English language requirements
IELTS overall score of 6.5 with no individual band score less than 6 (or equivalent). More information is available at www.ielts.org
2 years part-time
Note: this course is only available part-time
Critical care nurses work in some of the most complex health environments across emergency departments, ICUs and other high dependency units. The advanced specialist skills required to manage and provide care to the critically ill as part of a multidisciplinary team are in demand now more than ever across regional, rural or metropolitan hospitals. Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing prepares you to meet that demand.
Ranked 20th in the world,* our School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of the largest and best in Australia. By studying your Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing at Deakin, you will be guided through industry-informed coursework by experts in critical care nursing and have access to the School’s extensive cutting-edge research, which is recognised as well above world standard.^
Are you ready to provide expert care to critically ill patients across a range of complex settings?
If you want to take the next step in your nursing career, our Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing prepares you to practise effectively at an advanced practice level. As a graduate you will demonstrate ethical, safe, high-quality and expert clinical decision-making abilities within a multidisciplinary team. You will also gain psychomotor skills commensurate with specialised theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care.
As a student of Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing you will be challenged to advance your professional judgement by exploring the current and emerging trends, concepts, knowledge and evidence that provides the policy and practice framework around the speciality care of the critically ill.
Deakin’s strong industry connections ensure a high level of collaboration and support during your clinical practice. This means that while you study you can immerse yourself in your speciality practice area with one of our numerous metropolitan, rural and regional health partners across Australia.
This course enables you to:
- analyse and provide advanced patient care in response to complex data from patient and technologically derived sources
- demonstrate advanced clinical judgement leading to autonomous decision-making
- practise critical thinking and reflection regarding current health environment issues and specialty nursing practice
- explore and demonstrate an understanding of complex practice, transcultural, ethical and psychosocial concepts
- combine advanced communication skills with professional knowledge to promote safe, high-quality care of the critically ill.
Second year elective units allow you to pursue your specific areas of interest and career goals. You can choose from complementary areas of practice to your specialisation, or undertake studies preparing you for roles in education, leadership or management. You will also have the opportunity to select a unit from anywhere across the university, further expanding your skill set.
Our innovative online program delivers a rich, interactive and empowering learning experience designed for postgraduate nurses. Live-streaming seminars and class discussions encourage critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Australia’s top-rated tech support and access to our expert teaching staff means you can learn at your own pace, when and where it suits you, without compromising quality or support.
You will be challenged to become a leader in evidence-based practice, and a change agent to improve the quality of nursing care and patient outcomes of the critically ill.
Graduates are prepared to handle the contemporary challenges critical care nurses may face in a course that responds to industry trends and demands, and expectations from professional bodies. You will learn how to make a difference through roles in areas such as practice, education, leadership and research.
*2022 ShanghaiRankings Ranking of Academic Subjects.
^Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) 2018.
- Award granted
- Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing
2023 course information
- Deakin code
- Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
- Approval status
This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
- Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition
The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8.
To complete the Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing, student must attain 8 credit points, comprising of 6 core (compulsory) units, 1 unit of course electives and 1 postgraduate elective from anywhere across the University.
The core critical care nursing specialisation units are completed in year one of the course and are semester-based delivery.
Both the theoretical and clinical components of the assessment for each unit must be passed in order to successfully gain an overall pass in this course. Compulsory clinical hurdles form part of the assessment of this course. Recognition of the importance of clinical assessments is calculated in the overall student workload.
Note: Failure of a compulsory clinical component in a unit will normally lead to exclusion.
All commencing Faculty of Health course work students are required to complete HAI010 Academic Integrity in their first trimester of study (0 credit point compulsory unit).
Year 1, Semester 1
Year 2, Trimester 1
Plus 1 credit point of course elective
Plus 1 credit point of postgraduate electives from anywhere across the University
*Speciality units are delivered on a semester basis in year one
Intakes by location
This course commences in Semester 1 only. It is available across all nominated locations.
Semester 1 - February
- Start date: February
- Available at:
Additional course information
To undertake this course you must independently secure employment of at least 24 hours per week in a critical care setting within a collaborating hospital in Australia.
Course duration - additional information
Course duration may be affected by delays in accessing or undertaking clinical requirements.
As a student in an online course in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to spend 11-13 hours every week studying, interacting via CloudDeakin and completing assessment tasks for each unit in your course.
Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. Click here for more information.
- Bachelor of Nursing or equivalent, and
- Registration as a registered nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia with no conditions and restrictions and
- Applicants must provide evidence of employment in Australia working in a relevant specialist area with appropriate clinical supervision for the duration of the course.
As the Specialisation pathways courses are offered collaboratively between the University and a range of partnership/ collaborating hospitals, student selection into the course is a joint process. Students must independently apply for and seek permanent employment within a collaborating hospital to support and provide a sound clinical learning environment for the clinical program requirements of the course.
Deakin University offers admission to postgraduate courses through a number of Admission categories. To be eligible for admission to this program, applicants must meet the course requirements.
All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements.
Please note: meeting minimum entry requirements does not guarantee an offer of a place. Entry into this program is based on competitive selection and there may be limited places available.
For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) Policy visit the Deakin Policy Library.
Recognition of prior learning
If you have completed previous studies which you believe may reduce the number of units you have to complete at Deakin, indicate in the appropriate section on your application that you wish to be considered for Recognition of Prior Learning. You will need to provide a certified copy of your previous course details so your credit can be determined. If you are eligible, your offer letter will then contain information about your Recognition of Prior Learning.
You can also refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.
Fees and scholarships
Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course within the same year in which they started. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of Prior Learning you have.
The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together four credit points of study. Four credit points is used as it represents a typical enrolment load for a Graduate Certificate.
Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.
Learn more about tuition fees.
A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.
If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.
Applications can be made directly to the University through StudyLink Connect - Deakin University's International Student Application Service. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply web page.
Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing, students have the option to further their studies by articulating into the below course:
With job growth of 13.9% projected for registered nurses and 23.1% for nurse managers by 2026,# there is an industry demand for nurses with sophisticated specialty skills. Our Graduate Diploma of Critical Care Nursing allows you to meet that demand in a variety of roles across advanced practice, leadership, management and education in regional, rural or metropolitan hospitals including:
- critical care nurse
- associate or unit manager
- clinical nurse specialist
- clinical nurse educator.
#2021 Employment Outlook - for the five years to November 2026, Australian Government National Skills Commission.
Nurses employed under the Victorian public hospital award receive a higher duties allowance for postgraduate qualifications relevant to their practice.
Course learning outcomes
Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.
Graduate Learning Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities
Demonstrate advanced clinical practice commensurate with critical care nursing theoretical knowledge, evidence-based practice and person-centred care.
Demonstrate advanced communication skills to ensure the delivery of high quality, safe nursing care to patients in the critical care setting.
Evaluate information using digital technologies to effectively disseminate relevant critical care information to patients and/or the multidisciplinary team.
Identify, analyse and evaluate complex data from multiple sources to inform clinical decision making in the critical care setting.
Apply advanced nursing knowledge to complex problems in the critical care setting to optimise patient outcomes.
Demonstrate professionalism, accountability, reflection, and personal autonomy as a critical nurse.
Establish and maintain inclusive, collaborative professional relationships with all members of the multidisciplinary team.
Demonstrate accountability for, and sound professional judgement in behaviours that uphold ethical principles of practice within diverse social, cultural, and environmental contexts.