Masters and Graduate Diploma Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

  • Why do a course in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing?

    Of all the age groups in Australia, young people are the only population group whose health has not improved over the past three decades. The Centre for Adolescent Health recognises that a key way to improve young people's health and wellbeing is to enhance the capabilities of practitioners who work with young people.

    The Masters and Graduate Diploma/Graduate Certificate is offered by the Centre for Adolescent Health through the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, The University of Melbourne. This relationship creates a unique opportunity for students to receive a formal qualification through engaging in an academic program offered by the University and to be involved with the Centre, which is at the forefront of responses to adolescent health and wellbeing issues. 

    The course is designed to meet the professional development needs, goals and interests of participants who work with young people in different disciplines.The course also provides an attractive pathway for graduates interested in working with young people in an adolescent health and welfare related field.  

    The Core Values underpinning the course are: 
    • High quality learning & teaching
    • Equity and access
    • Respect for diversity
    • Youth participation
    • Cross-sectorial collaboration
    • Capacity building
    • Advocacy
    • Critical inquiry
    • Evidence informed practice
    • Experiential learning
    • Reflective practice
    • Ethics
    • 'Big picture' perspectives
    • High quality learning & teaching

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    How will the course benefit me?

    The course offers a multidisciplinary forum where you can:

    • Share knowledge and build professional learning networks;
    • Address the importance of the developmental, social and environmental contexts that impact on young peoples lives and gain critical insight into the underlying causes of adolescent health problems;
    • Build a repertoire of professional capabilities for implementing effective programs and practices in the settings where young people live, work, learn and play and in the health care settings where young people are likely to be seen;
    • Experience broad and inclusive content that links theory with practice;
    • Engage with recognised experts in adolescent health research and practice;
    • Study areas of particular interest to you.

    You will be encouraged to explore a range of theoretical, policy, research and practice perspectives and to use these insights to develop enhanced prevention and intervention strategies when working with young people, families, communities and other agencies.

    The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners have recognised the course as Continuing Medical Education for General Practitioners.

    The program articulates with the Community Access Program at the University of Melbourne.

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    How long will the course take?

    You can enrol  in the course as a part-time or full-time student.

    • The Masters is offered part time over four years with an option to compress the first 2 years into one
    • The Graduate Diploma is offered full time over one year and part time over two years
    • The Graduate Certificate is offered part time over one year
    • Course work and independent learning will take approximately 10 hours per week, per subject.

    Online learning

    The Graduate Diploma/Certificate program is offered fully online, making it accessible no matter where you live.  It also allows you to study at times of the day that suit you, around your personal and professional commitments. Each subject has a dedicated webpage on the university's Learning Management System, or LMS, providing ready access to subject outlines, content notes, recorded lectures, readings and resources, and online discussions.  You can even access the LMS on your mobile. Each subject co-ordinator keeps regular contact with you via the LMS, and is also available for individual support via phone, email and face-to-face meetings.  

    Webinars are run three times a semester, offering the opportunity for face-to-face discussions with your lecturer and the other students.  These are also recorded for those unable to attend in person or online.

    A two-day on-campus orientation is run in late February.  The program includes lectures on adolescence and adolescent health, subject introductions, and workshops on the LMS, research skills and academic writing.  It's an important opportunity to engage with your learning, meet subject co-ordinators and get to know the other students.  

    Masters subjects are offered in a variety of on-campus modes through the School of Population Health, including week-long blocks and week-ends. Online study alternatives should be explored with the course co-ordinator.  

    For details on the four core subjects and six electives,  go to Subject Outlines

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    Course Structure and Pathways

    The Courses are designed to allow for multiple entry and exit pathways:
    • For those who require limited core knowledge in adolescent health and wellbeing, the Graduate Certificate is a one year part time 4 subjects option.
    • For those who require more in-depth knowledge in particular areas of adolescent health and welfare, the Graduate Diploma is over 2 years part time or one year full time. There are 8 subjects to complete (2 per semester).
    • For those who wish to fully explore the theoretical, research and current knowledge surrounding adolescent health, the Masters program over 3 or 4 years part time is your option. Enrolling in the Masters also allows you to exit earlier with either the Graduate Certificate (after first year) or the Graduate Diploma (after 2 years part time) should your educational goals change.

    Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (Course Code GC-ADOLHW)  

    The Graduate Certificate course requires successful completion of the following four core subjects:
    • Young People in Context (12.5cp)
    • Professional Practice in Context (12.5cp)
    • Socio-Environmental Contexts of Adolescence (12.5cp)
    • Health Promotion and Young People (12.5cp)

    Course Total: 50 credit points

    Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (Course Code GD-ADOLHW) 

    The Graduate Diploma course requires successful completion of the following four core subjects and four of the following elective subjects:

     Core Subjects

     Elective Subject Options

    • Young People in Context (12.5cp)
    • Professional Practice in Context (12.5cp)
    • Socio-Environmental Context of  Adolescence (12.5cp)
    • Health Promotion and Young People (12.5cp)
    • Vulnerable Young People (12.5 cp)
    • Drug Issues (12.5 cp)
    • Mental Health and Young People (12.5cp)
    • Cancer Care & Young People (12.5cp)
    • Adolescent Health Project (12.5cp)
    • Adolescent Sexuality and Sexual Health  (12.5 cp)
    • International Adolescent Health (12.5cp) 

    Course Total: 100 credit points

    Master of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (MC-ADOLHW)

    Details of elective and thesis subjects can be found in subject outlines below.

    Course Total: 200 credit points

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    Subject Outlines

    Core Subjects

    POPH90167 Young People in Context 
    This subject introduces and critiques the concepts adolescence and health, and examines various frameworks for understanding the phenomenon of adolescent development.  The diversity of the adolescent experience is explored, and the impact of various socio-environmental contexts of adolescence on young peoples health and wellbeing is identified.

    PAED90007 Professional Practice in Context
    This subject begins by examining the underlying assumptions, values, experiences, skills, forms of knowledge and broader contexts that impact on and inform students professional practice approach in working with young people. Using critical incidents and case studies as a starting point, students will explore some of the key frameworks and interventions for working with young people to improve health outcomes. These include: risk and resiliency frameworks; effective practice strategies; approaches to crisis intervention; and issues related to professional role boundaries, ethical practice and cross-sectoral networking. Students will be required to draw on theoretical perspectives and ideas from contemporary research as well as insights generated through critical reflection, online discussions and collaborative problem-solving. Through this critical enquiry process, it is expected that students will further develop their understandings of their own practice and change and develop aspects of that practice.

    POPH90172 Socio-Environmental Contexts of Adolescence 
    This subject investigates how social determinants and social worlds affect the health and wellbeing of young people and examines social life from historical, global and cultural perspectives. Students will draw on a diversity of theoretical perspectives to analyse how society operates and how social changes influence the health, wellbeing and behaviours of young people. Throughout this subject, particular emphasis is placed on examining and explaining social and health inequalities. Issues of gender and popular culture and concepts related to social networks, social capital, social cohesion and social control are explored. The relationship between micro and macro views of society (micro-macro linkage), and the relationship between social structures, institutions and human agency are investigated with reference to contemporary adolescent health issues. Approaches to interventions focussing on changing social contexts will be critically examined.

    POPH90173 Health Promotion and Young People 
    This subject explores key practices, principles and frameworks for health promotion and community capacity building aimed at enhancing the wellbeing of young people. Participants will be encouraged to develop a more systematic approach to health promotion practice, particularly in undertaking needs-assessments, and in planning and implementing collaborative health promotion approaches. These approaches will take into account the setting and diversity within communities. A range of evaluation processes will be considered with particular emphasis on participatory approaches, engagement of young people and critical questioning of what counts as evidence. Participants will be encouraged to build on their existing repertoire of communication strategies with a focus on developing advocacy and engagement strategies.

    Masters Only:

    POPH90268 Adolescent Health Minor Thesis 
    The purpose of this subject is to develop the critical disciplines of research methodology and to arm students with the necessary knowledge and skills to analyse and interpret research that informs our understanding of young peoples health and well-being. The aim is also to provide students with the skills needed to design, implement and communicate the findings of research that will contribute to more effective program delivery to young people, within and across different sectors.  

    This subject will provide participants with the critical skills needed to design their research project, including the research questions, a rationale - why is it worth studying this question/area, the aims and objectives of the research; identification of theoretical/conceptual frameworks to be used as well as relevant bodies of literature; methodology - how will the problem be investigated and why is this the best design.On completion of the minor thesis, students will have:

    • Read and written about their specific area of research interest;
    • Defined a research problem or issue;
    • Developed understandings of research approach(es) and techniques that are relevant to the proposed project;
    • Written a detailed research proposal;
    • Conducted a thorough literature review;
    • Selected an appropriate research design;
    • Justified appropriate methods for data analysis;
    • Demonstrated skill in using appropriate methods;
    • Demonstrated skill in interpreting the data in such a way that has relevance for youth health policy or practice;
    • Demonstrated skill in writing up the results.

    Methods of study may include policy analysis, theoretically-based studies as well as methods based on the collection and analysis of interview or survey data, or as determined by both the student and the supervisor. In this unit students will have a supervisor appointed, work with the supervisor to develop a research proposal, enhance their ability to plan and conduct research in a specific methodological framework, explore current literature relating to their proposed research topic, and prepare an application for human research ethics approval.

    There is no prepared content in this unit. It is a research unit in which students, in consultation with an appointed supervisor, carry out research tasks to develop new knowledge (content) themselves. From time to time, supervisors will provide students with appropriate readings to support their research. Supervisors are appointed by the co-ordinator in consultation with the student. Students will be assigned a supervisor in the year they begin their thesis.

    POPH90200 Principles of Social Research Design 
    This subject will give students an understanding of the principles underlying social research. The topics covered will be relevant for students interested in social research specifically, and for health research students who want to learn about qualitative and quantitative research as it applies to social health research. The first part of this subject will concentrate on the conceptual approaches to research design and process. These sessions will provide both theoretical background and practical advice for doing social research. The second part will discuss ethics in research. Areas to be covered will include the rationale for formal ethical review of research involving humans and details of the ethics committee process, as well as more general discussion of basic ethical principles in research. The subject will draw on different disciplines to highlight different disciplinary approaches to designing and formulating social research projects.

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    Elective Subjects 

    PSYC90062 Mental Health and Young People 
    General overview of adolescent mental health including history and epidemiology of mental illness, consumer and carer perspectives, mental health disorders prevalent in adolescence, assessment and management, interventions eg. Psychotherapy and psychosocial rehabilitation, mental health services available for adolescents and mental health promotion.

    POPH90169 Adolescent Sexuality & Sexual Health 
    This subject is run in collaboration with Melbourne Sexual Health Centre. The aim of this subject is to improve workers understanding of sexual health issues for young people and strategies to improve youth sexual health. The subject will consider the major sexual health issues for adolescents, epidemiology of adolescent sexual behaviours, developmental issues associated with sexual health and sexual diversity. Effective interventions which promote youth sexual health will be considered.

    POPH90171 Drug Issues 
    This subject enables students to build a framework for analysing and responding to the complex issues pertaining to young people and drug use. This involves the examination of prevalence rates and current trends in drug use among adolescents in the contemporary Australian context and an analysis of the dominant perspectives that influence policy makers, treatment providers, media outlets, families and young people themselves. Students will draw on a diversity of theoretical frameworks and current research to tease out the key determinants of adolescent drug use and develop the skills to define and identify hazardous or problematic drug use. Finally, students will explore a range of effective responses in the fields of prevention, health promotion and treatment that can be utilised to assist young people to avoid harm and initiate and maintain change; for example, harm minimisation, net harm analysis, stages of change and relapse prevention models and motivational interviewing.

    POPH90087 International Adolescent Health 
    To date, international adolescent health has been addressed within the confines of specific issues such as reproductive health or HIV. This subject provides a comprehensive picture of emerging health issues for adolescents, focusing on young people from developing countries. Topics include: key stages of adolescent health and youth development; adolescent needs assessment; socio-cultural issues in adolescent health; key issues in adolescent health including HIV/AIDS, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, mental health, nutrition, sexual and reproductive health and risk taking behaviours.
    For further information about this elective option please see The Nossal Institute for Global Health.

    POPH90168 Vulnerable Young People 
    This subject begins with an exploration of the concept of at risk as it applies to young people, and the use and purpose of such a categorisation by relevant services and through policy. A life-course approach is used to examine the impact of risk factors and behaviours in earlier years on adolescent health and wellbeing including; for example, grief and loss, trauma, abuse and mental illness. Students will examine contemporary innovative services and intervention approaches to working with young people at risk, and explore how different agencies and sectors have developed effective approaches to working collaboratively. Key management, supervision, legal and self-care issues will be considered, and how these can be effectively incorporated into professional practice.

    POPH90170 Adolescent Health Project 
    In this subject, participants will draw on ideas from research, along with theoretical frameworks and strategies explored during the course to develop and review a critical inquiry project relevant to their professional practice workplace/setting that influences outcomes for young people. Participants will be supervised through each stage of the project and will be required to present their findings, perspectives and reflections to different audiences using appropriate media.

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    Elective subjects - Masters only

    Our course supervisors aim tailor make our Masters course for each student. Therefore we remain flexible with the electives a student wishes to undertake in their Masters years. We do have a list of recomended electives, but we are also encouraging of our students exploring electives in other schools within the University of Melbourne. Whatever your interest we recommend that you contact the Practise and Learnign team at the CAH to discuss your options in your Master years,

    Also, go to the Melbourne Graduate School of Education for more masters elective choices within the existing Masters in Education.

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    What are the fees?

    Please see the for up-to-date information about exact course fees.   In 2017, the course  fees for domestic (Australia or New Zealand) graduate students are approximately:
    - AUD $  8,640 for the Graduate Certificate
    - AUD $ 17,280 for the Graduate Diploma
    - AUD $ 35,424 for the Masters

    Information about fees for international students are also available via the website above.   Fees are payable in instalments at the beginning of each semester.  

    Higher Education Loan Programme (FeeHELP):

    Please refer to Going to Uni - Fee Help for information on Commonwealth Student Loans 

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    What are the course admission requirements and how do I apply?

    Admission requirements for this course are as follows:

    1. a) A degree in health sciences, education, social work or related discipline, OR
      b) A degree in any discipline plus evidence of at least 2 years of relevant work experience, OR
      c) Evidence of at least 5 years of relevant work experience.
    2. Proof of Australia/New Zealand citizenship or Australia permanent residency (information for international applicants)

    To apply for study in this course you must:

    1.    Gather supporting documentation (you will need to submit these with your application):

    • Certified copy of proof of citizenship/permanent residency
    • Certified copies of any tertiary qualifications
    • An up-to-date Curriculum Vitae detailing your relevant experience, work history, and professional development
    • A cover letter detailing how your background prepares you to undertake the course, particularly in terms of your practice knowledge and/or skills, success in previous study and written communication skills (required only for those without a degree as described above)

    2. Go to the online application screen through the University of Melbourne website to register and complete the online application.

    3.  Add the above documents to the 'supporting documents' section of the online application

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    International students

    You are considered an international student if you are not an Australia or New Zealand citizen or Australia permanent resident. Your application is made directly to the University of Melbourne or through one of the University's overseas representatives. There are various methods for applying for a postgraduate course if you are an international student. Please refer to the information for international students pages on the University of Melbourne Future Students website for further guidelines.

    As mentioned the course is flexible learning (combining distance and on campus study). As an international student you will be required to attend the orientation workshop for your first year of study. All other orientations and study sessions are optional. You will only require a visitors visa for orientation attendance. 

    If you wish to continue with the Masters in Adolescent Health and Welfare you will be required to become an international student and live in Australia.

    International students can find out about scholarships offered to postgraduate students through the University of Melbourne's Scholarships office.

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    Scholarships and Funding Options


    Silk Miller Scholarship

    The Rotary Club Central Melbourne Sunrise, the Victorian Police and the Centre for Adolescent Health offer a partial scholarship to a current member of the Victorian Police in memory of Rod Miller and Gary Silk. 

    For further information on the Silk Miller Scholarship contact Andrea Krelle on 03 9345 6676 or email

    Mary-Ann Hope Scholarship 

    The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development offers one 50% scholarship per year to a Victorian Secondary School Nurses. Nurses must have been in the position for over 24 months. There are also four Mary Anne Hope Grants each year to undertake a single subject within the Graduate Diploma fully funded. Nurses must have been in the position 12 months.

    For further information on Mary-Ann Hope Scholarships contact Andrea Krelle on 03 9345 6676 or email Alternatively, contact your area Secondary School Nurse Manager.

    Robbie Mitchell Scholarships

    The Robbie Michell Scholarships are funded by contributing Rotary Clubs of Victoria, and are available to applicants working with youth in any of the following; remote, Indigenous or disadvantaged populations/communities.  Interested applicants should email Janine Stratford on


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    Semester Dates 2017

    Key University Dates

    Orientation workshop dates:
    1st Year students:
     Thursday 23 February and Friday 24 February 2017

    Semester 1 - (12  teaching weeks) - Monday 27 February to Sunday 28 May 2017

    Easter Non Teaching Period  - Friday 14 April to Sunday 23 April 2017

    Semester 2 - (12 teaching weeks) - Monday 24 July to Sunday 22 October 2017

    Non Teaching Period - Monday 25 September to Sunday 1 October 2017

    Results final release date - Semester 1: Friday 7 July 2017  and  Semester 2 Friday 1 December 2017 

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    For further information, please contact:

    Helen D'Cruz
    Programs Support Officer, Practice & Learning
    Centre for Adolescent Health
    Tel:  +61 (03) 9345 6671


    Andrea Krelle
    Manager, Practice & Learning
    Centre for Adolescent Health
    Tel:  +61 (03) 9345 6676