Special Education

  • Flexible delivery including online, school holiday intensive and evening classes.
  • Affordable study with Commonwealth Supported Places for eligible students.


Learn to support students in all environments

Our postgraduate programs in Special Education are designed for teachers who wish to better facilitate inclusion of students with disabilities, as well as for those who want to work as special educators in specialised settings:

  • Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Education)
  • Master of Education (Special Education)

The program aims to meet the diverse needs of educators, with a strong focus on developing teacher skills to support students in all environments.

Our postgraduate Special Education courses can also assist educational leaders by exploring the underlying theories of special needs education and identifying ways in which these theories can be integrated within the context of Australian schools.

Why study special education?

All schools are required to have equal education provisions for students with disabilities under the 2005 Disability Standards for Education Act. Special education has also been identified as a target area in the NSW Department of Education and Training (NSW DET) retraining programs.

This initiative is in response to the increasing demands for knowledge and skills in teaching children and adults with special needs.

Working as a special education teacher

A Master of Education (Special Education) is required to qualify formally as a special education teacher by the NSW Institute of Teachers, and a teaching practicum is an essential component of the masters program.

Domestic students may be eligible to pay or defer fees through FEE-HELP and Commonwealth supported places are available.


Flexible delivery

Our postgraduate courses are offered through a range of flexible delivery modes, including:

  • online and blended courses
  • intensive school holiday courses
  • workplace and self-directed learning
  • evening classes

For more information about the delivery mode for each course, visit the UNSW School of Education website.

Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Education)

Students completing the Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Education) will complete four elective courses from options within the Special Education specialisation.

Master of Education (Special Education)

The Master of Education (Special Education) is offered in two streams and students may choose from the following:

  • Stream 1 - caters for qualified teachers looking to obtain an accredited qualification in special education.
  • Stream 2 - caters for qualified teachers holding an existing special education teaching qualification wanting to update and/or extend their professional learning, with the option of going on to higher degree studies.

To see an example of a program of study, visit the UNSW School of Education website.

Entry requirements

Students must meet the following selection requirements for entry to the Graduate Certificate of Education and the Master of Education:

  • A recognised Bachelor degree and a postgraduate teaching qualification (e.g. Graduate Diploma of Education or Master of Teaching).


  • A four year pre-service teacher education qualification, including professional experience, equivalent to the qualifications required for Graduate teacher status in NSW.

An applicant who submits evidence of other equivalent academic and professional qualifications may be permitted to enrol in the degree.


Graduates who have completed postgraduate studies in Special Education can gain employment in range of educational institutions, including:

  • special schools
  • educational facilities for preschool aged children
  • education providers for adults or ageing people with disabilities


Research pathways

A Special Education postgraduate program can be a gateway to higher research study.

If you are interested in pursuing a research career we encourage you to study research methodology and undertake a research project during your course.

Key teaching staff

Our Special Education students learn from experienced staff who are leading practitioners in their field and at the forefront of educational teaching.

Dr Terry Cumming
B.S.Ed. Bloomsburg U., M.Ed. UNLV, Ph.D. UNLV
Special education; emotional and behavioural disabilities; intellectual disability; educational technology

Doc. Iva Strnadova
M.Ed. CharlesU (Prague), Ph.D. CharlesU (Prague)
Inclusive education; intellectual disabilities; autism spectrum disorders; additional learning needs in literacy and numeracy; resilience in families of people with disabilities.

UNSW handbook

Degree program structure and academic rules information:

If you are a current student, please refer to the Online Handbook in the year you commenced your degree.

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Domestic International
GradCert - 7401 Master - 8910
GradCert - 0.5 FT Master - 1 FT
Term 1, Term 3
Education (Special Education)
GradCert - 24 Master - 48
30 Nov, 31 May - Late applications will be considered
Combination of intensive, online & face-to-face (on campus)