Master of Child, Youth and Family Mental Health

Key Facts

Course Code: FM091
Location: Online Only
Study Load: Part-time (4 years)
Delivery Mode: Online
Intake: Semester 1 2024
Semester 2 2024
Application Type: Domestic only
Fees: $47,040*
CRICOS code: N/A
Post-nominal: N/A

Course Overview

The Master of Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health provides students with high level training in assessment and therapeutic modalities and interventions for working with children, youth, and families.

Cairnmillar’s vision is to advance the delivery of innovative, evidence-based, and accessible psychological and counselling services and professional mental health education throughout Australia. With this vision in mind, the course has been designed through a holistic and systemic lens on mental health, which incorporates prevention, early intervention, and treatment of children and their families within their contextual framework.

While there are various definitions of ‘child’, ‘adolescent’, and ‘youth’, the course follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition that places childhood between the ages of 0 – 19 years with adolescence between 10 – 19 years, and youth up to 24 years.

The course content encapsulates foundational elements of developmental theory, assessment processes, family structure and influence, and early intervention. Students will also learn about family systems and trauma-focused intervention and be trained in professional practice and ethics. Students in this course will also undertake two supervised placement units.

On completion of the course, students will have counselling and assessment knowledge and skills in cognitive behavioural therapies and family therapy, to apply to their current work practices and to enhance self-reflection and understanding. Psychologists, counsellors, and social workers (i.e., those with mental health accreditation) who undertake this course will be eligible to apply for Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA) specialist accreditation.

The course is designed to provide students with advanced assessment and therapeutic techniques, observational, and practice skills. There is a strong experiential focus to give students every opportunity to apply knowledge and practice skills. This hands-on approach is aimed to give students confidence and provide the best learning experience. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their strengths and limitations in the therapeutic setting and will be provided with practice and learning experiences to address these.

Additionally, students will be trained in research methods with a focus on evidence-based practice. Techniques in understanding academic research writing and recognising key components of research will form part of the research experience providing students with the background and skills to undertake and successfully complete their research project.

Please note: Cairnmillar’s courses are subject to minimum and maximum group numbers. Courses may be cancelled or postponed if minimum numbers are not achieved by the start date of the course. Courses may close prior to the start date if the maximum numbers are reached. In that situation, eligible applicants will be offered a place in the next available intake.

2023 Course Information Session

Application Period

Applications for February 2024 are now closed!

Course Structure

The Master of Child, Youth and Family Mental Health consists of 200 credit points. There are 11 course work units (137.5 credit points), three research units (37.5 credit points) and two practical placement units (25 credit points).

Part-time (4 years) structure:

Year Semester Unit Code Unit Name Credit Points
1 1 FMH401 Counselling Skills and Psychotherapeutic Approaches 12.5
1 1 FMH402 Foundations in Child and Adolescent Development and Assessment 12.5
1 2 FMH406 Working with Families 12.5
1 2 FMH404 Prevention and Early Intervention 12.5
2 1 FMH403 Supporting and Coaching Parents and Families 12.5
2 1 FMH405 Professional Practice and Ethics 12.5
2 2 FMH407 Advanced Child and Adolescent Development and Assessment 12.5
2 2 FMH460 Supervised Placement 12.5
3 1 FMH501 Diversity in Child, Youth, and Family Practice 12.5
3 1 FMH502 Evidence-Based Child and Adolescent Therapies 12.5
3 2 FMH550 Research Project A: Research Methodology in Child, Youth, and Family Studies 12.5
3 2 FMH503 Advanced Counselling and Complex Cases 12.5
4 1 FMH504 Intergenerational Trauma and Trauma Focused Interventions 12.5
4 1 FMH551 Research Project B 12.5
4 2 FMH552 Research Project C 12.5
4 2 FMH560 Supervised Placement 12.5


Entry Requirements

Applicants must have completed an Australian Graduate Diploma or equivalent (AQF 8) in a related discipline (such as teaching, social work, social sciences, psychology, counselling), with a minimum of credit average (60%).

Documentation required in the application:

  • Most recent academic transcript(s).
  • A current Curriculum Vitae (resume).
  • A 500-word personal statement, outlining what factors have contributed to the application and why you wish to study this course at Cairnmillar.
  • Two references, preferably at least one academic, using the HODSPA reference system.
  • Proof of residency/citizenship (e.g., passport, birth certificate, or citizenship certificate).

Short-listed applicants will be invited to attend an admissions interview with members of Cairnmillar’s academic faculty. This provides applicants an opportunity to discuss any questions they may have about the course. Further information on interviews can be found on our FAQ page here.

Please see our How to Apply page for detailed instructions on applying through Cairnmillar’s online Application Portal.

Inherent Requirements

Inherent requirements are those skills, values and behaviours which must be demonstrated by students in order that they successfully complete the program of study. As a guide for prospective and current students, a series of inherent requirement statements have been developed that relate to student admission and progression through the course.  These requirements are mandatory; however, there may be some flexibility in how they can be demonstrated. Click here to view the Inherent Requirements.

Graduate Learning Outcomes

Students who satisfactorily complete this course will have achieved advanced knowledge and skills to
be able to:

  • Demonstrate high-level applied knowledge of core developmental and counselling theories, concepts, and practice
  • Critically evaluate theories and therapeutic models to generate novel solutions to complex problems in child, youth, and family contexts
  • Demonstrate self-awareness and reflective practice, and relate to others respecting all aspects of human diversity
  • Communicate clearly, effectively, and professionally in written and oral communication across face-to-face and online environments
  • Identify, analyse, and resolve complex ethical and professional dilemmas while applying knowledge of different ethical paradigms, PACFA code of ethics, professional conduct guidelines, and the relevant legal State and Commonwealth guides
  • Apply knowledge of theoretical concepts, therapeutic models, and counselling skills to facilitate change ethically and professionally
  • Apply a range of evidence-based psychotherapies in working with children, adolescents, and families
  • Employ autonomy, responsibility, and accountability in self-directed learning that facilitates lifelong learning and ongoing professional development

Fees & Scholarships

**Total fees are estimates only based on the current fee schedule. Annual tuition fee review and possible increases applies, see: Fees & Scholarships.

For general information, please visit our FAQ page.

Career Opportunities & Study Pathways

Graduates of the Master of Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health will be able to apply knowledge and skills acquired to their workplaces.

Graduates will also be able to consider further study or employment in a range of fields such as community health and community services, rehabilitation, human resources, child protection, family support services, allied health clinics and services, and private practice.

On completion of the course, graduates who are mental health professionals (such as psychologists, counsellors, social workers) will be eligible to apply for specialist accreditation with PACFA.


The Master of Child, Youth, and Family Mental Health is accredited by TEQSA and abides by the Higher Education Standards Framework (2019). The program sits within level 9 of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).

For more information on study and professional pathways, visit our Pathways & Registration page.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is a process where a student may be granted credit or partial credit towards a qualification in recognition of previous study, skills or experience.

Students may only be given credit for any coursework if it is from a successfully completed approved course at the appropriate Australian AQF postgraduate level.

Cairnmillar’s RPL policy can be viewed here. Further information on RPL can be found here.

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