Specialist Certificate in Palliative Care

The experience


Subjects in this course offer a mix of in-person teaching and digital resources, including experiential learning and case discussion. For some subjects students are assigned a clinical mentor who is an experienced palliative care clinician, who will guide the student through a self-directed learning portfolio.

You’ll have access to high-quality online education tools, accessible any time – all you need is a computer and an internet connection.

Your virtual classroom is academically robust and designed to prepare you for competition in your field. You will expand your skills and knowledge via innovative technologies, like webinars, podcasts and moderated discussion forums.


The online learning environment has been carefully devised by expert academics, alongside learning designers and technology specialists, to facilitate an interactive and flexible student experience.

At the University of Melbourne, you will have access to the best minds and a dynamic peer group. Throughout the course you will be able to engage closely with fellow online students and share your knowledge with each other.


From your initial expression of interest right through to graduation, you’ll receive all the technical support you need.

Don’t be surprised if you learn our student support team members by name – they are dedicated, personal and friendly and they understand that every student experience is unique. If a challenge arises, they’ll do everything in their power to assist you so that you can continue to have an excellent learning experience.

Our online student support consultants can assist with:

  • Enrolment and subject assistance
  • Administrative logistics and fee options
  • Technical support
  • Online learning skills and workload management
  • Special circumstances.


The University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus is an exciting place to study. As a student based at Parkville, you will enjoy:


You’ll join the brightest students from across Australia and the world and become part of a dynamic academic community. You will be able to engage closely with academic experts and peers and build a vital professional network.


We ensure a supportive environment for all students and offer a range of enrichment activities, including a student mentoring program, wellbeing services and academic skills support.


Our Parkville campus is a city within a city. With cafes, 12 libraries, gyms, specialty stores, a small supermarket, and even a seasonal farmers market, you’ll never have to leave.


The Parkville campus is located just a short walk to the Melbourne CBD, the famous Queen Victoria Market and a host of cafes, restaurants, shops, theatres, galleries and bars.

Who you will learn from

Professor Peter Hudson, Director, Centre for Palliative Care and Professor (Hon), University of Melbourne, and Professor (Hon), Vrije University Brussels

Associate Professor Mark Boughey, Centre for Palliative Care and Director, Palliative Medicine St Vincent's (Melbourne)

Ms Karen Quinn, Co-Ordinator Education, Centre for Palliative Care

Mrs Kate Holmes, Nurse Educator, Centre for Palliative Care

Mr Chris Hall, Director, Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement

Associate Professor Dr Jenny Hynson, Consultant Paediatrician, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne)

Melissa Heywood, Clinical Nurse Consultant, Victorian Paediatric Palliative Care Program The Royal Children's Hospital (Melbourne)

Dr Justin Dwyer, Director Psychosocial Cancer Care, St Vincent's (Melbourne)

Dr Keryn Taylor, Psychiatrist, Psychosocial Cancer Care, St Vincent’s (Melbourne)



"My motivation to get into nursing was when my father got injured in the Vietnam War. He always talked about the nurses who worked in the field. I just thought it was a great job, because you could help people when they need it. That’s why I kept telling myself to go and study to become a nurse. I chose to specialise in palliative care because I believe that people who live in care should be supported to enjoy life.

Being a nurse is a privilege, because we are the ones people turn to. We don't just focus on their physical issues, we look after the resident psychologically as well. Working in palliative care is actually not always sad. We have fun. We look after each other. We look after the residents physically and mentally.

To me, the key quality to become a nurse is to have commitment. You need to love people, to want to give. The thing that you will take is love, from your resident or patient — and you will have that a lot of that, believe me.

I decided to study because I needed more knowledge, more experience to better support my residents. I recommend anyone to come and study at the University of Melbourne. The best takeaway that I have from this course was learning from the experiences of others - either from teachers or from my classmates.

Overall, what I love about palliative nursing is feeling that I’m doing something very important for the people who need it. It’s the type of job a robot can’t replace."

- Duangchan