University of Sydney Handbooks - 2016 Archive

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Master of Nursing

The Master of Nursing, studied alone or as a combined degree, is accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and addresses all of the essential criteria for registration as a beginning practitioner, in most areas in which graduates may wish to practise.

Course overview

The Master of Nursing is a two-year graduate entry, pre-registration program for students with previous tertiary qualifications. It is designed to introduce students to the profession of nursing through clinical and theoretical components.

The units of study and the order in which you will take them is predetermined and is described in detail in the unit of study table.

This course is also available to Aboriginal health workers with a Diploma or Advanced Diploma in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

Students who have previously studied units at postgraduate level that are similar to those offered in the Master of Nursing are welcome to apply for credit. You can apply for credit through Sydney Student where your request will be evaluated and the outcome recorded.

The pre-registration courses at Sydney Nursing School involve significant participation in off-campus clinical placements. You will complete more than 800 clinical hours during your degree. Before each clinical placement you will practise your skills in our clinical labs and high fidelity simulation wards.

Clinical placement sites include private and public hospitals, mental health services and community health settings. The majority of clinical placements occur within the Sydney metropolitan area, although you will also be expected to undertake some clinical placements in rural locations.

You will need to be available to complete full-time weeks of shiftwork throughout University holiday periods in order to complete your clinical placements.

Important information to prepare you for clinical placements:


The Master of Nursing consists of 96 credit points and 16 units of study (each worth six credit points), with eight units of study offered in each academic year. In terms of workload, most six credit point units of study consist of attendance and lectures, tutorials and/or lab sessions on a regular basis.

There are also pre-reading and assessment items equating to approximately 10 hours per week. The course is offered only in on-campus mode.

In Semester One of the first year, students undertake study in clinical nursing subjects together with subjects that explore the social context of nursing in particular, and the global and Australian health system more generally. During Semester Two the focus is on more specific clinical areas such as mental health and acute care nursing as well as illness experiences and drug therapies.

The second year of the course further considers the political aspects of the health care system and more detailed nursing practice in the areas of research in nursing practice, professional practice and the emerging role of nurses as global citizens, community nursing, mental health and acute/high dependency nursing. During this year, there is also an option to extend knowledge and practice in paediatrics, mental health, high acuity or clinical nursing.

English language requirements

Applicants are strongly advised that all units of study are presented on the assumption that you possess a high level of competency in English. This is particularly the case in respect of clinical education units of study where students require language skills that will not be challenged in a critical situation.

For safe practice, nurses require a high level of verbal and written English language skills particularly technical language. Good English language skills are also necessary to fulfil the University's generic skills and the competency requirements of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Applicants are strongly advised to make enquiries with the board regarding English language requirements for registration as these may differ from the English language requirements needed for admission into this program.

If you are facing difficulties with English language, either in the classroom or in the clinical environment, academic staff will recommend that you attend University support programs. You will be expected to use this assistance, so that you can perform well and communicate effectively with peers, teachers and patients or clients.

Course rules


Master of Nursing

These resolutions must be read in conjunction with applicable University By-laws, Rules and policies including (but not limited to) the University of Sydney (Coursework) Rule 2014 (the 'Coursework Rule'), the Coursework Policy 2014, the Resolutions of the Faculty, the University of Sydney (Student Appeals against Academic Decisions) Rule 2006 (as amended) and the Academic Board policies on Academic Dishonesty and Plagiarism. Up to date versions of all such documents are available from the Policy Register:

Course resolutions

1 Course codes


Course title


Master of Nursing

2 Attendance pattern

The attendance pattern for this course is full time or part time according to candidate choice.
Candidates will attend either the Mallet Street campus or the Westmead campus, as indicated at the time of application, for the duration of their degree. Transfer between campuses is only permissible in exceptional circumstances with the approval of the Dean of the Faculty.

3 Master's type

This master's degree is a professional master's course, as defined by the Coursework Rule.

4 Admission to candidature

Available places will be offered to qualified applicants based on merit, according to the following admission criteria.
Admission to the Master of Nursing requires:
satisfaction of the English language proficiency requirements detailed in the faculty resolutions; and either
a bachelor's degree from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification; or
a Diploma of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, or equivalent qualification, and relevant work experience.
Performance in an interview to a standard considered satisfactory by the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery; and
Performance in an admissions test approved by the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery to a standard considered satisfactory by the Faculty.
Applicants who are registered as a nurse with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia are not eligible to apply for this course. Applicants who are currently registered in their home country and who do not meet the requirements for registration as a nurse in Australia are eligible to apply for this program provided they meet the above entry requirements.
Qualifications used as the basis of admission must have been completed less than ten years prior to application. Qualifications older than ten years will be considered subject to the applicant providing further information substantiating appropriate continuing education and development. In these cases, admission will be at the discretion of the Dean.
An applicant will not be admitted to candidature for the Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) unless the applicant has qualified for the award of a bachelors degree prior to 1 January of the year in which the applicant intends to commence the Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry).
In exceptional circumstances the dean may admit applicants without the above qualifications who, in the opinion of the faculty, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.
In addition, this course requires applicants to have the ability to undertake clinical placements. The faculty's Clinical Policy contains further details of the requirements.

5 Requirements for award

The units of study that may be taken for the course are set out in the units of study table for the Master of Nursing.
To qualify for the award of the Master of Nursing (Graduate Entry) a candidate must complete 96 credit points of core units of study.
Candidates are required to attend clinical simulation and fieldwork as prescribed. Where appropriate, the faculty may require individual candidates to undertake further or remedial theoretical, clinical or practical study in addition to the above requirements.

6 Progression rules

Candidates may be permitted to enrol in Year Two units of study while also enrolled in Year One units of study in the Master of Nursing providing the requested units are available in the required semester and the pre-requisites and co-requisites have been met.

7 Time limits

A full time candidate must complete all the requirements for the course within four calendar years of first enrolment, including periods of suspension.
A part time candidate must complete all the requirements for the course within five calendar years of first enrolment, including periods of suspension.

8 Credit for previous study

Credit awarded for previous study will not exceed 24 credit points.
Credit will not be granted for recognised prior learning older than five years at the time of first enrolment.

9 Transitional provisions

These resolutions apply to students who commenced their candidature after 1 January, 2016 and students who commenced their candidature prior to 1 January, 2016 who elect to proceed under these resolutions.
Candidates who commenced prior to 1 January, 2016 may complete the requirements in accordance with the resolutions in force at the time of their commencement, provided that requirements are completed by 1 January, 2021. The faculty may specify a later date for completion or specify alternative requirements for completion of candidatures that extend beyond this time.