The Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse at Western Michigan University is the first of its kind in Michigan and the first university-based training clinic in Michigan to address substance use disorders.

Our faculty have been preparing professionals in the substance abuse field for over 50 years. The Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse education assists individuals who wish to pursue credentials in the field through undergraduate and graduate studies. The program is exceptional and accessible.

  • Our faculty members—seasoned researchers and practitioners—share their knowledge in ways that enhance students' learning experiences.
  • The state of the art, evidence-based theories and techniques presented prepare students for state and national certifications.
  • Faculty-student research teams engage in basic and applied research and quickly transfer results to practice. In this way, our students directly impact the quality of work in the profession.
Video of WMU Specialty Program in Alcohol & Drug Abuse - Virtual Info Session


We welcome your inquiry and interest in WMU's Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Please browse this site and contact us for further information.


Western Michigan University's Specialty Program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SPADA) was officially established in 1973. SPADA began as a graduate specialty program, but later was designated as a certificate program in accordance with University policy.

The program was first conceived by the late George Mallinson, then dean of the Graduate College, who also was instrumental in developing WMU's Blindness and Low Vision Studies and Physician Assistant departments. Ever the entrepreneur, he was able to sense where the priorities for federal funding were moving and be early in line to ensure that WMU was among the recipients—and therefore in a position to create first-class programs.

SPADA offers two graduate certificates and an undergraduate minor. These programs can be completed in person or through distance education.