For further information:


Universities wishing to make an application for accreditation:

Please contact Peta Marks Professional Development Manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register your interest in participating in an accreditation process. As soon as the documentation is released by the ACMHN Board, you will be advised that applications are open.


Once you have your application documentation, you will also need to contact the ACMHN to ensure:

  • you have all the documents you require
  • to determine a date for submission
  • to determine a date for the planned site visit.


General accreditation enquiries and enquires about product endorsement by the ACMHN (conferences, workshops, seminars, other events):

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Accredited Post Graduate Mental Health Nursing programs

The following postgraduate mental health nursing university courses can be recommended by the ACMHN as having met the standards for the profession and the criteria required in the National Framework for Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Education.

FULLY ACCREDITED - Expires Feb 2021



Graduate Diploma in Mental Health (Nursing)

Masters in Mental Health (Nursing)

ACU’s Master of Mental Health (Nursing) has been developed as a course specifically for clinicians entering into the specialist area of Mental Health and aims to develop in graduates knowledge and skills at a specialist and advanced level.
The program is offered online, but with three units in the Graduate Certificate each having a 2-day intensive block (in either Brisbane, Melbourne or North Sydney).

Accredited: 19 February 2016 - 19 February 2021



Please note: Provisional Accreditation is awarded to a university that has developed a NEW course which meets all of the accreditation criteria, but have not yet been able to provide evidence of graduate outcomes. Evidence of graduate outcomes will be provided to the ACMHN once the first cohort graduate and the identified courses are able to move from provisional to fully accredited. 

SCU Horizontal Web

Southern Cross University 

Graduate Diploma in Mental Health (Nursing)
Master of Mental Health (Nursing)

Study a mental health nursing degree 100% online with Southern Cross University’s internationally recognised School of Health and Human Sciences.

Our postgraduate courses are designed for registered nurses who would like to develop an advanced level of knowledge to effectively respond to people experiencing mental health challenges.

Students will access current and clinically relevant, evidence-based coursework through a responsive and interactive learning environment. It’s also the first postgraduate program of its kind, developed against the latest industry standards.

Please contact Professor John Hurley for details: 

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Applying for Course Accreditation.

The assessment and accreditation of post-graduate mental health nursing programs is a collaborative approach between the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses (ACMHN) in collaboration with the educational institutions delivering the programs and other industry stakeholders. It is based on a combination of educational institutional assessment and external peer review. The conduct of the accreditation process and the associated policies is consistent with the Australian Standards for Professional Accreditation Processes (2008) and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) Quality Framework for the Accreditation function.


Which programs are eligible for Accreditation?

An existing postgraduate mental health nursing program is eligible for accreditation for a period of five years, providing no major changes are made to the program during that time. Accreditation will be granted upon successful review following the satisfaction of criteria for eligibility - which includes successfully meeting the educational standards of Guideline 3 (in the Professional Standards & Guidelines document), successfully mapping the pgoram agasint the National Framework, Standards and Benchmarks, demonstrating that it meets all eligibility criteria; and, providing evidence from a cohort of graduates. A site visit will be required to finalise the application process.

Site Visit

A two day site visit will be required for the finalisation of your accreditation application. When you decide to undertake an application, please contact the ACMHN to discuss the application submission date and site visit timeframe. It is best to allocate a minimum of 8-12 weeks to complete the application.


What's in it for the University?

As you might imagine, we get a lot of enquiries about what is a good postgraduate mental health nursing course to do and which courses will definitely meet the qualification criterion for credentialing. Until the development of the framework and the accreditation process, we were not able to make any specific recommendations. However, courses that are accredited by the ACMHN are actively promoted by the College as the only postgraduate mental health nursing programs we can recommend.

We will direct prospective students to your website and actively promote your course to our membership and anyone who contacts us for advice about which course they should choose. 


I utilised the accreditation framework to design and then build a new PG MHN course. The framework informed me on the core MHN content, values and learning outcomes whilst also permitting sufficient flexibility to have the course reflect the ambitions and identity of Southern Cross University. The accreditation process was a simple process that acted as a quality check of the work undertaken.

Dr John Hurley SCU.



 You will need the following documentation for your application:

Application Process

  1. Download and read through the above documentation.
  2. Contact the ACMHN to discuss your application with the ACMHN Accreditation Coordinator (Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), together setting a date for application submission and tentative dates for the Site Visit.
  3. Liaise with the ACMHN Accreditation Coordinator as you collate the evidence for your application, particularly if you have any questions or need to amend your submission date.
  4. Submit your application by the due date along with the appropriate fee.
  5. Confirm details for the site visit. Prepare the agenda for the site visit in collaboration with the ACMHN Accreditation Coordinator.
  6. Participate in the Site Visit.
  7. Receive draft report from the ACMHN Accreditation Coordinator and provide any feedback/amendments.
  8. The ACMHN Accreditation Committee make recommendations to the ACMHN Board of Directors.
  9. Receive advice from the ACMHN Accreditation Coordinator about the status of your application.
  10. Accredited programs promoted on the ACMHN website and ACMHN accreditation logo may be used to promote the program on university website.


2016 Fee Schedule for Accreditation

First application & Site Visit       $15,000
Subsequent applications with no major changes and no site visit required $10,000
Subsequent application with major changes and site visit required $15,000
Appeals Process $1000

(1) The Accreditation schedule of fees is for courses leading to post-graduate diploma or Masters of Mental Health Nursing. In the case of Masters degrees that have an embedded post-graduate component, both will be accredited.

(2) All expenses associated with the Site Visit, including travel and accommodation of the Site Evaluation Team will be the cost of the University.

(3) Application fees can be invoiced on a per-annum basis over the duration of accreditation. E.g. For first application and site visit, the agreement will allow for an annual payment of $3,000 for a five year period.



An accredited course, or not? What's in it for students?

So, you want to undertake postgraduate mental health nursing studies?

That's fantastic! We couldn't be happier. 

Prosepctive students have often asked the ACMHN for a recommendation around the best postgraduate programs to undertake, with a view to becoming a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse. (The ACMHN recognises specialist mental health nurses through its Credential for Practice Program (CPP) and nurses applying to be credentialed under the CPP must provide evidence that specialist mental health nursing or psychiatric nursing qualifications have been obtained.) So, a scan of postgraduate mental health nursing programs was undertaken in Australia in 2011 to determine whether they met the criteria established by the ACMHN for credentialing of mental health nurses. 

The review found that of 34 Australian nurse education providers, 23 universities and one other offered courses in postgraduate mental health nursing. Only two universities identified the ACMHN Standards of Practice for Australian Mental Health Nurses as relevant to professional standards of practice, while one nursing program and one multidisciplinary program referred to the mental health competencies from the National Standards for the Mental Health Workforce. There was considerable variation in relation to expectations about specialist and advanced nursing practice. Both graduate certificate and graduate diploma programs were often described as preparing nurses for roles as:

  • beginning practitioners in mental health;
  • advanced practitioners in mental health;
  • specialty practitioners at an introductory level;
  • or proficient practitioners.

Graduates of Master degrees were generally described as being ready for advanced practice.

The review highlighted a range of issues, including:

  • inconsistency in the interpretation of specialist and advanced mental health nursing practice;
  • the amount, level and appropriateness of content in postgraduate mental health nursing programs;
  • inconsistencies across providers and the characteristics of postgraduate mental health nursing programs; and
  • the trend towards multidisciplinary programs in mental health

The ACMHN believes that people with a lived experience of mental illness and their families, have a right to work with specialist mental health nurses, who have specialist mental health nursing qualifications. We also believe that students wishing to undertake postgraduate mental health nursing studies, and who want to become a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse, should be able to undertake a program that has demonstrated that it meets the needs of the profession, that it is based on contemporary standards and philsophies, and that that it meets a minimum standard of an educational preparation. That is why we have established the accreditation process. 

Educational providers who are offering postgraduate mental health nursing programs can now opt for their program to undergo a rigorous examination by the profession, and become accredited by the ACMHN. 

This means that an accredited program has been mapped against the core values and graduate outcomes established by the profession, and that it meets the minimum standard. It also means that Grad Dip and Masters Programs that are accredited are automatically accepted as being suitable qualifications for becoming a Credentialed Mental Health Nurse.

Lastly, it means that the ACMHN can recommend, with confidence, postgraduate programs that have undergone the accreditation process! Please check our 'Accredited courses' page and get in touch with the course coordinators to discuss your mental health nursing education!




Why is A National Framework important? 

The development of mental health nursing practice begins at undergraduate level, and requires a clear articulation through AQF Level 8 and 9 (Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Masters) programs.

The Mental Health in Pre-Registration Nursing Courses 2008 (MHNET, 2008) Report established a framework for the mental health component of pre-registration nursing degrees, but did not address postgraduate education for mental health nurses. 

A Scan of Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Programs in Australia 2011 (ACMHN) identified the high level of divergence and inconsistency between courses, particularly in how the education component interacts with clinical competency. As a consequence, nurses who have identified that they want to become a specialist mental health nurse face difficulty in choosing a course that provides appropriate mental health nursing skills and information about what helps a person recover. 

This national framework has been developed to ensure national consistency in the preparation of nurses undertaking postgraduate mental health nursing education, in preparation for the practice of mental health nursing, based upon agreed criteria and supporting values and principles. 

The ACMHNs National Framework for Postgraduate Mental Health Nursing Education therefore builds on the MHNET framework, to ensure clear articulation from undergraduate to postgraduate level, as well as a clear educational career path for mental health nurses.