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Mental Health

How to choose the right Master of Mental Health course

Deciding on the right Master of Mental Health doesn’t have to be hard. Here’s your guide to choosing the best course for you.


Mental health is an increasingly important topic, with research showing that 8.6 million Australians are estimated to have experienced a mental health disorder at some point in their lifetimes.

The demand for mental health professionals is strong as we see roles such as psychologists and mental health counsellors expected to experience strong employment growth through to 2026. In particular, the demand for qualified nurses in the mental health field is high — by 2030, there will be a projected shortfall of 18,500 mental health nurses in Australia. Graduates who possess a Master of Mental Health Nursing are seen as a priority group to assist in combating this shortfall.

If you’re passionate about mental health and are looking for a career that makes a positive impact, this is what you need to know about choosing a mental health course at a postgraduate level.

In this article, we look at the reasons why you might study mental health, explore the different mental health postgraduate degrees, the benefits of studying mental health online and share how a Master of Mental Health can have a lasting impact on your career.

A Master of Mental Health: how to choose

Choosing the right Master of Mental Health course can be an exciting opportunity to discover the best fit for you. There are a variety of courses available, each with their own unique focus and curriculum. To help you select the best course for your goals and interests, here are the first things to consider.

Career path

Consider the career path and area of focus you wish to pursue. For example, if you enjoy working with young people and have a passion for helping them overcome mental health challenges, then working with children and adolescents may be a good fit for you.

Alternatively, you may be interested in focusing on a specific mental health area, such as anxiety or depression. You could also consider whether you prefer a role that is patient-facing, an educational role, or aspire to a leadership position. Additionally, research the job outlook in your area.

Mental health courses cater to a variety of professionals, including health practitioners, registered nurses, educators, and human resources experts, providing them with opportunities to enhance their knowledge and skills in their desired area.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a Master of Mental Health can vary depending on the course and the institution offering it. Generally, you will need a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as nursing, psychology, social work or occupational therapy. Some courses may accept students who have completed a graduate certificate or graduate diploma, or they may require professional registration or experience.

Study mode

Consider the mode of the course. Do you want to attend classes on campus, or do you prefer an online program that allows for greater flexibility? Can you commit to full-time study or will part-time better suit your lifestyle? These factors will influence the time commitment required to complete the course and your desired lifestyle.

Specialisations and career outcomes

There are a number of options when it comes to looking for a master’s in mental health. You could study a general Master of Mental Health online from Southern Cross University to enhance your overall understanding of this field. Or, you have the opportunity to select a specialist course that suits your interests and career goals.

A Master of Child and Adolescent Mental Health, for example, will give you the knowledge and skills to work with children and teenagers. Whereas a Master of Mental Health Nursing, similar to the one offered at Victoria University, prepares nurses for leadership roles, with a focus on evidence-based practice and patient-centred care. Graduates are equipped to work in a variety of mental health settings and specialise across a wide range of areas.

Social work, teaching and psychology professionals can also benefit from studying a postgraduate mental health course, as the skills and knowledge gained can be applied directly to their jobs, or allow them to transition into a more health-focused role.

Whatever you choose, a postgraduate degree in mental health is ideal for those who want to upskill in their healthcare careers or transition into careers in mental health. Valerie Ling, a clinical psychologist and director of the Centre for Effective Living, tells us more.

“A postgraduate degree provides you with the skills to remain up-to-date and make sense of emerging trends. It provides you with a deeper and more detailed knowledge base for helping with more complex situations and more specific population groups.”

“So for example, if you work with couples or if you're working in substance abuse, having more advanced training via a postgraduate degree is really helpful.”

Valerie goes on to say that pursuing a postgraduate degree in the mental health space helps with the dynamic nature of the field.

“The other benefit of a postgraduate degree is that you get to do research and it's actually a really important aspect of mental health work because it changes all the time.”

The benefits of studying a Master of Mental Health online

Studying online has many advantages, especially for busy, working professionals. With online study, you can fit your learning around your existing commitments, such as work and family. You can also access course materials and lectures at any time and from anywhere, which makes it easier to stay up to date with your studies.

Online study provides access to interactive online classrooms, virtual simulations and online discussion forums, which allow you to engage with your peers and professors in real time. The online format also means you can continue to work while you study, which can help you gain valuable work experience and apply what you learn in the classroom to your professional practice.

Pursuing a career in mental health

If you’re passionate about a career in mental health and want to make a positive impact in the lives of those who need it most, a postgraduate mental health course can be just the thing for you.

At GlobalHealth Education, we connect students with Australian universities offering a wide range of study options. So if you’re looking to do a specialist mental health course, we can support you in achieving your career goals. 

The courses below are listed by qualification level, from lowest to highest.

Master of Mental Health
Master of Mental Health
Contemporary curriculum designed by mental health experts Designed and developed by leading mental health academics and practitioners, the Master of Mental Health will equip you with contemporary approaches to mental health and allow you to transform the delivery of mental health services in Australia.​​ Award-winning study model Our postgraduate online Block Model, winner of the LearnX Live! Award 2021 ‘Best Online Learning Model’ recognises the complexity of students' lives while giving a consistent, manageable and connected online learning experience.  Support seven days and in the evenings Get the support you need, when you need it. VU's support network has a single focus on ensuring you are entirely supported to succeed. VU Online’s Master of Mental Health is for allied health and social care professionals ready to gain contemporary, person-centred knowledge to work in and lead multidisciplinary teams and programs that impact and transform mental health services in Australia. During this course, you will learn to apply contemporary approaches informed by local, national and international health priorities and principles. You will undertake important research to contribute to our growing understanding of mental health. You will also explore advanced care strategies, therapies and interventions to create better outcomes for people from diverse and vulnerable populations. Studying a contemporary curriculum designed by mental health experts, you will build a comprehensive mental health practice based on research and evidence, trauma-informed care, and collaboration across mental health services.
Master's 24 months 12 Units
  • Recovery Oriented Mental Health​
  • Biopsychosocial and Cultural Perspectives in Mental Health​
  • Effective Trauma-Informed Care
  • Mental Health Foundations
  • Introduction to Child and Adolescent Mental Health​
  • Mental Health in Later Life
  • Systems Thinking in Public Health
  • Psychological Therapies​​
  • Evidence and Research for Practice
  • Perspectives on Addictive Behaviours​
  • Assessment in Mental Health​
  • Research Project​
  • Plus Electives
Master of Mental Health Nursing
Master of Mental Health Nursing
SCU's Master of Mental Health Nursing is developed against the latest mental health industry standards set by the Australian College of Mental Health Nursing (ACMHN). You can use your qualification upon completion as part of the pathway to becoming a credentialed mental health nurse. At SCU, you will be learning from highly skilled, clinically active mental health academics, and you will gain advanced knowledge to help people with a lived experience of mental illness. SCU's degree equips you with the skills and knowledge to forge a successful career as a mental health nurse, ensuring you are prepared to respond to the challenges and opportunities of the healthcare industry. Course is accredited by the ACMHN Gain immediately implementable skills  Online study seamlessly fits into shift-work Dedicated one-on-one support
Master's 24 months 12 Units
  • Contemporary Mental Health
  • Mental Health Across the Lifespan
  • Mental Health in Community, Non-Government and Primary Health Settings
  • Acute Mental Health
  • Leading Evidence-based Practice in Health
  • Physical Healthcare in Mental Health
  • Supporting Behaviour Change in Mental Health Contexts
  • Building a Professional Portfolio
  • Applied Leadership in Mental Health Clinical Practice
  • Developing Skills in Contemporary Psychotherapies
  • Critical Review in Health
  • Plus Electives

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