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15 Postgraduate Nursing Courses Online

If you're a Registered Nurse in Australia, here are 15 postgraduate courses for you. Explore online master's degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates.

Two nurses with clipboards smiling to one another

A postgraduate nursing course is an opportunity to advance your career as a nurse. With pathway courses available, you can choose to start with a short graduate certificate before progressing to a graduate diploma or masters degree.

Online courses are flexible, allowing you to combine part-time study with full-time work. Designed for working nurses, they also offer a wide range of specialisations, including in clinical nursing practice, management, mental health, and nurse education.

Program duration

  • Graduate certificate: Half-year course (4 subjects). 8 months of part-time study online.
  • Graduate diploma: One-year course (8 subjects). 16 months of part-time study online.
  • Masters: 1.5-year course normally (12 subjects). 24 months of part-time study online.

Graduate Certificate in Nursing

A Graduate Certificate in Nursing is the postgrad course that many nurses and midwives begin with. It is the shortest of the university courses, typically comprising four subjects from a master's program.

Aside from being relatively brief, graduate certificates offer flexibility. You can select a general program or specialise in one of the areas listed below.

Additionally, you can use the course to try out a master's degree. The grad cert can serve as a stepping stone towards a graduate diploma or master's, and students receive full credit for completed subjects.

Advanced Nursing programs are for nurses who work in challenging environments and wish to enhance their applied skills. Graduates should emerge with greater proficiency and confidence in performing clinical nurse duties and providing person-centred care.

A Graduate Certificate in Advanced Nursing provides an opportunity to enhance professional skills in a targeted way by studying critical aspects of nursing practice.

These programs may specialise in particular fields or emphasise general practice. The training can also expand on subjects covered in a nurse bachelor's degree... READ MORE

A Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing is a valuable course for almost every nurse. Students develop general knowledge and applied skills in the profession.

Topics covered in a clinical nurse course may include quality medication application, effective governance in clinical work environments, advanced health assessment, and persuasive communication.

Nurses often gain energy and motivation for further study through clinical experiences. Programs for RNs aim to remain highly relevant to the everyday demands of clinical practice... READ MORE

A Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing provides specialised training in assessing and managing patients. Critical care nurses perform intricate patient assessments, provide intensive treatments and interventions, and monitor vulnerable patients.

Grad cert courses delve into concepts and practices that apply to almost any critical care setting. For instance, you may study safe medication practices, respiratory assessment, case management, or ECG rhythm recognition.

This type of program is particularly advantageous if you work in an ICU or other critical care environment... READ MORE

A Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Nursing is a useful qualification for the many nurses who deal with patients experiencing psychological issues or cognitive impairment. You should have work-related access to mental health practice during your studies.

The specialist program offers both one-off training and a potential platform for further study.

To qualify as a mental health nurse in Australia, you need to complete an accredited program through to a graduate diploma or masters level. Accredited 100% online courses are available... READ MORE

A Graduate Certificate in Nurse Education is an excellent pathway to transition into education and teaching roles. This course prepares you for senior positions in nurse training, education, and professional development.

Whether you aim to align yourself with the university and college sectors or focus on in-house staff development, the program will enhance your educator skills and credentials.

Some example subjects are clinical coaching, education principles, communication, and in-practice teaching. Graduates are equipped to design, implement, and assess training programs... READ MORE

Graduate Diploma in Nursing

The Graduate Diploma in Nursing is designed to provide registered nurses with advanced skills and knowledge in their area of practice. Consisting of 8 subjects, the course allows you to set yourself apart from other RNs.

It represents a greater level of educational investment than a graduate certificate. A graduate diploma offers a deeper level of understanding of nursing practices and prepare nurses for advanced roles in specialised areas.

A Graduate Diploma of Nursing might offer the right amount of postgrad education for you. At 8 subjects long, the course is halfway in length between a grad cert and masters. You can earn the qualification in 16 months of part-time study.

The Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Advanced Practice) focuses on developing skills to provide advanced care to patients. Students explore the ways nurses function and operate within clinical environments.

The course will enhance your nursing practice abilities, with a priority on safety and quality care. Graduates are skilled at managing patients with acute or chronic health issues.

Topics you may explore include applied health assessment, clinical governance, diagnostic reasoning, informatics for health professionals, quality use of medicines in practice, and synthesising evidence for healthcare... READ MORE

A Graduate Diploma in Nursing (Education) develops skills in teaching and educating other nurses and healthcare professionals. This program is ideal for RNs with an interest in instruction and educational programs.

During the course, you will learn how to create lesson plans, teach effectively, and evaluate learners. You may study topics such as clinical coaching, healthcare education, and principles of education for the health professional.

Graduates may go on to work in roles such as clinical educator, nurse educator, or academic lecturer in health education... READ MORE

In a Leadership and Management graduate diploma, participants explore the principles and practices behind being an effective leader, manager, communicator, and decision maker.

This major covers topics such as business and finance, conflict and dispute resolution in healthcare, effective clinical governance, leading and managing in health, persuasive communication, and synthesising health evidence.

Graduates may pursue careers as nurse managers, nurse executives, clinical directors, or other leadership roles... READ MORE

You can be recognised as a qualified Mental Health Nurse by completing an accredited Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Nursing online.

Caring for patients with psychological challenges is a specialist field. Australia is experiencing high demand for expertise because of the prevalence of mental illness.

Students learn to understand mental wellbeing and are given tools to respond to patient needs, including treatments, and communication and case management strategies. You learn to support behavioural change as part of a team... READ MORE

Masters in Nursing

A Masters in Nursing is the ultimate postgraduate qualification for career nurses. Students do extensive, in-depth study into nursing practice, education or administration.

A full program consists of 12 subjects and takes 2 years of part-time study. However, you also have the flexibility to start with a shorter graduate certificate course, only commencing the master's after testing the program for yourself.

You can complete a master's degree while working full-time with accelerated online study. Many specialisations are available to take your career in whatever direction you choose, including into management, administration or education.

A Master of Advanced Nursing program emphasises the acquisition of superior skills and knowledge. The postgrad course enables experienced nurses to achieve advanced levels of proficiency in their chosen areas of specialisation.

Some might consider an "advanced nursing" masters to amount to a re-branding of the traditional nursing masters degree. After all, any student doing a master's degree will learn advanced techniques.

Whatever the significant of the degree title, some excellent programs are available to achieve your learning goals... READ MORE

An Advanced Nursing Practice masters will take your clinical skills to the next level. The course is for nurses intending to remain closely involved with patient care.

The idea of an advanced practice program is to build skills towards stronger assessing, planning and application of healthcare services. Experienced nurses are able to add to their knowledge base and gain practical skills.

Over the 12-subject program, students explore topics such as applied health assessment for advanced practice, the quality use of medicines, advanced health assessment, and diagnostic reasoning... READ MORE

If you're aiming to be an educator within the nursing profession, a Master of Nurse Education or similar is the ideal degree to move in that direction.

The master's degree will prepare you for high-level roles in education and training, professional development, and the training of healthcare staff. You can work at a university or college, within health service facilities, or in a consulting capacity.

A nurse education program develops your ability to instruct, mentor, guide and otherwise promote learning in health care... READ MORE

Graduate programs for nurses allow you to major in Emergency Nursing or Acute Care. The specialisation is ideal for nurses who work in an emergency department or other clinical setting where time pressures are great.

Students learn skills for handling patients who present with conditions or injuries requiring timely treatment. You build skills in areas such as patient monitoring, treating critical injuries, handling emergency equipment such as respiratory devices, and administering pharmacological agents.

A master's degree in the field can help boost your confidence and ability to take on senior roles... READ MORE

A major in Nursing Management will build specialist skills and knowledge in areas such as: leading teams, managing finances, collaboration, resolving disputes, health services ethics, and implementing change.

Managers are needed in all healthcare sectors. Potential jobs include nurse unit leader, nursing coordinator, health service manager, and manager of a health facility. Your ability to perform such roles grows with experience and is helped by earning a master's qualification.

Develop your management expertise with a potentially career-defining program of study... READ MORE

Mental health nursing is a large and growing field. A high percentage of Australians will experience psychological challenges at some stage of their lives. Specialist nurses are there to provide support, treatment and case management for people with passing or ongoing issues.

You can become an accredited Mental Health Nurse by completing a Master of Mental Health Nursing program online with an Australian university. Students do 12 subjects, which you can study part-time while working full-time.

You should have access to relevant health practice throughout the course... READ MORE

What You'll Study (Course Structure)

The structure of a course for nurses depends on the speciality as well as program length. Most longer courses will include subjects on interpreting health research, better equipping graduates for lifelong learning. Health assessment subjects are common in clinical courses, whereas administration programs focus more on leadership and management.

The standard size of a course is 4 subjects for a graduate certificate, 8 for a graduate diploma, and 12 typically for a master’s degree.

Here are example subject lists from a couple of master’s programs – to give you an idea of the types of subjects offered. Further electives are available. Enquire for details.

UTS Master of Advanced Nursing

  • Specialty Clinical Practice
  • Applied Pathophysiology
  • Evidence for Informing Practice
  • Improving Safety and Quality
  • Leading Health and Social Care
  • Quality and Safety in Medicines
  • Research in Health
  • Advanced Professional Practice

JCU Master of Nursing

  • Informatics for Health Professionals
  • Effective Clinical Governance
  • Persuasive Communication
  • Synthesising Evidence for Healthcare
  • Quantitative Research in Healthcare
  • Qualitative Research in Healthcare
  • Implementing Practice Development
  • Portfolios for Career Advancement

Learning Outcomes

Postgraduate study gives you the opportunity to look beyond the daily demands of the job and imagine how you might do things better. As well, you can develop new skills for future roles. Here are some of the learning outcomes you can attain.

Clinical excellence
Enhanced ability to critically think about clinical practice and apply evidence-based techniques to improve health outcomes.

Management ability
Administration and communication skills, along with improved knowledge of how to influence others.

Well-developed values and ethics
Heightened awareness of diversity in patient needs and the professional attitudes that promote consistently high standards of care.

Career mastery
Greater awareness of self-development and career opportunities, and improved self-learning skills.

Career Outcomes

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Higher-level qualifications for nurses open career opportunities in clinical, administration and education roles. The programs are designed to train nurses for advanced and specialised clinical work, to build administration skills in the nursing leaders of tomorrow, and to teach future health educators how to instruct others.

Potential jobs include clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse consultant, nursing unit manager, director of nursing, health services manager, nurse educator, clinical instructor, and healthcare researcher.

With the wide selection of online courses available from anywhere in Australia, you can choose the program that best meets your particular career goals. If you’re unsure about your ambitions, general programs are also available.

Entry Requirements

The standard entry requirements for a postgraduate nursing course are that you: hold a Bachelor of Nursing degree or equivalent or higher qualification AND are currently a Registered Nurse (Division 1) or Registered Midwife AND have at least a full year of clinical experience.

For specialised courses, you may also have to be working in a relevant health setting for the program’s duration. Since entry requirements vary, check out the detailed criteria if you have any doubts about your eligibility.


† Online courses are available in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Gold Coast, Newcastle. Australia-wide.