Prospective students

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

    Australia's only postgraduate course in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing is delivered online by the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. Adolescence is the foundational period in the lives of individuals and for the health of our community. Investments in adolescent health maximise human capabilities that play out across the course of life and into the next generation.

    Of all age groups in Australia, young people are the only group whose health has not improved over the past three decades. To improve young people's health and wellbeing, we need to build the knowledge and capabilities of all those who work with young people, including teachers, nurses, social workers, doctors, youth workers, community workers, and others.

    During this course you will:

    1. Gain the skills to communicate effectively with young people from different sectors, families, cultural and community backgrounds
    2. Build a repertoire of professional, legal and ethical capabilities for implementing effective programs and practices in the settings where young people live, work, learn and play
    3. Engage with some of the world’s experts in adolescent health research and practice.

    Read this post (and watch the video), 2023 Welcome and Graduation Celebration, to hear what past students had to say about the course. 

    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.  

    During each semester, webinars are conducted three or four times, providing students with the opportunity for face-to-face discussions with their lecturers and peers. These webinars are also recorded for those who are unable to attend in person or online.

    A two-day orientation is run in late February and late July. 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 - AHW course outline 24

    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
    Young People in Context POPH90167 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
    Health Promotion and Young People POPH90173  Young People and Substance Abuse POPH90171
      Mental Health and Young People PSYC90062
      Young People Experiencing Vulnerability 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
    Qualitative Research in Public Health POPH90231  Adolescent Health Minor Thesis POPH90268
    Elective Elective

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

    Community Engagement for Health Impact POPH90201

    Health Program Evaluation 1 POPH90058

    Health Program Evaluation 2 POPH90090

    Epidemiology 1 POPH90014

    Advanced Qualitative Health Research POPH90200

    Biostatistics POPH90013

    For further enquiries or clarification about the course or enrolment process, please contact Helen D'Cruz on

    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.


    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 design. The topics covered will be relevant for students interested in social research in general, and in the health context specifically. This subject will cover the conceptual approaches to research design and process, including writing and dissemination. 

    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 introduces the fundamental concepts of statistics and the essential methods required to equip students to perform basic statistical analyses and interpret research findings in the public health setting.


    Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of disease frequency in human populations and the application of this study to control health problems. It is a fundamental science of public health.

    Three main tasks of epidemiology include description, causal inference and prediction. This subject focuses on the first two and emphasises the application of epidemiological evidence to informing public health practice and policy.


    his subject will build advanced skills in designing and conducting qualitative health research, further developing students’ basic knowledge of qualitative research methods. This includes the development of advanced skills in data collection and analytic methods, strategies to respond to the challenges and complexity associated with qualitative research in the field. Students will have the opportunity to workshop and practice these skills during the intensive teaching period. Students will also develop a comprehensive understanding of the theoretical perspectives used in qualitative research. The subject will also cover ethics in qualitative research in depth, preparing students to both submit an ethics application and to deal with ethical challenges that arise in the field. The subject will cover all aspects of design, including consideration of issues related to rigour, quality and reflexivity in addition to the introduction of new and emerging methods of data collection. The subject will cover the practicalities of collecting data in another country or community and how to navigate the process of analysis and writing up, whether this is as part of a team, with the community or a solo endeavour. These skills will equip students to undertake qualitative health research in a range of practice contexts, including in health services, with patient groups, with communities, and in order to design and assess the impact of health interventions and policies. 

    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.  

    A tuition fee deposit of $5000 has been approved for this course due to the usual semester fees being less than the standard deposit. Students must check their statement of liability and make arrangements to pay the required balance once enrolled.

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

    Fees & Scholarships


    In 2024, the course fees (Australian fee place) for domestic and international graduate students are:

    • $ 11,152 AUD, for the Graduate Certificate
    • $ 22,304 AUD, for the Graduate Diploma
    • $ 45,723 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. 

    Scholarships for community sector and education 

    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 populations / communities. The scholarship amount varies from time to time depending on the financial status of the successful applicant. Available for Graduate Certificate, Diploma and Masters of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

    To apply, email Phil Wheatley . For further information email Dr Ani Wierenga

    Scholarships for Nurses

    There is an ongoing relationship between the course and the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne, through the Kelpie Ward (Adolescent Ward). Two nurses at the Royal Children’s Hospital were sponsored into the Graduate Certificate in 2019. If you would like support to talk to your employing organisation about a scholarship, contact the course coordinator, Dr Ani Wierenga:

    Scholarships for Police 

    The Melbourne Central Rotary Club offers a 50% scholarship to one member of the Victoria Police to study the Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing, in honour of the memory of Senior Constable Rod Miller and Sergeant Gary Silk. For further information or to apply, contact Helen D’Cruz,

    Scholarships for School Nurses

    The Department of Education & Early Childhood Development (DEET) offers a 50% Mary-Ann Hope scholarship to a Victorian Secondary School Nurse to study the Graduate Diploma in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. Additionally available are five Single Subject Grants for school nurses to undertake a single subject. 

    For further information or to apply, contact Helen D’Cruz, .If you would like support to talk to your employing organisation about a scholarship, contact the course coordinator, Dr Ani Wierenga: .

    Scholarship for an Indigenous Practitioner

    The Department of Paediatrics at the Melbourne Medical School, University of Melbourne will offer a year-long $5000 scholarship to an Indigenous practitioner or professional in any field related to adolescent health and wellbeing. 

    For further information or to apply, contact Helen D’Cruz,

    Scholarships for Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) Oncology Professionals

    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 further information or to apply, contact Helen D’Cruz,  Additional information available here:

    Scholarships for not-for-profit staff  (Starlight Children’s Foundation) 

    Starlight Foundation offers a 50% scholarship to Starlight Foundation staff members to undertake the Graduate Certificate in Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. If you would like support to talk to your employing organisation about a scholarship, contact the course coordinator, Dr Ani Wierenga: .

    Commonwealth supported places: Master of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    The Commonwealth Government has supported up to five places for students who apply for the course during first round offers (typically by end November). These have been awarded on a merit basis. 

    For further information, contact Helen D’Cruz

    Apply now

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


    For further enquiries, please contact: 

    Dr Ani Wierenga

    Academic Coordinator, Adolescent Health and Wellbeing

    Centre for Adolescent Health 

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