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Master of Mental Health Nursing

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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 Nurses' 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.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. This year we are joining the WHO in celebrating the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, by sharing the stories and successes of the Southern Cross nursing and midwifery community.

Course Learning Outcome

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Location Teaching period UAC code QTAC code
SCU Online Study Period 1 , Study Period 2 , Study Period 3 , Study Period 4 , Study Period 5 , Study Period 6 N/A N/A

Career Outcomes

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



We encourage you to apply for the courses you most want to study. If you are not eligible to enter your chosen course right now, our team will work with you to find the best pathway option.

Before applying, make sure you double check all entry requirements, gather required documentation and review the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, noting any specifics listed below.

Course requirements

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 6 core units.

Course structure

Unit Code Unit Title Notes
Core Units
MHNS5001 Contemporary Mental Health
MHNS5002 Mental Health Across the Lifespan
MHNS6002 Mental Health in Community, Non-Government and Primary Health Settings
MHNS5003 Acute Mental Health
MHNS6004 Physical Health Care in Mental Health
MHNS5004 Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts
Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing after completing any 4 of the above 6 units.
PBHL6004 Appraising Evidence
PBHL5006 Healthcare Professional Portfolio A
Students may be eligible to exit with the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing after completing all the above 8 units.
MHNS6003 Applied Leadership in Mental Health Clinical Practice
MHNS6001 Developing Skills in Contemporary Psychotherapies
NURS5001 Discovery and Enquiry in Health: The Critical Literature Review

Unit Code Unit Title Notes
MGMT5001 Health Systems, Policies and Practices
PBHL5010 Leadership and Management in Health
HLTH5001 Leading Change in Healthcare
HLTH5005 Principles and Practice of Clinical Accountability
PBHL5008 Social and Emotional Competence in the Workplace
HLTH5003 Teaching and Supervision in a Clinical Setting
MGMT6003 The Positive Leader (Online)
MRKT6003 Marketing (Online)
MGMT6004 Organisational Change and Development (Online)
HRMT6002 Human Resource Management (Online)
MGMT5003 Organisational Behaviour (Online)
PROJ5002 Project Management Principles
ACCT5003 Accounting for Managers (Online)
BUSN5005 Management Communication (Online)