- About the Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced)
The Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) takes a design thinking approach to analyse issues and challenges faced by persons with a range of additional learning needs. In particular, it focuses on problem solving, informed by advanced theoretical knowledge, from a person first perspective. The person first approach allows situations to be tackled from the perspective of the individual, and by doing so shifts the focus from a passive acceptance from the person at the center of the issue to a more active role where their individual needs are actively considered. This approach questions traditional thinking and challenges learners’ biases, prejudice and assumptions.
The Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) highlights three distinct streams; the Autism stream, which provides educators with advanced knowledge and skills in supporting individuals with Autism; the Mental Health stream, which provides educators with advanced knowledge and skills in supporting individuals with Mental Health challenges, in particular, the three most prominent issues facing contemporary educators, Anxiety, Depression and Eating Disorders; and the Learning stream, which provides educators with advanced knowledge and skills in supporting individuals with a range of learning needs. Each of these streams addresses challenges and issues faced by mainstream teachers in 21st Century educational practice and others associated with children and adolescents facing these issues in the 21st Century. Further, the course incorporates a number of electives designed to bring more depth to the issues of Mental Health, Autism and Learning Differences for those who wish to engage a deeper understanding of the issues from a Health perspective. Other electives in this advanced version of the Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) are designed to strengthen the skills and knowledge around Leadership and Management for those wishing to move beyond practice into a management or leadership role within Special Education.
Graduate employment opportunities
Graduates of the Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) can progress to further postgraduate studies in related fields of education. They can also pursue advanced career options within the education profession, such as Lead Teacher status and leadership opportunities within schools and other educational establishments. In particular, this course provides graduates with a depth of knowledge and expertise in meeting the needs of all students within mainstream educational settings, which has application across all subject areas, in primary and secondary school contexts.
|Course Title||Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced)|
|Study Options – Domestic Australian students||Full-time or Part-time Dynamic Online Study, on Campus or Blended mode||Study Options – International students||Full-time on Campus or Full- time Blended
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: 2 years / 6 trimesters
Part-time: 4 to 6 years
|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 involves 10 hours of study per week, comprising 3 hours of facilitated study and 7 hours self-directed study.
|Assessment||Essays, reports, presentations scenario and case studies, and reflective journals. Other assessment tasks may include research, collaboration / facilitation of discussion, scenario responses and problem based tasks.
|Locations||Melbourne (Flinders St), Sydney (Ultimo) Online||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||095695M|
|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.|
- 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.
- Admission Criteria
(For applicants who will be selected on a basis other than ATAR)
|Special Entry||Not applicable|
- How to apply
Via direct application to the institution
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.
- Where to get further information
- Torrens University Australia (TUA) Website
- Universities Admissions Centre (UAC) Website
- Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) Website
- Additional Information
The Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) course structure is comprised of 16 subjects (160 credit points). The course of study consists of 11 core and 5 elective subjects at 10 credit points each.
For a list of elective subjects, please refer to the separate Course Structure document.
The course structure can be viewed or downloaded at the Student Hub, Course webpage https://studenthub.torrens.edu.au/Hub
To graduate with the Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced), students must satisfactorily complete 16 subjects consisting of 11 core subjects and 5 elective subjects.
|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 heard. In this subject, students examine the shift in support for individuals with Autism and their carers. More specifically, the Autism community 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, experiences, 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 the 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.
|IMH402 Introduction to Mental Health Conditions
Students are introduced to a range of Mental Health conditions, understanding the complexity and interrelatedness between the challenges associated within each. The person first approach isused in this subject to introduce the problem-solving skills required when supporting an individual with Mental Health conditions. Students interact with a range of experiential perspectives of Mental Health, using interviews and scenarios to develop the person first approach. A range of perspectives, experiences, challenges and aspirations in the Mental Health community creates a platform for students to examine both the community and their own bias, prejudice and assumptions. Further, the range of carers involved in Mental Health conditions is considered for a deeper awareness of the impact of the conditions.
|MHC402 Mental Health in Context
This subject explores the history of Mental Health, through to the awareness in the present day. An examination of the current knowledge and application in a range of life experiences enables students to formulate ideas regarding the impact of Mental Health. From diagnosis to schooling, communication, health, accessibility and finance, the experience for an individual varies. Further, the carer component of this subject evolves in terms of challenges and specific needs.
|LDF402 Learning Differences
The person first approach is used in this subject to introduce the problem solving skills required when supporting an individual with learning differences, including but not limited to dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia and ADHD. This subject also explores the impact these challenges have on self-esteem and future learning aspirations. Further, examples of stereotyping, types of interventions and the genetic disposition of the learning challenges are discussed.
This subject develops students’ awareness and understanding by analysing the range of traits across each learning condition. Presenting in various ways and areas of learning development, the stigmatised learning challenges are often described from a deficit viewpoint. Students will be analysing the history of such conditions and the evolution of interventions and support, in turn, continuing to evolve an attribute view of the traits of these conditions.
| DYX403 Dyslexia
Viewed across a spectrum, dyslexia can be difficult to recognise. By expanding on the understanding of dyslexia traits and range of support tools, this subject uncovers the complexity of dyslexia and how to recognise and support individuals. Students will be presented with perspectives from the lived experience of individuals and parents demonstrating varying contexts and levels of support requirements. Understanding how this condition can impact an individual’s education creates the platform for students to apply their knowledge to put contemporary practices of support in the classroom.
| MHP601 Mental Health for Educational Practice
Mental Health across the globe now changes rapidly with significant leaders in the field. Students will use a lateral thinking approach following the person first and lifespan understanding to identify the future of Mental Health conditions and education. This in depth forecast enables students to critically examine global education practices, perceptions and the range of supports available to individuals and their carers in a schooling context. In this subject, students will appraise current Mental Health supports in schools and in turn, further develop or recreate these supports by utilising the knowledge and understanding developed over the course.
Students once again explore bias, prejudice and stereotyping and examine their level of comfort in relation to supporting a range of Mental Health conditions in the classroom and the school community. Understanding the varying roles of carers forms a crucial component to broaden students’ ability to apply the knowledge and skills developed in this course.
Prerequisite: IMH402; MHC402
|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 educators, 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. Prerequisite: PFA401; ASL402
| ICP601 Inclusive Classroom Practice
Classroom diversity is increasing rapidly and teachers need strategies to meet the needs of all students and celebrate their differences. Learning differences vary greatly and therefore need well-developed, suitable and equitable learning support and practice across the school.
This subject provides students with the opportunity to explore the many ways that the needs of all students can be addressed within the mainstream classroom. “Inclusion” describes the practice of enabling students with learning challenges to learn beside their peers and to embrace diversity. The subject focuses on developing and/or extending a positive perspective on inclusion, which is based on identifying and using each student’s strengths.
Differentiation is presented within this subject as a proactive rather than reactive plan, where practical strategies for planning, assessing and teaching are explored and implemented in an integrated approach that celebrates the strengths and meets the needs of all students.
Students will also apply the range of perspectives and skills gathered over the course to design a whole-of-school inclusion plan, based on a person first perspective, contemporary practices and education skills required for the plan. The students are challenged to build into the plan a range of supports with external partnerships to ensure the range of learning challenges presented in the school, education staff, parents and the wider community combat segregation and stigma, to create a community of acceptance, inclusion and best practices.
Prerequisite: LDF402; DYX403
EMP603 Education Major Project A
The Education Major Project provides students with an opportunity to plan and carry out an innovation/change or research project over two trimesters. Project A introduces and explores methodology and encourages critical and systematic reflection on your professional context. Students design an innovation/change or research project around an issue or problem related to their current context. This project enables students to draw on previous course work and apply theories, concepts and practices to improve an identified aspect of their context.
Prerequisite: ACP601; MHP601; ICP601
EMP604 Education Major Project B
Education Major Project B requires students to engage in an innovation/change or research project previously planned to demonstrate competence in the implementation of innovation/change or research processes. There is also a focus in the subject on the interpretation and presentation of the findings of the project, and the implications of such work for future practice.
|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 utilise 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 a systematic way.
TED403 Technology and Education
This subject challenges students to engage with a diverse range of educational technologies with a view to critically examining 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 educators 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 students with Autism, and/or technologies relevant to the teaching of particular disciplines.
|EDUC6000 Becoming a High-Achieving Professional
Research indicates that excellence in teaching is the single most powerful influence on student achievement. In this course, students explore what it means to be a high achieving professional educator in today’s diverse and changing educational landscape. By examining the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and their aligned focus areas at the lead teacher career stage, students will develop a deeper understanding of their content area and be able to articulate why their selected teaching practices and strategies are important in shaping learning in ways that are meaningful and valuable to diverse learners. The course assists students in articulating why they are expert pedagogues able to make appropriate professional judgments that successfully shape the manner in which they teach and respond to their students’ learning.
|UED602 Understanding and Interpreting Education Data
Data can be useful to inform change but it is also open to misuse and misinterpretation. Most large national and international education databases such as OECD, PISA, NAPLAN, TIMMS are accessible to all educators but require specific skills to analyse and interpret. In this subject students will critically explore and interpret International and national education. Politicians and education leaders often rely on such large datasets to inform policy decisions, change and practice, thus it is extremely important for educators to be able to critically interrogate and interpret large datasets to inform any decisions and interventions.
| DSGN6031 Social Enterprise
The theoretical base of this subject focuses on developing the students’ understanding of the fundamental contemporary theories of social entrepreneurship and a variety of applicable business models. The course will explore cross discipline material encompassing design, business and technology and how to acquire and combine knowledge and skills in all 3 areas to amplify the potential for success in 21st century society. At the core of this subject will be a focus on customer experience design, both theory and skill, and why user centric principles are increasingly used in business today.
Students will explore the application of entrepreneurship business strategies and apply this knowledge in a philanthropic context and come up with solution to a real world problem they can execute to the pitch ready stage for investment. The project will entail some type of ‘design for good’ aspect in either a profit or non- for-profit business model.
The course will also cover the latest neuro-leadership principles and why EQ is just as important as IQ in both design and business. Students will be expected to think critically as they evaluate complex ideas and learn the patterns, frameworks and mechanics or storytelling, behaviour design, game design and platform design.
Students will be expected to:
• Identify and analyse a social problem that needs to be solved.
• Plan and progress an idea through a business development lifecycle.
• Conduct face to face user interviews utilising a self-constructed questionnaire.
• Synthesize and visualize quantitative and qualitative data in order to communicate the patterns they discover in the data collected.
• Learning the basics of using a business model and value proposition canvas as
tools for design.
• Create, present, and communicate a professional-level business deck along with a functional prototype in order to demonstrate their understanding of theoretical and practical concepts.
Learn and practice lean start-up and design thinking principles in the validation of their business idea along with validation of the prototype for the product or service they create.
| MGT502 Business Communications
This subject introduces students to the concepts of business communications and transferrable academic skills. This subject presents an analysis of the types of communication processes, which occur in the internal and external business environment, including an examination of the theoretical underpinnings of communication in business. Emphasis is placed on writing skills, reports and presentations and on using technology to communicate. The subject introduces students to research skills, information literacy, critical analysis, writing and language techniques. The aims of this subject are to provide knowledge and skills needed for success in Higher Education, to help students manage their own success and to assist them in reaching their academic potential.
|MGT600 Management, People and Teams
Understanding organisational behaviour, politics, dynamics and environments and how they impact on the role and legitimacy of the management function is the core of this subject. This subject helps individuals understand the constraints they face as managers and emerging leaders and how they can develop strategies to leverage advantages and overcome constraints and barriers in their organisations. The subject also focusses on developing some of the advanced communication skills necessary in management and leadership roles, and the ability of the individual to influence others. The subject introduces students to the concept of naturally occurring data and qualitative analysis. This subject also focuses on the development of knowledge and skills to enable students to identify, analyse and make effective decisions to resolve people-related issues in organisations, facilitate employee development, and develop and sustain effective teams in complex, diverse, and increasingly global operating environments.
| MGT601 Dynamic Leadership
Leadership in modern organisations is a way of thinking and behaving. It is not necessarily a position in a hierarchy. Leadership is a process of energising, influencing and motivating others: up, down, sideways and diagonally. Becoming an effective leader requires self-awareness, self-management and a strong set of interpersonal communication skills, a set of capabilities that are often described as Emotional Intelligence (EQ). In addition, effective leaders think and act strategically, they build a climate for creativity and innovation, and are culturally sensitive and comfortable with ambiguity.
This subject focuses on developing your leadership capability and not leadership as a theoretical concept that applies to other people. It helps you explore your own leadership development and self-image, using the techniques of reflective research and supported by a mentoring partner. It guides you through the preparation of plan for your continued leadership and professional development that is consistent with your personal values, anchored by the academic literature and enables you to be authentic, confident and resilient in leading productive work places for the future.
Dynamic Leadership provides learning at the cognitive or intellectual level and at the affective or emotional level. It develops explicit knowledge of leadership (know-what) and the often-neglected tacit knowledge (know-how).
|PUBH6007 Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation
This subject focuses on the competencies required of the public health professional in planning for the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of community health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Attention is given to needs assessment, the role of program theory in the planning and implementation of programs and how to write a program and evaluation plan. Implementation of programs including stakeholder engagement and program management processes is also explored. Students learn about evaluation of programs, including process, impact and outcome evaluation, along with the principles and resources required to make evaluation successful. Reporting and dissemination of evaluation findings are also discussed.
|PUBH6000 Social Behaviour and Cultural Factors in Public Health
Students in this subject explore the field and practice of public health. They learn to identify and analyse major social, behavioural and cultural factors affecting population health outcomes. These factors include social determinants of health
(e.g. gender, socioeconomic status and social capital), community capacity, resilience, age, race/ethnicity, the environment and behavioural risk. Students explore medical, social and behavioural approaches to health promotion and public health interventions. They analyse current and emerging theoretical and conceptual frameworks from the social, behavioural and medical sciences. Students apply these frameworks and other theories presented in the subject, to intervention strategies and/or program initiatives that address current public health issues.
PSY513A Mental Health – Therapeutic Assessment and Intervention
This subject explores issues and concerns that inform counselling and psychotherapeutic practice in the mental health and considers a range of commonly presented symptoms and syndromes. Practice models, therapeutic approaches and skills for effective and deliberative practice will be identified and examined for use. To inform this investigation, students will review research findings on aetiology, subsequent development and the evidence base for the efficacy of various forms of treatment.
The final component of the subject introduces the notion of cross cultural counselling and gender awareness and the way that gender, ethnic, religious and cultural differences affect the way ‘problems’ are perceived and presented, and the way that change agents may need to respond. This Subject uses experiential learning opportunities with critical feedback from peers and lecturers.
PSY510A Working with Young People
In this subject, students will be given the opportunity to explore some of the issues and challenges associated in working therapeutically with young people. The subject begins with a discussion of the cultural and social framework for understanding the positioning of young people and ‘youth’ in our culture today. This serves as a foundation for the further study in young people and the factors that can affect their mental health and how this manifests. The Maudsley model for treatment is examined, along with service delivery models and other forms of interventions. Students will also discuss the potential for working with different communities on intervention and prevention strategies.
Students will also be introduced to the legal parameters that will inform their professional practice: child protection and notification, informed consent, confidentiality and involvement of the family.
| PSY504A Positive Psychology and Coaching
In this subject, the usefulness, relevance and relationship of coaching and positive psychology to counselling will be explored.
Positive psychology is a relatively new field in psychology and this subject will review its contribution as an approach to the ‘helping relationship’, including an investigation of some of the controversies, conflicting view points and their respective empirical support.
As part of their exploration of the key positive psychology theorists, students will begin to develop an understanding of how they can synthesise that work into their potential coaching practice. They will also learn a range of particular coaching skills, including solution‐focused and strengths‐based approaches, as well as goal‐setting and personal development coaching.
This subject will balance theory and practice in its delivery and students will be encouraged to engage in interactive learning through discussion and experiential practice.
The Master of Education (Special Education, Advanced) can be studied fully online or at the below Torrens University Campuses:
- New South Wales (Sydney) Ultimo campus
- Victoria (Melbourne) Flinders Street campus
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:
- FEE-HELP website:
- FEE-HELP booklets:
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