Graduate Certificate Entry Requirements and General Information
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Entry requirements

Admission to GC courses is based on academic merit and selection. In addition, applicants must satisfy any prerequisites or additional requirements specified for particular courses, including ACN’s general eligibility criteria.

All applicants seeking admission are required to:

  • hold a Bachelor of Nursing or registered nurse* equivalent qualification
  • be currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) or the equivalent registering authority in your country of origin
  • have a minimum of one year postgraduate experience
  • be currently employed in an appropriate clinical setting.

*For some PG single units of study, consideration may be given for applicants who are not registered nurses on an individual basis.

International applicants

International applicants will need to provide evidence of proficiency in English. Enrolment in, or successful completion of, a course at ACN does not entitle students to practice nursing in Australia. Students wishing to practice nursing in Australia must seek registration and/or assessment for eligibility to register through the NMBA.

Graduate certificate courses and single units of study

Our graduate certificate courses prepare nurses for a rewarding career in the health and community services sector. We offer coursework programs that are academically challenging and professionally relevant, in an environment that encourages independent learning and interaction amongst peers, supported by tutors and nurse educators. The courses provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes directly suited to working in specialist areas of health care and are designed to meet contemporary industry needs.

GC qualifications awarded by ACN are of an equivalent standard to qualifications at other Australian higher education institutions, including universities. ACN’s courses may be recognised by universities, enabling advanced standing towards higher degrees, under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

Students also have the option of undertaking a single units of study from our GC courses.

Continuing professional development program

ACN offers an extensive range of short courses that attract continuing professional development (CPD) hours.

To request emails updating you on upcoming CPD courses contact

Course information

1. Graduate certificate courses and post graduate units of study

ACN is a Higher Education Provider, registered and accredited by the Tertiary Education Quality Standards Agency (TEQSA) – Australia’s independent national regulator of the higher education sector.

All of our Graduate Certificate (GC) courses and Postgraduate (PG) units of study are available online allowing students the flexibility to study while balancing work and family life. All students are fully supported by education staff and tutors who are committed to facilitating the learning experience as well as our specialist library staff will provide you with electronic access to books, journals, database searches, inter-library loans and much more.

Our courses prepare nurses for a rewarding career in the health and community services sector. Designed to meet contemporary industry needs, the courses provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes directly suited to working in specialist areas of health care. We offer programs that are academically challenging and professionally relevant in an environment that encourages independent learning and interaction amongst peers, in an environment of individual student support from tutors and nurse educators.

Graduate Certificate qualifications awarded by ACN are of an equivalent standard to a qualification at other Australian higher education institutions, including universities. ACN’s courses may be recognised by universities, enabling advanced standing towards higher degrees, under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

ACN offers a flexible learning environment, with all of our GC courses and PG units of study being delivered online with some units of study encompassing clinical placement experience. ACN’s online learning platform is CNnect and can be accessed directly at

Postgraduate (PG) units of study are supported by learning guides, resources, and relevant, often work related assessment.

Students have the option of undertaking an individual PG unit of study from our GC courses. This is useful for people who wish to develop in-depth knowledge in a specific speciality area, or those who want to sample a GC units of study prior to enrolling in a full GC course.

Structure of courses
The GC courses are professional development programs for nurses currently employed in the health care sector. They are designed to be undertaken part-time.

In order to graduate, students must successfully complete all the requirements for the course. The courses are usually structured around a number of core (compulsory), specialty and elective units of study. Each GC course contain four units of study, each worth six credit points (total of 24 credit points). Usual part time progression means students study one unit of study per 10 week term. Students wishing to vary this study pattern need to do so in accordance with the Student management policy.


2. Training and assessment – Non-award courses

Our professional development courses provide opportunities for RNs to expand their individual scope of practice with courses such as:

Course sequence

Courses are designed to build and develop students’ skills and knowledge. As the student progresses through the course they are encouraged to think more widely and more critically. All students at this level are required to demonstrate an understanding of evidence based practice and basic research principles. Students are responsible to check their enrolment is correct regarding the sequence of units of study, prerequisites and co-requisites as required for their specific GC.

Student resources

ACN requires its students to have a current email address and access to a computer and the internet. ACN provides a range of computer and Internet access options, including a computer lab, informal learning spaces and meeting rooms.

Recommended minimum system requirements:

PC Mac
500MHz Processor Intel based processor
1280×1024 resolution display preferred (notebooks may operate on other resolutions) 1280×1024 display
Windows Vista or later operating system OSX 10.5.x or later
CD/DVD drive CD/DVD drive
Speakers (either inbuilt or external) and microphone (preferably external) Speakers (either inbuilt or external) and microphone (preferably external)
Firefox or Chrome Safari or Firefox or Chrome
Ability to save file in Microsoft Office format Ability to save file in Microsoft Office format
Internet connection required, 512 kbit/s or better Internet connection required, 512 kbit/s or better
Personal email address (not work email) Personal email address (not work email)


Workshop/units of study/course cancellation:

ACN reserves the right to cancel a PG unit of study course if there are insufficient enrolments. A full refund will be made of all fees paid. A decision to cancel will be made ten working days prior to commencement.


Advanced standing/ Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer:

Applications for advanced standing/RPL and credit transfer must be made in writing on application to the course and must include supporting documentation. Advanced standing/RPL and credit transfer cannot be sought for more than 50% of a GC course. Students who have been granted advanced standing for ACN units of study leading to an exemption from one PG unit of study  (six credit points), will not be charged for the units of study.

Credit transfer & Recognition of Prior Learning Information/Application Package



Students receive their Academic Transcript free of charge on completion of all the requirements of their course. There is a charge for the issue of a replacement ACN testamur and award certificates. Contact Customer Services for details.


Library fines:

Fines imposed by the Library will result in the imposition of sanctions and may halt your progression within a course. These sanctions remain until such time as proof is received that the debt has been paid. If a sanction is imposed, a student is:

  • not permitted to receive a result in any course or units of study completed
  • not permitted to enrol, re-enrol or vary enrolment in any course or units of study completed
  • not permitted to graduate from any course or receive a transcript or testamur.


ACN policies and guidelines:

The policies and guidelines of ACN have been written to provide guidance on the responsibilities of students to their studies. Students should read and be familiar with the policies and guidelines, especially the Student management policy.



Enrolments for GC courses and PG units of study are made through Customer Services. Application forms can be obtained online at the individual course or unit page.


How to apply:

  1. Seek course advice: If you would like advice on which course you should attend or whether you meet the selection criteria for a particular course, please refer to the course descriptions or contact Customer Services at freecall 1800 265 534 (charges may apply) or 02 9745 7500.
  2. Submit an application form: Available on the website at the individual course and unit pages. Forward the completed form to ACN before the closing date (where vacancies exist, late enrolments may also be considered).
  3. Await confirmation of enrolment letter: Following the closing date for a course, the Course Coordinator will review enrolments. Successful applicants will be sent a confirmation of enrolment letter detailing any outstanding payment, dates, and course requirements.
  4. Accept your position: Your position must be accepted in writing. Students are required to return the signed and completed Acceptance of Position form to confirm their place (sent with confirmation of enrolment letter). Students wishing to withdraw or defer after submitting an acceptance of position MUST notify ACN in writing and before the census date.


Deferred enrolment:

Students who have requested a deferral are sent a letter confirming detailing the dates and units of study that they have deferred into. Please be advised that NSW Ministry of Health (MOH)-supported students are generally unable to defer. Re-enroling in courses and PG units of study will incur a recommencement fee and will occur only after the ‘student to complete’ section of the confirmation of deferral letter has been returned.


Enrolment in units of study:

Following admission, students are required to identify the units of study that will constitute their enrolment. Please refer to the course outlines. Correct enrolment is the responsibility of the student. Additions and deletions can be made to an enrolment by contacting the Customer Services before the Census Date. Failure to notify ACN of withdrawal from a units of study before the Census Date can result in units of study failure and incurs financial liability. Students should be aware that it is their responsibility to notify Customer Services to ensure that:

  • their personal details, email address, postal address and contact telephone numbers are correct, and that ACN is informed of any changes as they occur
  • their enrolment details are correct
  • their units of study enrolment is consistent with the completion rules of the course. Further information is available from Customer Services.

Important dates

2019 Graduate Certificate datesCommencesCensus DateEnds Grade Release
Term 121 January 20194 February 2019 (9:00am)31 March 201915 April 2019
Term 215 April 201929 April 2019 (9:00am)23 June 20198 July 2019
Term 38 July 201922 July 2019 (9:00am)15 September 201930 September 2019
Term 430 September 201914 October 2019 (9:00am)8 December 201920 December 2019

Postgraduate / Single unit of study fees

Tiers2019 Non-member price2019 Member price
(10% discount)
Tier 1$2,165.00$1,948.50
Tier 2$2,475.00$2,227.50
Tier 3$2,915.00$2,623.50
Tier 4$3,475.00$3,127.50

ACN is required to set a census date for each course it offers. The census date is:

  • the date students become financially liable for any units of study in which they are enrolled
  • the final day students can withdraw from a units of study without financial liability (minus an administrative fee) and academic penalty
  • the final day ACN is allowed to accept upfront payments for fee paying students.

For more detailed information on semester dates see the appropriate GC course page on this website.

How to pay: Payment details can be submitted on a Course Application Form via Visa and MasterCard or by sending a cheque or money order. Students are reminded that fees are payable in advance. Students supported through scholarship or alternative arrangements must submit these details on application.

Refund policy: Applicants are advised to familiarise themselves with the Refund policy.

Withdrawal from a course or units of study: Notification of a student’s intention to withdraw either before or after the commencement of a course/ units of study must be made in writing. Withdrawal by telephone or by implication is not acceptable under any circumstances.

Withdrawals prior to census date will incur a non-refundable administrative fee as outlined in the ACN schedule of fees. If withdrawal occurs after census date there is no refund. See the Student management policy and the Refund policy.

Recommencement fees: A recommencement fee is charged when a student has been granted deferral and is wanting to re-enrol. This fee covers the administration involved with re-enroling, contracting a tutor and marker and the ongoing support required for students. Re-enrolment to a course will only occur once the recommencement fee is paid. Students supported by way of scholarship or NSW MOH are also liable for this fee.

Collection of unpaid fees: Students with outstanding fees who have received notification of the amount owing will be referred to the appropriate debt recovery agency for recovery action. Please note that students will be liable for recovery costs incurred.

Clinical placement information

Visit our clinical placement page for more information.