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Start Date

1 year(s) full-time

Program Code

4GD047 (External)

Study as
Full-time or part-time

Degree overview

  • Gain advanced knowledge and practical skills in contemporary mental health.
  • Learn from well above world-class researchers in Nursing1, as well as from academics and industry experienced clinicians.
  • Enhance your learning through evidence-based practice.
  • Be supported by learning resources, available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Benefit from flexible learning options.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)



The Graduate Diploma in Mental Health offers the opportunity for health professionals from a range of health-related backgrounds to develop the knowledge and practical skills needed to assess and deliver care to people experiencing mental health problems and mental illness.

You will explore the psychosocial and behavioural sciences, as well as the legal and ethical aspects of practice, preparing you to provide mental health care in a variety of health care settings.

This qualification is offered online, with attendance required at some on-campus workshops.

What you'll learn

Postgraduate nursing students

This unique qualification will give you an in-depth understanding of mental health issues and conditions and develop your ability to care for people experiencing mental illness and design intervention and evaluation strategies.

You will explore the bio-psychosocial and behavioural sciences, co-morbidity, pharmacology and the provision of family support within mental health. Emphasis is placed on the practice of mental health care for a culturally diverse society in metropolitan, rural and remote clinical settings.

You will also develop advanced interviewing and assessment skills as well as knowledge of support services.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Perspectives in Mental Health HLTH 5149 9 Note(s): 2 Rule(s): 2
Theoretical Approaches to Mental Health Practice HLTH 5150 9 Rule(s): 2
Therapeutic Encounters in Mental Health HLTH 5151 9
Consolidation of Mental Health Practice HLTH 5148 9 Rule(s): 1

Study hours

For each course you study, you will 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 will 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 are 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:

  • case studies
  • presentations
  • written critiques
  • online activities
  • critical analysis

Global opportunities

One of the key benefits of our School of Nursing and Midwifery 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 Diploma in Mental Health

Postgraduate nursing students

Designed to suit working professionals, this graduate diploma is a great option for those wanting the flexibility that comes with online learning and workshops on campus. We offer accessible digital learning facilities and dedicated support staff who are with you every step of the way. You will learn from specialist postgraduate teaching staff, and be supported by internationally-renowned researchers, with our above world-class research in Nursing1 focused on outcomes relevant to improving mental health.

We’re home to the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Group (MHSPG), where our mental health researchers are recognised for undertaking research to improve mental health service delivery, inform policy and improve health outcomes. Furthermore, staff within the MHSPG contribute directly to the teaching of our postgraduate programs.

We’re also home to the Rosemary Bryant AO Research Centre, a partnership between the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s South Australian branch (ANMFSA) and UniSA, with the Centre’s aim to strengthen the role of the nursing and midwifery professions across the health system.

As Australia’s University of Enterprise:

  • we are ranked Top 10 in Australia2
  • we are ranked 25th in the World’s Top 50 under 503
  • we are ranked in the World Top 100 for Nursing4

It’s a very good time to choose UniSA for your postgraduate study.

1 2015 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA)
2  Ranked 10th, 2019 THE World University Rankings
3  2019 QS Top 50 Universities Aged Under 50
4 2018 QS Subject Rankings

Real-world connections

You will be taught by experienced mental health professionals, which not only gives you the opportunity to learn from some of the best, but also offers you the opportunity to build important industry connections.

We also host regular University-wide employee master classes and employment expos, and alumni events in Australia and overseas.

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:

  • study online, including accessing videos and course resources
  • 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

Mental health professionals aim to facilitate an improved quality of life for people with mental health problems and mental illness. They actively participate in the recognition, assessment and treatment of people with mental health and co-morbid related conditions and provide support and assistance to families and friends.

There is an increasing prevalence of mental illness in Australia - in 2007, 45 per cent of Australians aged 16-85 years, (or 7.3 million people) had at some point in their lifetime experienced a mental disorder1. Specialist training in the area of mental health will therefore further improve employment prospects for graduates, and offer career diversity.

Mental health professionals can gain employment in a variety of mental health care settings, such as:

  • public and private mental health services
  • rehabilitation services
  • aged care
  • child and adolescent services
  • community health services

1 Australian Bureau of Statistics: 2007 National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing (SMHWB).

Industry facts


To November 2020, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia - an increase of 250,200 jobs1.

1Australian Government Department of Employment 2017


Healthcare and social assistance has been the primary provider of new jobs in the Australian labour market since the 1990s1.

1Australian Government Department of Employment 2017

How to apply

Applying to study with us:

  • check the Postgraduate Health Science Closing Dates page for application closing dates
  • 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 areas 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 has a variety of accommodation options to suit different requirements and budgets. Options include dedicated student accommodation or private rentals. See our long-term accommodation pages for plenty of options. If you need somewhere to live, our new student accommodation by urbanest is on Bank Street in Adelaide’s lively cultural precinct, a perfect 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 support services can make your life at university easier. We provide a full range of support services including academic and personal counselling. You can also access a range of services through our students association, USASA. When you become a UniSA student you can contact Campus Central for help with anything related to your degree. They will help you with your enrolment, ID cards, fees, timetables and any other questions you might have.

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 advanced facilities including modern lecture theatres, libraries, laboratories, and areas that simulate real work environments.

Location This degree is delivered at the following campus.

Your program director

I have worked as a clinician, manager, clinical educator, academic, researcher and board director, and have been at the helm of national and local changes to organisational systems in nursing practice. I have an interest in aged care in hospital settings, healthcare policy and funding.

AsPr Terri Gibson

Program Director

Portrait image for AsPr Terri Gibson
Portrait image for AsPr Terri Gibson

AsPr Terri Gibson

Program Director


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What others are saying

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

Associate Head of School: Academic, School of Nursing and Midwifery

Rachael Vernon

Associate Professor Rachael Vernon

Associate Head of School: Academic, School of Nursing and Midwifery