Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science

Course GC-MHSC (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

This is a
New Generation course
, part of the
Melbourne Model
and is available from 2008
Year and Campus: 2014 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 50 credit points taken over 12 months part time.


Associate Professor James Olver


Academic contact
James Olver

Administrative contact
Aris Cologon

Course Overview:

Mental health issues are an increasing problem in current social contexts. They range from high prevalence problems such as stress, anxiety, depression and substance misuse to severe chronic, disabling and life threatening conditions. The burden of mental health issues is borne by the healthcare system, organisations and the community as a whole. The main approach to managing mental health issues has emphasised a multidisciplinary framework. The Master of Mental Health Science (MMHSc) course is aimed primarily at those currently working or planning to work in the field of mental health or for those working in organisations where mental health issues are prevalent. This may include those with backgrounds in nursing, social work, occupational therapy and other allied health fields and also those working in the emergency services, schools and other organisations. The MMHSc is a part-time, nested programme with potential exit points of Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Master. It is themed according to five across the lifespan streams including Infant, Child, Youth, Adult and Aged Mental Health. The programme involves core subjects as well as a number of selectives by stream over the first two years of the course. The third year entails a research project within the nominated lifespan stream of the course. The research project will require students to propose a research question, choose and design a methodology for a relevant mental health issue within their stream, and conduct a research investigation for that lifespan cohort. The aim of the course is to broaden the understanding and skill sets of those working in the mental health field through critical analysis, and practical application.

The MMHSc involves a tiered approach to learning. The Graduate Certificate (Year 1) provides essential background theory and foundation subjects. Students will be asked to critically appraise the theories and frameworks which lie at the basis of working in the field of mental health. Following successful completion of Year 1, students may elect to exit with a Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science. Progression to the Graduate Diploma course (Year 2) will require a pass of greater than 70% (H2B).

Learning Outcomes:
  • To develop advanced knowledge of a broad theoretical framework for the underpinnings of mental health problems including personality development and coping strategies
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of the theoretical bases of interventions in mental health including psychological and pharmacological interventions
  • Critically reflect on the theoretical bases for mental health problems
  • Develop advanced skills in generating a broad approach and critical appraisal of the principles of the management of mental health issues
  • Demonstrate advanced communication skills in the transmission of knowledge and ideas in mental health
  • To demonstrate a high level of autonomy and responsibility
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

See section below entitled "Subject Options" for streams available in this course.

Subject Options:

Infant (Stream A)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Child (Stream B)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Youth (Stream C) & Adult (Stream D)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Entry Requirements:

1. The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue successfully the Graduate Certificate within the Master of Mental Health Science course using the following criteria:

  • An undergraduate degree in the cognate field of health or mental health; OR
  • A minimum five years’ full time professional experience in a mental health field (within the previous ten years) together with evidence of advanced training, such as professional certificate in mental health; completion of the Mental Health Online Professional Development; completion of the Developmental Psychiatry Course; and, written evidence from a minimum of two referees.
  • Meeting the University’s English language requirement.
  • Students undertaking clinical subjects in Stream A (Clinical Infant Case Studies, Observation and Assessment Skills) or Stream B (Clinical Practicum: Working with Children, Clinical Practicum: Working with Adolescents) will be required to be employed in a Health or Mental Health Field and have a current Working With Children check.

2. The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referees.

Core Participation Requirements:

80% attendance of designated workshops and contact sessions; submission of all required assessment tasks; and, where applicable, completion of exams.

Graduate Attributes:


Graduates of the Graduate Certificate of Mental Health Science will have advanced knowledge of:

  • The theoretical underpinnings of approaches to understanding the emergence of mental health problems
  • The developmental aspects of personality and coping in mental health
  • The theoretical bases of psychological and psychopharmacological approaches to mental health problems


Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science will have advanced cognitive skills enabling them to:

  • Critically reflect on the theoretical bases of mental health practice
  • Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the principles of developmental understandings in mental health
  • Generate a broad-based approach to complex problems in evaluating mental health presentations

Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science will have advanced communication skills to:

  • Transmit knowledge in the theoretical approach to understanding problems in mental health
  • Communicate a synthesis of the broad-based treatment approaches in mental health


Graduates of the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Science will have advanced capacity in:

  • Applying theoretical knowledge to clinical scenarios in mental health
  • Developing skilled judgements in the application of the principles of assessment in the Mental Health Field
  • Demonstrating a broad-based framework in the application of theoretical knowledge in the assessment of developmental issues in mental health
  • Communicating and transmitting knowledge and ideas in the field of mental health understanding and management approaches
  • Demonstrating a high degree of autonomy and responsibility

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