The Cairnmillar Institute is committed to retaining excellent quality learning and teaching experiences for our students while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Our executive team started planning and considering the possible impacts of coronavirus on our educational delivery as soon as the situation became apparent, so we were ready to respond. In early March we rolled out a temporary online only delivery model, then transitioned to fully online only delivery from 23 March 2020.  

All our staff and students have responded to these difficult and uncertain times with resilience and adaptability, which has made the transition to online learning and teaching a pleasurable challenge.  We are grateful and most appreciative of this response. 

Please be reassured that our plans for all assessment and online delivery are designed to ensure a continued quality learning experience for all. When deciding on assessment modifications, we have made sure that the usual principles of student engagement with learning, academic integrity, and fairness have been taken into account, as well as the relevant learning outcomes, professional and accreditation requirements. 

At this stage, we expect to continue to deliver the majority of our teaching and assessment online for the rest of 2020. We understand that some students are finding online study and isolation difficult. We are still hopeful that we will be able to return to offering some optional in-person seminars, tutorials, lectures and placements before the end of 2020 and hope to return to primarily in person teaching for most courses in 2021. 

So far, student feedback on the response and the unprecedented move to online teaching has been positive, and we are thankful to all of our students and stakeholders for their continued support and understanding. 

Student comments have included: 

“I feel like Cairnmillar has adapted quickly to the COVID-19 requirements, placing the students’ wellbeing as a priority, whilst maintaining the academic standards.” 

“With COVID-19 occurring right in the middle of semester [Cairnmillar] were extremely good at keeping us updated on what was happening with our course. The switch to online learning has been amazing with staff still being able to teach some quite tricky concepts (e.g., intelligence testing) in a way that is easy to understand.” 

“The staff has been very supportive. The shift to online lectures was handled well. Staff has shown genuine interest in the safety and comfort of students throughout the pandemic.” 

Accreditation and Quality 

Our regulators (TEQSA) and our accreditation bodies (APAC for Psychology programs, and PACFA and the ACA for Counselling and Psychotherapy programs) have all responded positively to our communications with them and have been supportive of providers during this difficult time. We are engaged in an ongoing dialogue with all relevant organisations during this difficult time and are confident in the status of our awards and the continued quality of our courses. We do not expect to see any negative impact on the accreditation status nor the registration, professional memberships and further study options available to our graduates due to this situation.  

We are still accepting international student applications for our CRICOS registered courses and will be offering flexible tuition fee refund conditions should expected start dates for overseas students be impacted by the COVID-19 situation. 

2021 Masters Applications 

Some students and applicants have asked if special consideration will be given to 2020 Honours and 4th year graduates for Masters (e.g. MPsych(Clin) and MPP) admissions in 2021. 

At the moment, Cairnmillar, and all other APAC accredited providers, are working hard to ensure that the quality of our teaching, relevancy of our assessment, and most of all the competency of our graduates are not reduced in this critical time. Our students are currently achieving results at or even above expected ranges despite the difficult time we are all in.  

It is normally expected that difficulties during studies that may impact results will be appropriately managed by the current institution (e.g. through special consideration, extensions, delayed exams, additional or alternative assessments, etc). If you have concerns about the impact of the current global crisis on your studies, we recommend that you contact your lecturers, course coordinators or other appropriate person or service at your current institution for advice and further options to mitigate such impacts.  

We do not currently expect to give a blanket special consideration or reduce our minimum entry standards for these competitive entry courses at this time. However, it is something we are discussing both as a provider and as a discipline (e.g. HODSPA) and we will be guided by our profession and the sector more broadly in this matter. Further information will be made available closer to the admission period once the full impact of the COVID-19 situation for the 2020 academic year is better understood. 


Further information, online teaching resources and links for current students can be found on our myCMI student website (student login required).