Master of Adolescent Health and Wellbeing
What will I study?
Gain the skills to communicate effectively with young people from different sectors, families, cultural and community backgrounds.
Build a repertoire of professional, legal and ethical capabilities for implementing effective programs and practices in the settings where young people live, work, learn and play.
Engage with some of the world’ experts in adolescent health research and practice.
Communication and Advocacy Skills
Learn to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing, with a diverse range of audiences in a range of professional contexts (eg. when working with young people, families, agencies, other professionals and the media).
Capacity Building Skills
Learn to work effectively, in a non-judgmental way with young people, different sectors and families from diverse cultural backgrounds and community contexts.
Develop approaches to initiate change (eg. in one's own organisation; when working with young people; in contributing to policy development; and in continuing to develop and reflect on one's own practice).
Legal and Ethical Skills
Gain the expertise to recognise and apply the policy, legislative and organisational rules and guidelines within which different professions practice.
Research and Evaluation Skills
You’ll learn how to use contemporary research and professional literature to inform your own learning and shape arguments to influence practices and policies. This will include evidence-based approaches to individual practices, program design, and policy analysis. Master students are introduced to research, and are supported through the research process by preferred supervisor.
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- Young People in Context 12.5
Young People in Context
This subject introduces and critiques the concepts ‘adolescence’ and ‘health’, and examines various frameworks for understanding the phenomenon of adolescent development. The diversity of adolescent experience is explored, and the impact of various socio-environmental contexts of adolescence on young people’s health and well-being is identified.
- Professional Practice in Context 12.5
Professional Practice in Context
This subject asks students to examine the assumptions, values, experiences, skills, forms of knowledge and broader influences on your work with young people. The subject is structured into four connected modules that build on each other across the semester:
- Reflective practice
- Working with resilience
- Working with other professionals
- Being resilient
Using experiences as a starting point, and building on this with topics notes and selected reading students will explore frameworks and interventions for working with young people to improve health outcomes. These include risk and resiliency, professional role boundaries, ethical practice and collaboration.
Students will draw on theoretical perspectives and ideas from contemporary literature as well as insights generated through critical reflection and sharing thoughts and experiences with their subject colleagues. Through this critical enquiry it is expected that they will further develop their understandings of their own practice and change and develop aspects of that practice.
- SocioEnvironmentalContext of Adolescents 12.5
SocioEnvironmentalContext of Adolescents
This subject investigates how social determinants and social worlds affect the health and wellbeing of young people and examines social life from historical, global and cultural perspectives. Students will draw on a diversity of theoretical perspectives to analyse how society operates and how social changes influence the health, wellbeing and behaviours of young people. Throughout this subject, particular emphasis is placed on examining and explaining social and health inequalities. Issues of gender and popular culture and concepts related to social networks, social capital, social cohesion and social control are explored. The relationship between micro and macro views of society (micro-macro linkage), and the relationship between social structures, institutions and human agency are investigated with reference to contemporary adolescent health issues. Approaches to interventions focusing on changing social contexts will be critically examined.
- Health Promotion and Young People 12.5
Health Promotion and Young People
This subject explores key practices, principles and frameworks for health promotion and community capacity building aimed at enhancing the health and wellbeing of young people. Participants will be encouraged to develop a more systematic approach to health promotion practice, particularly in identifying adolescent health needs and in planning, implementing and evaluating health promotion approaches relevant to particular communities/settings. Participants will be encouraged to draw on their experience and knowledge in the development of a health promotion project proposal. The subject considers the social and environmental context in which health promotion takes place.
- Principles of Social Research Design 12.5
Principles of Social Research Design
This subject will give students an understanding of the principles underlying social research design. The topics covered will be relevant for students interested in social research in general, and in the health context specifically. This subject will cover the conceptual approaches to research design and process, including writing and dissemination. These sessions will provide both theoretical background and practical advice for doing social research. The subject will also cover ethics in research. Areas to be discussed will include the rationale for formal ethical review of research involving humans and details of the ethics committee process, as well as more general discussion of basic ethical principles in research. The subject will draw on different disciplines to highlight different disciplinary approaches to designing and formulating social research projects.
- Adolescent Health Minor Thesis 37.5
Adolescent Health Minor Thesis
The purpose of this subject is to develop the critical disciplines of research methodology and to arm students with the necessary knowledge and skills to analyse and interpret research that informs our understanding of young people’s health and well-being. The aim is also to provide students with the skills needed to design, implement and communicate the findings of research that will contribute to more effective program delivery to young people, within and across different sectors.
This subject will provide participants with the critical skills needed to design their research project, including the research questions, a rationale - why is it worth studying this question/area, the aims and objectives of the research; identification of theoretical/conceptual frameworks to be used as well as relevant bodies of literature; methodology - how will the problem be investigated and why is this the best design.
On completion of the minor thesis, students will have:
- Read and written about their specific area of research interest;
- Defined a research problem or issue;
- Developed understandings of research approach(es) and techniques that are relevant to the proposed project;
- Written a detailed research proposal;
- Conducted a thorough literature review;
- Selected an appropriate research design;
- Justified appropriate methods for data analysis;
- Demonstrated skill in using appropriate methods;
- Demonstrated skill in interpreting the data in such a way that has relevance for youth health policy or practice;
- Demonstrated skill in writing up the results.
Methods of study may include policy analysis, theoretically-based studies as well as methods based on the collection and analysis of interview or survey data, or as determined by both the student and the supervisor. In this unit students will have a supervisor appointed, work with the supervisor to develop a research proposal, enhance their ability to plan and conduct research in a specific methodological framework, explore current literature relating to their proposed research topic, and prepare an application for human research ethics approval.
There is no prepared content in this unit. It is a research unit in which students, in consultation with an appointed supervisor, carry out research tasks to develop new knowledge (content) themselves. From time to time, supervisors will provide students with appropriate readings to support their research. Supervisors are appointed by the co-ordinator in consultation with the student.
Students will be assigned a supervisor in the year they begin their thesis.
NOTE: As part of thesis development, the majority of students will also be required to complete a University of Melbourne Ethics Standard Project Application Form and gain ethics approval
- Drug Issues 12.5
This subject enables students to build a framework for analysing and responding to the complex issues pertaining to young people and drug use. This involves the examination of prevalence rates and current trends in drug use among adolescents in the contemporary Australian context and an analysis of the dominant perspectives that influence policy makers, treatment providers, media outlets, families and young people themselves. Students will draw on a diversity of theoretical frameworks and current research to tease out the key determinants of adolescent drug use and develop the skills to define and identify hazardous or problematic drug use. Finally, students will explore a range of effective responses in the fields of prevention, health promotion and treatment that can be utilised to assist young people to avoid harm and initiate and maintain change (eg. harm minimisation, net harm analysis, stages of change and relapse prevention models and motivational interviewing).
- Mental Health and Young People 12.5
Mental Health and Young People
This subject introduces conceptual frameworks for understanding mental health in young people and the importance of social contexts for mental health. The subject analyses the emotional dimensions of mental health and assists professionals to recognise emotional distress of a young person and ways that it can be manifested. The subject includes a skill-building component to allow professionals to work with young people within professional boundaries and accountabilities and gain an understanding of when and how to refer.
- Adolescent Health Project 12.5
Adolescent Health Project
In this subject, participants will draw on ideas from research, along with theoretical frameworks and strategies explored during the course to develop and review a critical inquiry project relevant to their professional practice workplace / setting that influences outcomes for young people. Participants will be supervised through each stage of the project and will be required to present their findings, perspectives and reflections to different audiences using appropriate media.
- Cancer Care in Young People 12.5
Cancer Care in Young People
Increasingly successful treatments and improved survival rates for adolescents and young adults with cancer has lead to the need for better management of the many complex issues arising out the experience of cancer for this group. A better appreciation and understanding of the psycho-social dimension of a young person’s life and cancer experience has emerged, and with this the need for new skills and approaches to care.
This subject identifies and addresses these issues, including: the impact of cancer on adolescent development, including sexual and identity development, dealing with ethical issues around consent and confidentiality, reactions to survivorship, the management of palliative care and spiritual needs, understanding the family context of treatment, liaising with schools and universities, and negotiating the interface between paediatric & adult cancer services.
This subject takes a holistic approach to these issues in drawing from different multidisciplinary perspectives and insights.
It will be of interest to a range of professionals engaged in some capacity in the care and support of adolescents and young adults with cancer.
- Adolescent Sexuality and Sexual Health 12.5
Adolescent Sexuality and Sexual Health
This subject explores two main themes:
1. The social construction of sexuality - how our understandings of sexuality are developed in socio-cultural contexts; and
2. Sexual health - how it is defined and measured, what factors contribute to it, and practical issues to consider when interacting with adolescents and trying to have an impact on their sexual health and wellbeing.
- Vulnerable Young People 12.5
Vulnerable Young People
This subject begins with an exploration of the concept of 'at risk' as it applies to young people, and the use and purpose of such a categorisation by relevant services and through policy. The impact of risk and protective factors on adolescent health and well-being will be examined including factors operating at individual, family and community levels. The course will discuss contemporary intervention approaches: most notably “strengths-based” practice, as well as collaborative holistic approaches to service delivery. After discussing the theoretical principles and philosophy underlying “effective”, or “exemplary” practice, students will be encouraged to explore innovative services relevant and accessible to the young people with whom they are currently working or would like to work with.
- Health Program Evaluation 2 12.5
Health Program Evaluation 2
This subject provides an extension of studies in Health Program Evaluation introduced in Health Program Evaluation 1, aiming to deepen the students understanding of the conceptual bases of evaluation and extend practical skills. Its focus is particularly on issues relating to the selection and development of an appropriate evaluation approach and methods for a particular health program, policy or service. The subject provides an initial grounding in the theoretical origins of program evaluation, contemporary approaches to evaluation as well as implementation science and knowledge translation. The subject then considers the development of an evaluation approach and design from an applied perspective. Case-studies of evaluations will be presented to provide an opportunity to consider theoretical, methodological and practical issues associated with the conduct of complex health program evaluations. Students will have an opportunity to develop evaluation proposals in response to real world funding and policy settings.
- Community-Based Participatory Research 12.5
Community-Based Participatory Research
There is increasing global recognition that public health research seeking to change the social determinants of health is most effective when communities are actively engaged. Therefore, many health researchers are looking towards participatory approaches to the production of knowledge. This subject will give students an understanding of, and experience in, Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR). CBPR is a collaborative approach to research that emerges from the interests or problems of a specific group or community, and is enacted through a specific set of social values. It is of interest to students wanting to build the necessary skills to support communities to deepen their understanding of their circumstances and to take action to help resolve conditions undermining health. In addition to gaining knowledge about CBPR perspectives, students will be taught a range of methodological approaches utilised in CBPR approaches globally. As part of this subject, students will be expected to participate in (a) practical exercises designed to enhance skills and techniques; and (b) workshopping, analysis and reflection of data collected during an in-class research project.
- Biostatistics 12.5
This subject is compulsory for students enrolled in the Master of Public Health, Master of Epidemiology and the Master of Science (Epidemiology). Students should enrol in this subject early in their program of study.
The subject introduces the fundamental concepts of statistics and the essential methods required to equip students to perform basic statistical analyses and interpret research findings in the public health setting.
- Epidemiology 1 12.5
This subject is a core subject within the Master of Public Health, the Master of Epidemiology and the Master of Science (Epidemiology). Students should enrol in this subject early in their program of study.
Epidemiology is the discipline of studying the distribution and determinants of disease in populations and is a fundamental science of public health.
The subject covers the role of epidemiology in public health and ethical conduct of quantitative research. Within this subject the measures of population health and disease frequency, measures of association and measures of the impact of specific risk factors are studied. The subject includes descriptive epidemiology using routinely collected data. The common experimental and observational study designs, and systematic reviews, and their relative strengths and weaknesses are discussed. The implications of common types of bias (selection bias, information bias, and confounding) are discussed, as are methods to minimise them. Causal inference is considered within a framework of critical appraisal of epidemiological evidence. The validity and performance of screening and diagnostic tests are considered. Current infectious diseases will also be examined by considering the principles of infectious disease transmission and surveillance systems used for health protection. The cultural considerations in undertaking research within indigenous populations, and epidemiological measures in the context of indigenous health will be considered in an online module.
- Health Program Evaluation 1 12.5
Health Program Evaluation 1
This subject examines the diverse purposes health program evaluations can serve and the wide range of environments in which health program evaluations are conducted. Using Australian and overseas evaluation examples, students gain an overview of conceptual and methodological issues in the key evaluation approaches. The three major stages in the conduct of an evaluation are covered: planning and negotiating the terms and design of the evaluation; data collection and analysis; and the provision of findings. Each stage is considered through example and critique of those examples, with opportunities to apply these skills in the development of an evaluation plan for a real, work-based program.
- Qualitative Research in Public Health 12.5
Qualitative Research in Public Health
This is a compulsory subject in the Master of Public Health. Qualitative research plays an important role in public health as it can explain how people experience a particular health issue or why they perform a health-related behavior, taking into account specific social, political and economic contexts. Public health practitioners need to be able to undertake and interpret a range of published research (including qualitative research) in order to gather evidence for practice, identify gaps in evidence and evaluate current practice.
This subject will introduce students to qualitative research in public health - both the principles underlying design and the strengths and weaknesses of different qualitative methodologies. It will cover a range of methods, such as individual interviews, group interviews, visual and participatory methods. Each element of research design will be covered, from recognising research paradigms and sampling strategies through to the different types of analysis. Students will learn how to design, plan and evaluate qualitative research as sources of evidence in public health.