Start Date

0.5 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4GC042 (Internal)

Study as
Part-time only

Degree overview

  • This qualification prepares Registered Nurses to broaden their career prospects in the specialty field of critical care.
  • Join a university ranked in the World Top 100 for nursing.1
  • Learn in our state-of-the-art, clinician-led, simulated hospital on campus.
  • Enhance your learning through evidence-based practice.
  • Learn from industry-experienced clinicians at a university with well above world-class research in nursing.2
  • Be supported by online learning resources, available to you 24/7.
  • Study with South Australia’s No.1 university for teaching quality in nursing.3

12022 QS Subject Rankings. 22018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA). 3(QILT) Student Experience Survey 2019-20 (Postgraduate). SA public universities.


students UniSA’s Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing) will develop your knowledge and application of the professional, socio-ethical and legal aspects of care.

As a Registered Nurse, you’ll grow your specialist, evidenced-based skills in nursing critically ill patients to further your career in a critical or intensive care unit which you’ll be employed in during your studies.  

What you'll learn

Nursing students.jpg

You’ll cover topics such as:

  • evidence-based practice in nursing critically-ill patients
  • professional, socio-ethical and legal aspects of care
  • management of clients experiencing acute health crises
  • advanced clinical competencies for critical care nursing practice.

The first six months of study will cover:

  • evidence-based practice in critical care nursing
  • relevant physiology and pathophysiology
  • patient assessment
  • nursing management of critically ill people
  • advanced adult life support
  • respiratory support
  • cardiac assessment and electrocardiography
  • cardiac disorders and management
  • neurological conditions
  • clinical leadership
  • decision making
  • legal and ethical aspects of nursing care.

Over the final six months, you’ll study:

  • care planning and nursing management of patients with complex critical illnesses
  • use of technology in critical care
  • paediatric and obstetric considerations
  • retrieval of the critically ill patient
  • clinical leadership
  • nursing accountability
  • clinical governance.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Introduction to High Acuity Nursing and Midwifery NURS 5172 9
Critical Care Nursing NURS 5118 9

Study hours

For each course you study, you'll need to allocate time for learning activities. Depending on your study mode this may include online discussion forums, virtual classroom sessions, lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars. Plus you'll need additional hours to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings and projects. As a general rule most postgraduate study is completed part-time and if you're studying full-time you would need to allocate 12 – 26 hours of study when at university and 14 – 28 hours of independent study per week.



Your studies will incorporate practical, professionally-focused and research-based learning, so assessment types will vary. You can expect them to include:

  • online activities
  • portfolios
  • case studies
  • reports.

Global opportunities

One of the key benefits of studying with UniSA is our ability to attract and retain internationally renowned researchers. You’ll learn from researchers and academics who are directly connected to industry and all of our clinical teaching staff combine teaching with industry experience. 

In addition, our diverse student population means you have the opportunity to gain global and cultural understanding, ideas and insights direct from your peers. 

Global opportunities

Why Graduate Certificate in Nursing (Critical Care Nursing)

Why this Degree

UniSA's flexible suite of postgraduate nursing qualifications are designed to recognise your prior learning and advance your career prospects.

This online, part-time qualification has been designed to suit working professionals, with interactive online course materials and a 24/7 learning environment to enable you to organise your study to suit your lifestyle.

The curriculum of this graduate certificate is informed by UniSA's well above world-class research in nursing.1 You'll be taught by specialist postgraduate teaching staff and experienced clinicians, assuring you the very best in academic resources, learning facilities and support. 

Upon successful completion of a postgraduate qualification at UniSA, you may then be eligible to gain credit into higher level qualifications and reduce the overall duration of your study.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Real-world connections

This graduate certificate has a focus on critical care nursing at your current workplace, where you’ll complete specific competency assessments. 

Learn from award-winning teaching staff, academics and health professionals via our online forums and virtual classrooms and during on-campus workshops, offering you the opportunity to learn from experienced clinicians in the field and build valuable industry networks and relationships.

Online study

Online study

This qualification is offered online. With interactive online course materials and a 24/7 learning environment you can organise your study to suit your lifestyle. You can:

  • access videos and course resources online
  • participate in an interactive online learning environment
  • submit your assignments and get feedback online
  • use online forums for team work and communication.

Online study is available but some on-campus workshop attendance is required at the City East campus. These requirements are detailed on individual course pages.

Career outcomes

Your career

Nurses play a key role at the forefront of healthcare service. With a qualification specialising in the care of critically ill patients, graduates will be able to continue working in the area of critical/intensive care units with advanced knowledge and clinical skills.

Industry facts


Employment for midwifery and nursing professionals in Australia is projected to increase by 56,100 (16.2%) by November 2025.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020


To November 2025, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia – an increase of 249,500 jobs.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020


Employment for Registered Nurses in Australia is projected to increase by 46,500 (15.6%) by November 2025.

Australian Government Department of Employment, Occupational Employment Projections 2020

How to apply

Applying to study with us:

  • Check you meet the full entry requirements for this program.
  • Go to the top of this page and make note of the SATAC code, then click Apply.
  • You will be redirected through to the SATAC website to continue your application.


Every year, over 2,500 UniSA students are supported in their studies through scholarships and grants worth millions of dollars. Check out the scholarships below. One of them may be perfect for you. Visit our scholarships page for more.

More scholarships

Your study experience and support

Our campuses have fantastic facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, workshops, laboratories, tech zones, and spaces that simulate real work environments. You’ll also find student gyms and campus sport activities to keep you active. We also offer flexible study options, with online resources available for accessing lecture recordings, virtual classrooms, library resources and learning support. 

Adelaide also has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation and private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages, or explore our student accommodation by Scape on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, an ideal location for students. It is within easy reach of UniSA’s city and metropolitan campuses, Rundle Mall shopping, the Central Market, Chinatown, and the West End’s vibrant nightlife. It is also across the road from the Adelaide train station, and on bus and tram routes.

Student services

Student services

Our student services provide you with all the support you need at university. You can access a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling, career advice, social support services, as well as those through our student association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student, you can also contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and more.

24/7 digital environment

Our learnonline facilities include a personal learning environment with virtual classrooms, lecture recordings, emails, learning support, administration, library access and results. The environment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, so you can tailor your learning to your life. We are continually investing in innovative digital technologies for a high-quality student learning experience.

Student services

Your campus

We have six campuses in metropolitan and regional areas, each with modern facilities including lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories, as well as spaces that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your study spaces

You'll have access to our unique clinician led, authentic simulated hospital and health service on campus, as well as a range of on-campus lecture theatres, learning and social spaces.

Your study spaces

Your program director

I have worked as a clinician, academic and manager across many different areas of nursing practice. This has included intensive care, perioperative, infection prevention and control, and COVID-19 surveillance. As program director, I want to ensure that every registered nurse becomes a life-long learner upon completion of their program – that they are equipped with the best evidence, challenged in their thinking and taught innovative ways to tackle tomorrow’s nursing challenges.

Dr Allison Roderick

Program Director

Portrait image for Dr Allison Roderick
Portrait image for Dr Allison Roderick

Dr Allison Roderick

Program Director


Ask UniSA

More FAQs

What others are saying

The University of South Australia understands that quality teaching in nursing and midwifery goes hand-in-hand with industry partnerships. They work collaboratively across all health care services to design industry-informed curriculum.

Jennifer Fereday

Executive Director | Women’s and Children’s Health Network

Jennifer Fereday, Executive Director, Women's and Childrens Health Network.jpg

Jennifer Fereday

Executive Director | Women’s and Children’s Health Network

Staff who have upskilled with postgraduate study really shine through as motivated workers. We often employ people with postgraduate qualifications in our managerial positions as they have equipped themselves with those extra specialised skills.

Jo Boylans

Director of Operations | Southern Cross Care

Jo Boylans.jpg

Jo Boylans

Director of Operations | Southern Cross Care

We offer high quality resources to assist student learning, including a simulated hospital and health service integrating the latest technologies, and our teaching is delivered by an outstanding group of nursing, midwifery, and allied health academics and clinicians.

Associate Professor Rachael Vernon

Rachael Vernon

Associate Professor Rachael Vernon