The Bachelor of Education (Middle and Secondary/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 Middle Schooling and secondary curriculum with their studies in Special Education and Disability. The course aims to support students to become effective teachers of students in the middle and secondary years of schooling including those with disabilities, learning or behavioural difficulties. This degree also prepares students for a range of professional roles related to supporting young people with disabilities and their families within the broader community.

The Bachelor of Education (Middle and Secondary/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 (Middle and Secondary/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:

  • can teach within, and across, learning areas at middle and secondary 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
  • have the capacity to undertake ongoing professional learning through a variety of pathways.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the program graduates are expected to:

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 middle and secondary school years
  • develop individualized instructional plans anchored in both general and special curricula
  • plan and utilise a range of effective instructional strategies to assist children to achieve learning objectives, with an emphasis on generalization of knowledge and skills across environments, settings, and the lifespan
  • develop a variety of individualized transition plans, such as transitions from school to adult life
  • work collaboratively with young people, families and professionals in planning and 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 (Middle and Secondary/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 90 units
  • a Bachelor of Disability Studies component of 54 units.

The Bachelor of Education component must include:

  • 9 units of Education topics at First Year level
  • 18 units of Education topics at Second Year level including Professional Experience
  • 22.5 units of Education topics at Third Year level including Professional Experience
  • 22.5 units of Education topics at Fourth Year level including Professional Experience
  • 18 units of one Teaching Minor 

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.

Year 1 topics

36 units comprising:

 DSRS1215  Communication and Language  (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)
 DSRS1211  Introduction to Neurological Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1224  Foundations of Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1227  Professional Experience: Year 1 (Middle and Secondary Schooling) (0 units)

 Plus 9 units of Teaching Minor topics

Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

 DSRS2231  Augmentative and Alternative Communication  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2320  Learners and their Development (Middle and Secondary Schooling)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2323  Students with Numeracy Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2326  Professional Experience: Year 2A (Middle and Secondary Schooling) (0 units)
 EDUC2426  Professional Experience: Year 2B (Middle and Secondary Schooling) (0 units)
 DSRS2234  Direct Instruction  (4.5 units)
 DSRS2236  Practicum B: Disability and Community Rehabilitation  (4.5 units)
 EDUC2423  Students with Literacy Difficulties  (4.5 units)
 EDUC1228  Students with Learning and Behavioural Difficulties  (4.5 units)

 Plus 4.5 units of Teaching Minor topics

Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

 DSRS3220  Family and Professional Partnerships  (4.5 units)
 DSRS3221  Positive Behaviour Support  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3620  Relationships for Learning  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3626  Contemporary Issues in Middle Schooling  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3628  Numeracy and ICT across the Middle & Secondary Curriculum  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3642  Professional Experience: Year 3B (Middle and Secondary Schooling)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC3530  Professional Experience: Year 3A (Middle and Secondary Schooling) (0 units)
 EDUC3531  Curriculum SpecialisationA1: Curriculum Development in the Middle Years 3 (4.5 units)

 Plus 4.5 units of Teaching Minor topics

Year 4 topics

36 units comprising:

 EDUC4720  Differentiation for Diverse Learners (Middle and Secondary Schooling)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4731  Assessment and Programming in Special Education  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4732  Functional Curriculum Design for Students with Disabilities  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4742  Professional Experience: Final Assessment for Registration (Middle and Secondary Schooling)  (4.5 units)
 EDUC4820  The Professional Educator  (4.5 units)
 DSRS3234  Case Management  (4.5 units)
 DSRS4110  Transition to Adult Life for Young People with Disabilities  (4.5 units)

Plus one 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)

Teaching Minor

Students undertake an 18 unit Teaching Minor consisting of:

  • 9 units of Year 1 topics; and
  • 9 units of Year 2 or Year 3 topics

from one of the following Teaching Minor areas