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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Course

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts

Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titleMCivCer
Total credit points required72
Standard duration of study (years)1.5 years FT, 3 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Caulfield)
Contact details

Course coordinator

Judy McNicoll


  • This course is not available to international student visa holders.
  • Students who select CVL5090 will be required to take an off-campus community placement.


This course acknowledges both the complex nature of the role of community celebrant and the significance of ritual and celebration in the private and public spheres. Students develop research skills relating to civil ceremonies within a workplace as well as an academic environment.


Students successfully completing this course will have:

  • acquired the professional skills needed to be effective civil celebrants
  • demonstrated awareness of legal obligations involved in being a celebrant, in relation to marriage and to celebrating other major life cycle events
  • demonstrated awareness of the role of rites of passage within society for a range of groups
  • demonstrated awareness of the range of ritual and religious traditions within contemporary Australian society
  • demonstrated awareness of the role of music, writing literature and other elements essential to effective ceremony
  • demonstrated capacity to reflect on the theoretical issues involved in ceremony and ritual across the community and the lifespan
  • demonstrated capacity to engage in original research relating to ceremony while attached to some community/professional group or organisation.

Professional recognition

Registration as a civil marriage celebrant is not automatic upon completion of an approved training course. Information about the registration process is available on the Attorney-General's website at


This course consists of four compulsory 12-point core units, one 12-point elective unit and either a community placement or a research paper (each worth 12 points).


Core units

  • CVL4010 Rites of passage: Culture and celebrating life cycle events
  • CVL4020 Life cycle events in literature, music, and life stories
  • CVL4030 Celebrant and client: Legal, ethical and personal issues
  • CVL4040 Professional celebration of rites of passage

Elective units

Students complete one of:

  • HYM5200 History and memory
  • HYM5270 Research methods in biography and life writing
  • HYM5820 Local and community history
  • RLM5140 Confronting death through ceremony and symbol: A cross-cultural analysis

plus one of:

  • CVL5090 Civil ceremonies placement (attached to a community group)
  • RLM5000 Research paper in religion and theology

Alternative exit(s)

Students may apply to exit the program after successful completion of:

  • 24 points of core units with course 2161 Faculty Certificate in Civil Ceremonies.
  • 48 points of core units with course 2157 Graduate Diploma in Civil Ceremonies


Master of Civil Ceremonies