Courses and specialisations
The majority of postgraduate coursework programs in nursing are designed for nursing professionals with prior qualifications and experience who want to upgrade their qualifications or enter new specialisations. Specialisations include aged care nursing, critical care nursing, mental health nursing, midwifery, paediatric nursing and rehabilitation nursing, among many others. Postgraduate conversion programs or graduate entry bachelor degrees are also available, which enable applicants who have completed an approved undergraduate degree in an area other than nursing (science, for example) to qualify as a registered nurse. A small number of postgraduate coursework degrees in areas such as clinical leadership and nursing management enable practising nurses to qualify for nursing management and administration positions.
Research degrees in nursing are available and include research masters degrees and research doctorates. Currently, only a small number of nursing postgraduate students complete research programs many of them are nurse educators.
Applicants must meet academic and English language requirements, which vary between courses, institutions and qualification levels. Entry to most courses requires the completion of an undergraduate degree in nursing or, in the case of conversion programs, an approved undergraduate degree in another field. For more information about postgraduate qualifications and entry requirements, see Higher Education Postgraduate.
Where to study
Postgraduate nursing courses are offered at universities and some private higher education providers around Australia, although some specialisations may only be available at a limited number of institutions.
When researching courses, you should investigate the quality of the program and its relevance to your nursing career. This means checking the outline to get an idea of the subject matter and the combination of practical and theoretical elements. If you have a particular career goal in mind, such as working in a rural area, you should ensure that relevant opportunities will be available.
If you are considering a research degree, you should look for university departments and schools with an established research program in your area of interest, as well as a strong connection with the nursing profession if you are interested in applied research. You should also investigate possible supervisors.