The Master of Education (Special Education) is a 72-unit program offered by the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work on campus and in distance mode.

The Special Education specialisation will be identified on the student’s transcript of academic record and on the parchment presented to the student on completion of the course.

Admission requirements

Students are required to complete 72 units for the Master of Education (Special Education).

Applicants must normally hold an approved degree or equivalent qualification in disability studies, psychology, speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy or a closely related discipline from an approved tertiary institution.

Advanced Entry (1.5 years) applicants who have completed an approved degree or equivalent qualification in Education, Teaching or a closely related discipline may be eligible to complete a program of 54 units.

The Faculty Board may, under certain circumstances and subject to specific conditions, admit others who can show evidence of fitness for candidature.

Course aims

In addition to the course aims articulated in the Master of Education, this specialisation aims to:

  • Provide graduates with knowledge of local and global policy, perspectives and practices associated with the education of children and young people with disabilities and special education needs;
  • provide graduates with the knowledge, understanding and skills to design programs that improve the learning and social outcomes for children and young people with special needs;
  • develop skilled professionals, who are able to communicate and collaborate effectively with children, families, and other professionals within a transdisciplinary approach to special education;
  • develop graduates’ knowledge of the variety of educational research methods and their application in special education;
  • provide graduates with the knowledge and skills to undertake procedures for analysis, synthesis and reporting of qualitative and quantitative data in research and evaluation of programs for persons with disabilities or special learning needs and;
  • develop graduates who understand contemporary values and ethical principles that underpin inclusive education and their role in advocacy of children with special needs and their families.

Learning outcomes

It is expected that graduates from this specialisation will be able to:

  • discuss the philosophical, sociological, and psychological perspectives of disability and special learning needs;
  • demonstrate skills in advocacy for the child with special needs and their right to inclusive education and practice;
  • advocate for and contribute to the generation of curriculum, pedagogical, and policy leadership in special education based on contemporary evidence-based knowledge and practice;
  • collaborate and consult with families and professionals to provide transdisciplinary, personalised services to individuals with special learning needs;
  • critically discuss and evaluate current theory and research in special education policy, practice and service provision;
  • evaluate educational services in regard to their ability to provide appropriate supports for individuals with special needs;
  • synthesise knowledge gained from reading, discussion, and writing to generate conceptual frameworks that are used to evaluate educational research, policies and practices;
  • generate detailed proposals for educational research, including consideration of ethical research standards, methods and timelines;
  • undertake a substantial independent research project in special education;
  • communicate findings from analysis and synthesis of reading and personal research using high standards of academic literacy and;
  • demonstrate strong knowledge of legal and ethical practice and research standards in disability and special education.


Credit may be granted, on application, for: prior study completed in a relevant Honours, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma or Masters degree; accredited professional development; or relevant work experience.

Program of study