Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing

Course information for - 2023 entry

Offered at 1 locations

Study mode
1 year full-time or equivalent part-time
Fees (first year)*

$5497 CSP
$21155 Fee-paying

Start dates
Semester 1 intake: Not available
Midyear (Semester 2) intake: Beginning July 2023
Applications open April 2023


The Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing aims to expand nursing clinicians’ knowledge and skills in mental health practice with evidence-based knowledge and practice enabling immediate application/translation in the workplace.

Current mental health postgraduate programs in Australia focus on either acute mental health care settings or generic mental health. ACU’s Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing has been developed as a course specifically for nursing clinicians entering into the specialist area of mental health. The course is targeted to new nursing graduates and to those working in mental health but who have no formal postgraduate mental health qualifications.

In the current period of mental health service provision reform, there has been a shift in focus from acute inpatient treatment to recovery-oriented practice, so the workforce requires professional development opportunities to keep pace with such changes.

Commonwealth Supported Places are available for this course. See the Courses costs section below, under Fees.


Professional recognition

This course is accredited under the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) National Framework for Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Education. It meets the requirements of a postgraduate qualification for employment beyond entry level in mental health settings and for credentialing as a mental health nurse.


Our graduates have pursued careers in:

  • Public and private health care organisations
  • Child and adolescent, adult and older person mental health services
  • Acute, community, rehabilitation and long term care focused settings
  • Local, State and Commonwealth Government policy
  • Consumer and carer groups
  • Mental health based research

Course details

Course structure

To complete the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing, a student must complete 80 credit points (cp).

View course rules

Sample program map

Year - Study periodUnit 1Unit 2Unit 3Unit 4Unit 5

Year 1 - Semester 1

NRSG652 Recovery Oriented Mental Health Nursing

NRSG651 Holistic Individual Centred Mental Health Nursing Practice

HLSC657 Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

HLSC640 Interpreting Health Research

Year 1 - Semester 2

NRSG653 Health Promotion and Social Inclusion in Mental Health Nursing

NRSG655 Reflective Practice and Clinical Supervision in Mental Health Nursing

HLSC605 Leadership in Health Care

PHIL623 Healthcare Ethics: Principles in Practice

This is a sample program only and units will vary depending on your campus and mode of study. Please refer to the handbook for the prerequisite units and the current listing.

AQF framework

Graduate Diploma - AQF Level 8

Exit Points

Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing (40 cp)

Duration: 1 year part-time

Entry requirements

An applicant must also comply with the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy .

To be eligible for admission to the course, an applicant must:

a. have completed a Bachelor of Nursing degree (or higher) OR have completed the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing or equivalent;


b. provide written confirmation from their employer that they are employed in a mental health service.

Disclaimer: The course entry requirements above are for 2023 Admission.

View transparency admission information

Applicants with higher education study

Students whose first language is other than English need to meet the English Language Proficiency requirements as defined in the Admission to Coursework Programs Policy.

If your previous study has equipped you with knowledge, skills or experiences that align with the learning outcomes of units in your new course you may be able to apply for recognition of prior learning and you may be able to complete your course sooner.

Learn more about recognition of prior learning

Inherent requirement

There are essential components of a course or unit that demonstrate the capabilities, knowledge and skills to achieve the core learning outcomes of the course or unit. Learn more about inherent requirements and how they affect you, and explore the requirements for your course.


Further study

Graduates may progress to a Master of Mental Health Nursing or other postgraduate programs within ACU.


Course costs

Average first year fee*

$5497 CSP
$21155 Fee-paying

Commonwealth Supported Places are available to commencing students only.

All costs are calculated using current rates and are based on a full-time study load of 40 credit points (normally 4 units) per semester.

A student’s annual fee may vary in accordance with:

  • the number of units studied per semester;
  • the choice of major or specialisation; and
  • elective units.

The University reviews fees annually.

A 10% rebate on fees will be offered to domestic ACU graduates (from any faculty) enrolling in full fee-paying postgraduate studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Conditions apply.

Payment options

You should be able to concentrate on getting good marks instead of worrying about how you’ll pay your fees. We have a number of options that can help you ease the financial burden, including government assistance, scholarships and income support. 

Explore your options 


You could be eligible for one of the hundreds of scholarships we award each year to help students from across the university with the cost of studying, accommodation or overseas study opportunities. Some of our scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit, but these aren’t just for the academically gifted; ACU also recognises excellence in community engagement and leadership. We also offer a range of scholarships for those who may be struggling financially or who have faced other barriers to accessing education.  

Search our scholarships 

How to apply

Domestic applicants

Direct application

Apply now

Applicants of Mental Health are required to complete and upload the Statement of Employment form with their application.


Deferment is available for one year. Students must meet employment at the point of commencing studies. Find out more about deferment.



“I found the postgraduate support and guidance from ACU to be of an exceptional standard. The staff were experienced, contemporary in their knowledge and were able to apply both practice and theory to real clinical scenarios to assist us in better understanding the changing world of mental health nursing.”

Mental health nursing student

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