Master of Mental Health Nursing

Course information
  • Entry requirements
  • Units of Study
  • Career outcomes
  • Support & Fees
Entry requirements

Entry requirements

  • Completed an AQF Level 7 Bachelor of Nursing, or equivalent qualification AND
  • Registration as a Registered Nurse (Division 1) OR Registered Midwife with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) OR equivalent registration with the relevant registering authority for applicants outside of Australia AND
  • Completed a minimum of one year of full-time clinical experience, or the part-time equivalent, as a registered nurse and have clinical support in a mental health specialty area OR provide written confirmation from their employer that they are employed in a mental health setting OR 
  • Completed Victoria University’s Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing or Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing.

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Online Study

This degree is offered through VU Online’s postgraduate Block Model, winner of the LearnX Live! Award 2021 ‘Best Online Learning Model’.

Instead of taking two or three units a semester, you will study one unit at a time in six study periods per year. This offers you more flexibility than traditional on-campus degrees and the opportunity to immerse yourself in your study.

At VU Online, we take a personalised 1:1 approach to online learning, which makes learning with us highly interactive and supported.

Units of study

Units of study

For more information about the units of study, download a brochure.

Core Units

Recovery Oriented Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6010)

In this unit, students critically reflect on the lived experience of mental illness. The students' learning journey begins by examining past institutional abuse of people with mental illness and the continuing effects of stigma across social and diverse cultural contexts. Students analyse the evolution of the mental health consumer movement, focusing on consumer rights, autonomy, self-determination, collaborative decision-making, and strength-based models to support recovery from mental ill-health. Students also interrogate how to support consumers who have complex mental illness or who exhibit challenging behaviours, within a consumer-centred, recovery-oriented framework. Students will also debate the challenges that arise when balancing the diverse needs of consumers and carers in relation to confidentiality, privacy, and disclosure.

Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives in Mental Health (Unit Code HNO6011)

This unit examines biopsychosocial and cultural perspectives of mental illness. This includes the links between serious mental illness, physical health conditions, complex comorbidities, and disability. Students will interrogate the correlation between lower levels of physical health, mental health, and socio-economic indices for people experiencing chronic physical conditions and mental ill-health. Students will also cross-examine the ethical dilemmas and cultural perspectives of mental ill-health for people with diverse experiences, backgrounds, and lifestyles. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, LGBTQIA+ peoples, veteran groups, and people from metropolitan, regional, rural, and remote communities across Australia. Students will also evaluate the value of care coordination and care planning approaches for people with complex health and sociocultural needs.

Effective Trauma-Informed Care (Unit Code HNO6012)

In this unit, students examine the experiences of trauma among people from diverse populations, cultures, and age groups and its impact across the lifespan. Students will analyse the way people, with the lived experience of trauma, report feeling stigmatised, discriminated against and misunderstood. These impacts include emotional dysregulation, substance misuse, self-harm, and suicidal behaviours. Students will also appraise the eight foundational principles of trauma-informed care and practice that focus on modelling interpersonal relationships, working with cultural differences, advocating for consumer control and choice, inspiring hope, supporting recovery, and integrating care. The unit requires students to critically reflect on their practice through a trauma-informed lens and interrogate the importance of recovery-oriented practice when caring for people who have experienced trauma.

Mental Health Nursing (Unit Code HNO6008)

This unit will further develop students' professional knowledge and expertise in the effective coordination and delivery of specialised mental health care. Students will focus on understanding mental health disorders and how to effectively care for a person experiencing mental health issues or illness. Students will also gain a deep understanding of the philosophy and theory underpinning mental health care, its values and the specific skills to maintain therapeutic relationships and assist in person-centred health care that promotes recovery and resilience. The unit includes a critical review of psychology, to support a greater understanding of mental health disorders across the lifespan and cultural awareness when supporting patients’ mental health and well-being. Students will also critically review models of self-care when delivering mental health care services across a range of settings. The unit will prepare students to provide evidence-based mental health care in a range of health settings.

Promoting Cultural Competence and Community Health (Unit Code HNO6001)

This unit examines the major concepts and principles of community health promotion including self-care, continuity of care, primary health care, health promotion, illness prevention, community assessment, family assessment and home care. Health promotion is a proven dynamic in disease prevention and maintenance of community health. In this unit you will review the major health issues impacting on national and global health. Australian and World Health Organisation (WHO) health priorities and strategies for optimising community health will be critically reviewed. You will reflect on the role of the nurse in community health promotion within areas of specialisation. You will examine communities with diverse and specific health requirements and health literacy needs to understand how to optimise the success of health promotion strategies. This unit also examines the major concepts and principles of cultural safety and the knowledge and skills required of the nursing profession to work ethically with diverse people and communities, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Students will examine a health problem in relation to a specific community and design strategies of community health promotion in a specialised area of your choice.

Mental Health in Later Life (Unit Code HNO6013)

This unit develops the knowledge and skills of students to ethically support diverse older person who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness, by employing person-centred approaches to delivering care. Students critically analyse the notion of ageism and how the lived experience of ageism can affect people's mental health in later life. Another learning focus is the comprehensive biopsychosocial assessment of the older person with complex comorbidities. Students also investigate and differentiate between depression, delirium, and dementia; together with rates of suicide in older populations, and debate the treatment options best suited for the older person who experiences symptoms of mental illness.

Care Coordination in Practice (Unit Code HNO6002)

This unit explores the competencies registered Nurses need to work within inter-professional teams to provide coordinated care for clients with complex needs. The unit investigates strategies for working together effectively; making informed health care decisions and ensuring continuity of care for clients. This unit provides students with essential skills in utilising available resources effectively, health coaching and consultation, and the development of care plans that meet complex care needs. Students will further their skills in client advocacy and anticipatory care management, assessment of risk factors related to decline in a community context and determination of available alternatives for managing risks and balancing the needs and desires of clients. Key themes of the unit include exploring and practising the collection and management of client information across the continuum of services and how to negotiate potential service providers for best care package for client needs, including the management of subcontracted services.

Evidence and Research for Practice (Unit Code HNO6004)

This unit investigates evidence-based research and its application in the healthcare setting. Students will develop and refine their skills in searching and critically reviewing and evaluating available nursing and healthcare research and evidence. Students will also learn to use critical appraisal tools to evaluate qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods research. By examining systematic reviews to clarify how evidence is synthesised, students will critically appraise literature and identify gaps in current knowledge to design and develop research proposals and/or projects.

Pharmacology and Therapeutics in Mental Health (Unit Code HNO7011)

This unit develops students' knowledge and skills to ethically support consumer-centred medication management for people who experience symptoms of mental illness. Students will critically review psychopharmacological treatments across the lifespan. Students will also examine the major drug groups of psychotropic medicines, including the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics; and assess and analyse the actions of drugs on physiological, biochemical, and pathophysiological processes. Learning also includes an examination of drug interactions, side effects, the misuse of psychotropic medications, and the broader impact of psychopharmacological interventions on individuals, their families or carers. Finally, students investigate the efficacy of brain stimulation therapies.

Assessment in Mental Health (Unit Code HNO7012)

The focus of this unit is the assessment of people who experience the symptoms of mental ill-health. Students are supported to extend their knowledge and skills in conducting mental health assessments, to encompass the full range of complex health needs of mental health consumers and their family or carers. Students will learn how to conduct a range of comprehensive risk assessments to advance their understanding and application of classification systems to mental health disorders. The unit requires students to critically evaluate how to apply the findings of an assessment to provide a range of ethical consumer-centred treatment options.

Research Project (Unit Code HNO7901)

In this unit students will investigate a significant practice issue in their specialisation through undertaking a research project. Students will strengthen their evidence-based research capabilities drawing on the research project proposal from HNO6004 - Evidence and Research for Practice. Students will critically build on their review of the literature and employ either a qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach when undertaking their research project. Students will demonstrate skills in data collection, data analysis, interpretation and dissemination of findings in the form of a report or journal article for publication.



Psychological Therapies (Unit Code HNO7013)

This unit develops students' knowledge of psychological therapies used in mental health settings to support people who experience symptoms of mental illness or ill-health. Students will consider how to apply a range of therapeutic modalities used in the management of mental health problems and illnesses in culturally appropriate ways. Students will also critically examine cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) principles and skills and their application with children, adolescents, adults and older people who experience mental health problems. The unit further interrogates the evidence base for the more common non-pharmacological approaches, such as dialectical behavioural therapy, interpersonal therapy, psychodynamic approaches and mindfulness-based interventions.

Perspectives on Addictive Behaviours (Unit Code HNO7014)

This unit supports students to interrogate the nature of dependency on and addiction to substances, such as licit and illicit drugs, alcohol, and tobacco; and behavioural addictions to food, sex, gambling, video games, social media and gaming. Students deconstruct the concepts, models, and theories of addiction; and national and international policies and approaches to addressing addictive behaviours. An important focus of the unit is the analysis of the processes involved in achieving behavioural change, including prevention programs, counselling strategies, techniques such as motivational interviewing, and evidence-based approaches to reducing harm.

Nursing Leadership and Management (Unit Code HNO7006)

Nursing is a global profession that occurs within complex environments. Often nursing managers are responsible for being leaders and change agents within the profession and successfully managing teams. To be a successful leader or manager, students need to understand the challenges that currently impact on healthcare. This unit assists students in developing leadership knowledge and skills to achieve better outcomes for patients and create positive working environments. Unit content explores theories, concepts and leadership styles to help nurses further develop their leadership potential and the skills of motivating, coaching, and mentoring.

Health and Wellbeing for the Older Person (Unit Code HNO7004)

This unit will identify and clarify the role of the nurse to improve health outcomes and quality of life, for older people living with chronic disease. Using case studies and research, students will reflect on patient experiences, their interactions with the health system and self-management interventions and models. Students will investigate the effects of class, race, sexuality, gender and environment that influence a person’s health and wellbeing and their motivations to manage positive lifestyle changes. Students will also investigate current evidence-based approaches that incorporate integrated care and self-management interventions to improve overall health. Students will critically reflect on best practices to work collaboratively with the individual, family and carers to address specific and individual needs to enhance patients’ wellbeing and quality of life. Unit topics include investigating the promotion of a person-centred care approach, quality safety and risk and ongoing evaluation and maintenance of independence, choice, rights and quality of life.

Career options

Career outcomes

With VU Online’s Master of Mental Health Nursing, you’ll gain knowledge and skills in evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches in mental health. This course will position you to take on mental health care coordination roles, leadership roles in mental health nursing or roles in mental health services. This course also prepares you for roles in senior mental health services or sessional academic work.

VU Online’s Master of Mental Health Nursing will also allow you to progress towards credentialing with the ACMHN.

For more information about career outcomes, download a brochure.

Student Support & Fees

Student Support

VU Online provides you with the academic support you need, when you need it, throughout the course. With four layers of student support, our goal is to ensure you succeed in your studies. Our highly experienced academics understand how to deliver a quality online learning experience and are responsive and accessible.

You will also have access to a dedicated Student Success Advisor, who provides motivation and 1:1 personalised assistance with non-academic matters for the duration of the course. You will experience the support of a community through chat, virtual seminars and discussion board activity. Your support network is only a phone call or email away.


Our Master of Mental Health Nursing costs $2,600 - $2,700 per unit*. The total cost for all 12 units is $31,700 to $31,800

FEE-HELP loans are available to assist eligible full-fee paying students with the cost of a university course. This Government loan scheme helps to pay for all or part of their tuition.

*2022 student fees are shown and are subject to change.

Commonwealth Supported Places

A Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) is a place where the government pays for part of your unit fees. This is a subsidy, not a loan, so you do not need to pay it back. Your remaining fees may also be eligible for FEE-HELP. 

This subsidy is available to eligible students completing the Master of Mental Health Nursing. It is only applicable to specific units completed in 2022.  

To find out if you’re eligible for this subsidy, visit the government’s Study Assist

For more information on fees and student support, download a brochure.