The Master of Special Education is a coursework program intended for practising teachers and others with relevant experience who wish to gain postgraduate professional qualifications in special education. The approach used in the program blends theory and practice, with an emphasis on applying research findings to best teaching practices.
This is a fee paying program. Australian students may be able to participate in the Higher Education Loans Program (FEE-HELP)
Why study with us?
Staff who deliver the Master of Special Education have respected national and international research profiles which assists in the integration of research into practice through the courses offered in the program. In addition, as measured by the University’s Student Feedback on Courses, students consistently provide high ratings for courses in the Master of Special Education.
Graduates who are qualified teachers may be employed as Special Education teachers with the NSW Department of Education and Training, other Australian state and territory public school providers, Catholic Education, and Australian independent school providers.
Study a Language
All domestic students can now enrol in an undergraduate Diploma in Languages alongside their main degree program. This diploma will enhance proficiency in another language or languages, and will increase international career opportunities. Subject to course availability, this additional program will generally add an extra year to studies, and students will graduate with a Diploma in Languages as well as their other degree. Please note that all language courses are held on campus (face to face) at Callaghan.
International students cannot enrol concurrently in the Diploma in Languages alongside their primary program unless they can complete both programs within the duration of their primary program CoE. For more information please contact the ESOS Student Compliance Unit ESOS@newcastle.edu.au.
Admission to the Master of Special Education is open to applicants who have satisfactorily completed a four year Bachelor of Education degree or equivalent or a three year degree and a Diploma of Education or Master of Teaching.
In exceptional cases applicants can gain entry by producing evidence of other approved qualifications and experience.
Candidates who do not meet the normal entry requirements (including candidates who hold a three year Diploma or Bachelor of Teaching) may qualify for entry by completing a Graduate Certificate in Educational Studies (Special Education), (Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Disorders), (Early Childhood Special Education) or (Sensory Disability) as preliminary studies, and then seek up to 40 units of credit in the Master of Special Education.
While entry to the program is possible without a teaching qualification, Australian education authorities will not recognise the MSpecEd as a specialist teaching qualification unless an initial teaching qualification has been obtained.
Admission to this program is available to Australian students, residents and international students. Please visit http://www.newcastle.edu.au/campaigns/postgrad/how-to-apply.html for information on how to gain entry.
It is assumed that applicants have the equivalent of two years relevant teaching experience, or professional experiences related to education, or an approved alternative field, or have completed a special education strand or equivalent in their first degree.
If you wish to apply for credit for studies completed at another institution or if you are changing programs within the University and wish to transfer your credit to the new program, go to http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/credit-transfer/ and click on ‘How to Apply for Credit’.
Students who have completed relevant postgraduate studies may apply for up to 40 units of credit toward the Master of Special Education.
At this time, both the NSW Institute of Teachers and Teaching Australia, are yet to endorse a set of professional standards for special education teachers. However, the content and structure of the recommended program of study at the University of Newcastle, that appears in the next section, is congruent with current NSW Department of Education and Training requirements for special education teachers as well as international best practice in special education.
Students who already hold a recognised special education qualification are free to select any courses from across the specialisations. However, any students interested in Hearing or Vision are advised to contact the Renwick Centre prior to making course selections.
Please also refer to the RIDBC Renwick Centre Student Handbook above in the ‘Further Information’ section.
The General Special Education specialisation is the only on-campus specialisation available to international students at the Callaghan (Newcastle) campus. Students completing this specialisation must complete the 6 specified compulsory courses for international students, and 2 directed courses.
The Early Childhood Special Education, Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Problems, and the Sensory Disabilities specialisations are available ONLY via Weblearn (i.e. via distance education). Students enrolled in the Sensory Disabilities specialisations may be required to attend compulsory campus conferences at the Renwick Centre in Sydney, Australia.
International students must comply with the University of Newcastle’s English language proficiency requirements. All International Students enrolled in the program will be provided with an orientation to familiarise them with the rules, expectations, facilities and services offered by the University. Please visit http://www.newcastle.edu.au/students/international/student-support/ to find out more about the support services available to international students.
Students with disabilities who require reasonable adjustments to undertake their program should contact the Disability Support Service before semester or early in the semester. Students with disabilities enrolled in sensory disabilities, hearing or vision specialisations are required to contact the Renwick Centre. Some adjustments need up to 4 weeks lead time to organise, so it is imperative that early contact is made. The Disability Support Service work with relevant Faculty and School officers to ensure reasonably adjustments are provided in a timely manner.
Please note: All students must fulfil the inherent requirements of the programs and courses they are undertaking. While reasonable adjustments can be made, these cannot compromise academic integrity. It is the student’s responsibility to check all the requirements of courses, and consider the effects of any medical condition or disability on their ability to complete course requirements. Please visit http://www.newcastle.edu.au/service/disability/ for more information.
Students undertaking study by distance education in the areas of Sensory Disabilities, Vision or Hearing may be required to attend campus conferences at the Renwick Centre in North Rocks. Students should contact the Renwick Centre for information before enrolling in courses in sensory disability, Hearing or Vision Impairment.
Please also refer to the RIDBC Renwick Centre 2012 Student Handbook above in the ‘Further Information’ section.
All students can access additional learning development mechanisms provided by the Centre for Teaching and Learning.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can draw on the assistance and support provided by the Indigenous Student Support and Development service through the Wollotuka Institute.
Requirements and Structure
Students are required to successfully complete 80 units of approved study to obtain the degree. The structure of the Master of Special Education provides six specialisation pathways. Students may graduate with a Master of Special Education with Specialisation in:
- General Special Education
- Early Childhood
- Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Problems
- Sensory Disabilities
- Blind and Vision Impairment
- Deaf Hard of Hearing
It is essential that students seeking to undertake specialisations in Sensory Disabilities, Hearing or Vision contact Renwick Centre on 02 98720303 or email for program advice and course selection before enrolment. See website http://www.ridbc.org.au/renwick
The program may be undertaken on campus at Callaghan (general special education specialisation), at Renwick Centre (sensory disability, hearing and vision specialisations), or through distance learning for general, early childhood, sensory disability and emotional disturbance/behaviour problems specialisations.
Students who commenced the program prior to 2011 will be able to count EDUC6091 as a compulsory course in the General Special Education and Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Problems Specialisations.
Arrangements will apply for students who have successfully completed the following courses prior to 2012:
- EDUC6057 - you will receive credit for EDUC6665
- EDUC6059 - you will receive credit for EDUC6663
- EDUC6112 - you will receive credit for EDUC6668
- EDUC6075 - you will receive credit for EDUC6667.
1.Where a student has commenced a specialisation which subsequently changed during their enrolment in the program, students may complete either:
a)the program according to the structure in which they commenced (if the courses continue to be offered or substitute courses are identified) OR
b)a mix of the “old” and “new” program – approved by the Program Convenor, who confirms that the courses completed satisfy the general expectations of the particular specialisation (under a transition arrangement).
- Where specialisation requirements have not changed since the student’s enrolment in the program, students will be expected to complete the required program. However, courses not on the Directed course list may be undertaken as Directed courses with formal prior approval of the Program Convenor. The student or Program Convenor is to advise the Program Officer of any such approval.
3.Where students seek to vary their program (eg compulsory component) from the approved structure, a student must submit a request in writing, outlining the reasons and justification for the requested variation. Such variations MUST be approved by Record of Academic Decision.
Blind and Vision Impairment
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Emotional Disturbance/Behaviour Problems
General Special Education