Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing

Postgraduate coursework

Help deliver the care that an increasing number of Australians need each year. Enhance your mental health nursing practice and prepare for senior roles.

Domestic International

Domestic student information

Key facts


2 years part-time
Note: this course is only available part-time


Key dates

Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 2 2024 close 23 June 2024

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

With around 42% of Australians* experiencing a mental health condition at some time in their life, there is significant government and industry focus on growing and fostering the mental health workforce. Designed with flexibility for practicing nurses, Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing will provide you with the advanced practical skills and knowledge to launch, or advance, your practice in mental health.

Developed in consultation with our key industry partners, you’ll gain the comprehensive theoretical and advanced practical skills needed to work with consumers, carers and supporters in any setting where mental health intervention occurs. You’ll graduate with an advanced understanding of holistic nursing assessment, major mental health conditions, person-centred approaches, therapeutic and pharmacological interventions.

Are you looking to advance your career in mental health nursing while also gaining complementary knowledge and skills?

Help deliver the care that an increasing number of Australians need each year. With Deakin’s Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing you’ll understand the core, foundational, and consumer-centric mental health concepts necessary to work within the multidisciplinary teams supporting consumers, carers and supporters.

In this two-year part-time course, you’ll undertake six core units via Deakin’s premium interactive learning platform, and can tailor your degree to your interests with the choice of two course electives.

During your first year you’ll gain an advanced understanding of comprehensive nursing assessment and the fundamental role that it plays in mental health nursing. You will learn to recognise the biological, psychological, social and spiritual components of an individual’s life, and how these can positively and negatively influence their mental health. Build on your existing skills with course content and assessments designed to facilitate advanced recognition and response to altered mental states and clinical presentations; develop comprehensive understanding of the experiences of vulnerable populations while also exploring high and low prevalence mental health conditions including, psychotic disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders.

Expanding on these foundations you’ll examine and learn how to apply contemporary and effective person-centred therapeutic interventions; working with consumers, carers and supporters on their recovery journey. Students will explore trauma-informed care, principles of recovery-oriented nursing practice and the role of peers, carers and families in supporting consumers with mental health challenges. Contemporary mental health treatment calls for a combination of nursing interventions that treat symptoms, manage psychological distress and support and foster consumer wellbeing and resilience. You’ll gain a deep understanding of both pharmacologic and talk therapies that underpin current mental health nursing practices, including the quality use of psychotropic medications such as antipsychotic, antimanic, anxiolytic, and antidepressant medications; as well as person-centred approaches to talk therapy, such as cognitive behaviour therapy and dialectical behaviour therapy.

In the second year you’ll gain an advanced understanding and knowledge of the physical health issues associated with mental illness and its treatments, such as common complications experienced by those consumers taking psychotropic medications, including metabolic syndrome and other conditions caused by medication-induced obesity.

In order to support consumers living with mental health challenges, nurses must be resilient and able to thrive in spite of the demands and stress of working in this challenging environment. You’ll enhance and support your nursing practice to manage the dynamic and challenging experiences of working in the mental healthcare environment; safeguarding your personal mental health through recognising, navigating and preventing burnout.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore a personal area of interest, or add further specialised knowledge and skills to your CV with the inclusion of two course electives. You can tailor your degree and your career outcomes by choosing from a wide range of areas including vulnerable communities, counselling, diabetes education and management, or leadership and education in nursing.

As a graduate of the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing you’ll have the skills and knowledge to enhance your mental health nursing career as a senior clinician or step into a leadership role across a range of community and inpatient settings.

*(People aged 16–85 years) National Study of Mental Health and Wellbeing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020-2022

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Course information

Award granted
Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing

2024 course information

Deakin code
Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8.

Course structure

To complete the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, students must attain 8 credit points of units comprising of 6 core (compulsory) units, plus 2 credit points of course electives taken over two years of part-time study.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit-point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.

Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements. Click here for more information.

Core Units:

  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Biopsychosocialspiritual Mental Health Nursing Assessment
  • Person-Centred Approaches to Engagement in Mental Health Nursing
  • Recognising and Understanding Mental Illness
  • Therapeutic Interventions in Mental Health Nursing
  • The Physical Health Needs of Persons with Mental Illness
  • Sustaining the Mental Health Nursing Workforce
  • Course Electives

  • Auslan and the Deaf Community: Health and Wellbeing
  • Pathophysiology of Diabetes
  • Management of Diabetes
  • Contemporary Approaches to Diabetes Education
  • Diabetes in Social and Psychological Contexts
  • Ethical Dimensions in Nursing
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' History, Culture and Health
  • Facilitating Clinical Learning
  • Healthcare in Low Resource/Complex Environments
  • Research in Nursing and Midwifery
  • Quality and Safety in Medication Management
  • Therapeutic Medication Management
  • Biological Psychology (Brain and Behaviour)
  • Lifespan and Developmental Counselling
  • Counselling Diverse Populations
  • Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs
  • Australian Aboriginal Holistic Health and Healing
  • Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Online

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Online


    As an online student in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to spend 11-13 hours every week studying, interacting online and completing assessment tasks for each unit in your course. Refer to the individual unit details in the course structure for more information.

    Participation requirements

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. More information available at Disability support services.

    Entry requirements

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum academic and English language proficiency requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Please note, there are limited places in this course and entry is competitive. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications for this course may close prior to the published closing date if all places are filled.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:

    • Bachelor of Nursing degree or equivalent 
    • Graduate Certificate of Mental Health Nursing 

    Applicants will also need to have a current NMBA registration (with no conditions or restrictions) as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) or equivalent, or Nurses registered with their appropriate professional nursing body in countries other than Australia.

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you are able to commit to your study.

    Recognition of prior learning

    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning which exceeds the normal entrance requirements for the course and is within the constraints of the course regulations. Students are required to complete a minimum of one-third of the course at Deakin University, or four credit points, whichever is the greater. In the case of certificates, including graduate certificates, a minimum of two credit points within the course must be completed at Deakin.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of prior learning system which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree and how to apply for credit.

    Students holding an approved specialist certificate from the former Nurses Board of Victoria may apply for up to four credit points of Recognition of prior learning towards the Masters.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $28,600 for 1 yr full-time - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
    Estimated tuition fee - (CSP)?
    $4,445 for 1 yr full-time - Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)

    Learn more about fees.

    The available fee places for this course are detailed above. Not all courses at Deakin have Commonwealth supported places available.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course within the same year. 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.

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    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 fees and available payment options.

    Scholarship options

    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.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    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.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Some of our courses have limited places available - for the latest on courses still open for application, visit Courses by trimester.

    Create an account in the Deakin Application Portal, start your application, enter personal details, education experience, upload supporting documents and submit. Need help? Play this video, or contact one of our friendly future student advisers on 1800 693 888 or submit an online enquiry.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    Upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, students have the option to further their studies by articulating into the below course:

    H779 Master of Mental Health Nursing

    Alternative exits

    Contact information

    Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.


    Career outcomes

    As government and industry continue to focus on building and securing the mental health workforce, registered nurses with specialised postgraduate qualifications in mental health nursing are in strong demand, and in many services are a minimum requirement to work in the setting following an undergraduate nursing degree.

    Deakin’s outstanding employment rate for postgraduate nursing means you can be confident in taking the next step in your career. As a graduate of the Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing you’ll have the skills and knowledge to enhance your mental health nursing career as a senior clinician or step into a leadership role across a range of community and inpatient settings.

    Upon graduation, you may find work in:

    • acute public mental health
    • aged care services
    • child and adolescent mental health
    • forensic services
    • mother and baby services
    • community mental health
    • drug and alcohol services
    • private mental health

    Professional recognition

    Nurses employed in a health service with mental health postgraduate qualifications, may be eligible for a higher duties allowance 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

    Critically analyse and apply theories and evidence informed practice to facilitate recovery-oriented, trauma informed and consumer-centred mental health nursing care.


    Apply advanced therapeutic nursing communication skills and collaborate with multidisciplinary teams to promote the advocacy, agency and self-determination of mental health consumers, families, and carers.

    Digital literacy

    Maintain and advance mental health nursing knowledge and practice through the critical analysis of mental health research using digital technologies.

    Critical thinking

    Apply advanced critical thinking nursing skills through the analysis, evaluation, and critique of evidence-based sources to inform clinical decision making.

    Problem solving

    Assess, plan and deliver mental health nursing care to diverse consumers with complex mental health needs.


    Practice independently demonstrating accountability and personal responsibility, whilst reflecting on nursing practice.


    Collaborate with mental health consumers and the multidisciplinary team to optimise consumer outcomes and engagement.

    Global Citizenship

    Maintain professional and ethical standards of nursing practice whilst recognising diverse cultural and community perspectives.