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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 industry experienced clinicians from a university with well above world-class research in nursing.
  • Join South Australia’s No.1 university for teaching quality in nursing and midwifery.2
  • Enhance your learning through evidence-based practice.
  • Be supported by learning resources, available to you 24/7.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) 2ComparED (QILT) Student Experience Survey 2021-22, Nursing – Teaching Quality Indicator (Postgraduate). SA public universities.



In one year of full-time study (or part-time equivalent), UniSA’s Graduate Diploma in Mental Health will equip you with the skills to effectively respond to people experiencing mental health challenges.

Health professionals from a range of health backgrounds can gain the knowledge and practical skills to assess and deliver care to people with mental illness. You‘ll 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 healthcare settings.

Note: Applicants with an undergraduate qualification in nursing should also consider the Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing if they wish to work specifically as a mental health nurse.

What you'll learn

Postgraduate nursing students

You'll gain an in-depth understanding of mental health conditions, develop your ability to care for people experiencing mental illness, and design intervention and evaluation strategies.

You’ll learn about 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'll also develop advanced interviewing and assessment skills, as well as knowledge of support services.

Degree structure

Course name Area and cat no. Units Reference  
Choose 1 of the following 4 courses:
Perspectives in Mental Health Practice NURS 5071 9
Best Practice in Older People's Mental Health NURS 5165 9
Perinatal Mental Health for Health Professionals NURS 5157 9
Best Practice in Adolescent Mental Health NURS 5164 9
Enrol in all of the following 3 courses:
Theoretical Approaches to Mental Health Practice NURS 5159 9
Skills for Recovery Practice in Mental Health NURS 5160 9
Consolidation of Mental Health Practice HLTH 5148 9

Study hours

For each course you study, you will need to allocate time for planned learning activities. Depending on your study mode, these activities may include online discussion forums, virtual classroom sessions, lectures, tutorials, workshops, and seminars. You will also need to study in your own time to complete assignments, readings, and projects.

As a rule, most postgraduate study is completed part-time. If you are studying full-time, your studies should be treated like a full-time job, with approximately 35-40 hours of study per week. The full sum of these hours should balance your planned learning activities and your own independent study.



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

UniSA is known for attracting and retaining internationally renowned researchers. You’ll learn from researchers and academics who are directly connected to industry. In fact, all our clinical teaching staff combine teaching with industry experience. 

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

Global opportunities

Why Graduate Diploma in Mental Health

Postgraduate nursing students

Mental health has a huge impact on every aspect of people's lives. It affects a person’s physical health, work and relationships, as well as the people around them.

UniSA’s Graduate Diploma in Mental Health gives professionals in the healthcare field the opportunity to study and develop specialist skills in mental health care.

You’ll learn from specialist postgraduate teaching staff, and be supported by internationally renowned researchers, with our well above world-class research in nursing1 focused on outcomes relevant to improving mental health.

UniSA is home to the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Research and Education Group, where our mental health researchers are recognised for undertaking research improving the lives of people in mental distress and at risk of suicide. Staff within the group contribute directly to the teaching of our postgraduate programs.

12018 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA).

Real-world connections

You’ll have the opportunity to be taught by experienced mental health professionals at the top of their fields, helping you to build important industry connections while you study.

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 teamwork and communication

Some on-campus workshop attendance is required at UniSA’s City East campus. These requirements are detailed on individual course pages.

Career outcomes

Your career

Mental health professionals facilitate an improved quality of life for people with 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.

With an increasing prevalence of mental illness in Australia, this diploma is highly relevant to industry demand. In 2017-18, more than 20% of Australians (4.8 million people) had a mental or behavioural condition.1 Specialist training in the area of mental health will improve employment prospects for graduates, and offer career diversity.

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

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

1Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: First results 2017-18. 

Industry facts


To November 2026, healthcare and social assistance is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth in Australia – an increase of 301,000 jobs.

Australian Government National Skills Commission Employment Projections 2021


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

Australian Government National Skills Commission Employment Projections 2021

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 program director

I have worked as a clinician and researcher working extensively within the international and post-graduate portfolio. I have an interest in improving the learning experience for post-graduate nurses who are our current and future leaders.

Dr Allison Roderick

Program Director

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

Dr Allison Roderick

Program Director


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