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Study intensive care nursing at Sydney Nursing School

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In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely for students commencing their studies in 2021 and 2022.

Students commencing this course in 2021 and 2022 can commence their studies remotely whilst the Australian border remains closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Remote study is not available for some units of study and/or placements essential to this course and you will be required to attend in-person on campus from Semester 2, Year 1.

About this course

Designed for registered nurses, the Master of Intensive Care Nursing aims to assist nurses currently working in the intensive care environment to develop the expertise and skills to provide high quality patient care and become clinical leaders.

Intensive care nurses deliver complex care to critically ill patients, such as those experiencing single or multiple organ dysfunction due to serious illness or injury. As an intensive care nursing student, you will learn to work across complex environments that often demand rapid, sophisticated and challenging decisions as you help patients and their families understand their illness and deliver high quality care.

During this one and a half year degree, you will be led by leading researchers as you build upon your individual clinical experience. You will learn to provide sophisticated care and advice to critically ill patients and their families. This requires application of advanced physiological knowledge during the assessment and management of patients who may be experiencing single or multiple organ dysfunctions. A work-based project or research thesis will comprise the capstone experience of this degree, providing the opportunity for you to apply your expertise as you explore a particular area of your interest.

Upon graduation, you will have the specialist knowledge and skills to provide comprehensive care to patients and their families in intensive care, with opportunities to further work across nursing education, administration, research and consulting. Completion of this degree can also be a pathway into the Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner).

Who should study this course?

Our postgraduate nursing degrees are designed for registered nurses who are looking to build their professional practice capabilities and advance to a leadership role in nursing.    

Financing your studies

  • We offer a number of scholarships to postgraduate nursing students. Find out more about the faculty-based opportunities available to you. You may also be eligible for a NSW Health postgraduate scholarship. Valued at up to $8000, these scholarships are available to registered nurses and midwives who are working in full or part-time permanent positions in the NSW public health system. 
  • Commonwealth Supported Places are available in all of our postgraduate nursing courses. This means your place is subsidised by the government and you pay a reduced fee. If your studies are related to your employment, out-of-pocket course fees may also be tax deductible. Find out more at the Australian Taxation Office.
  • You may also be eligible for HECS-HELP. This means your fee payment is deferred through a government loan.

Subject areas

There are no specialisations for this course.

Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission criteria’ section on this page.

Your fee


Applications for Susan Wakil Scholarships are now open.

Applications for Susan Wakil Scholarships are now open.

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Please note that late applications may be accepted.

Please scan and upload the following with your application: 

(1) academic transcripts or clinical qualifications/achievements; 

(2) testamurs of degrees or diplomas; 

(3) current authority to practice as a registered nurse in Australia or overseas; 

(4) passport, birth certificate or citizenship certificate; 

(5) marriage certificate or other appropriate documentation, if your name has changed; 

(6) Curriculum Vitae, including nursing employment experience (position, start and end dates, employer, FT, PT or casual);

(7) Statement of Support Clinical Assessment Requirement form

(8) evidence of English proficiency (ie IELTS test results) if appropriate; 

(9) any other relevant documentation that you feel may support your application

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year

We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Closing dates

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February)

What you'll study

The Master of Intensive Care Nursing may be completed over three semesters full-time or five semesters part-time.

The course consists of 60 credit points (cp), including core units of study (48cp) and a capstone (12cp).

In the first year, students complete 48cp of core units of study, which include four specialty-specific units for the intensive care nursing courses.

Students will undertake a work-based project or a research project as a capstone experience (12cp) and will study part-time in the final semester of their candidature.

Following academic consultation, students wishing to undertake the Capstone (Research) may substitute NURS5071 with a research unit offered by the University.

Explore the Medicine and Health Postgraduate Handbook to learn more about what you will study as part of this degree:

Units of Study

Capstone experience

A capstone experience comprises one or more units of study designed by the faculty to provide students with an opportunity to draw together the learning that has taken place during the award, synthesise this with their prior learning and experience, and draw conclusions that will form the basis for further investigation, and intellectual and/or professional growth.

For the Master of Intensive Care Nursing all students either complete a work-based project or research project as a capstone experience. The independent work required to develop the research thesis is under the guidance of a supervisor.

Admission criteria

A successful applicant for admission to the Master of Intensive Care Nursing will hold:

  • a pre-registration nursing degree with credit average from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification; or 
  • an embedded graduate certificate or graduate diploma in this discipline from the University of Sydney or equivalent qualification. 

In exceptional circumstances the Dean may admit applicants without these qualifications who, in the opinion of the School, have qualifications and evidence of experience and achievement sufficient to successfully undertake the award.

In addition, the applicant is required to be a registered nurse in Australia or overseas and satisfy the English language proficiency requirements.

Domestic applicants are required to have a minimum of one year's experience as a registered nurse, be working in intensive care nursing and provide a statement of support from their supervisor or manager in order to undertake the required clinical assessments. Students who already hold a graduate certificate in intensive care nursing are not required to provide a statement of support.

International applicants are required to have a minimum of one year's experience in intensive care nursing and have a choice of providing a statement of support from their supervisor if they wish to undertake the required clinical assessments in their home country, or else the clinical assessments can be undertaken at the Sydney Nursing School under simulated conditions.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Handbooks Online and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

Inherent requirements

To assist students to make informed choices about their study, we have identified and set out the Inherent Requirements for coursework award courses in nursing.

The University of Sydney welcomes and encourages applications from students with disabilities, and from diverse social and cultural backgrounds. Where there are physical, intellectual, cultural, religious or other factors that impact on a student's ability to meet the Inherent Requirements, the University will make reasonable adjustments to assist the student to meet the requirements. Please read the Inherent Requirements carefully as you consider your course choices.

Credit for previous study

For more information about the University’s credit policy, please see the Credit for Previous Studies page.

Course opportunities

This program is available at multiple levels to suit your professional and personal needs. The courses are embedded, allowing you to step from one to the next at your own pace.

Outstanding graduates who complete the Capstone (Research) for this course may pursue a higher degree by research in the courses of Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy. 

Career Pathways

Graduates of this course will be recognised as having advanced knowledge relevant to intensive care nursing. Intensive care nurses normally work with a nurse patient ration of 1:1 and are in a position to provide comprehensive care to patients and their families. Many intensive care nurses also work in education, administration, research and as nurse consultants.

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Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.