The Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood 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 Early Childhood Education with their studies in Special Education and Disability. This course aims to support students to become effective educators of young children (birth to eight) including those with disabilities, learning or behavioural difficulties. This degree also prepares students for a range of professional roles related to supporting individuals with disabilities and their families within the broader community.

The Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood 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 (Early Childhood 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, the double degree program may be eligible to transfer to the Bachelor of Disability and Community Rehabilitation and apply for credit for topics already completed or to exit with a Bachelor of Education Studies (108 units).

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:

  • have in-depth knowledge of how children learn and develop, particularly from birth to age eight;
  • have in-depth knowledge of effective teaching practices for children with disabilities, learning and behavioural difficulties;
  • demonstrate the capacity to design inclusive and intellectually challenging curriculum for diverse learners, and particularly for children from birth to age eight;
  • demonstrate the capacity to form and sustain effective relationships with children, families, colleagues, and community members;
  • apply their knowledge and skills in a range of educational and community-based settings with diverse individuals, their families and support persons;
  • apply critical reflection and deep theoretical knowledge to inform their professional practice;
  • actively promote and support policies and practices that take account of social and individual differences and ensure that all children learn and develop; and
  • undertake ongoing professional learning through a variety of pathways.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the double degree program graduates will:

Demonstrate Understanding that:

  • the fields of Early Childhood Education, Special Education and Disability are evolving disciplines 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 needs both in education settings and society;
  • inclusive educational practices promote access to, participation in and achievement in relation to quality curriculum for all students;
  • the educational elements of curriculum, instruction, assessment, learning, engagement and behaviour are interdependent;
  • the special educator’s selection, adaptation, and creation of materials and teaching strategies is guided by an understanding of the implications of an individual’s unique characteristics and of the relationships of Special Education to the organisations and functions of schools, school systems, community and other agencies; and
  • their identities and work as professional educators in multi-service environments are influenced by history, culture and politics.

Demonstrate Knowledge of:

  • similarities and differences between and among individuals with and without disabilities;
  • processes and contexts of learning;
  • legal and ethical professional practice standards and relevant policies;
  • principles of measurement and assessment related to referral, eligibility, program planning, teaching, 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; and
  • the potential impact of disability across the lifespan.

Demonstrate that they are able to:

  • actively shape learning environments that foster cultural understanding, safety and emotional wellbeing, positive social interaction, and active engagement and that encourage the independence, self-determination and self-advocacy of individuals with diverse learning needs;
  • apply a range of technologies and pedagogical approaches to enhance, sustain and extend children’s learning and development from birth to age eight, with an emphasis on generalization of knowledge and skills across settings;
  • relate to children as competent and active social participants within the contexts of their diverse families and their local and global environments;
  • design and implement positive behavioural support plans;
  • recommend and implement adaptations to classroom, school, home and community environments that promote inclusive practice;
  • apply research and evaluation skills relevant to Early Childhood Education, Disability and Special Education;
  • work collaboratively with young people, families and professionals in planning and decision-making;
  • work collaboratively as members of transdisciplinary teams to ensure that all children have opportunities to access and participate in high quality and inclusive early childhood services;
  • enhance the connections between early childhood programs and other services that support the learning and wellbeing of children and communities; and
  • lead, negotiate and advocate for change through policy activism in partnership with families.

Exhibit professional attributes including:

  • the 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 as educators;
  • 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 wellbeing of individuals with diverse learning needs across a wide range of settings;
  • a willingness to foster connections between early childhood programs and other services that support the learning and wellbeing of children and communities;
  • the capacity to develop sustained relationships based on trust, respect, integrity, and reciprocity in order to achieve high quality, equitable outcomes for individuals, their families and the wider community; and
  • a 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 (Early Childhood 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, according to the following program of study:

  • a Bachelor of Education component of 94.5 units
  • a Bachelor of Disability Studies component of 49.5 units.

The Bachelor of Education component must include:

  • 22.5 units of Education topics at First Year level
  • 18 units of Education topics at Second Year level
  • 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:

  • 49.5 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: 

 EDUC1120  Teaching and Educational Contexts  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1215  Communication and Language  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3522  Pedagogies of Belonging  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1221  Play, Learning and Development  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1224  Foundations of Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1225  Professional Experience: Year 1 (Early Childhood) (0 units)
 EDUC1228  Students with Learning and Behavioural Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1201  Perspectives of  Disability and Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)
 DSRS1211  Introduction to Neurological Rehabilitation  (4.5) units

Core - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

 DSRS2231  Augmentative and Alternative Communication  (4.5 units)
 DSRS4104  Early Intervention and Play for Young Children with Diverse Learning Needs  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2323  Students with Numeracy Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2421  Literacy and Numeracy (Birth-4) (4.5 units)
 EDUC2423  Students with Literacy Difficulties (4.5 units)
 DSRS2236  Practicum B: Disability and Community Rehabilitation (4.5 units)
 DSRS2234  Direct Instruction (4.5 units)
 EDUC2321  The Expressive Arts in Early Childhood  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2324  Professional Experience: Year 2A (Early Childhood) (0 units)
 EDUC2424  Professional Experience: Year 2B (Early Childhood) (0 units)

Core - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

 EDUC4721  Differentiation for Diverse Learners (Primary)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4722  Critical Pedagogies for a Changing World  (4.5 units)
 DSRS3221  Positive Behaviour Support  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3618  Numeracy and Multiliteracies in Design and Technology  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3622  Thinking and Working Mathematically  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3623  Health and Physical Education in Early Childhood  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3640  Professional Experience 1: Early Childhood  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3528  Professional Experience: Year 3A (Early Childhood) (0 units)
 EDUC4724  Science and Design Technology in the Early Years  (4.5 units)

Core - Year 4 topics

36 units comprising

 EDUC4723  Investigating Early Years Curriculum and Pedagogy  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4731  Assessment and Programming in Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4732  Functional Curriculum Design for Students with Disabilities  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4740  Professional Experience: Final Assessment (Early Childhood)  (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)