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

The course articulates with the Graduate Certificate in Palliative Care; Graduate Certificate in Applied Gerontology or Graduate Diploma in Palliative Care in Aged Care. The sequentially developed topics allow progression through the awards. Students who hold a graduate certificate or graduate diploma receive credit for topics already taken.

Admission requirements

Applicants must normally hold a health-related approved degree or an equivalent qualification from an approved tertiary institution and have not less than two years' clinical involvement in palliative care or aged care or in a related field.

Or one of the following:

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 given, on application, for comparable prior studies.

Course aims

The Master of Palliative Care in Aged Care aims to provide an opportunity for individuals from any professional background who are working in palliative care or aged care to deepen and extend their knowledge based in palliative care in aged care in a global context.

The course is designed to enable practitioners to select a series of topics built on core materials 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 be independent collaborators in their professional communities.

Learning outcomes

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

  • integrate the core course concepts of contemporary gerontology and palliative care (eg. healthy ageing and dying, life-course, generativity, loss and grief, interdisciplinary practice, ageist stereotyping)
  • critically appraise palliative care theory, research, ethics and the professional literature, further extending the students’ knowledge and skills in this area
  • critically discuss issues and recent developments related to providing end of life health care services to the ageing population
  • 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 in aged care
  • demonstrate the skills to collaborate with industry, disseminate and interpret research which adds to the existing body of knowledge and evidence to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • implement the skills for a deep and life long approach to learning within the context of palliative and aged care.

Program of study

To qualify for the Master of Palliative Care in Aged 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.

The award of a grade of Fail (F) in 9 units or more may constitute prima facie evidence of unsatisfactory progress for the purpose of the University’s Policy on Student Progress.

Core - Year 1 topics

 AGES8020 Introduction to Social Gerontology (4.5 units)
 PALL8430 Communication at the End of Life A (4.5 units)
 PALL8432 Understanding Literature for Evidence-Based Practice (4.5 units)
 PALL8436 Palliative Care in Aged Care Settings (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)


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

plus 13.5 or 22.5 units (to make a total of 54 units) of option topics selected from the list below:

Option - Year 1 & 2 topics

 AGES8021 Introduction to Clinical Gerontology (4.5 units)
 AGES8022 Psychological Dimensions of Ageing (4.5 units)
 AGES8023 Healthy Ageing (Mental Health) (4.5 units)
 AGES8024 Medication and Ageing (4.5 units)
 AGES8025 Best Practice in Dementia Care (4.5 units)
 AGES8028 Leadership to Support Person-centred Dementia Care (4.5 units)
 MMED8904 Health Sciences Research Methods (4.5 units)
 NURS9218 Approaches to Research Design (4.5 units)
 PALL8431 Communication at the End of Life B (4.5 units)
 PALL8434 Oncology for Palliative Care (4.5 units)
 PALL8435 Issues in Care of the Spirit in Palliative Care (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)
 PALL9001  End-of-Life Care in Acute Care Settings  (4.5 units)