The Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7 and Special Education), Bachelor of Disability Studies double degree program is an initial teacher education program that prepares students from diverse backgrounds to combine in-depth study of the general primary curriculum with their studies in Special Education and Disability. The new course aims to support students to become effective teachers of students in the primary years (R-7) including those with disabilities, learning or behavioural difficulties. This degree also prepares students for a range of professional roles related to supporting children with disabilities and their families within the broader community.

The Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7 and Special Education), Bachelor of Disability Studies may be taken as a double degree program in four years full-time (or the equivalent part-time). Students who study part-time would normally be expected to complete the double degree program within eight years.

The course is offered by the Faculty of Education, Humanities and Law.

The double degree program of Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7 and Special Education), Bachelor of Disability Studies requires completion of a total of 144 units.

Students who commence, but subsequently do not wish to complete, either the full double degree program or the professional experience component of the double degree program may be eligible to:

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

Course aims

The course aims to produce graduates who:

  • can teach within, and across, learning areas at primary (R-7) levels of schooling with an emphasis on inclusive practice;
  • have developed in-depth knowledge of teaching children with disabilities, learning and behavioural difficulties;
  • are able to apply their knowledge and skills in a range of educational and community-based settings with diverse learners, their families and support persons; and
  • have the capacity to undertake ongoing professional learning through a variety of pathways.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the double degree program graduate students will:

Demonstrate Understanding:

  • that the field of Special Education is an evolving discipline based on philosophies, evidence-based principles and theories, relevant laws and policies, diverse and historical points of view, and human issues that influence the education and treatment of individuals with diverse learning needs both in school and society
  • that inclusive educational practices promote access to, participation in and achievement in relation to quality curriculum for all students
  • that the educational elements of curriculum, instruction, assessment, learning, engagement and behaviour are interdependent
  • that the special educator’s selection, adaptation, and creation of materials and instructional variables is guided by an understanding of the implications of an individual’s unique characteristics and of the relationships of Special Education to the organizations and functions of schools, school systems, community and other agencies.

Demonstrate Knowledge of:

  • similarities and differences in human development and the characteristics between and among individuals with and without disabilities and diverse learning needs
  • processes and contexts of learning
  • legal and ethical professional practice standards and relevant policies
  • policies and ethical principles of measurement and assessment related to referral, eligibility, program planning, instruction, and placement for individuals with special learning needs, including those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
  • a range of effective, evidence-based instructional strategies to enhance the learning of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills of individuals, and to increase self-awareness, self-management, self-control, self-reliance, and self-esteem.

Demonstrate that they are able to:

  • actively shape learning environments that foster cultural understanding, safety and emotional well-being, positive social interactions, and active engagement that encourage the independence, self-motivation, self-direction, personal empowerment, and self-advocacy of individuals with diverse learning needs
  • develop high quality curriculum within and across disciplines with a focus on the primary (R-7) years
  • develop individualized instructional plans anchored in both general and special curricula
  • plan and utilise a range of effective instructional strategies to assist students to achieve learning objectives, with an emphasis on generalization of knowledge and skills across environments, settings, and the lifespan
  • work collaboratively with children, families and professionals in planning, decision-making
  • develop and implement positive behavioural support plans
  • recommend and implement adaptations to classroom, school and community environments that promote inclusive practices
  • develop research and evaluation skills relevant to Disability and Special Education.

Exhibit professional attributes including:

  • capacity to reflect critically on different theories and practices, on their own practice, and on their lives, in order to strive for excellence, creativity and continuous improvement in their professional roles
  • knowledge of their own limits and willingness to practise within those limits
  • sensitivity to the many aspects of diversity of individuals with disabilities and their families
  • willingness to promote and advocate for the learning and well-being of individuals with diverse learning needs across a wide range of settings
  • commitment to the scholarship of teaching and learning through a continuous process of reflective inquiry.


Limited credit may be granted for recognition of prior studies undertaken at the University or other approved tertiary institutions. Further information is available on the credit transfer page.

Program of study

To qualify for the Bachelor of Education (Primary R-7 and Special Education), Bachelor of Disability Studies a student must:

  • complete 144 units with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, consisting of 90 units in the Bachelor of Education component and 54 units in the Bachelor of Disability Studies component, according to the program of study below; and
  • meet the required benchmark in the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students (LANTITE). Students must normally meet the benchmark within three attempts and before 72 units of study have been attempted. The Faculty Board may, under exceptional circumstances and subject to specific conditions, permit further attempts of the LANTITE after 72 units of study have been attempted.

A student whose Grade Point Average (GPA) falls below 5.00 after attempting the first 72 units of study (excluding topics for which a Withdraw, Not Fail (WN) has been recorded) will normally be required to enter into a counselling process with the Faculty to demonstrate their capacity to achieve the range of attributes and motivations that have been determined by the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) as being common to effective teachers. As part of this process students who are unable to satisfactorily demonstrate their capacity to achieve the range of attributes and motivations before graduation will be supported through a range of options appropriate to their circumstances.

The Bachelor of Education component must include:

  • 13.5 units of Education topics at First Year level;
  • 22.5 units of Education topics at Second Year level including Professional Experience;
  • 31.5 units of Education topics at Third Year level including Professional Experience;
  • 22.5 units of Education topics at Fourth Year level including Professional Experience.

The Bachelor of Disability Studies component must include:

  • 54 units of prescribed BDisStudies

Except with the permission of the Board:

  • no compulsory topic may be taken more than twice;
  • teaching practicum topics may not be attempted more than once.

Students should note that Professional Experience topics require full-time commitment for their duration. 

Core - Year 1 topics 

36 units comprising:

 DSRS1211  Introduction to Neurological Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1215  Communication and Language  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1209  Human Diversity  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1120  Teaching and Educational Contexts  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1201  Perspectives of  Disability and Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1202  Lifespan Development   (4.5 units)
 EDUC1224  Foundations of Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1226  Professional Experience: Year 1 (Primary R-7) (0 units)
 EDUC1228  Students with Learning and Behavioural Difficulties  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

 DSRS2231  Augmentative and Alternative Communication  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2322  Learners and their Development (Primary)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2325  Professional Experience: Year 2A (Primary R-7) (0 units)
 EDUC3523  Expressive Arts Curriculum Studies: Visual Arts, Drama, Media, Music and Dance  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2323  Students with Numeracy Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 DSRS2234  Direct Instruction  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2422  Mathematics Curriculum Studies  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2423  Students with Literacy Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2425  Professional Experience: Year 2B (Primary R-7) (0 units)
 DSRS2236  Practicum B:  Disability and Community Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

 EDUC3524  Health and Physical Education Curriculum Studies  (4.5 units)
 DSRS3221  Positive Behaviour Support  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4721  Differentiation for Diverse Learners (Primary)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4726  Social Sciences Curriculum Studies:  History and Geography  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3529  Professional Experience: Year 3A (Primary R-7) (0 units)
 EDUC3620  Relationships for Learning  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3624  Science, Design and Technology Curriculum Studies  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3625  Numeracy and ICT across the Curriculum  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3641  Professional Experience: Year 3B (Primary R-7) (4.5 units)

Core - Year 4 topics

36 units comprising:

 EDUC4725  English Curriculum Studies  2  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4731  Assessment and Programming in Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4732  Functional Curriculum Design for Students with Disabilities  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4741  Professional Experience: Final Assessment (Primary R-7) (4.5 units)
 EDUC4820  The Professional Educator  (4.5 units)
 DSRS3234  Case Management  (4.5 units)

 Plus two of

 DSRS4109  Autism Spectrum Disorders  (4.5 units)
 DSRS4111  Introduction to Intellectual Disability  (4.5 units)
 DSRS4112  Sensory, Physical and Multiple Disabilities  (4.5 units)