Lifelong Learning for a Brighter World

McMaster Continuing Education’s Addiction Studies program has stood the test of time


In the summer of 1998, Grace Ibrahima began what she thought would be a one-year diploma program. Little did she know, the McMaster University Continuing Education Addiction Studies program would change her life.

Grace, a Trinidadian living in England with her husband and two sons, was a registered nurse. She struggled with alcohol but thought her drinking was under control. The family decided to move to Canada. At the time, her husband was suffering from cancer, and she made a promise to him to take care of their boys. Grace wanted a better life, and after researching schools and programs in her area, she decided to pursue McMaster Continuing Education’s Addiction Studies diploma program.

The decision was made easy, thanks to what she describes as “professional and personal support” she received from the admissions team. Before attending McMaster Continuing Education, Grace lacked self-esteem, self-worth and confidence. She was looking to turn her life around both personally and professionally and found exactly that at McMaster Continuing Education. Grace describes a moment that changed her life: she called her instructor at the time, Rick Csiernik, and said, “I just have one question for you.” To which Csiernik replied, “Grace, I have time for more than just one question.” This small gesture made a significant impact and marked the beginning of Grace’s journey of lifelong learning, discovering her self-worth and being part of the McMaster community.

Grace Ibrahima accepting the 1998-1999 McMaster MAPS CCE Centennial Award

Grace Ibrahima accepting the 1998-1999 McMaster MAPS CCE Centennial Award

Since graduating, Grace has become a published author, writing Mercy, One life, Many Stories and All Will Be Well. She was a recipient of the 1998-1999 McMaster MAPS CCE Centennial Award, which recognizes outstanding personal efforts of part-time students, and has been featured in multiple publications including the Financial Post. Most of all, Grace is a proud McMaster alumna. She attributes the Addiction Studies program for her confidence and success over the years, saying, “What I received from McMaster was not just a degree and an award, I gained much more than that, something to push me ahead over the last 20 years.” When asked what she would tell someone considering pursuing this program, she replied, “I am connected to McMaster Continuing Education 20 years after graduating. That says a lot.”

McMaster University Continuing Education has been offering programs in addiction studies for nearly 30 years. The program, now known as Professional Addition Studies, offers courses that range from counselling skills to pharmacology and treatment planning to trauma informed care. The program provides an opportunity to gain the knowledge and skills required for employment and professional certification for individuals entering the field of addiction care. The program is also an excellent professional development opportunity for those already working in mental health, counselling, law enforcement, nursing, social work, or child and family services.

McMaster University Continuing Education has inspired people to discover and achieve through lifelong learning since 1931. As one of Canada’s largest and leading providers of continuing education for adult learners, McMaster Continuing Education’s purpose is to develop and realize the potential of both individuals and society by providing the education to thrive in today’s dynamic world.

To learn more about McMaster University Continuing Education’s Professional Addiction Studies program, please visit

To learn more about Grace and her story, please visit