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Postgraduate study in Dementia

Course Introduction

This postgraduate degree program in dementia provides a global perspective of this key public health area. It offers a Graduate Certificate in Dementia, a Graduate Diploma of Dementia and a Master of Dementia.

Our postgraduate dementia study is aimed at graduates and professionals currently working with or building their expertise in dementia. The courses offer a comprehensive understanding of dementia from the perspectives of individuals, families, communities, health care systems and governments, and cover the neurobiology of dementia, including pathology, biomarkers and therapeutics.

Join an international community of highly motivated professionals in our postgraduate dementia program.


Graduate Certificate in Dementia (4 units – full-time 6 months or part-time equivalent)

Graduate Diploma of Dementia (8 units – full-time 12 months or part-time equivalent)

Master of Dementia (11 units – full-time 18 months or part-time equivalent)

Study Load: Full-time or Part-time
Intake: February and July
Study mode: Fully online, available for Australian and international students
Entry requirements: Any completed bachelor degree

About the program

Our postgraduate courses focus on four core disciplines: neurobiology, public health, health care systems and policy, and health and social support for living with dementia. It is fully online, and available for Australian and international students.

An international perspective threads all units with global examples and statistics, including national approaches to common problems as well as cross-cultural and indigenous people’s views and experiences. Learn about best practice dementia-healthy communities around the world and how you can implement transformative change in your workplace or personal context. Students’ personal perspectives will be highlighted throughout the course in assessments which link acquired knowledge to individual contexts.

Our postgraduate degree program offers a Graduate Certificate in Dementia, a Graduate Diploma of Dementia and a Master of Dementia. The Graduate Certificate will give you a thorough grounding in the four key study themes: health and social care in dementia; neurobiology; health care systems and policies; and public health and community approaches. The Graduate Diploma enables you to understand and evaluate the primary evidence base in these domains, so that you can acquire your own evidence in meeting the needs of people with dementia. The Master of Dementia empowers you to design and develop new research to meet needs that you identify, for which the current evidence is not sufficient.

Your Course Coordinator: Dr Matthew Kirkcaldie

Dr Matthew Kirkcaldie is a Senior Lecturer in Neuroscience, with 20 years’ experience in neuroscience and dementia education and research supervision. He has a national profile in neuroscience education and outreach and is one of the original contributors to the Wicking Dementia Centre’s Understanding Dementia MOOC.  His research interests include the neuronal cytoskeleton and plasticity, the pathology of Alzheimer's disease, the development, structure and function of the cerebral cortex, and the similarities between the brains of different animal species.

  • Graduate Certificate in Dementia (GCertDem): A$5,000
  • Graduate Diploma of Dementia (GDipDem): A$10,000
  • Master of Dementia (MDem): A$15,000

Course structure

Core domains
  • Health and Social Care in Dementia
    Explores a range of approaches aimed at supporting people living with dementia to maintain healthy lives. Critical factors in quality of life, such as communication, and social and care environments, are used to build a rights-based view of the needs of people who live with dementia.
  • Neurobiology of Dementia
    The function and dysfunction of the brain are examined to provide a deep understanding of the diseases which cause dementia. The roles of disease biomarkers in diagnosis and therapeutic evaluation are reviewed, along with the strengths and weaknesses of current laboratory-based and clinical research in these areas.
  • Policies and Systems in Dementia
    The needs of people with dementia are highlighted in an examination of the ways that health care systems and government policy affect health care provision. In particular, the ways that different policies and systems can affect the experiences of people living with dementia, and the people who care for them.
  • Public Health and Dementia
    The evidence for dementia prevention, and the rise of dementia-friendly communities are examined in the context of public health strategy aimed at reducing dementia incidence through behaviour change, and adapting public facilities to accommodate the needs of people who live with dementia.
  • Research in Dementia
    At the Graduate Diploma level, all units engage with the primary research literature in their respective fields, and a dedicated unit examines research techniques in the major domains. At the Master’s level, a major project unit allows the student to explore a topic of particular interest at greater depth.

Career outcomes

The Graduate Certificate in Dementia will equip graduates with the skills and critical faculties to employ their knowledge of dementia, informed by international practices and appropriate resources, to meet and anticipate the needs of people with dementia. Their knowledge of human-rights-based care principles, neurobiology, health care policy and public health interventions will enhance their professional and/or personal knowledge.

In addition to the above outcomes, the Graduate Diploma of Dementia will enable graduates to identify and evaluate primary evidence to meet and anticipate the needs of people with dementia. They will use their knowledge of research techniques and the literature to gather and evaluate evidence to inform decision making, policy recommendations and care decisions.

Graduates of the Master of Dementia will possess the skills and critical faculties to identify and evaluate primary evidence, international practices and appropriate resources to inform their professional and personal dealings in meeting and anticipating the needs of people with dementia. They will be capable of designing inquiries and research projects to provide necessary data for informed decision making.

All students and alumni of the postgraduate program will be able to share their knowledge via online professional communities of practice, hosted by the Wicking Dementia Centre and available to them indefinitely after graduation.