Post Graduate Diploma in Public Mental Health 2023


The Alan J. Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (CPMH), a joint initiative of the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU) and the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town (UCT), is an independent inter-disciplinary academic research and teaching centre for public mental health promotion and service development in Africa. The CPMH is proud to invite applications from across the African continent for the Post-graduate Diploma (PGDip) in Public Mental Health in 2023.


The PGDip in Public Mental Health is an Africa-focused coursework-based diploma that aims to guide students in developing a good understanding of the discipline of public mental health, as well as the skills required to: (i) undertake research, (ii) participate in improving services and access to mental health interventions, and (iii) advocate for increased attention to public mental health in Africa. Further, completion of the PGDip will introduce students to the public mental health community and prepare graduates for further Master’s level studies. The programme is designed to be accessible to practitioners who work full-time, and who are from a range of backgrounds including social work, psychology, psychiatry, medicine, occupational therapy, nursing, health economics, public mental health, public health, health service management, policy making and non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The training aims to build the professional capacity and leadership of the participants in their work, while contributing to public mental health expertise in Africa.

The programme comprises the following 4 courses: Introduction to Public Mental Health, Mental Health Epidemiology, Research Methodology for Public Mental Health and Interventions for Mental Health. In addition, the programme includes instruction on research integrity and other academic and professional skills such as academic writing, leadership and presentation skills. The PGDip faculty are academics, clinicians and practitioners active in the public mental health sphere in Africa.

The degree requires:

  • The completion of a 2-week residential training block in January 2023;
  • The resources necessary to access asynchronous learning material, and complete activities or assignments either individually or with fellow students;
  • The resources necessary to participate in at least 2 synchronous online sessions per month;
  • The preparation of a research or monitoring and evaluation proposal of approximately 5000 words.

Two-week residential training block

The course will start with a 2-week residential training block in Cape Town from 16 January – 27 January 2023. Students will attend lectures, seminars and workshops at the CPMH campus (University of Cape Town) or at Stellenbosch University. The training block will include an orientation to online learning and university resources, an introduction to the PGDip programme as well as the field of public mental health and academic writing skills. All students are required to be available for full weekdays during the 2-week training session. Following the training block, students will commence online learning with ongoing support and mentorship via online platforms.


Registration is for a minimum of 1 year. For administrative purposes, students will have to register with one of the collaborating universities i.e. with UCT or SU. Candidates should indicate their preference on their application, but as we require an equitable number of students enrolled at each university, we cannot guarantee registration at the university of the student’s choice. The course content and requirements will be the same for both universities. The diploma will be awarded by the university at which the student is registered.

Admission Requirements

Candidates for this programme should be in possession of a bachelor’s degree, or an equivalent three-year qualification, in a health- or development-related field (e.g. occupational therapy, medicine, nursing, social work, psychology, public health, anthropology and sociology). In addition, candidates should:

  • have experience of working in a mental health, health or development related field (at least 1 year)
  • have the capacity for a management or leadership role
  • show evidence of adequate English language and writing proficiency for postgraduate academic studies, and evidence of computer literacy in basic Microsoft Office (or equivalent) packages
  • preferably be currently working in an approved workplace setting, such as a Ministry of Health, NGO or mental health service.
Please Note:
  • A programme of this nature requires dedicated time and the ability to work independently. You will require a minimum of 15 hours per week on average to complete the PGDip. Please consider this carefully before applying.
  • The PGDip in Public Mental Health does not lead to a professional qualification that can be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa or any other health professions council. It is strictly an academic course with no clinical components.


The aim of the African mental health Researchers Inspired and Equipped (ARISE) programme is to strengthen African public mental health. ARISE is offering 9 fellowships to candidates from African countries to begin the PGDip in Public Mental Health in 2023. Successful fellows will be registered at UCT or SU. The fellowships cover university fees and learning material related to the programme.  To be considered for the fellowships, candidates must:

  • be a citizen or permanent resident of an African country
  • successfully gain entry to the PGDip in Public Mental Health.

The ARISE Fellowship is tenable during the first year of registration only.  Should the degree not be completed within 1 year, the candidate will be responsible for the necessary registration fee and study costs in subsequent years of registration.

Other Fellowship Opportunities

See the UCT postgraduate degree funding noticeboard or the Stellenbosch University postgraduate funding support webpage for other funding options.

Selection Process

Admission to the programme is highly competitive, and is based primarily on academic merit and the potential to contribute to mental health development in under-served areas in Africa.  We will engage in a rigorous selection process to identify the candidates who are most likely to successfully complete the PGDip within the prescribed period. In addition to the written application, short-listed applicants may be requested to attend a teleconference interview.

The deadline for applications is 31 August 2022. The outcome of the selection process will be communicated to all applicants by 31 October 2022.


The application forms are detailed, so that we have as much relevant information possible to enable us to select the most suitable candidates.  Instructions for completing the application form are provided in this section.  Please read and follow these instructions carefully as they are not repeated on the application form itself:

  • Download the application forms from the button below.
  • The application forms must be completed in full and submitted with all required supporting documents as a single PDF file, with your surname and initial as the file name, to on or before 31 August 2022.
  • Each application should consist of the following:
    • Completed application form, including:
      • Photograph
      • Signed declaration
      • Names of 2 referees. We will contact them directly.
    • Certified copies of original academic transcripts
    • An example of your own academic writing skills such as an article that you have authored. (Please do not submit a co-authored paper as we require an example of your writing skills.)
    • Please do not include any additional material (such as a separate CV) in your application package. Provision has been made on the application form for all information required for the selection process.
  • If you have any questions about the application form or process, please contact Songelwa Mobo (
  • Upon selection, students will be given additional information related to their registering university (such as information related to fees, registration, etc), as well as more detailed information about the course.

Download application in MS Word or PDF