Centre for Adolescent Health

Prospective students

  • Master and Graduate Diploma/ Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing


    Adolescents and young adults 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 strategy to improve the health and wellbeing of adolescents and young adults is to enhance the capabilities of practitioners who work with young people.

    As well as building their own professional competencies, the multi-disciplinary cohort provides an opportunity for students to learn from each other, to exchange knowledge, experience, and resources, and to debate and discuss adolescent health issues and practice challenges.

    Online learning

    The postgraduate courses are 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 of Melbourne'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 coordinator 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. The on-campus orientation is an important opportunity to engage with your learning, meet subject coordinators and get to know the other students.  

    Course Structure 

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

    • The Graduate Certificate is only offered part-time over one year.
    • The Graduate Diploma is offered full-time over one year and part-time over two years.
    • The Masters is offered part-time over four years with an option to compress the first two years into one.

    Course work and independent learning will take approximately 10 hours per week, per subject.

    Students who have competed the graduate certificate may also advance to the graduate diploma.

    The Graduate Diploma and the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing is 100% online and can be undertaken from anywhere in the world. Masters subjects are offered in a variety of on-campus modes through the School of Population Health, including week-long blocks and weekends. Online study alternatives should be explored with the course coordinator.

    A downloadable version of the postgraduate courses is available here

    Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    Students must satisfactorily complete two core subjects and two specialisation subjects - depending on whether they’re enrolled in the health promotion stream or oncology stream (50 credit points). Additional course information can be found on the University of Melbourne's website.

    Core subjects Health promotion stream Oncology stream
    Semester 1 Semester 2 Semester 2
    Professional Practice in Context PAED90007 Health Promotion and Young People POPH90173 Cancer Care in Young People PAEDS90026
    Young People in Context POPH90167 Socio-environmental Context of Adolescents POPH90172 Mental Health and Young People PSYC90062

    Health promotion stream

    The health promotion stream of the Graduate Certificate was developed to meet the professional needs, goals and interests of those who work with young people in different disciplines. The course provides an attractive pathway for graduates interested in working with young people in an adolescent health and welfare related field.

    Oncology stream

    The oncology stream of the Graduate Certificate was developed to build the capacity of the emerging and growing workforce dedicated to improving outcomes for young people with cancer. The course has been designed for anyone working with adolescents and young adults with cancer; this includes doctors, nurses, social workers, allied health workers, counsellors and teachers.

    Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    Students must satisfactorily complete eight subjects: four core and four elective (100 credit points). Additional course information can be found on the University of Melbourne's website.

    Core subjects (complete all 4) Elective subject options (choose 4)
    Year 1 Year 2
    Health Promotion and Young People POPH90173 Adolescent Health Project POPH90170
    Professional Practice in Context PAED90007 Adolescent Sexuality & Sexual Health POPH90169
    Socio-environmental Context of Adolescents POPH90172 Cancer Care in Young People PAEDS90026
    Young People in Context POPH90167 Drug Issues POPH90171
    International Adolescent Health POPH90087
    Mental Health and Young People PSYC90062
    Vulnerable Young People POPH90168

    Master of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    After completing the Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, Master students must satisfactorily complete 5 subjects and a minor thesis (200 credit points). Additional course information can be found the University of Melbourne's website. In years 3 and 4 Masters students construct a study plan to suit their research interest with the support of the course coordinator. 

    Year 3 Year 4
    Principles of Social Research Design POPH90200 Adolescent Health Minor Thesis PAEDS90015
    Elective Elective

    Electives may be methodology based or content based depending on the focus of the minor thesis. Examples of methodology electives include:

    Community-Based Participatory Research POPH90201

    Health Program Evaluation 1 POPH90058

    Health Program Evaluation 2 POPH90090

    Qualitative Research in Public Health POPH90231

    For further enquiries or clarification about the course or enrolment process, please contact Helen D'Cruz on hdcruz@unimelb.edu.au.

    Course subjects

    Core subjects


    This subject introduces and critiques the concepts ‘adolescence’ and ‘health’, and examines various frameworks for understanding the phenomenon of adolescent development. The diversity of adolescent experience is explored, and the impact of various socio-environmental contexts of adolescence on young people’s health and wellbeing is identified.


    This subject asks students to examine the assumptions, values, experiences, skills, forms of knowledge and broader influences on your work with young people. The subject is structured into four connected modules that build on each other across the semester: Reflective practice; Working with resilience; Working with other professionals; Being resilient.


    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.


    This subject explores key practices, principles and frameworks for health promotion and community capacity building aimed at enhancing the health and wellbeing of young people. Participants will be encouraged to develop a more systematic approach to health promotion practice, particularly in identifying adolescent health needs and in planning, implementing and evaluating health promotion approaches relevant to particular communities/ settings.



    This subject explores two main themes: 1. The social construction of sexuality - how our understandings of sexuality are developed in socio-cultural contexts; and 2. Sexual health - how it is defined and measured, what factors contribute to it, and practical issues to consider when interacting with adolescents and trying to have an impact on their sexual health and wellbeing.


    To date, international adolescent health has been addressed with the confines of specific issues such as sexual reproductive health or HIV and AIDS. This subject provides a comprehensive picture of emerging health issues for adolescents in developing countries whilst maintaining a strong focus on sexual and reproductive health inclusive of HIV and AIDS. Topics include: sexual and reproductive health programming initiatives, HIV and AIDS, key stages of adolescent health and development, socio-cultural determinants in adolescent health, drug and alcohol use and mental health.


    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. The impact of risk and protective factors on adolescent health and well-being will be examined including factors operating at individual, family and community levels.


    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.


    This subject introduces conceptual frameworks for understanding mental health in young people and the importance of social contexts for mental health. The subject analyses the emotional dimensions of mental health and assists professionals to recognise emotional distress of a young person and ways that it can be manifested.


    Increasingly successful treatments and improved survival rates for adolescents and young adults with cancer has led to the need for better management of the many complex issues arising out the experience of cancer for this group. A better appreciation and understanding of the psycho-social dimension of a young person’s life and cancer experience has emerged, and with this the need for new skills and approaches to care.


    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.

    Masters only


    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. 


    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. 

    Master electives


    This subject will give students an understanding of, and experience in, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). CBPR is a collaborative approach to research that emerges from the interests or problems of a specific group or community, and is enacted through a specific set of social values.


    This subject examines the diverse purposes health program evaluations can serve and the wide range of environments in which health program evaluations are conducted. Using Australian and overseas evaluation examples, students gain an overview of conceptual and methodological issues in the key evaluation approaches.


    This subject provides an extension of studies in health program evaluation introduced in Health Program Evaluation 1. It focuses on issues relating to the selection and development of a preferred evaluation approach for a particular health program or policy. While it does so from an applied, practical perspective, key theoretical underpinnings of different evaluation approaches are also examined.


    This subject will introduce students to qualitative research in public health - both the principles underlying design and the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative methodologies. It will cover a range of methods, such as individual interviews, group interviews, visual and participatory methods. Students will learn how to design, plan and evaluate qualitative research as sources of evidence in public health.

    Selection Criteria

    • An undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline such as Education, Health Science, Social Work or related discipline; or
    • An undergraduate degree in any discipline, or equivalent, and at least 2 years of documented relevant work experience; or
    • At least 5 years of documented relevant work experience, including clear evidence of career development, of professional writing, and generally of professional achievement or practice comparable to that expected of undergraduate degree holders in cognate disciplines.

    All applicants are required to attach a curriculum vitae describing their work experience, and tertiary and other qualifications, along with their academic transcript to their online application.

    International Enrolments

    International enrolments are welcome. The Graduate Diploma and the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing is 100% online and can be undertaken from anywhere in the world.  

    Please visit the international graduate coursework on the University of Melbourne Future Students website.  

    Fees & Scholarships


    In 2019, the course fees for domestic and international graduate students are:

    • $9,504 AUD, for the Graduate Certificate
    • $19,008 AUD, for the Graduate Diploma
    • $38,966 AUD, (approximately depending on subject choice) for the Masters, available to domestic students only.

    Fees are reviewed annually by the University and vary depending on subjects.

    More information about fees for:


    If you are an international student or a domestic student, you may be eligible for a range of scholarships or grants. Please visit the University’s website for further information. Specifically for our postgraduate courses in adolescent health wellbeing, these are a number of targeted scholarships that might help:

    Silk Miller Scholarship 

    The Melbourne Central Rotary Club offers a partial scholarship to a member of the Victoria Police to study the graduate diploma, in honour of the memory of Senior Constable Rod Miller and Sergeant Gary Silk. 

    For further information, contact Helen D’Cruz on 03 9345 6671 or helen.dcruz@unimelb.edu.au

    Mary Ann Hope Scholarship

    The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development (DEET) offers a 50% scholarship to a Victorian Secondary School Nurse to study the graduate diploma. There are also five Mary Ann Hope Subject Grants offered each year to for nurses to undertake a single subject. 

    For further information, contact Helen D’Cruz on 03 9345 6671 or helen.dcruz@unimelb.edu.au.

    Alternatively, contact Rhiannan Eastaway, DEET Regional Secondary School Nurse Manager on 0472 842 489 or rhiannan.eastaway.r@edumail.vic.gov.au 

    Robbie Mitchell Scholarships

    The Robbie Mitchell Scholarships are funded by contributing Rotary Clubs of Victoria, and are available to applicants working with young people in remote, Indigenous or disadvantaged communities. 

    Interested applicants should email Phil Wheatley on wheatley.philip.c@edumail.vic.gov.au or contact Helen D’Cruz on 9345 6671 or helen.dcruz@unimelb.edu.au.

    Adolescent & Young Adults (AYA) Oncology Education Scholarship

    For the Oncology stream, scholarships are offered in Victoria and Queensland. Selection criteria include a commitment to working in the field of adolescent & young adult cancer care or a demonstrated interest in working in this field and commitment to disseminating the knowledge learnt in the course. For more information please visit https://www.petermac.org/education/adolecsent-young-adults-aya-oncology-education or contact Helen D’Cruz on 9345 6671 or helen.dcruz@unimelb.edu.au. 

    Starlight Children’s Foundation

    Starlight Foundation offers a 50% scholarship to Livewire team members to study the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. Interested applicants should contact Melissa Barker on 0424 134 998 or Melissa.barker@starlight.org.au.

    Apply now

    Applications for 2020 intake open 1st  August  2019.

    Visit the online application webpage on the University of Melbourne website to register and complete the online application.

    Visit the university dates webpage on the University of Melbourne website for information on 2020 semester dates and university holidays.   


    For further enquiries, please contact: 

    Dr Ani Wierenga

    Academic Coordinator, Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    Centre for Adolescent Health 
    T +61 (0)3 93456676
    E wierenga@unimelb.edu.au