Postgraduate mental health nursing courses

Looking to study mental health nursing at the postgraduate level? MyUniversity provides students with a broad range of information about Australian universities and other higher education providers.


Before searching the MyUniversity website, please note: nurses wishing to study mental health nursing with a view to being awarded a Credential need to undertake a graduate diploma, postgraduate diploma, or master in mental health nursing only. Graduate Certificates, or courses in mental health that aren't specifically mental health nursing, will not lead to a Credential being awarded.


Click here to go to the MyUniversity website

Click here to view ACMHN Accredited Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing courses 


Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011


The Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011 is a report commissioned by the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc. (ACMHN) to inform a review of the ACMHN Credential for Practice Program.

It was undertaken to determine whether programs met the criteria established by the ACMHN for credentialing of mental health nurses. The ACMHN recognises specialist mental health nurses through its Credential for Practice Program and nurses applying to be credentialed under the program must provide evidence that specialist mental health nursing or psychiatric nursing qualifications have been obtained. The scan highlighted that of 34 Australian nurse education providers, 23 universities and one other offered courses in postgraduate mental health nursing, a significant increase  over two decades. However, a range of inconsistencies across programs was also found as well as expectations about specialist and advanced nursing practice.

The ACMHN CPP has been a successful program for professional specialist nurse credentialing in Australia. Since its national launch in 2004, over 1100 nurses have been credentialed. With the phasing out of direct entry psychiatric/mental health nursing education courses, the ACMHN looked towards recognising and offering self-regulation for mental health nurses. It pro-actively increased its self-governance role by updating the ACMHN Standards of Practice for mental health nurses and subsequently through the Credential for Practice Program (CPP).

See a copy of the scan here: Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011

For further information about the ACMHN Credential for Practice Program visit



Credentialing and mental health nursing qualifications


If you are planning to undertake a postgraduate course in mental health nursing for the purposes of credentialing as a specialist mental health nurse, the minimum qualification is a graduate diploma in mental health nursing. Some Master degree courses offer exit points at graduate diploma level and graduate certificate level. A graduate certificate alone is insufficient for the purposes of credentialing. Please check the guidelines for applications for further information.


'Each University conducts its own course based on its own requirements. Therefore, courses vary in their structure and content and it is recommended that you investigate the elements below when you are choosing a course.'

 Prof Margaret McAllister University of Sunshine Coast.



Is this a Mental Health Nursing specific program?

The elements below will assist you in identifying a course that is mental health nursing specific. Information about each course should be sought from the relevant University.

  • The title of the course includes the terms “mental health nursing” or “psychiatric nursing”.
  • The course is provided through the department/school of nursing or nursing and midwifery in the relevant University.
  • There are units in the course which require you to undertake, and be assessed on clinical nursing practice in a mental health setting. This may be undertaken while you are working in a mental health nursing setting or the units may be specifically related to clinical practice.
  • At least four of the units of the course are specifically about mental health nursing. Some courses will include generic or core units such as research/evidence based practice, or contemporary nursing.

Scholarships are available in each state and territory usually for employees of the relevant departments of health. The Commonwealth Government also offers scholarships. This information can be found on the College website.