Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing

Duration1 year part-time
Next start termAnytime
Study modeOnline
Course codeCL56
First-year fee
$2,220 (Indicative) (CSP)
$8,418 (Indicative) (FFP)
This course offers Commonwealth Supported Places, meaning you may be eligible for significant fee savings.
A counselling teacher working with a student in a therapy room


CQUniversity's Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing is ideal for registered nurses looking to develop their mental health nursing credentials. Delivered fully online in a flexible format, this course forms part of a suite of three mental health nursing courses and will provide you with foundation skills and knowledge required to practice in this area of nursing specialisation.

The Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing is delivered via our Be Different platform and offers you a self-paced, ultra-flexible online course, ideal for busy, emerging health leaders looking for specialist skills in postgraduate mental health nursing.

Through this course, you will develop foundation knowledge and skills in mental health nursing, so it's an ideal course for you if you have an interest in mental health nursing or you are newly employed in mental health. You will build your skills and knowledge in undertaking mental health assessments, risk assessments and formulations, along with psychotropic medications, and recovery. The Graduate Certificate is not only the ideal course to build a solid foundation in mental health nursing but also a great place to start as you become familiar with our Be Different learning platform.

If you are interested in developing advanced mental health knowledge and skills, this Graduate Certificate provides an ideal pathway into our Graduate Diploma of Mental Health Nursing, which is nationally accredited by the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing. This means that you will graduate from the Graduate Diploma with specialist mental health nursing skills and knowledge. Plus, after completing the Graduate Diploma you can later apply to become a credentialed Mental Health Nurse through the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing (if you meet the other requirements). After completing the Graduate Diploma, you may like to extend your studies and continue on in the Master of Mental Health Nursing.

Developed with industry and lived experience academics, we’ve made sure our mental health nursing courses are evidence-based and clinically relevant so that your studies truly reflect current and emerging mental health nursing matters. Add to this, the flexible online delivery via our Be Different platform where you set your own pace and affordable tuition fees and you have a suite of mental health nursing courses that allow you to fit study around your life, not the other way around.

Study experience

Career Opportunities

On completion of this award, students will be able to seek employment as a nurse in a mental health setting. 

Structure & Availability

If you are entering the Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing via a Partnership Program, you will be required to study two core units. All other students will be required to study four core units.

More detailed information on each pathway is provided below.


Partnership Students

If you receive an offer, and have been identified in advance as a partnership student, you will complete two core units listed below:


  • NURS20157 Mental Health Nursing Assessment Formulation
  • NURS20158 Clinical Foundations for Practice

Upon successful completion of NURS20157 and NURS20158, and completion of your partnered graduate program, you will be eligible to receive credit for the final two units: NURS20150 and NURS20151.

Partnership programs are currently available through the following Hospital and Health Services:

  • Townsville Hospital and Health Service
  • Mackay Hospital and Health Service
  • Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service
  • Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service
  • Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service

The Hospital and Health Services listed above provide CQU with their approved partnership students. This means, that if you would like to be considered for a place as a partnership student, you will need to liaise directly with the Hospital and Health Service in which you are employed before you apply to study this course.

All Other Students

All other students will complete four core units.


  • NURS20150 Contextual Foundations of Mental Health Nursing Practice
  • NURS20151 Creating Meaningful Relationships
  • NURS20157 Mental Health Nursing Assessment Formulation
  • NURS20158 Clinical Foundations for Practice


Unit information

For information on the units, you could study as part of this course, visit the Handbook and select the "Course Structure" tab.



Credit transfer information

If you have already completed study relevant to the course you have enrolled in, you may be eligible for credit transfer.


Online Availability

Hyperflexible Annual Term, 2024Available Online
Hyperflexible Annual Term, 2025Available Online

When you study this course via our flexible online Be Different learning platform, not only will you study high-quality course content delivered by our supportive Mental Health Nursing educators, but you also get to set the pace. You are not bound by our traditional term dates, such as Term 1 (March) or Term 2 (July) and you can submit your assessments at any time over the duration of the course. 

The course is open for applications all year round so you can start your studies anytime. Once enrolled, you will have access to all of the unit material to work through in any order you choose. 

Unit overviews

Contextual Foundations of Mental Health Nursing Practice

Mental health nursing has evolved over many centuries and has continued to be influenced by socio-political factors. This unit challenges you to explore the historical, traditional and contemporary discourses shaping mental health nursing practice. You will examine the experiences of marginalised groups within these services. Social, biological and cultural influences of mental health will also be explored. You will have the opportunity to apply theoretical understandings to reflect on and better understand the mental health nursing role across various contexts.


Creating Meaningful Relationships

To support people affected by mental health issues and distress requires understanding, empathy and skilful use of therapeutic strategies. In this unit, you will learn about the concept of the therapeutic use of self and various mental health issues that affect a person's ability to think, feel and relate with others. You will apply therapeutic evidence-based strategies that support the person in their journey of recovery. This unit will also provide an opportunity to develop further skills in self-reflection on how you relate in a professional capacity with consumers.


Clinical Foundations for Practice

This unit will enable you to continue to examine mental health practice within a strengths-based framework and give you the opportunity to examine the nursing actions, including safety and therapeutic implications and psycho-education, associated with psychopharmacology and other types of biological treatments for mental health consumers. Ethical issues associated with the use of medication and other biological treatments within a Recovery-orientated practice will be discussed and analysed.


Mental Health Nursing Assessment and Formulation

This unit provides specialised knowledge and skills for safe and effective mental health nursing care within a strengths-based framework. You will examine psychiatric classification systems and undertake comprehensive mental state examinations and risk formulation. You will demonstrate good judgement and adaptability in the physical and psycho-social care of persons experiencing different forms of distress.

This course has no residential schools.


To be eligible

For your application to be considered, you must meet the following entry requirements. 

During your study

While not needed to apply, you'll need to meet the following requirements throughout your studies. 

Fees & Scholarships

Indicative First-Year Fee

Indicative first-year CSP place
Indicative first-year FFP place

The Indicative First-Year Fee is the approximate cost of enrolling in this course for one academic year depending on the type of place you are offered, for example, a Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) or Full Fee Paying (FFP) Place. For a graduate certificate, this is usually four units studied full-time over one term or part-time over two terms. Your actual fees may vary depending on the units you select to study and your study load. Fees are reviewed each year and are subject to change. 

Understanding your fees.

Commonwealth Supported Places

With Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) available for this course in 2024, you may be eligible for significant fee savings, provided you meet CSP eligibility requirements. CSPs are subsidised by the Australian Government, meaning you are only required to pay the student contribution rather than full tuition fees.

If you are not eligible for a CSP or if CSPs are full, you will be required to pay full fees.


You may be eligible for a HECS-HELP government loan if you are offered a CSP. HECS-HELP is an Australian Government loan scheme that assists you in paying your student contributions. Provided you meet the HECS-HELP eligibility criteria, you may use HECS-HELP to defer part or all of your student contribution fees. 

Learn more about paying for university.

There may be additional costs as part of your studies, such as technology expenses. Learn more about other study costs.

How to apply

How to apply

Check what you need to do to apply to study this course. 

Your application options

Follow these steps

Check you meet the course requirements
Get a Unique Student Identifier
Submit your application
Applications are open year-round.

Extra admission information

Learn about the assessment of applications and everything you need to know about receiving and accepting an offer to study with CQU.

Start your application

Use the Apply button below to access our Apply Online portal and start your application.