CL74 - Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound


Compulsory Residential School

Some units in this course require you to attend a compulsory Residential School or Work Integrated Learning. Please see Course Features in the Getting Started tab for further information.

Course Overview

The Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound provides you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge and practical skills in echocardiography both in clinical practice and in our leading edge simulation scanning laboratories.

CQUniversity is renowned for innovation in medical and cardiac ultrasound training through our previous establishment of Australia's first discipline-specific undergraduate pathways into these professions. As a result, your experience in this Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound will be supported by Australia's largest team of qualified echocardiography academics. Through CQUniversity's Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound course, you will complete extensive clinical practice whilst receiving online and learning support, combined with practical tuition through on-campus residential schools in our state-of-the-art ultrasound simulation laboratories. A comprehensive academic team of qualified echocardiographers will support your development of skills in image acquisition and cardiac measurement whilst providing you the essential knowledge in cardiac anatomy and pathophysiology.

This course is offered in part-time mode over a period of two years. On successful completion of this course, graduates will be eligible for registration by the Australian Sonographers Accreditation Registry.

Career Information

An Echocardiographer (or cardiac sonographer) is a health professional who uses a range of diagnostic means, including ultrasonic equipment, to produce diagnostic images, video loops, laboratory data and 3D / 4D volumes of cardiovascular anatomy. A cardiac sonographer requires specialised education and skills to view, analyse, modify and provisionally report the scan. A cardiac sonographer has an important degree of responsibility in the diagnostic process because of the high level of decisional latitude and diagnostic input required. Communication skills, exemplary professional attitude and care for the physical and psychosocial well-being of the patient are all critical to success in this field. Cardiac sonographers are in demand in many public and private health facilities, and are likely to remain in demand into the future due to the ageing demographic of both patients and the existing workforce.

Course Details
Duration 2 years part-time
Credit Points that Must be Earned 48
Number of Units Required CQUniversity uses the concept of credits to express the amount of study required for a particular course and individual units. The number of units varies between courses. Units in postgraduate courses normally consist of 6 points of credit or multiples thereof (e.g. 12, 18, 24).
Expected Hours of Study One point of credit is equivalent to an expectation of approximately two hours of student work per week in a term.
Course Type Postgraduate Award
Qualification (post nominal) GradDipCardiacUltrasound
AQF Level Level 8: Graduate Diploma

Admission Codes

Domestic Students
Tertiary Admission Centre Codes (TAC) Codes
Not Applicable
International Students
Not Applicable
Where and when can I start?
Units offered internally at the below campuses may be delivered using a combination of face-to-face and video conferencing style teaching.
Units offered via MIX mode are delivered online and require compulsory attendance of site-specific learning activities such as on-campus residential schools, placements and/or work integrated learning. See Course Features tab for further information. Online units are delivered using online resources only.
Please Click Here for more information.
The following tables list the courses availabilities by location and term. Directing your pointer over your preferred location will provide further information if this course is not available for the full duration. Please be sure to also check individual unit availability by location and term prior to enrolling.

Domestic Availability

Term 1 - 2022


Term 1 - 2021


Term 1 - 2020

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International Availability

Term 1 - 2022

Sorry, no international availabilities found.

Term 1 - 2021

Sorry, no international availabilities found.

Term 1 - 2020

Sorry, no international availabilities found.
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For any problems regarding admissions availability for the selected course please contact 13 CQUni (13 27 86) or send us an email at
What do I need to start?
Entry Scores
Entry scores are not available, please contact the Student Advice Team for more information.
Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements

Applicants are required to provide evidence of the following to meet the entry requirements for this course:

  • A completed undergraduate bachelor degree from an appropriate health or medical science area such as exercise science, cardiac physiology, clinical measurements, medical sonography (general), medical imaging, nursing or biomedical sciences, or AQF equivalent from an overseas institution; and

  • Written confirmation from your current employer stating that they will be able to provide you access to cardiac ultrasound clinical experience for three days per week over a two year period (or full time equivalent) as outlined in the Australasian Sonographer Accreditation Registry (ASAR) Program Accreditation Guidelines.

  • Written confirmation from your nominated Clinical Supervisor stating that they are an Accredited Medical Sonographer by ASAR and will supervise you for the duration of your studies in the Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound.

          NOTE: Written confirmation must be received on the Imaging Facility’s letterhead, signed and dated by a delegated authority and Clinical Supervisor.

English Requirements:

If you were not born in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa or United States of America you are required to meet the English Language Proficiency requirements set by the University.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of completion within the last 5 years of:

  • a secondary qualification (Year 11 and 12, or equivalent), or

  • bachelor level qualification study for a period of at least 2 years fulltime with a minimum overall GPA 4.0

completed within Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, South Africa, Ireland, or United States of America, which will meet the English proficiency.

If you do not satisfy any of the above you will need to undertake an English language proficiency test and achieve the following scores as below.

  • An International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic) overall band score of at least 7.0 overall with a minimum 7.0 for Reading and Writing and 7.0 for Speaking and Listening, or

  • An Occupational English Test with Grades A or B only in each of the four components.

English test results remain valid for no more than two years between final examination date and the date of commencement of study, and must appear on a single result certificate.

Each student will be assessed individually.

Security Requirements

This course included clinical placement for three days per week (or full-time equivalent) over a two year period. Students must satisfy specific pre-clinical safety and security requirements prior to each placement, including a clear criminal record check. Students who have a criminal history check disclosure, prior to commencing the degree or recorded during the course of the degree, are required to have their fitness for placement assessed on a case by case basis by the University or in conjunction with the placement site or State Health Department (as appropriate). Where a student has a criminal history check, prior to enrolment in the degree, the student may be required to apply for clearance through the applicable State Health Department to determine fitness for placement, prior to enrolment in the degree.

A student may be determined ineligible for placement, based on the nature of the criminal history disclosure, the inability to perform required tasks, or if the student may be determined a risk to clients, staff or other stakeholders. A student may be determined ineligible for placement, if the placement site is unable to work within the constraints of any conditions or work modifications placed upon the work site by the State Health Department or Assessment Unit within a private organisation. If conditions imposed upon the placement are too restrictive for placement sites within the current offer round, the student is determined not fit for placement and is at risk of the University terminating enrolment in the degree.

Students are required to meet all mandatory requirements to attend Clinical Placements. Clinical placements are a requirement for the award of the Degree.

Health Requirements

This course included clinical placement for three days per week (or full-time equivalent) over a two year period.

Students must satisfy specific pre-clinical health requirements prior to each placement, and must disclose any condition that may put himself or herself, or the public, at significant risk whilst on placement.

Whilst on placement, students will perform cardiac assessment on, and provide hands-on care to, people who may be ill or injured. Students will need to be physically fit, able to stand and walk for extended periods, lift, stretch, carry heavy loads and have sufficient visual acuity and contrast sensitivity to assess fine detail of images and perform safely in a range of lighting conditions.

A student may be determined ineligible for placement, if the placement site is unable to work within the constraints of any conditions or work modifications placed upon the work site by the State Health Department or Assessment Unit within a private organisation. If conditions imposed upon the placement are too restrictive for placement sites within the current offer round, the student is determined not fit for placement and is at risk of the University terminating enrolment in the degree.

Assumed Knowledge

Sciences or Health Sciences

Fees and Charges
Course Features

Awards and Accreditation

Interim Awards Not applicable
Exit Awards Not applicable
Professional Accreditation

The Course has been submitted to ASAR for accreditation, accreditation has not yet been granted. CQUniversity can give no guarantee that the Course will achieve accreditation.

Learned Society Accreditation Not applicable

Residential School Requirements

Compulsory Residential School This course will have two residential schools on-campus at our echocardiography simulation laboratories at either Brisbane, Sydney or Perth. Attendance at these residential schools is compulsory. This course will also have an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) as a compulsory on-campus examination at the completion of the required clinical experience hours.
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Practicum/Work Placement

ECHO28006 - This capstone unit embodies the clinical experience requirements of the accrediting body, ASAR. These requirements are that students must be engaged in clinical cardiac sonography for a minimum of three days per week over a two year period (or full-time equivalent thereof). This equates to 2,200 hours of clinical placement hours. Student learning is supported by clinical supervisor(s) on-site and our academics at CQUniversity. These hours will be achieved throughout the duration of the course, which is delivered in part-time mode to facilitate the time required to accumulate these clinical hours.

Previous and Current Enrolments

Year Number of Students
2021 5
2020 4
Inherent Requirements
There are Inherent Requirements (IRs) that you need to be aware of, and fulfil, to achieve the core learning outcomes of the units and course. IRs are the essential capabilities, knowledge, behaviours and skills that are needed to complete a unit or course.

Please note that in some instances there may be similarities between course, entry and inherent requirements.

If you experience difficulties meeting these requirements, reasonable adjustments may be made upon contacting Adjustment must not compromise the academic integrity of the degree or course chosen at CQUniversity or the legal requirements of field education.

Ethical Behaviour

Examples are:

  • Complying with academic and non-academic misconduct policies and procedures such as CQUniversity’s Student Charter, Student Misconduct Policy and Student Behavioural Misconduct Procedures and Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).
  • Treating personal information obtained in classroom and clinical settings as private and confidential.
  • Respecting an individual's/group's diversity by demonstrating sensitivity to religious, cultural and individual differences.
  • Demonstrating an ability to reflect on ethical dilemmas and issues and take responsibility for ensuring awareness of and adherence to ethical behaviour.
  • Maintaining ethical behaviour in all contexts.
  • Complying with the rules and regulations of the Australasian Sonographer's Association 'Code of Conduct' and 'Standards of Practice'.
  • Complying with the position statements for 'clinical practice' of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand (CSANZ).
Behavioural Stability

Examples are:

  • Interacting positively and effectively with other students while attending activities related to the course.
  • Being receptive and responding appropriately to different viewpoints, to constructive feedback and to direction from academics and clinical staff.
  • Coping effectively with your own emotions, responses and behaviour when dealing with challenging situations in the clinical setting to ensure your safety and well-being and the patient's safety and well-being.
Legal Compliance

Examples are:

  • Complying with clinical sites requirements. These include criminal record checks and child protection and safety legislation including mandatory reporting requirements. (National Criminal Record Check and Working with Children Check).
  • Understanding and adhering to professional policy around the use of social media.
  • Knowing, understanding and complying with legislative, regulatory requirements and policy directives which are necessary pre-requisites to clinical placements in order to reduce the risk of harm, to self and others (for example occupational assessment, screening and vaccination against infectious diseases).
Communication Skills (Verbal, Non-verbal, Written and Technology)

Examples are:

  • Actively participating in discussion activities related to the course.
  • Using language that is appropriate to the context of the individual or group.
  • Verbally communicating your knowledge and skills with accuracy, appropriateness and effectiveness.
  • Providing team members with clear concise verbal reports related to patient clinical presentation, situation/presentation, background history, clinical assessment and result of the ultrasound.
  • Communicating with patients in an empathic and caring manner.
  • Recognising and interpreting non-verbal cues of peers, patients and others and responding appropriately.
  • Using appropriate facial expressions, eye contact and gestures while being mindful of interpersonal space.
  • When required, needing to recognise and interpret non-verbal cues of others and responding appropriately during activities related to the course and clinical placements.
  • Constructing your assessment work to academic standards with attention to correct grammar and punctuation.
  • Constructing fluent summarised written text from complex and detailed information.
  • Constructing legible reports in a timely manner to meet professional standards and clearly communicating the intended message.
  • Accurately documenting charts and records meeting legal and professional requirements.
  • Accessing a computer for your studies.
  • Regularly accessing the Internet for research, and email for communication with peers and lecturers.
  • Analysing, manipulating and displaying scientific information.
Cognitive Abilities (Knowledge and Cognitive Skills, Literacy and Numeracy)

Examples are:

  • Conceptualising and using appropriate knowledge in response to academic assessment items.
  • Applying knowledge of policy and procedures in clinical settings.
  • Performing your duties within set time-frames.
  • When applicable, applying theoretical knowledge to understand a patient's history when undertaking patient assessment.
  • Applying theoretical knowledge of the human body systems and Echocardiography to enable cardiac information gathering and interpretation.
  • Paraphrasing, summarising and referencing in accordance with appropriate academic conventions.
  • Actively listening to information within a variety of academic and clinical and emergency situations.
  • Reading and accurately interpreting information related to patients.
  • Completing documentation that is accurate, clear and concise.
  • Demonstrating competency in applying basic mathematics knowledge and skills in using adaptive equipment that correctly meets client measurement requirements.
  • Applying numeracy skills to interpret and solve problems in a range of educational and clinical settings.
  • Having practical skills and be able to evaluate data in order to assess patients and evaluate findings in a safe and effective manner.
Sensory Abilities (Visual, Auditory, Tactile)

Examples are:

  • Focusing on and recognising objects that are either near or far.
  • Safely operating electronic equipment.
  • Reading and interpreting diagnostic images, scans, videos, or 3D or 4D ECG un-zoomed, rhythm analysis, blood pressures and high volumes of anatomy and diagnostic data.
  • Recognising variations in and interpreting diagnostic images using grey scale ultrasound, pulsed wave Doppler and colour Doppler imaging, Strain speckle tracking and 4D imaging.
  • Visually distinguishing red from blue to determine the direction of blood flow.
  • Viewing 3D anatomy in real time on a 2D screen.
  • Selecting an optimal image and differentiating pathology using visual pattern recognition.
  • Sufficiently hearing verbal communication from other students and lecturers during activities related to the course.
  • Having sufficient auditory ability to consistently and accurately monitor, asses and manage a patient's needs.
  • Accurately interpreting verbal communications and directions from staff.
  • Hearing computer generated sounds which indicate pathology in the patient.
  • Determining different blood flow velocities from computer generated Doppler.
  • Performing auscultation and blood pressure manually.
  • Using touch in an appropriate manner when conveying positive messages for emotional support during difficult circumstances.
  • Conducting physical assessments using an ultrasound machine and detecting any anatomical abnormalities.
  • Moving an ultrasound transducer in multiple planes.
  • Undertaking fine motor manipulations of the ultrasound transducer in order to slide, rotate, tilt and fan through a structure to detect pathology.
  • Transferring patients on and off beds and Cath lab tables.
  • Operating equipment such as ECG machines and Treadmills with highly fragile parts.
Relational Skills

Examples are:

  • Collaborating with fellow students and clinical staff in planning, modifying and completing projects and procedures.
  • Demonstrating respect for and consideration of divergent points of view within teams.
  • Adapting to a variety of styles of instruction, feedback and supervision on clinical placements.
  • Rapidly building rapport with patients to engage cooperation, elicit information and provide effective care in carrying out imaging examinations.
  • Interacting and engaging with individuals and groups in a respectful and culturally competent manner.
  • Responding constructively to feedback on performance.
Reflective Skills

Examples are:

  • Assessing your own performance in a range of environments, including the classroom, clinical simulation laboratories and clinical workplace.
  • Identifying contributing factors to your thinking patterns, actions and behaviours.
  • Identifying when your performance may be negatively affected by your emotional response.
  • Evaluating your knowledge and skills to determine whether or not a clinical activity is within your scope of practice.
  • Being able to evaluate the effectiveness of assessment data that has been determined and identify areas for improvement.
  • Ability to relate new knowledge to prior understanding.
  • Formulating an action plan to address an identified performance gap.
Sustainable Performance

Examples are:

  • Actively participating in activities related to the course with adequate, sustained levels of physical energy and concentration.
  • Participating in learning clinical skills and fully engaging in clinical practice activities.
  • Having a sustained level of concentration and physical endurance during clinical placements and in your professional daily activities.
Strength and Mobility (Gross Motor Skills and Fine Motor Skills)

Examples are:

  • Incorporating a range of gross motor skills while participating effectively in activities related to the course.
  • Maintaining balance while safely transferring delicate and large equipment.
  • Moving with ease around patients and equipment items while performing delivery of care.
  • Safely retrieving and utilising stock and equipment.
  • Moving relatively heavy equipment up to and beyond 11 kg.
  • Completing manual handling techniques to transfer patients and patients beds and wheel chairs.
  • Manoeuvring about critical care machine and extending your body around them.
  • Manipulating delicate, breakable and sensitive equipment such as ultrasound machines, transducers and other ultrasonic equipment with ease and care.
  • Performing ECGs with small parts and leads.
  • Moving an ultrasound transducer in multiple planes.
  • Undertaking manipulations of the ultrasound transducer in order to slide, rotate, tilt and fan through a structure to detect pathology.
Interpersonal Engagement

Examples are:

  • Being a productive team member during learning activities in simulation and during clinical practice.
  • Providing feedback to and responding to feedback from peers in learning teams.
  • Developing and sustaining rapport with supervising clinicians during clinical practice to support effective working relationships, positive learning environments and positive outcomes for patients.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Abilities

Examples are:

  • Using the Moodle learning management system to engage with classmates and your instructor, access learning materials and undertake assessments.
  • Using word processing, presentation and spreadsheet applications in undertaking assessments.
  • Using ultrasound systems to produce, process and optimise echocardiographic images.
  • Using 12 Lead ECG systems to capture and evaluate cardiac rhythm.
  • Using facility Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS) to retrieve, view and manipulate medical diagnostic images.
  • Retrieving patient information and documenting procedures in Hospital Information Systems (HIS) and Radiology Information Systems (RIS) during clinical practice.
Core Learning Outcomes
  • 1. Articulate knowledge of cardiac anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, haemodynamics, biochemistry and pharmacology
  • 2. Apply a broad and coherent body of knowledge of cardiac pathologies to clinical assessment
  • 3. Apply a broad and coherent body of echocardiography and cardiac physiology knowledge to clinical practice
  • 4. Practise competently as a cardiac sonographer
  • 5. Employ professional and personal skills to practice as a cardiac sonographer.
  Course Learning Outcomes
Australian Qualifications Framework Descriptors 1 2 3 4 5
1. KNOWLEDGE Have advanced knowledge within a systematic and coherent body of knowledge that may include the acquisition and application of knowledge and skills in a new or existing discipline or professional area
2. SKILLS Have cognitive skills to review, analyse, consolidate and synthesise knowledge and identify and provide solutions to complex problems
3. SKILLS Have cognitive skills to think critically and to generate and evaluate complex ideas
4. SKILLS Have specialised technical and creative skills in a field of highly skilled and/or professional practice
5. SKILLS Have communication skills to demonstrate an understanding of theoretical concept
6. SKILLS Have communication skills to transfer complex knowledge and ideas to a variety of audiences
7. APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS Be able to make high level, independent judgements in a range of technical or management functions in varied specialised contexts
8. APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS Be able to initiate, plan, implement and evaluate broad functions within varied specialised technical and/or creative contexts
9. APPLICATION OF KNOWLEDGE & SKILL Be responsible and accountable for personal outputs and all aspects of the work or function of others within broad parameters
Course Structure

In order to complete this course, you must:

  1. Complete the core structure
Number of units: 8 Total credit points: 48

Entry into the Graduate Diploma of Cardiac Ultrasound will require you to provide evidence of access to suitable clinical experience throughout the duration of the course. The Australasian Sonographer Accreditation Registry (ASAR) Program Accreditation Guidelines recommend that students be engaged in cardiac ultrasound practice for a minimum of three days/week over a two year period (or full-time equivalent) in an Australian setting. Applicants will be required to provide written proof of access to suitable clinical experience.

Year 1 - Term 1
Students must complete the following compulsory units:
ECHO28001 Cardiac Imaging, Haemodynamics and Pharmacotherapy
ECHO28007 Cardiac Anatomy and Pathophysiology
Year 1 - Term 2
Students must complete the following compulsory units:
ECHO28002 Assessment of Cardiac Function
ECHO28008 Cardiomyopathies, Aortopathies and Cardiac Masses
Year 2 - Term 1
Students must complete the following compulsory units:
ECHO28003 Valvular Heart Disease
ECHO28004 Pericardial and Systemic Heart Disease
Year 2 - Term 2
Students must complete the following compulsory units:
ECHO28005 Ultrasound Imaging of Congenital Heart Disease
ECHO28006 Clinical Practice and Quality Assurance
More Details
There is no additional information for this course.