The Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care is a 36-unit program offered by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The course articulates with the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care and Master of Palliative Care and the sequentially developed topics allow progression through the awards.

Students who hold the graduate certificate receive credit for topics already taken.

Admission requirements

Applicants who do not hold the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care must normally hold an approved health-related degree or equivalent qualifications and not less than two years professional experience in the health sector or related field. However, the Faculty Board may, under certain circumstances and subject to specific conditions, admit others who can show evidence of fitness for candidature. Credit may be granted, on application, for comparable prior studies.

Course aims

The Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care is a coursework award that aims to provide an opportunity for individuals from any professional background who are working in health related areas to deepen their knowledge base in palliative care within a global context.

The course is designed to enable practitioners to select a series of topics built on core material that will assist them to address particular needs within their practice and employment.

The course aims to bring people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to work together in appraisal, assessment and problem-solving required of a multi-disciplinary/multi-professional team in this area.

The course also aims to develop independent critical thinkers who will be able to contribute to the development of the practice of Palliative Care.

Learning outcomes

At the completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • critically appraise Palliative Care theory, research, ethics and professional literature, further developing their knowledge and skills in this area
  • continue to develop critical reflective skills and self evaluation of their own professional practice
  • critically discuss issues related to the person with a life limiting illness, taking into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual dimensions to care specific to the needs of individuals, their families and those involved in their care
  • identify goals/strategies to foster a deep approach to learning and the development of life-long learning skills in the area of palliative and supportive care.

Program of study

To qualify for the Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care, a student must complete 36 units with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, according to the program of study below.

Except with permission of the Board the program must be completed full-time within two consecutive semesters or part-time within six consecutive semesters.

A lesser period may be set for students granted credit for previous studies.

The award of a grade of Fail (F) in 18 units or more, or the award of a grade of Fail (F) in the same topic on more than one occasion, may constitute prima facie evidence of unsatisfactory progress for the purposes of the University's Policy on Student Progress.

Core - Year 1 topics

13.5 units comprising:

 PALL8430  Communication at the End of Life A  (4.5 units)
 PALL8431  Communication at the End of Life B  (4.5 units)
 PALL8432  Understanding Literature for Evidence-Based Practice  (4.5 units)

Option - Year 1 topics

Select 22.5 units from the topics listed below:

 AGES9026  Design and Ethics in Research with Vulnerable Populations (4.5 units)#
 MMED8904  Health Sciences Research Methods  (4.5 units)
 NURS9218  Approaches to Research Design  (4.5 units)
 PALL8433  Paediatric Palliative Care  (4.5 units)
 PALL8434  Oncology for Palliative Care  (4.5 units)
 PALL8435  Issues in Care of the Spirit in Palliative Care  (4.5 units)
 PALL8436  Palliative Care in Aged Care Settings  (4.5 units)
 PALL8437  Palliative Clinical Management A  (4.5 units)
 PALL8438  Palliative Clinical Management B  (4.5 units)
 PALL8439  Suffering, Futility and Ethics in Palliative Care  (4.5 units)
 PALL8440  Palliative Care for Indigenous Populations  (4.5 units)
 PALL8441  Understanding Cancer  (4.5 units)
 PALL8442  Adolescent and Young Adult Palliative Care  (4.5 units)

or other topics offered by other departments and universities as deemed appropriate by the course coordinator.

#For those students who are considering continuing onto the Master of Palliative Care: it is recommended you undertake  AGES9026  Design and Ethics in Research with Vulnerable Populations as the final option. Students are encouraged the view the course for the Master of Palliative Care and seek advice regarding their progression prior to enrolling.