Masters in Narrative Therapy and Community Work

Area of Study Type of Course Level of Study
Health and medical Award Masters


Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work

Course Code


Course Abbreviation

M. Narrative Thpy & Com. Work

Partner Faculty

Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science (MDHS)

School of Health Sciences, Department of Social Work in partnership with the Dulwich Centre


Narrative therapy is a respectful, non-blaming approach to counselling and community work, which centres people as the experts in their own lives. It views problems as separate from people and assumes people have many skills, competencies, beliefs, values, commitments and abilities that will assist them to reduce the influence of problems in their lives.

Narrative approaches to therapy and community work are used by social workers, psychologists, community development workers, nurses, teachers, doctors, and other health professionals in a wide range of practice settings.

The Dulwich Centre is the international centre for narrative therapy training, established in 1984. Since this time the Dulwich Centre has led the development of narrative therapy that is now considered a mainstream modality in many contexts.

The Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work provides formal training and recognition for narrative therapy and is delivered as a joint initiative of the Department of Social Work (The University of Melbourne) and The Dulwich Centre, Adelaide.

The Australian Counselling Association (ACA) has recently accredited the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work. All graduates are now eligible to apply for full membership and registration with ACA. This registration will be relevant for some Australian practitioners who are not social workers or psychologists and want to be accredited counsellors (and gain access to insurance etc). The ACA also has an international membership which may be available to international graduates.

Course Description

The Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work is a University of Melbourne postgraduate specialist qualification consisting of 3 subjects to achieve 100 credit points of study:

  • Advanced Narrative Skills Development (25 points)
  • The Art of Narrative Practice (25 points)
  • Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis (50 points)

The course is delivered through a combination of face-to-face intensive teaching in Adelaide, an on-line program of work, and a capstone research subject.

Each subject is formally assessed to meet the requirements of University accreditation. Assessment is designed to be practical and relevant to industry professionals. The type of assessment includes recorded interviews, written reflections and contact logging with feedback provided throughout the course on progress.

The final subject, Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis, requires all students to develop a critical understanding of research concepts and methods, and to engage in their own practice research project. This requires integration of their theoretical and practice knowledge gained from previous subjects in the course.

Delivery Mode

The course teaching and assessment is delivered through a combination of attendance at 2 x two week intensive study blocks, on-line components, and the completion of taped interviews and assignments.

The course can either be completed:

  • Full-time as a 12 month program over 2 Semesters; or
  • Part-time as an 24 month program over 4 Semesters.

Once enrolled, students are issued with a user name and password to access the UoM online learning management system, known as LMS. Here you can access all course materials and activities as well as being able to interact with course instructors and other students e.g. participating in discussion forums.

Who Should Apply

The Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work provides formal training in a specialist area of practice and research for social workers, psychologists, nurses, teachers, doctors and other health professionals.

Those applying to undertake the degree would typically be professionals working with individuals, families or communities who are interested in enhancing their clinical and practice-research skills in narrative therapy and community work.

The combination of intensive delivery supported by distance and on-line learning means it is accessible to students across Australia and internationally.

Please note, it is a requirement within the course for participants to put narrative ideas into practice (with individuals, couples, families, groups, organisations and/or communities) in their local context at least five hours per week. There are many diverse ways of fulfilling this requirement but it is necessary for participants to have a context for practice.


SCWK90060 Advanced Narrative Skills Development (25 points) - In this subject, students acquire skills in engaging with ten key practice maps of narrative therapy, including externalising, re-authoring, remembering, definitional ceremony, documentation, absent but implicit, failure conversations map, responding to trauma, engagement with folk culture metaphors (tree of life/team of life/kite of life) and enabling contribution or social action. They also develop skills in analysing and evaluating the effects of their use of these maps of practice and in proposing alternative questions as well as lines of enquiry, in therapeutic and/or collective practice.

Total time commitment 340 hours (including class time, reading, assessment, research, online component and preparation).

SCWK90061 Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis (50 points) - Students are challenged to innovate their own forms of narrative practice. Teaching focuses on some of the different methods of innovating that have contributed to new forms of narrative practice, such as co-research, partnerships, cross-cultural invention, folk cultural innovation, synthesis of practice with readings from outside the field, responding to challenges in relation to politics of experience and translations across languages. This involves revisiting some of the social and intellectual histories of narrative practice and drawing on recent international innovations as case studies of innovation. Drawing on these histories and practices of innovation, in the second half of the subject, as the capstone experience, students are then required to undertake an original piece of practice research, with findings presented in a standard required for publication.

Total time commitment 680 hours (including class time, reading, assessment, research, online component and preparation).

SCWK90062 The Art of Narrative Practice (25 points) - Students acquire a working knowledge of the diversity of ways in which narrative practices are being engaged with children, young people and adults as well as with individuals, groups organisations and communities, in a range of different cultural contexts across the globe. Students are required to analyse developments in the field in relation to their implications for own practice in their own local cultural context.

Total time commitment 340 hours (including class time, reading, assessment, research, online component and preparation)

Advanced Narrative Skills Development is a pre-requisite for The Art of Narrative Practice.


Please refer to handbook

Additional Information

Anita Morawetz Scholarship

A number of scholarships covering part of the tuition fee for the course are available. The scholarships are open to students whose practice research will, in the selection committee's opinion, contribute to the clinical practice of family therapy (work with families, groups and/or communities) in Australia.

The Scholarship Application Form should be completed and uploaded at the same time as making an application for a place on the course, so that the selection committee has all the information it needs to fully evaluate the scholarship applications.

MDHS Scholarship Fund - Narrative Therapy and Community Work Scholarship Program for Indigenous Students

Students who enrol in the course and are identified as ATSI will be considered to have met the criteria for this scholarship. No further selection criteria apply however if the eligible numbers increase significantly (based on previous enrolments this is not anticipated) the criteria will be reviewed.

Salome Raheim Award

Salome Raheim is the Dean and Professor at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. She is also the impetus behind the Dulwich Centre privilege project. This award recognises the Master's project that shows the greatest commitment/creativity in addressing issues of power and privilege.

Anna Alida Witmondt-Nanning Scholarship

The objective of the Anna Alida Witmondt-Nanning Scholarship is to offer support to women students in the Master of Narrative Therapy and Community Work who are committed to social justice and advocating for the voiceless. Special consideration will be given to those applicants who: have greater financial need; are interested in integrating art in their therapeutic narrative work.

Academic and Teaching Team

The academic team will consist of leading national and international trainers from the Dulwich Centre and the University of Melbourne.

Entry Requirements

1. An undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline or equivalent; and

2. Evidence of two years of relevant work experience; and

3. Evidence of completion of prior narrative therapy studies at Dulwich Centre or equivalent; and

4. Statement of up to 500 words by the Applicant*; and

5. A professional referee report (please use University form)

English language requirements will be IELTS 6.5 overall with no band score less than 6.0.

NB. Please note, it is necessary to be working/volunteering in a context in which you are able to put narrative ideas into practice for at least 5 hours per week during the duration of the Masters.

*Your personal statement should be no more than 500 words. The statement should describe your personal motivation to undertake further study and can include details of your personal circumstances as well as your life and work experiences. It should emphasise any aspect of your personal history that may enhance your application, including extracurricular activity, community involvement, relevant personal characteristics and any outstanding achievements.

The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports or employer references to elucidate any of above-mentioned matters.

To enable proper consideration of your application, the necessary supporting documentation should be uploaded when you apply for this course.

Credit and Recognition of Prior Learning

Advanced Standing (credit) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for those who have completed long-term training programs with Dulwich Centre or have been instructors on Dulwich Centre programs is available as follows:

Eligibility for Credit and RPL

Allowable Credit

Supporting Evidence Required with Application

Past graduates of the Dulwich Centre International Training Program

50 points credit for the subjects Advanced Narrative Skills Development and the Art of Narrative Practice

Certificate of course completion from the Dulwich Centre

Graduates of the Dulwich Centre 'Graduate Certificate Programs' in Hong Kong, Singapore and Greece

25 points credit for Advanced Narrative Skills Development

Certificate of course completion from the Dulwich Centre

Teachers/trainers at Dulwich Centre who have taught on the International Training Program

50 points credit for the subjects Advanced Narrative Skills Development and the Art of Narrative Practice

Letter from the Dulwich Centre supporting the application for RPL

Prospective students that have completed Narrative Therapy Programs elsewhere are encouraged to contact us to determine eligibility for credit.

Introductory Training in Narrative Therapy

Prospective students that are interested in this course but cannot currently satisfy the entry requirement of having completed prior narrative therapy studies at Dulwich Centre or equivalent should note that, the Dulwich Centre runs a number of intensive courses annually that meet this requirement.

Course Fees

The 2018 fees are indicated in the following table:


Study Points

Fees for 2018*

Advanced Narrative Skills Development



The Art of Narrative Practice



Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis






*Please note fees are subject to an annual increase.

Note that some scholarships for part of the course tuition fees are available through the Anita Morawetz Scholarship. Refer to Scholarships for details.

Fee Inclusions

Fees include tuition, course materials and access to on-line resources and the opportunity to attend a public graduation ceremony.

As enrolled students of the University of Melbourne, students have access to a range of facilities and amenities provided by the University of Melbourne.


Fee-Help is a loan from the Australian Government to cover tuition fees and is available to Australian Citizens only.

Key Dates

Applications for 2018 are now closed.

Applicants should note that the selection committee will meet to review applications on a regular basis in order to make formal offers to eligible students in plenty of time to allow for booking travel and accommodation in Adelaide.

Delivery Dates and Times


Subject Delivery Dates

Intensive Component Delivery Dates (Adelaide, Australia)

Advanced Narrative Skills Development

Monday 12 February - Friday 20 July 2018

Saturday 17 March - Thursday 29 March 2018

The Art of Narrative Practice

Monday 30 July - Friday 23 November 2018

Sunday 21 October - Friday 26 October 2018

Narrative Practice and Research Synthesis

Monday 12 February - Thursday 6 December 2018

Monday 29 October - Friday 2 November 2018

Please note, the minimum number of enrolments must be met for the course to proceed as scheduled.

Delivery Venue

The Dulwich Centre, Adelaide, for intensive teaching blocks and on-line for other course components.

Contact Elizabeth Soares
Program Coordinator
The University of Melbourne
P: +61 3 9035 9608