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 independent research skills, including design and implementation, and the analysis and interpretation of data that informs our understanding of young peoples’ health and well-being. This process involves exploring a research question and establishing a rationale for the enquiry, refining the aims and objectives, identifying the relevant theoretical and/or conceptual frameworks, and resolving the appropriate methodological approach to satisfy the aims and objectives. Methods of study may include policy analysis, discourse analysis, program evaluation, the analysis of interview or survey data, discussion groups or focus groups, or participatory methods such as PhotoVoice.

    Early preparation for the thesis is vital; students participate in a pre-thesis planning meeting towards the end of their second year, and secure an appropriate supervisor in the third year, before commencing the subject in fourth year. Students will usually have to apply for full ethics approval though the Department of Paediatrics, FMDHS.

    The Adolescent Health Minor Thesis is a year-long subject, worth 37.5 points, and is 12,000 words in length.

    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?

    In 2018, the course fees for domestic and international graduate students are: 
    -  $  9,040 AUD, for the Graduate Certificate
    -  $ 18,080 AUD, for the Graduate Diploma

    -  $ 36,000 AUD, (approximately depending on subject choice) for the Masters, available to domestic students only

    Please see the for up-to-date information course fees.  
    Fees are payable on subject enrolment 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 Enrolments

    Both streams of the Graduate 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 clarificaiton about the course or enrolment process, please don't hesitate to contact Helen D'Cruz on

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    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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Rotary Photo

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    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:

    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