Course summary

Turn your passion for mental health nursing into a career specialisation with this contemporary online course, the first in Australia to be directly constructed from the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing’s National Framework for Postgraduate Studies in Mental Health Nursing.

This new course responds to contemporary mental health nursing research and policy and has been designed with the input of leading clinical and academic mental health nurses as well as consumers. It reflects the growing understanding that mental health nurses can provide specialist intervention in mental health teams across diverse settings.

Undertaking this course will enhance your clinical capabilities and theoretical knowledge of both current and future mental health nursing practice, for the benefit of mental health consumers, your professional discipline and yourself.

Each unit runs for seven weeks with six study periods per year and the course is offered exclusively online.

Please note: this course can be completed in two years of accelerated part-time study.

Core units focus on contemporary mental health theory and practice, physical healthcare needs, evidence-based case formulation and common interventions within acute care contexts, in primary mental health as well contemporary applications of developmental psychology and psychological therapies. 

You will also choose an elective from a diverse range of subjects that include leadership, management, human resources and organisational issues in mental health settings.

Graduate AttributeCourse Learning Outcome
Intellectual rigour

Critically evaluates and integrates models of treatment relevant to the care continuum, to inform co-constructed personalized care strategies which meet the consumer’s life needs as well as health needs.

Generates/translates novel information or theories, making a substantial contribution to the mental health nursing discipline through scholarly activities.


Engages creatively in therapeutic relationships with mental health consumers their families and significant others, which are characterized by co-construction of care and collaborative engagement.

Critically appraises the nature and extent of influences (social, political, economic and organizational) to overcome constraints in negotiation of options for clinical interventions.

Ethical practice

Advocates for mental health consumers, challenging discrimination and public discourse, minimising stigma through the use of positive portrayal and working toward social inclusion and independence.

Interrogates and challenges the concepts of risk and safety from the basis of consumer centred care considering social protection, legal, moral and ethical principles to balance risk in recovery.

Knowledge of a discipline

Exercises expert/enhanced clinical judgement and decision-making and insight in novel situations in specialist mental health nursing in the pursuit of optimal consumer outcomes.

Negotiates and executes the role of the mental health nursing discipline in a multidisciplinary and multi-professional approach.

Lifelong learning

Consistently demonstrates a high level of autonomy, accountability, adaptability and responsibility in self-directed work and learning.

Engages in and leads others in collaborative critical reflection on clinical practice and achievement of lifelong learning outcomes.

Communication and social skills

Develops and maintains partnerships in care (individually and with groups) with mental health consumers and their families which focuses on the recipient of care, the person’s right to choice and self-determination, and the person’s inherent capacity for recovery.

Consistently and judiciously uses information technology, compelling and authoritative written and verbal communications.

Cultural competence

Respects individual worldviews and enhances their own critical thinking to lead others in challenging assumptions underpinning worldviews.

Adjusts clinical practices to incorporate consumer’s cultural perspectives into mental health planning and interventions.

This course has received provisional accreditation from the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses pending the first graduate of the course.


Course overview

Course code


Course abbreviation


Credit points


Equivalent units


Domestic duration

2 years part-time

International duration

2 years full-time

Availability details


Location Session UAC code QTAC code
SCU Online 1 N/A N/A

Domestic fees

Fee paying

Course requirements

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

To be eligible to receive the Master of Mental Health Nursing, students must complete the equivalent of 12 units (144 credit points), comprising:

  • 11 core units (132 credit points), and
  • 1 elective unit (12 credit points).

Exit Awards

Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing after completing the equivalent of 8 units (96 credit points), comprising the first 8 core units.

Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing after completing the equivalent of 4 units (48 credit points), comprising any 4 of the first 8 core units.

Schedule of units

Title Level of learning Note
Core Units
NRS83001 - Contemporary Mental Health Advanced
NRS83002 - Mental Health Across the Lifespan Advanced
NRS83003 - Mental Health in Community, Non-Government and Primary Health Settings Advanced
NRS83004 - Acute Mental Health Advanced
PBH91001 - Appraising Evidence Introductory
NRS93003 - Physical Health Care in Mental Health Advanced
NRS93004 - Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts Advanced
CMM91010 - Healthcare Professional Portfolio A Introductory
Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing after completing any 4 of the above 8 units or with the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing after completing all the above 8 units.
MHN93002 - Applied Leadership in Mental Health Clinical Practice Advanced
MHN93001 - Developing Skills in Contemporary Psychotherapies Advanced
HEA93002 - Discovery and Enquiry in Health: The Critical Literature Review Advanced