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Overview

The University of Newcastle’s Master of Special Education offers you, as an educator, the opportunity to build your skills and experience in the challenging and rewarding field of special education.

Providing you with the qualifications to teach children with special needs, the Master of Special Education combines current research with practical coursework to ensure you are equipped with the best possible teaching techniques to enter your career as a special needs educator.

You will be able to specialise your studies in one of six key areas including education for the blind and vision impaired, deaf and hard of hearing, early childhood, emotional and behavioural problems, sensory disabilities or a general specialisation where you can take a broader look at all of these areas.

The framework of this program has been based on the NSW Department of Education and Training’s requirements for special education teachers.

Upon graduation you will be equipped with a range of skills and knowledge to best support students with a range of additional learning needs.

Our advanced online learning system provides you with the flexibility and support to study anytime, anywhere to balance work, life and study. You can achieve your fully accredited Master of Special Education at a time that suits you.

Explore this page and find out if the Master of Special Education is for you, what you will study and the career opportunities it can provide you.

Is it for you?

Do you believe that education should be accessible to all people regardless of their circumstances? Do you want to specialise your teaching skills to educate the blind or deaf, or perhaps teach those with sensory disabilities or behavioural problems?

Whatever your motivation, the University of Newcastle's online Master of Special Education, will equip you with the appropriate skills and knowledge to become an effective teacher in your chosen area of special education. If you have a minimum of two years relevant teaching experience as well as an undergraduate degree in education you will be eligible for the program. If not, you may be able to use your existing experience in teaching to gain special entry.

To ensure you graduate with the most appropriate skills and knowledge, you will be able to focus your education by selecting one of the following specialisations:

  • blind and vision impairment
  • deaf and hard of hearing
  • early childhood
  • emotional disturbance/behaviour problems
  • general special education
  • sensory disabilities.

To find out more about what you will study, visit the 'Study' tab.

Career Pathways

As a graduate of the Master of Special Education you may be employed as a special education teacher across Australia in the public or private sector. The University of Newcastle will prepare you with the required theory and practical skills to enter the workforce as a well-qualified individual.

As a special education educator, you will play a critical role in the assessment and development of programs for special needs children. You will be able to use your theoretical knowledge of the curriculum approved subjects and vital self-help skills to work effectively in this area of teaching.

Further to teaching, you will be an essential point of contact between parents and children, providing much needed support in the development of each child’s education to realise individual goals.

For more detailed information on eligibility, courses and requirements of the Master of Special Education, visit the ‘Details’ tab.

Specialisations

The Master of Special Education has been designed to deliver the most appropriate learning opportunities relevant to your chosen area of special education. With the option to select one of six specialisations, you will graduate with only the most suitable knowledge and practical skills.

The specialisations offered are:

  • Blind and vision impairment
  • Deaf and hard of hearing
  • Early childhood
  • Emotional disturbance/behaviour problems
  • General special education
  • Sensory disabilities

The blind and vision impairment specialisation will have you explore orientation and mobility for educators, research the curriculum and pedagogy for students with vision impairments and understand literacy and numeracy development. You will also study the theory and application of assistive technology, learn to work inclusively and collaboratively with individuals with a sensory disability, unveil the stages of child development and the foundations of vision impairment.

The deaf and hard of hearing specialisation will have you studying the foundations of language and literacy in hearing and deaf children, the social and cultural contexts of deaf education, through to the science of speech and its development.

You will also have the opportunity to study more targeted areas including the theoretical perspectives of sign language in education and how to use signed communication with young children and families.

The early childhood specialisation provides an in-depth understanding of the theoretical, social and cultural drivers behind the education of young children with special needs. You will explore the theoretical and practical components of special education, from policy and administration in special education, teaching methods and techniques, through to developing an understanding of the contemporary issues in early childhood intervention and the social-emotional learning of children between 0-5 years of age.

You will have the opportunity to specialise your studies in areas including communication intervention, education of students with learning difficulties and behaviour problems and understanding developmental disabilities.

The emotional disturbance/behaviour problems specialisation will see you explore policy and administration issues, learn how to assess, program and intervene in behaviour problems and the teaching methods and techniques to educate students with behaviour problems. You will have an opportunity to apply your theoretical studies in a practical setting, working with students with special needs.

With only three compulsory courses, the sensory disabilities specialisation will have you explore features of inclusive and collaborative practice in early intervention and school-age programming for children who are deaf or hard of hearing and/or blind or have low vision. You will also examine the nature of family and community influences on the development of children and those with sensory disability in particular.

Further to this you will have a long list of courses to choose from to best tailor your qualification to suit your desired career objectives.

Drawing on coursework from all areas in the Master of Special Education, the general special education specialisation touches on most of the speciality areas of special education.

To find out more about where the Master of Special Education can lead you, visit the 'Careers' tab.

Get Started

Applying to the University of Newcastle has never been easier! For most programs, you can complete an easy, online application form. Applying only takes around 10 minutes, and there is no fee for direct applications. You can upload all of your certified supporting documentation online. Below is an overview of what is required. You should prepare any required documentation before commencing the online application. If you have questions about the application process or the requirements for your program, please contact us. When you are ready, begin your application. 

The University of Newcastle recognises the value of informal learning gained through professional experience. Admission to the Master of Special Education program is available to applicants who can demonstrate a suitable combination of education and/or work experience.

The table below outlines the number of years experience required, depending on your previous educational qualifications.

Educational Qualification Number of years relevant industry experience Units required to complete Masters
Advanced Diploma in a related field of study. Three 160
Advanced Diploma in a non-related field of study. Five 160
3 year Bachelor degree in a non-related field of study Zero 160
3 year Bachelor degree in a non-related field of study Two 120
3 year Bachelor degree in a related field of study Zero 120
3 year Bachelor degree in a related field of study (with a major in Special Education) Zero 80
Bachelor (Hons) in a non-related field of study Zero 160
Bachelor (Hons) in a non-related field of study Two 120
Bachelor (Hons) in a related field of study Zero 80
Bachelor plus a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a related field of study Zero 80
Bachelor plus a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a non-related field of study Zero 160
Bachelor plus a Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a non-related field of study Two 120

For the purposes of admission to the Master of Special Education, related field of study include (but are not limited to) Education and Special Education.

If you would like your professional qualifications and/or work experience to be considered, please provide certified copies of all relevant qualifications, a detailed CV, and a statement of service or signed letters from employers confirming your role, duties and period of employment.

Applicants should also provide a statement detailing how your professional experience prepares you to undertake postgraduate study.

PLEASE NOTE: All applications for recognition of prior learning based on experience and professional development will be assessed by the program convenor. The information outlined above is indicative only.

If you do not have a University of Newcastle Student Identification number, or wish to include details of studies completed at another institution, you may also be required to submit the following:

Identification Documents

If you do not already have a University of Newcastle Student Number, you must provide 100 points of ID.  You must supply either a copy of your passport, birth certificate or you citizenship certificate as part of your 100 points.

70 Points Passport
Birth Certificate (not extract)
Citizenship Certificate
40 Points Current Australian Drivers Licence
Student Identification card issued by an educational institution
Pension or Government Health Care Card or Public Service ID Card
Government Issued Licence (eg boat, pilot)
University staff photo identification card
35 Points Letter from a current employer * Must be on official company letterhead and contain both the employer and employee’s signatures and the name and address of the employee
25 Points Medicare card / Credit card
Financial institution cash card or passbook
Council rates notice
Electricity, gas or telephone bill
2 Tax assessment notice
Foreign Driver's Licence
Membership card (e.g. club, union, trade/professional body, library, video library)
Rental receipt or statement from landlord or real estate agent
Marriage certificate
Divorce decree
Name and address verified from electoral role
Deed Poll registered with the relevant authority

Citizenship and Visa Details

Applicants who were born overseas and are now residing in Australia will need to provide details of their citizenship, residency and visa details.

  • If you were born overseas and have gained Australian citizenship, you will need to provide a certified copy of your Australian passport or citizenship certificate.
  • If you were born overseas and currently hold an Australian visa, you need to confirm your details of your visa type/class, and provide a copy of your visa. Depending on how your visa was issued, you may provide a copy of the page from your passport showing the visa stamp, or a copy of the Department of Immigration confirmation of your electronic visa. If you do not have access to either of these documents, please include a copy of your passport.

Applicants who were born overseas and are now residing in Australia will need to provide details of their citizenship, residency and visa details.

  • If you were born overseas and have gained Australian citizenship, you will need to provide a certified copy of your Australian passport or citizenship certificate.
  • If you were born overseas and currently hold an Australian visa, you need to confirm your details of your visa type/class, and provide a copy of your visa. Depending on how your visa was issued, you may provide a copy of the page from your passport showing the visa stamp, or a copy of the Department of Immigration confirmation of your electronic visa. If you do not have access to either of these documents, please include a copy of your passport.

Educational Qualifications

If you are applying for admission on the basis of studies completed at an institution other than the University of Newcastle, you will need to provide certified copies of official transcripts.

For each qualification that you list on your application, you must provide a certified copy of your transcript.

Overseas educational qualifications will be assessed for equivalence according to standards provided by the National Office of Overseas Skills Recognition.

Evidence of English Proficiency

All applicants, whether domestic or international, for admission to any University of Newcastle program must provide evidence that their English language ability meets the minimum requirements for admission. Applicants should review the University of Newcastle English Proficiency Policy

Typically, applicants will provide certified copies of one of the following documents:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) results.
  • Evidence of previous studies undertaken overseas in an English Speaking country
  • Evidence of previous studies undertaken in English in a non-English speaking country, and confirmation from institution that studies were conducted and examined solely in the English language.

If you are not able to provide these documents, please provide details of any employment undertaken in an English speaking environment. Your application will be reviewed and we contact you regarding your options for demonstrating English proficiency”.

Student Feedback Write a review.

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I have spent a lot of time recently looking for a post graduate education course on line. I have looked at online/off campus options offered by a number of universities around Australia and the Gradschool website from Newcastle University is easily the most user friendly website I have come across. Information related to courses (including course fees) was easy to find and follow. It is almost like the University of Newcastle wants people to study with it. I look forward to beginning my studies with the University of Newcastle.

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Having already studied a postgraduate program through Newcastle, the decision to undertake further studies with them was easy. Their courses are superior and comprehensive. Thumbs up.

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I am currently enrolled in the Master of Special Education and loving it. I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Newcastle in Health & Physical Education and was extremely happy with the course and the university, so when I was looking to study a postgraduate course, Grad School was my first choice. The staff are great with providing feedback and using the online system. They understand the commitment to full time work, plus day to day life that most postgraduate students have. Looking forward to next year already :)

Master of Special Education

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