. The Office of Student Financial Services is available to help with any questions you may have. Call 610-796-8201 or email

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Students on campus 2023
Why Choose Alvernia?
• A nationally ranked comprehensive regional university, Alvernia offers more than 50 majors and minors.
• An ever-expanding number of experiential learning opportunities includes internships, field experiences, co-ops, research projects, and study/service abroad programs.
• A rich campus life allows students to enjoy a full calendar of activities and events, more than 50 clubs, intramural sport and student leadership and governance opportunities.
• In growth mode, Alvernia continues to add value to its student experience: expanding academic programming in new facilities; adding student living space and updating residence halls; partnering with a community health provider; and adding amenities including a game room and new performance space.

Program Overview

Curriculum: General Education

All Alvernia students must successfully complete a minimum of 123 semester credits to receive a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree. You’ll need to complete 54-56 liberal arts core credits and complete community service hours. In addition, Addictions and Mental Health Treatment majors must complete 54 credits in the major.

First Year Curriculum: Enduring Questions

  • SEARCH Seminar-Enduring Questions or Honor Search-Enduring Questions (3 credits: SRH 101 or HNR 160)
  • COM 101 Composition & Research: Must earn a C or higher (3 credits)
  • THE 105 Foundations of Theology (3 credits)
  • PHI 105 Introduction to Philosophy (3 credits)

Mid-Level Liberal Arts Exploration Credits

  • Exploring the Natural World (6-8 credits)
    • Lab Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
    • Math (Other than MAT 100)
  • Individuals & Communities (6 credits)
    • History or Political Science
    • PSY 101, HIS, POS, SOC, SSC, or ECON 3 (Met in major)
  • Culture & Language (9 credits)
    • Communication (Not COM 100 or 101)
    • World Language – 2 courses in sequence (6 credits)
  • Creative Expressions (6 credits)
    • Literature (ENG)
    • Art, Music, or Theatre

Ethical Leaders and Followers Credits

  • Theology or Philosophy (200-400 level) (3 credits)
  • Theology or Philosophy (Ethics/Morality @ 200 level) (3 credits)
Curriculum: Paths of Knowledge

Paths of Knowledge may count towards minor or Related Requirements, but not Mid-Level Arts Exploration requirements. Choose one path.

PATH 1: Interdisciplinary Study (IS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level from the interdisciplinary minors of Women & Gender Studies, Digital Media, Community & Environmental Sustainability, Community Engagement, Cultural Studies, Leadership Studies or Pre-Law.

PATH 2: Multi-disciplinary Study (MS)

Three courses, at least two from Liberal Arts disciplines, not the major, at the 200-400 level employing multiple disciplinary perspectives to explore the Enduring Questions in one of the following themes: Cultural & Global Studies, Imagination & Creativity, Peace & Conflict, Poverty & Wealth or Sustainability, Science & Technology.

PATH 3: In-depth Disciplinary Study (DS)

Three courses at the 200-400 level in one Liberal Arts discipline other than one’s major, guided by common ideas and methods of inquiry. Students choose from Art, Biology, Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Theology, Theatre or World Languages. This path may be used to give students a firm foundation in a discipline supporting their chosen major, or to pursue an interest in one of the Liberal Arts disciplines. 

Curriculum: Major Requirements

A Grade of “C” or better is required for all Addictions and Mental Health Treatment courses.

Required Major Courses (24 credits)

  • AMH 201 Foundations of Addictions
  • AMH 202 Origins of Mental Illness
  • AMH 204 Theories of Counseling & Psychotherapy
  • AMH 230 Assessment and Evaluation
  • AMH 303 Counseling Techniques I
  • AMH 305 Group Counseling I
  • AMH 310 Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • AMH 330 Crisis Intervention (pre-requisites: PSY 201 and AMH 201)

Required Field Experience (12 credits/400 hours)

  • AMH 404: Practicum Field Experience 1 (pre-requisite: 24 credits in AMH courses)
  • AMH 405: Practicum Field Experience 2 (pre-requisite: 24 credits in AMH courses)
  • AMH 406: Practicum Field Experience 3 (pre-requisite: 24 credits in AMH courses)
  • AMH 407: Practicum Field Experience 4 (pre-requisite: 24 credits in AMH courses)

Related Requirements (9 credits)

  • PSY 101: Introductory Psychology
  • PSY 208: Human Development (pre-requisite: PSY 101)
  • PSY 215: Multicultural Issues in Psychology (pre-requisite: PSY 101)

Major Electives (9 credits)

  • Students must complete three courses in any combination from AMH, CJ, PSY or SW (6 credits must be at 300-400 level)
Major Notes

Addictions and Mental Health Treatment majors, as part of the requirements for AMH 404, 405, 406, and 407: Practicum Field
Experience will be required to obtain a Child Abuse clearance, a PA Criminal Record Check, and an FBI clearance including
fingerprinting. Any arrest and/or conviction may or may not prohibit students from participating in Practicums Field Experience.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All Addictions and Mental Health Treatment program courses are approved by the Pennsylvania Certification
Board (PCB), which provides credentialing to substance abuse and other behavioral health professionals. Program coursework can
be used to fulfill PCB education requirements for certification and recertification. PCB certified professionals in Pennsylvania have
reciprocity with many certifying bodies throughout the United States and internationally. Students who plan to practice outside of
Pennsylvania should contact the PCB for more information.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Alpha Sigma Lambda is the premier national honor society for nontraditional adult students. Its aim is to recognize the special achievements of adults who accomplish academic excellence while facing competing interests at home and work. For the nontraditional student, the Society stands as an inspiration for continuing scholastic growth and is a builder of pride through recognition.

The Alvernia University ASL Chapter serves to impart an appreciation for adult students’ academic achievements and contributions. To this day, Alpha Sigma Lambda is not only the oldest but also the largest chapter-based honor society for full-time and part-time students.

All Addictions and Mental Health Treatment faculty members are experts in the classroom and in their professional areas. Faculty members
are actively engaged in research, have written articles that have appeared in prestigious publications and have presented nationally and internationally at conferences.

  • 400 hours (12 credits) of practicum field experience required.
  • Service opportunities are encouraged through local addictions and mental health agencies.
  • Class sessions involve active role plays facilitated by past and present clinical practitioners.
  • Students participate in several related student clubs.
Accreditation Statements
  • Alvernia’s courses are approved by the Pennsylvania Certification Board (PCB), the foremost drug and alcohol credentialing organization in the state. Certification by the PCB is reciprocal among other U.S. states and internationally. A Bachelor of Arts in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment fulfills the requirement for certification and re-certification of addiction counselors by the PCB.
  • Alvernia is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Career Outlook

After earning your Bachelor of Science in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment, you can pursue a variety of careers, including:

  • Client advocate
  • Mental Health facility
  • Criminal Justice
  • Children and Youth
  • Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation
  • Hospitals
  • Corporate Employee Assistant Programs
  • Prevention specialist
  • Intervention
  • Advocacy
  • Social Services

Addictions and Mental Health Treatment is a dynamic and growing field with an increasing need for qualified, professional employees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of addictions and mental health counselors is projected to grow 18 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage in 2022 was $49,710.