Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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NOTE: This course has been updated - please refer to the 2012 handbook change register for details.

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Managing facultyMedicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Abbreviated titleMMentHlthSc
Total credit points required72
Standard duration of study (years)3 years PT
Study mode and locationOff-campus (Caulfield)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Postgraduate Administrative Officer

Tel: +61 3 9905 3968


Course coordinator

Associate Professor Stuart Thomas


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.
  • Students are required to attend mandatory on-campus workshops.


The Master of Mental Health Science is offered through the School of Psychology and Psychiatry at Monash University. Students can choose from three designated pathways to develop specialist skills in forensic behavioural science, community mental health or child psychotherapy. All units are delivered in an off campus (distance education) learning basis, but provide contact with teaching staff through internet-based mediums and weekend workshops.


The course aims to provide the student with advanced training in mental health sciences. Importantly, it provides an opportunity to engage with colleagues from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds and with lecturers who are leaders in their research and clinical practice fields. It also aims to allow graduate students who are employed in industry to undertake a course of further education by a combination of coursework and research, the latter through completion of a minor research thesis.

Upon completion of the Master of Mental Health Science, graduates will be able to contribute to the development of practice based knowledge through education, research, presentation and debate. This will be evidenced by graduates being able to:

  • Critically evaluate the available literature and identify gaps for research
  • Undertake practice-based research projects
  • Develop, apply and champion evidence based best practice principles in their designated area of practice (forensic/community/child psychotherapy)
  • Provide leadership in healthcare policy and practice reforms
  • Implement practice based changes to positively influence the delivery and outcomes of mental health care interventions and practices

Credit for prior studies

Credit transfer will be allowed in instances where students have completed, to satisfactory (pass) standard, units to a similar level and standard. This will be determined on the basis of the similarity of the curriculum, depth of study and credit point value. Standard limits on credit and recency of completion of prior units, as set out in the Credit Policy, will be adhered to.

Recognition of prior learning

Recognition of Prior Learning will be assessed on the basis of the individual student's non-formal and informal learning in order to determine the extent to which that individual has achieved the required learning outcomes, competency outcomes, or standards for entry to, and/or partial or total completion of a qualification.

Students must complete a minimum of 6 of the 12 units in one of the designated pathways to fulfil the requirements of that specialisation and have that acknowledged in their testamur.

Professional recognition

Students seeking to be considered eligible for professional recognition (at Graduate Diploma level) in the Child Psychotherapy pathway/stream need to complete all 8 CPS units. Successful completion fulfils one of the criteria for professionals to be employed under the Child Psychotherapists Award and to be eligible for membership of the Victorian Child Psychotherapists' Association.


Students choose one of three specialisation pathways. A minimum of 6 of the 12 units completed need to be in that designated specialisation. All students complete two core units in research methods in the first two years. The three specialisation pathways are: (1) forensic behavioural science, (2) community mental health, and (3) child psychotherapy. Alternatively, students can opt to undertake no specialisation and choose from the full range of core and elective unit offerings.

The Masters level qualification can be completed by coursework (12 six point units) or by minor thesis (8 six point units to a high distinction average level, then completion of an agreed research project with appropriately qualified supervisors).


Students must complete two core units in during the course of their studies:

  • CRH5001 Research methods in health
  • CRH5032 Applied research for health practitioners

Students select a specialised pathway of their choosing (forensic behavioural science, community mental health or child psychotherapy), or select to complete the course requirements with a general specialisation by choosing units from the range of units offered.

Stream pathways

Pathway 1:

The forensic behavioural science pathway/stream comprises two core units and ten elective units (from any of the below elective units):

Core units:

  • FBS5001 Fundamentals of forensic behavioural science and
  • FBS5002 The role of mental health in criminal offending

then offer a range of possible elective units:

  • FBS5003 Mental health and the correctional system
  • FBS5004 Developmental aspects of forensic behavioural science
  • FBS5005 The assessment and management of problem behaviours
  • FBS5006 Advanced risk assessment and risk management and
  • FBS5009 Introduction to forensic mental health practice

Pathway 2:

The community mental health pathway/stream will comprise four core units:

  • CMH5001 Clinical practice essentials
  • CMH5002 The context for mental health practice
  • CMH5003 Concepts on mental health illness
  • CMH5004 Issues for mental health

then offer a range of possible elective units:

  • CMH5005 Mental health of the elderly
  • CMH5006 Transcultural mental health
  • CMH5007 Mental health in rural settings
  • CMH5008 Dual disabilities: Mental illness, intellectual disability and developmental disorders
  • CMH5009 Advanced psychological interventions and
  • CMH5010 Primary mental health practice.

Pathway 3:

The child psychotherapy pathway/stream will comprise four core units:

  • CPS5001 Psychoanalytic and developmental theories I
  • CPS5002 Normal developmental observation
  • CPS5003 Psychoanalytic and developmental theories II and
  • CPS5004 Psychodynamic assessment of children and adolescents

then offer a range of possible elective units

  • CPS5005 Principles of child psychotherapy
  • CPS5006 Principles of adolescent psychotherapy
  • CPS5007 Principles of short-term therapy and crisis work and
  • CPS5008 Principles of working with parents.

Note: students seeking to be considered eligible for professional recognition in Pathway 3 - child psychotherapy (at Graduate Diploma level) need to complete all eight of these units in order (CPS5001-CPS5008).

Minimum grade for course completion

A minimum pass mark of 50 is required for each unit.

Those students seeking to complete the masters course by minor thesis will require a Distinction average over the eight diploma-level units to be considered eligible to continue on to complete the minor thesis.

Upon completion, students will be ranked according to H1/H2A equivalence in order to establish HDR pathways.

Areas of Study

Alternative exit(s)

Graduate Diploma in Mental Health Sciences, OR Graduate Certificate in Mental Health Sciences


Master of Mental Health Science