The Melbourne University accredited postgraduate Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care is the industry standard for health professionals in all disciplines working in specialist palliative care throughout Australia. The course explores the core concepts of palliative care including practice standards, symptom management, communication skills, evidence-based practice, non-cancer contexts, psychosocial issues, bereavement care, and care and support for carers.
The Specialist Certificate can be used for credit into more substantial postgraduate courses, such as Masters. Alternatively, some of its subjects can be completed as short course options.
For the full certificate, participants must complete 25 points of training at Masters level, delivered as two standard 12.5 point subjects, which each require four days of face-to-face teaching.
All students must complete the Fundamentals of Palliative Care before choosing an additional subject from Adult Palliative Care, Paediatric Palliative Care, Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement, or Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care.
Download the 2018 Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care brochure.
Each year, the student who achieves the overall highest academic grade for the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care is awarded the $1,000 Order of Malta Academic Prize. The Order of Malta in Australia is part of a 900-year-old organisation that has been a passionate advocate for palliative care provision and for improving the quality of care provided to patients and families confronted by life-limited illness.
The current (2015) award holder is Sonya Camilleri, a Clinical Nurse Consultant who works at The Royal Children's Hospital under the Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program
Click here to download a list of past recipients.
2018 Course Dates
Semester 1 & 2
Evidence-based Palliative Care - Online Module
Compulsory for both the Specialist and Graduate Certificates in Palliative Care. All students must complete the online module with the first subject in which they enrol.
NURS90046 Fundamentals of Palliative Care
Palliative Care: The Essentials
8 & 9 February 2018
Therapeutic Communication Skills in Palliative Care*
19 & 20 April 2018
*Please note that attendance at the communications workshops is compulsory for all students.
NURS90073 Contemporary Approaches to Bereavement
Historical & Theoretical Perspectives on Bereavement
22 February 2018
Developmental Perspectives on Bereavement
23 February 2018
16 May 2018
Self-Care and Ethical Issues in Bereavement Care
17 May 2018
NURS90047 Adult Palliative Care
Pain Assessment & Management in Palliative Care
19 July 2018
Symptom Management in Adult Palliative Care
20 July 2018
Palliative Care in a Non-Malignant Context
13 September 2018
Family Centred Palliative Care and Cultural Issues
14 September 2018
NURS90074 Psychosocial Aspects of Palliative Care
Identification and Assessment of Psychological and Psychiatric Disorders
16 August 2018
Management of Psychiatric and Psychological Disorders
17 August 2018
Special Needs and High-Risk Populations
20 August 2018
Supporting Health Care Professionals Caring for Palliative Care Patients and Families Experiencing Psychosocial Distress
21 August 2018
For course fees, queries about the Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care, or any of our other short courses, please email