1. About the Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism)

Supporting individuals with Autism and their carers across the lifespan

The Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism) is designed to prepare educators to support individuals with Autism within their educational context. This certificate is created for educators in mainstream and other non-specialised settings.

The Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism) deepens student knowledge through evidence based, best practice support for persons with Autism and their carers. Increasingly the movement of lived experience and ensuring the voice of persons with Autism and their carers is hear, which leads the individual care and support. This certificate moves student perspectives away from the ‘one size fits all’ toolbox, instead challenging and supporting students to deepen their knowledge to apply a range of educational strategies to support individuals with Autism. Using co-constructed content and individualised learning perspectives the certificate requires students to reflect deeply upon the important voice of lived experience and seeing the individual as a person first.

A deep understanding of the attributes and challenges of individuals with Autism and their carers managed over the lifespan deepens participant’s knowledge to inform education practices. This is achieved by using a ‘person first’ approach. The certificate is focussed for students to increase understanding of Autism, develop and apply positive support skills to effectively engage learners in a range of educational environments.

Experiential learning embedded in the course provides students with a range of perspective of individuals with Autism through problem solving and scenario based pedagogy. An examination of the historical and theoretical components of Autism in addition to twenty first century teaching and learning is a core component. Furth, this focus prepares students to create supportive learning environments to shift away from traditional views of Autism to contemporary practice and authentic inclusive education.

Key study outcomes:

  • Apply a ‘person first’ perspective to analyse and problem solve issues and challenges associated with Autism across the lifespan with particular reference to education outcomes and social justice.
  • Identify and critically analyse biases, prejudices and assumptions associated with Autism in society and education practice
  • Analyse, design and evaluate inclusive, ethical and effective learning environments for persons with Autism
  • Demonstrate specialised knowledge of Autism theory and communicate an understanding of the historical context for these theories
  • Demonstrate an understanding of Allied Health, carer support and collaboration skills necessary to improve outcomes for individuals with Autism in complex educational contexts

Degree Outcomes

The Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism) draws on a range of contemporary educational principles and processes to ensure learners are experiencing a learning environment that is safe, supportive, challenging and authentic. The course utilises three distinct phases of learner development within each subject. In the first phase learners encounter empathetic perspectives of Autism and issues surrounding Autism to give an experiential understanding of the domain and issues associated with it. In phase 2 learners engage with cognitive aspects of the domain and examine theoretical perspectives. In the final phase, students engage in application and practice elements of the domain.

Graduate employment opportunities

To discuss graduate employment opportunities and pathways please contact our Course and Careers Advisors.

Course Overview

Course Title Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism)
Study Options – Domestic Australian students Face to Face delivery

Online delivery

Full-time and part-time options available.

Study Options – International students International students on a student visa must not enrol into any more than a third or 33% of online subjects over their course and must study at least one subject that is face to face in each trimester.

International students on a student visa are required to study full time, i.e. the student must complete a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL of study per year.

Start Dates February, June, September

For specific dates visit the website.

Course Length Full-time: 5 months (a total of 4 subjects over 24 weeks).

Part-time: 11 months (a total of 4 subjects over 48 weeks).

Payment Options – Domestic Australian students Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date.


FEE-HELP is Australian Government’s loan scheme for higher education degree courses. It can assist you in paying for all, or part of, your course fees. Repayments commence via the tax system once your income rises above a minimum threshold. Just like with any other debt, a FEE-HELP debt is a real debt that impacts your credit rating.

Payment Options – International students Upfront payment

This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date.

Course study requirements Each subject will involve a combined total of 120 hours of structure and self-directed learning, which equates to approximately 10 hours a week for subjects over 12 week trimesters. Assessment  Essays, reflective journal, portfolio, reports, research, presentation, collaboration, negotiated tasks, scenario responses, and problem based tasks.
Locations Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide


Delivered by Torrens University Australia
Provider Torrens University Australia Ltd is registered as a self-accrediting Australian university by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA). CRICOS Course Code N/A
Provider obligations Torrens University is responsible for all aspects of the student experience, including the quality of course delivery, in compliance with the Higher Education Standards 2015 Accrediting body Torrens University Australia Limited ABN 99 154 937 005,
CRICOS Provider Code: 03389E.
RTO No. 41343
Course Fees For details, refer to the website. Any other fees For details, refer to the website.
  1. Essential requirements for admission

The general admission criteria that apply to Torrens University Australia courses can be located by visiting the Torrens University Australia website – /general-admission-information-for-torrens-university-australia-ltd.

  1. Student Profile

The Student Profile table shown below does not apply to post graduate courses and so, there is no data for this course.

The table below gives an indication of the likely peer cohort for new students in this course. It provides data on students who commenced in this course in the most relevant recent intake period, including those admitted through all offer rounds and international students studying in Australia.

Applicant background Trimester one / Full year intake [2020]
Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Higher education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
0 0%
(B) Vocational education and training (VET) study 0 0%
(C) Work and life experience
(Admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
0 0%
(D) Recent secondary education:    

·         Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR
(regardless of whether this includes the consideration of
adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)

0 0%
·         Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered
(e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
0 0%
·         Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor
(e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)
0 0%
International students N/A N/A
All students 0 0%

Notes:          “<5” – the number of students is less than 5.

N/A – Students not accepted in this category.

N/P – Not published: the number is hidden to prevent calculation of numbers in cells with less than 5 students.

  1. Admission Criteria
Title of course of study Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism)
Applicants with higher education study The standard entry requirement for a postgraduate program is a completed qualification at AQF Level 7 (Bachelor degree) or above from an Australia University or an equivalent overseas higher education qualification.
Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study

Students without an undergraduate degree may be admitted to the Graduate Certificated on the basis of relevant professional experience.

Relevant professional experience includes those who are currently working in education-related fields (e.g Teacher Aides, Library/ IT staff) and teachers holding alternative qualifications (e.g DipEd)

Applicants with work and life experience Students without an undergraduate degree may be admitted to the Graduate Certificated on the basis of relevant professional experience.

Relevant professional experience includes those who are currently working in education-related fields (e.g Teacher Aides, Library/ IT staff) and teachers holding alternative qualifications (e.g DipEd)

English Language Proficiency

(applicable to international students, and in addition to academic or special entry requirements noted above)

Equivalent IELTS 6.5 (Academic) with no skills band less than 6.00
Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years) with ATAR or equivalent*

(for applicants who will be selected wholly or partly on the basis of ATAR)

Year 12 (or equivalent)
*ATAR profile for those offered places wholly or partly on the basis of ATAR in T1 2020:

(ATAR-based offers only, across all offer rounds)

(Excluding adjustment factors) *
Highest rank to receive an offer Not applicable
Median rank to receive an offer Not applicable
Lowest rank to receive an offer Not applicable

Notes:  * “<5” – indicates less than 5 ATAR-based offers were made

Other admission options

 (For applicants who will be selected on a basis other than ATAR)

Special Entry Not applicable
  1. How to apply

Via direct application to the institution

  1. Advanced standing/academic credit/recognition of prior learning (RPL)

You may be entitled to credit for prior learning, whether formal or informal. Formal learning can include previous study in higher education, vocational education, or adult and community education. Informal learning can include on the job learning or various kinds of work and life experience. Credit can reduce the amount of study needed to complete a degree.

Applicants admitted based on prior higher education study may be eligible for Advanced Standing in the form of credit and/or recognition of prior learning (RPL) under the Torrens University Australia Credit Policy – (/policies-and-forms).

  • Students with completed subjects may be eligible for specified credit and/or elective exemptions
  • Students who have completed a qualification at AQF level 5 (diploma) or above may be eligible for block credit (where a block credit agreement exists)
  • Students with a mix of formal study and informal and/or non-formal learning may be eligible for recognition of prior learning in addition to any credit approved.

Credit will not be applied automatically. Applicants must apply for credit and/or RPL as early as possible prior to each study period, with applications not accepted after week 2.

For further information about credit and recognition of prior learning please see /apply-online/course-credits.

  1. Where to get further information
  1. Additional Information

Course Structure

The Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism) is two trimesters in duration for a full time student.  The course comprises of 4 subjects that you are required to complete: 3 core subjects and 1 elective subject (combined total of 40 credit points).


The course structure can be viewed or downloaded at the Student Hub, Course webpage https://studenthub.torrens.edu.au/Hub

Course Rules

To be awarded the Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism), students must satisfactorily complete the course consisting of 3 core + 1 elective subject with a combined total of 40 credit points.


PFA401 Person First in Autism

Contemporary practice in Autism education requires sound knowledge, understanding and support by educators to effectively create an inclusive and best practice learning environment. A movement in the disability sector advocates for individuals and their carers to have their voice hears. In this subject students examine the shift in support for individuals with Autism and their carers. More specifically, the Autism community to moving to a voice that is heard rather than passive. The person first approach is used in this subject to introduce the problem solving skills required when supporting an individual with Autism by actively listening to their needs. Students will interact with a range of experiential perspectives of Autism, using interviews and scenarios to develop the person first approach. Interactions with the varying perspectives, experience, challenges and aspirations in the Autism community creates a platform for students to examine bias, prejudice and assumptions. The voice of the individual with Autism and their carer in this subject unveils the importance of active listening and co-design for learning.

Further, an exploration of the evolution of Autism education based on the medical theory in relation to diagnosis of Autism spanning early 1940’s to the twenty first century, introduces students to the complexity of Autism, the development of knowledge and application in education systems. This subject asks students to explore Autism diagnosis and the impact on individuals and the Autism community. Further, students understanding is deepened when asked to critique the social implications, relating to discrimination, policy and practices specific to the history of Autism, using a person first perspective.

ASL402 Autism Support across the Lifespan

Utilising a holistic perspective, the lifespan for an individual with Autism in the present day is explored. From diagnosis, to schooling, communication and health, the experience for an individual and their carers varies. In this subject students consider the range of challenges across the lifespan and the differing paths Autism takes for an individual and their carer. Given the complexity and unique nature of Autism, critical thinking about the day-to-day needs of individuals encourages students to enhance person first and problem based thinking skills. Issues such as accessibility, the range of support, choices and types of community are examined. In addition, challenges across the lifespan will be identified and analysed including communication stigmas, misdiagnosis and co-morbidities.

In this subject, a range of interventions from past to present and varying viewpoints are critiqued in reference to person first and positive support. This aspect of the subject drives deeper thinking in relation to education philosophy. With this grounding, students reflect upon the contemporary pedagogy for supporting individuals with Autism in Education. Students consider factors such as social, health, education and accessibility in the early years of life, through to housing, work, relationships and services in adult life. This comparison between historical interventions and contemporary practices across the lifespan for individuals with Autism provides insight to the shifts in attitudes and support. Finally, the application of these complexities is introduced for a lateral thinking approach to education practices.

ACP601 Autism: Contemporary practices

With a deeper understanding of Autism from the perspective of person first, theory and lifespan complexities, students are challenged to reimagine learning practices. In this subject, students analyse the impact of globalisation and in turn, the development of information, education and support. Using a critical eye to examine past and present systems, processes and support in education across the globe, students create an inclusive classroom. Analysing a range of pedagogy, learning environments and school community presented in the subject, students recreate learning for individuals with Autism and their carers in the classroom. For example, special school to mainstream conversations in the education and Autism sector. The design will encompass the person first and best practice support for an individual with Autism.

Further, identification of the allied health professions and their interaction in education forms a vital component in this subject to ensure team based, best practice support is understood. Students will identify the role of each allied health professional and a range of alternative therapies. Using this information along with the person first perspective, students will examine the benefits or deficits of each resource used in the present day. In turn, students explore the needs of educations, their challenges and support structures. By understanding the welfare of all carers in the role of supporting an individual with Autism, this subject highlights the importance of resilience for the individual and carers across the lifespan.

DTE401 Design Thinking for Education

Design thinking is an approach to innovation that involves identifying ’problems’ or issues in a particular context, considering those who have a stake in these problems/issues, and designing a range of possible solutions that are then tested and refined in practice. In this subject, students will explore the concepts and processes of design thinking, including the origins of design thinking and its use across a range of disciplines and contexts. Following these general processes, students will then engage in a design thinking process to identify and address an issue within their own professional context. Through this design thinking process, students will engage in reflection and analysis of their professional skills, knowledge and judgement, and ultimately arrive at an advanced understanding of their roles as innovators and leaders in education.

IED402 Innovation for Education

In this subject students will analyse a variety of examples of innovative educational practice (including, for example, practices relating to the support of students with additional educational needs), critically examine the meaning of innovation and debate whether innovation can be quantified and measured. Students will be supported to identify problems/issues within education practice and will utilises tools and thinking processes designed to assist in the generation of innovative solutions. Finally, students will explore evaluation methodology as a means of analysing innovation outcomes relevant to their professional context in systematic way.

TED403 Technology and Education

This subject challenges students to engage with a diverse range of educational technologies with a view to critically examine the relevance and application of such technologies within their professional context. More broadly, students will engage critically with the discourses surrounding technologies in education, refining their skills of critique and analysis to articulate the principles through which educations might make informed decisions about the effectiveness and appropriateness of specific technologies for learning. The subject will provide students with the opportunity to consider specific technologies that are relevant for their professional setting, for example technologies to engage student’s with Autism, and/or technologies relevant to the teaching of particular disciplines.


The Graduate Certificate of Education (Autism) can be studied fully online or at the below Torrens University Campuses:

  • Queensland (Brisbane)
  • New South Wales (Sydney)
  • Victoria (Melbourne)
  • South Australia (Adelaide)

Campus Facilities and Services

All campuses are designed to provide students with professional spaces in which to learn and work. They have been planned with student study needs in mind with well-equipped accessible learning spaces as well as student breakout areas for group work and spending time with friends.

A positive student experience

Torrens University Australia values the importance of a positive student experience, and therefore has robust processes to resolve student complaints.  The Student Complaints Policy, and associated procedures, can be accessed from the website (/policies-and-forms).

Paying for your qualification

We offer two payment options for this course:

  • Upfront payment

If you want to complete your qualification debt-free you can choose to pay as you go. This means tuition fees will be invoiced each semester and payment is required on or before the due date using EFTPOS, credit card or direct transfer.


FEE-HELP is Australian Government’s loan scheme for higher education degree courses. It can assist you in paying for all, or part of, your course fees. Repayments commence via the tax system once your income rises above a minimum threshold ($45, 881 in 2019-20). Just like with any other debt,
a FEE-HELP debt is a real debt that impacts your credit rating.

Further information about FEE-HELP, including eligibility, is available at:

Austudy and Abstudy

Students enrolled in this course may be eligible for government assistance, such as Austudy or Abstudy.