Admission Requirements

What does the application process involve? Read this article about our admissions requirements. You’ll find important information about your personal statement, references, background checks and official transcripts.
Four students talking

Once you make the decision to apply for admission to the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, we are here to ensure the graduate program admissions process goes as smoothly for you as possible.

When you begin our online application, we will be in touch to guide you through the process, keep you posted on key deadlines, and answer any questions you may have.

To help you prepare, we put together the following checklist of admissions requirements and steps. You will also find information on financial aid. If you have questions about our graduate programs in addiction counseling, the application procedure or any aspect of the Graduate School admissions and enrollment process, please contact our admissions office.

A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite for admission to master’s degree programs at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. The GRE is not required for admission.

To be considered for admission to the Graduate School, applicants must complete the relevant required steps for the degree program they selected by the prescribed deadline.

You will be expected to:

  • Request an official transcript from your undergraduate institution. This will show proof that you have earned a bachelor's degree. You are encouraged, but not required, to have transcripts reflecting master's work sent to us as well.
  • Request input from three professional references. Your professional references must be people who are qualified to comment on your academic or professional skills, your abilities and qualities to be an effective addiction counselor, your personal/professional readiness to help others, and knowledge of your values and ethics. You should NOT choose your counselor, sponsor, therapist, family or friends as professional references.
  • Write an essay about your career and educational goals. The essay is a key component of your application. While past experiences may play a role in your decision to apply to Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, we recommend that your essay focuses on your future professional path. You will be evaluated on your ability to express yourself, depth of content and writing skills. Your essay must be typed, double-spaced and approximately 750-1,000 words in total. It is important to note this is an essay, not a letter or personal statement.
  • Participate in an admissions interview over the phone or in person.

Applicants to our on-campus graduate degree program in Center City must also agree to:

  • A background study to comply with Minnesota Statutes, chapter 245C (required of all graduate students who will have direct contact with patients).
  • A complete caregiver background check to comply with State of Wisconsin requirements under Wisconsin HFS12 (required of all graduate students who will have direct contact with patients).
  • Sign a statement and release form for information regarding past sexual contact with, or exploitation of, patients or former patients (per Minnesota Statute 148A). The Graduate School also requires a statement and release of information regarding past sexual contact with any person under the age of 18.
  • A minimum of two years free from problematic alcohol or other drug use.

View application deadlines and apply today.

Throughout our history of training addiction counselors, we have educated students from more than 40 countries around the world. We welcome international students to apply for the Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling: Advanced Practice program, which starts each September at our Center City, Minnesota, campus. You will feel at home on a school campus that is open to broad ideas, diverse cultures, and international perspectives.

Additional requirements and steps in the application process for international students include:

  • Submitting the online application form.*
    Completing the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). An applicant who does not speak English as a first language is required to complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or equivalent. TOEFL requirements are the following: score of 213 or more on the computer-based test, or a score of 550 or more on the written test, or a score of 80 or more on the Internet-based test. If an applicant chooses the IELTS academic exam, a score of 6.0 must be achieved. TOEFL or IELTS scores are not required if the applicant has a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
  • Providing official transcript(s) from all previous higher learning institutions. All transcripts from non-U.S. schools must be evaluated by Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc. or World Education Services, Inc. It is the prospective student's responsibility to pay the fee for this service.
  • Providing immunization records. Minnesota Law (M.S. 135A, 14) requires all students born after 1956 be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus (every 10 years), mumps, and rubella. Minnesota high school students who graduated in 1997 or later are exempt from the immunization requirements. In addition, a student may be exempt for medical or conscientious reasons. Unless exempt, a student must provide immunization data at initial registration.
  • Submitting a financial statement. To receive an I-20 and F-1 Visa, prospective students must show adequate funding to meet all the expenses that will be incurred during your proposed program of study. You must submit a current (not over 90 days) and certified copy of your financial statement from a registered bank or savings institution in U.S. dollars showing adequate financial resources for the period of intended enrollment. The I-20 will not be processed until we have received this information.

*Due to the longer processing time involved in evaluating transcripts, international students must submit a completed application with all supporting documentation by July 1. Remember, international students are eligible to apply only to the Graduate School’s on-campus master’s degree program in Center City. See school admissions deadlines and apply today.

We have identified the basic technology skills and systems you will need in order to complete your degree with us. 

The Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies participates in the Federal Student Aid (FSA) programs administered through the U.S. Department of Education. All federal loans are offered through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. Learn more about the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

From federal loans and private loans to grants and academic scholarships to veteran's benefits, be sure to explore all of the potential financial aid opportunities available to you in pursuing graduate studies.

Roy, a 2015 graduate, shares his perspective on selecting addiction counseling as a career and how the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies blends academics and clinical practice within programs.

Rannon, a 2015 graduate of the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies, had a lot of anxiety before attending our open house. Once he did attend and felt the positive energy of staff, faculty and students, his anxiety about the program and the "unknowns" subsided. He felt he was in a good place to make his decision to come to the Graduate School.

The Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies programs are open to qualified applicants able to meet entrance requirements. The programs do not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, creed, religion, age, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ancestry, marital status, veterans' status, status with regard to public assistance, socioeconomic status, membership or activity in a local human rights commission, political belief or affiliation, or any other legally protected category.