The Master of Palliative Care is a 54-unit coursework program which is offered by the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

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

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

Admission requirements

Applicants who do not hold the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care or the Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care or the Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care in Aged Care, must normally hold an approved degree or an equivalent qualification from an approved tertiary institution and have not less than two years' clinical involvement in Palliative Care and/or supporting patients and families with a life-limiting illness. 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 Master of Palliative Care aims to provide an opportunity for individuals from any professional background who are working in palliative care or a related area to deepen and extend their knowledge base in palliative and end-of-life 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 discipline and clinical setting. In addition, the course aims to develop independent critical thinkers who will be able to contribute to the appraisal, assessment and problem-solving required of a multidisciplinary/multi-professional team.

The course aims to provide students with opportunities to consolidate their learning and to further develop as professionals with higher level communication, networking skills and independent collaborations in their professional communities.

Learning outcomes

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

  • critically appraise palliative care theory, research, ethics and the professional literature, further extending the students' knowledge and skills in this area
  • demonstrate skills in critical analysis and self evaluate their own professional practice, theory and/or different bodies of knowledge
  • critically discuss issues and recent development related to providing health care services to the person with a life limiting illness
  • plan and execute a substantial piece of independent intellectual work, capstone experience or piece of scholarship which adds to the existing body of knowledge in the area of palliative care
  • demonstrate the skills to collaborate with industry, disseminate or interpret research which adds to the existing body of knowledge
  • develop and implement the skills for a deep and life long approach to learning within the context of palliative and supportive care.

Program of study

To qualify for the Master of Palliative Care, a student must complete 54 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 Faculty Board the program must be completed full-time within four consecutive semesters or part-time within ten consecutive semesters. A lesser period may be set for students granted credit for previous studies.

Core - Year 1 topics

 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)

Core - Year 2 topics

 AGES9026 Design and Ethics in Research with Vulnerable Populations (4.5 units)

Plus either

 PALL8443 Capstone in Palliative or End-of-life Clinical Practice (9 units) OR
 PALL9417 Independent Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice (18 units)

OR

  PALL9417A Independent Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice A (9 units) AND
  PALL9417B Independent Inquiry for Evidence-based Practice B (9 units)

plus 18 or 27 units (to make a total of 54 units) of option topics selected from the list below:

Option - Year 1 & 2 topics

 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)
 PALL9001  End-of-Life Care in Acute Care Settings  (4.5 units)

* The research project requires an understanding and use of research methodology. If this has not covered by previous study, the student should consult with the Course Coordinator to include either MMED8904 Health Sciences Research Methods (4.5 units) or NURS9218 Approaches to Research Design (4.5 units).