Graduate Certificate of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing Oncology Stream



    oncology_advert_photo1Young people are the only population group in Australia 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.

    This course focuses on a particular subgroup of young people with whom working presents a unique set of challenges: adolescents and young adults (AYAs) with cancer. Young people experience and respond to cancer in ways that differ from their paediatric and adult counterparts; professionals working with this group need AYA-specific knowledge and skills in order to maximise outcomes for this patient population. This course aims to equip students with the information and skills they need for advanced practice in cancer care for young people aged 15-25.

    The Graduate Certificate is offered by the Centre for Adolescent Health (Practice and Learning Cluster) 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. 

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    Target Audience

    This course has been designed to enhance the practice of anyone working with young people with cancer; this includes doctors, nurses, social workers, allied health workers, counsellors and teachers. It will also appeal to those wishing to gain a qualification to support a career move into adolescent and young adult cancer care.

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    Supported by funding from the Australian Government under the Youth Cancer Networks Program, this course has been developed by the Centre for Adolescent Health and the ONTrac at Peter Mac Victoria Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service under the guidance of a National Curriculum Advisory Committee comprised of leading adult, paediatric and AYA oncology practitioners from across the country.

    It combines existing curricula from the Adolescent Health and Wellbeing postgraduate program that is essential to understanding the context and development of young people, with curricula specific to the biology, treatment and experience of cancer in young people.

    The course has a multidisciplinary focus and is underpinned by a flexible, evidence-based approach to teaching and learning designed to meet the professional development needs, goals and interests of participants from a variety of disciplines, practice settings and locations.

    The course consists of the following four subjects:

    • Young People in Context (offered in Semester 1): This subject critiques the concept of adolescence and health, examines various frameworks for understanding adolescent and young adult development, explores the diversity of the adolescent experience and identifies various socio-environmental contexts of adolescence on young people's health and wellbeing.

    • Professional Practice in Context (offered in Semester 1): 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.

    • Mental Health and Young People (offered in Semester 2): This subject provides a general overview of adolescent mental health including history and epidemiology of mental illness; consumer and carer perspectives; mental disorders prevalent in adolescence; assessment and management; interventions such as psychotherapy and psychosocial rehabilitation; mental health services available for adolescents and mental health promotion.

    • Cancer Care in Young People (offered in Semester 2): This subject examines cancer epidemiology and biology in adolescents and young adults, the impact of cancer on adolescent identity and sexual development/fertility, ethical issues around consent and confidentiality, the influence of the treatment environment, and transition issues including palliative care.

    You will be encouraged to explore a range of theoretical, policy, research and practice perspectives and to use these insights to develop enhanced strategies for working with young people and their extended networks. The learning and assessment approaches used in the course aim to encourage active learning and application of new adolescent health knowledge and skills in 'real world' settings, relevant to your professional practice.

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    Course Structure

    The Graduate Certificate of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing (Oncology Stream) is offered part-time and can be completed in as little as one year (requires taking 2 subjects per semester), though you may take up to three years to complete the course. The program also articulates with the University of Melbourne's Community Access Program for those students interested in single subject study only. You can expect each subject to involve an average of 10 hours of independent study and coursework per week. Each of the four subjects is worth 12.5 credit points for a total of 50 credit points.

    This course is offered via distance education (online via the internet) using a variety of web-based resources and teaching and learning strategies (you will also receive hard copy material for the course prior to commencement). Students are, however, required to attend a two-day workshop held at the University of Melbourne in February (prior to the commencement of the course). Attendance at this workshop is mandatory; it is designed to familiarise you with our online learning platform, introduce key adolescent health themes and create opportunities for students to interact with one another and the course team. Each subject also features two or three study skills sessions (two-hour face-to-face teaching and learning sessions held throughout the semester); attendance at these sessions is optional.

    Our lecturers are all experienced in the delivery of online education and committed to providing a supportive learning environment that encourages interaction, mentoring support and professional networking. As a distance education student you will be communicating with your lecturers largely via online discussion, telephone and/or email, but lecturers are also available for face-to-face meetings at your request.

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    Fees and Scholarships

    In 2018, the course fees for domestic and international graduate students is $ 9,040 AUD  

    Please see the for up-to-date information course fees.

    FEE-HELP (Higher Education Loan Program)

    FEE-HELP is a government loan given to eligible full-fee paying students to help pay part or all of their tuition fees (students repay their loan through the tax system depending on their income). See the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations' Going to Uni website (postgraduate) for more information.


    Please contact Andrea Krelle (Manager, Practice and Learning) at +61 (0)3 9345 6676 or for information on scholarships available.

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    Admission Requirements and How to 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 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.

    • The course code for the Graduate Certificate of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing is GC-ADOLHW (more information can be found in the University of Melbourne 2017 handbook)
    • Add the above documents to the "supporting documents" section of the online application

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    International Enrolments

    Both streams of the Grauate Certificate (Health Promotion & Oncology) and the Graduate Diploma are fully online and can be undertaken from anywhere in the world.  International enrolments are welcome.  Please refer to the information the University of Melbourne Future Students website.  

    For further enquiries or clarification about the course or enrolment process, please don't hesitate to contact Helen D'Cruz on


    Semester Dates 2018

    Key University Dates

    Orientation workshop dates:

    Thursday 22 February and Friday 23 February 2018

    Semester 1 - (12  teaching weeks) - Monday 26 February to Sunday 27 May 2018

    Easter Non Teaching Period  - Friday 30 March to Sunday 27 May 2018

    Semester 2 - (12 teaching weeks) - Monday 23 July to Sunday 21 October 2018

    Non Teaching Period - Monday 24 September to Sunday 30 September 2018

    Results final release date - Semester 1: Friday 6 July 2018 and Semester 2 Friday 30 November 2018

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    For further information, please contact:

    Andrea Krelle
    Manager, Practice & Learning
    Centre for Adolescent Health
    Tel:  +61 (0) 3 9345 6676

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