What is a Master of Special Education?A Master of Education (Special Education) prepares you to support individuals with a range of special educational needs in mainstream classrooms. This course highlights three distinct streams: Autism, Mental Health and Learning. These address the challenges and issues faced by mainstream teachers in mainstream educational practice and fills a much-needed gap in professional development for teachers in the field.
- Investigate, identify and develop innovative solutions in education.
- Make independent judgements regarding the relevance and effectiveness of current educational developments.
- Work with other educators and stakeholders towards common goals.
- Engage in ethical and accountable educational practice.
This is an AQF Level 9 course delivered by Torrens University Australia Ltd.
*For more details on international student study options.
Special needs education is a response to a large section of our population – our disabled community. You will have opportunities to bring educational value to those living with various disabilities in schools, TAFEs, universities and other agencies seeking to improve special education programs. It also provides an avenue for Lead Teacher status and leadership opportunities within schools and other educational establishments.
Potential career paths
Average salary: $84,375 - $127,193
Average salary: $116,823 - $184,462
Average salary: $45,581 - $64,662
Special Education Teacher
Average salary: $79,353 - $113,252
Disability Support Manager
Average salary: $81,596 - $128,133
Subjects and units
Each subject involves 10 hours of study per week, comprising 3 hours of facilitated study and 7 hours self-directed study.
Person-Centred Approach | PFA401Using a contemporary lens, evidence-based practices that both support and value Autistic individuals and their unique strengths are investigated in this subject. Neurodiversity is celebrated and explored as each Autistic individual is unique and requires a uniquely supportive learning environment, collaboratively designed to meet their learning needs. As part of a person-centred approach, the importance of always providing a ‘voice’ and a ‘choice’ for both the individual and their carer underpins all educational decisions and the importance of active listening and co-design for learning. An investigation of the history and complexity concerning a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and the influence on the development of knowledge and application in education systems. A current definition, prevalence and the importance of early intervention are explored. Interactions with the varying perspectives, experiences, challenges, and aspirations in the Autistic community create a platform for students to examine bias, prejudice and assumptions and the impact on both individuals and families. Further, students’ understanding is deepened when asked to critique the social implications relating to discrimination, policy and practices advocating for positive changes in education and community settings to value Autistic strengths. As educators, we need to be aware that we can positively affect change by raising awareness and implementing evidence-based support in inclusive classrooms.
Learning Differences | LDF402The 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.
Introduction to Mental Health Conditions | IMH402Students are introduced to a range of Mental Health conditions, understanding the complexity and interrelatedness between the challenges associated within each. The person first approach is used 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.
Autism Support across the Lifespan | ASL402Utilising 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.
Dyslexia | DYX403This subject explores the concept of dyslexia, as a social construct, and considers the historical and political background of the concept. This exploration underpins the background of current practice in managing learners who experience specific learning difficulties of a dyslexic nature in a school setting. It presents dyslexia in terms of the problems it has resulted in for individuals during their lifetime when living with dyslexia, and incorporates a range of specific learning challenges that they have encountered. The subject then expands onto the understanding of dyslexia traits, comorbidity, or overlap, with other specific learning disorders, and the role of the parent/carer in the rise and range of dyslexia support. Understanding how this condition impacts aspirations in education and occupation choice creates the platform for students to apply this knowledge for a contemporary perspective of support needs in the classroom; and explore the impacts of the learning challenges, where students will be presented with perspectives from the individual and parents in various contexts and levels of support.
Mental Health in Context | MHC402This 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.
Inclusive Classroom Practice | ICP601Classroom 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.
Autism: Contemporary Practices | ACP601
Using the skills of critical analysis students will investigate contemporary evidence-based inclusive practices that are designed to support Autistic individuals in the modern classroom setting. Students will be presented with a range of appropriate support strategies, collaboration between stakeholders from the multidisciplinary team including carers to develop an individual education plan that uniquely caters for the needs of Autistic students in the inclusive classroom. Identification of the importance of a range of allied health professionals and therapies are explored to ensure that individuals are successful across the lifespan. Finally, students will explore a range of contemporary practices to build a toolkit of individual supports that cater to Autistic strengths and provide best-practice strategies for individuals and carers. With both information and practical strategies students will feel empowered to make a difference to the lives of Autistic individuals within the inclusive classroom.
Prerequisite: PFA401; ASL402
Mental Health for Educational Practice | MHP601
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 and family dynamics forms a crucial component to broaden students’ ability to apply the knowledge and skills developed in this course.
Prerequisite: IMH402; MHC402
Education Major Project A | EMP603The 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.
Education Major Project B | EMP604Education 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. Prerequisite: EMP603
Social Behaviour and Cultural Factors in Public Health | PUBH6000Students 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.
Business Communications | MGT502This 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, and 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.
Understanding and Interpreting Education Data | UED602Data 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.
Technology and Education | TED403This 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.
Innovation for Education | IED402In 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.
Design Thinking | DTE401Design Thinking is an approach to innovation that involves identifying ‘problems’ or issues in a particular context, empathising with those who have a stake in these problems/issues and designing a range of possible solutions that are then prototyped, tested and refined in practice. In this subject, you 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, you will then engage in a design thinking process to identify and address an issue within your own professional context. Through this Design Thinking process, you will engage in reflection, analysis and development of your professional skills, knowledge and judgement, and ultimately arrive at an advanced understanding of your roles as both an innovator and a leader in your professional context.
Program Design, Implementation and Evaluation | PUBH6007This 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.
Becoming a High Achieving Professional Educator | EDU6000Research indicates that excellence in teaching is the single most powerful influence on student achievement. In this subject, students explore what it means to be a high achieving professional educator in today's diverse and changing educational landscape. Students will critically examine the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership’s (AITSL) Australian Professional Standards for Teachers at the lead teacher career stage. This assists them in developing a deeper understanding of their content area and articulating why their selected teaching practices and strategies are important in shaping learning in ways that are meaningful and valuable to diverse learners. The subject also 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.
Social Enterprise | DSGN6031The 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.
Management, People and Teams | MGT600This course 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. Topics include strategic human resource management, organisational design, culture and ethics, organisational behaviour, motivation and performance management, retention and succession planning, and organisation, project and functional teams.
Dynamic Leadership | MGT601Leadership 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).
Coaching and Positive Psychology | CPP614In this subject, the usefulness, relevance and relationship of coaching and positive psychology to counselling will be explored. Positive psychology will be reviewed and its contribution as an approach to the ‘helping relationship’ investigated. 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. This subject will include 2 short courses from EXC603 Coaching as a Leadership Activity: EXC603_SC1 The GROW Model for Coaching EXC603_SC2 Reflective Practice
Self Care & Developing Resilience | SDR404Resilience, a quality that allows individuals to recover from times of difficulty and crisis and can be developed through understanding and practice. The subject covers the principles of social, emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing as they relate to health behaviours. Students will analyse the role of capacity building and the promotion of wellbeing through strategies to enhance personal and professional self-care. The impact of vicarious trauma and the effects of burnout for professionals will be explored.
Students will be required to critically self-reflect applying theories and practice skills to personal lived experience and history and use this knowledge to develop a cohesive self-care plan suitable to future industry practice.
International students must not enrol in more than one-third (33%) of online subjects over their course, and must study at least one face-to-face subject each study period. Please note that due to COVID-19, authorities have provided exceptions to the usual face-to-face learning requirements until 30 June 2023 only. For more information, visit Study in Australia.
International students on a student visa are required to study full time (i.e. must complete a minimum of 1.0 EFTSL of study per year). For the latest information on study locations, please check the entry requirements flyer.
Check the domestic course fee schedule for the cost of your course.
Eligible Australian students may choose to defer some, or all, of their tuition fees through FEE-HELP, a loan scheme repaid through the tax system based on income.
ScholarshipsIf you are truly passionate about education, we want to hear from you. We have a variety of education scholarships on offer to assist you in becoming a key part of the education industry:
Before you begin your application to study as a domestic student, check that you meet the requirements listed below.
AQF Level 7 (Bachelor degree) or above from an Australia University
An equivalent overseas higher education qualification.
Demonstrated skills and knowledge gained through paid or unpaid employment, formal learning and/or non-formal learning (presented on a current resume with attached cover letter).
Guaranteed pathway and Recognition of Prior LearningIf you have already completed a qualification you may be able to credit this against your degree with us, even if it’s from another institution. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning. We also offer pathway opportunities to further your learning.
Check the international course fee schedule for the cost of your course. Onshore international students requiring a student visa should choose campus-based / blended options.
Course fees can be paid across three study periods. Each instalment to be paid before the beginning of the academic stage census date.
ScholarshipsWe want you to have the best possible chance to succeed, which is why we offer a range of financial scholarships to support our international students during their study journey.
Before you begin your application to study as an international student, check that you meet the requirements listed below.
Guaranteed pathway and Recognition of Prior LearningIf you have already completed a qualification you may be able to credit this against your degree with us, even if it’s from another institution. This is called Recognition of Prior Learning. We also offer pathway opportunities to further your learning.
How to apply
Read through the admissions criteria and ensure you meet the entry requirements.
It’s easy! Apply online below or contact us and we can help on 1300 575 803.
We’ll contact you shortly after to confirm your details and help you through the rest of the process.
Frequently asked questions
What are Torrens University Australia’s ATAR requirements for domestic students?
Torrens University Australia no longer considers ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank) as our primary entry requirement. We have removed ATAR as the key admissions criteria for applicants aiming to study at Torrens University Australia. We strongly believed an alternative to the ATAR system should be found, which more broadly assesses students, especially when soft skills are emerging as important employability attributes. So, students with a recent secondary school education are now considered for admission if they have a Year 12 (Australian secondary school) certificate. Exceptions may apply to some courses.
What if I don’t meet the entry criteria for a degree?
Torrens University Australia has a range of application pathways to help you gain entry into our degrees based on different criteria.
To find out more, visit Study Pathways or contact our Future Student Advisors.
Am I eligible for FEE-HELP?
If you are a domestic student attending university or an approved higher education provider, you can get a FEE-HELP loan to pay all or part of your tuition fees.
You are eligible for FEE-HELP assistance for a unit of study (i.e. subject) if you:
- Undertake study with an approved provider.
- Meet the citizenship and residency requirements:
- An Australian citizen or a New Zealand Special Category Visa holder who meets the long-term residency criteria and who will undertake, in Australia, at least one unit of study contributing to your course; OR
- A permanent humanitarian visa holder who will be a resident in Australia for the duration of your unit; OR
- Are a permanent visa holder who is undertaking bridging study for overseas-trained professionals, and will be a resident in Australia for the duration of the study.
- Enrolled in an eligible unit of study by the census date for the unit.
- Have not exceeded the FEE-HELP limit.
For full details, visit the Australian Government website Study Assist.
If you are still unsure, please contact our Future Student Advisors who can talk you through the information.
Can I get course credit for previous experience?
Yes, course credit is available for most courses upon application and academic approval (excluding Higher Degree by Research programs).
If you have already completed a qualification or have relevant work experience, you may be eligible for credit towards your course. This credit can take the form of credit transfer, block credit or Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Review our Course Credits page or chat to our Future Student Advisors.
What are Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and Credit Transfer (CT)? How do I apply?
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment process that recognises experience, previous study and qualifications, and other forms of informal and non-formal learning, to determine if you meet course requirements.
If you have relevant qualifications or experience, you may be eligible for credit towards your course and a reduction in tuition costs.
Please speak to our Future Student Advisors to discuss your prior learning experiences.
For more information, please visit Course credits.
How do I apply for a scholarship?
Torrens University has a wide range of scholarship options to support new, returning, international and Australian students. They all include a reduction in tuition fees, and some scholarships include a mentoring component with our industry partners.
When you speak to our Future Student Advisors, let them know you wish to be considered for a scholarship in your application form. They will show you how to apply for a scholarship.
Please contact your Education Agent for further information. Alternatively, you can call us on 1300 575 803 or by email.
For more details, explore our range of scholarships.
Want to find out more?
Don't forget to download the course guide or get in touch with us below.