Course Description

This course is designed to provide an overview of the genetic, molecular, neurocircuit, and psychosocial basis for the development of addiction. Students will study the neuropharmacology for the major drug classes (opioids, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, nicotine, and alcohol) including mechanisms of action and their impacts on canonical midbrain reward circuitry. In addition to reviewing the deleterious effects of these substances and their impact on public health, the therapeutic potential of each agent will be explored. Students will learn about modern methods in addiction research through reading recently published research papers on addiction. This course is designed for students who are new to the addiction field and are seeking an in-depth overview of the topic. 

Learner Outcomes

  • Identify the clinical features, diagnostic criteria, and health sequelae of substance use disorders (SUDs), and distinguish SUD from related terminology such as addiction and tolerance.
  • Describe canonical mesolimbic reward circuits and diagram the genetic, molecular, circuit, and psychosocial correlates of addiction.
  • Identify the mechanisms of action of major drug classes including opioids, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, nicotine, alcohol, and emerging drugs of concern.
  • Critically evaluate current research on addiction.


This course may apply toward the Biomedical Sciences Endeavor digital badge.


There are no prerequisites for this course.

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Section Title
Neurobiology of Addiction
Online Asynchronous
Mar 29, 2023 to May 16, 2023
Total Cost (Includes $75 non-refundable technology fee per course)
Eligible Discounts Can Be Applied at Checkout (2 Credits) $775.00
Potential Discount(s)
Available for Academic Credit
2 Credit(s)
  • Ruby Holland
  • Paul Kramer
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