Master of Special Education

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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.


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.


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.

Reviews 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.


By   |  

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.


By   |  

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 :)

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