What You Can Do With This Degree

Careers in Substance Use Research

Graduates from the JDP IRSU will be prepared to work in professional fields (e.g., academic and non-academic, military, public and private arenas) where applied substance use/misuse/addiction research is needed.   Our graduates are trained to lead intervention research in areas including primary prevention, harm reduction, addiction treatment/recovery, criminal justice, social work and policy arenas using a collaborative, trans-disciplinary approach. 

Program graduates will develop evidence-based approaches that prevent and reduce the individual and societal burden of substance use, addiction, and related problems.

Our program graduates have accepted positions at:

  • University of California, San Francisco in the Department of Psychiatry (postdoctoral traineeship in substance use treatment and services research)
  • Clinical Psychology Department at San Diego State University (research on HIV-related mHealth interventions for sexual and gender minority populations)
  • UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Program (ISAP)

Where would this doctoral degree train you to work?

Following are examples of institutions and agencies that hire researchers with substance use expertise and where substance use research is conducted.


Graduates will be prepared to apply for post-doctoral fellowships and Assistant Professorships in a variety of institutions where research expertise on substance use and co-occurring conditions can complement a variety of disciplines (e.g., Public Health, Social Work, Anthropology, Global Health, and Psychology).

Research Foundations

Federal Agencies

  • NIH – National Institutes of Health, including:
    • NIDA – National Institute on Drug Abuse
    • NIAAA – National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
    • NIMH – National Institute of Mental Health
    • NCCAM – National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • CA DPH – California Department of Public Health
  • US Federal Agencies
  • National Agencies

Other resources for career planning

Additional Career Paths

Below are additional links to possible career opportunities.

Contact Us

SDSU Social Work

Hepner Hall room 119
5500 Campanile Drive
San Diego, CA 92182-4119