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Graduate Diploma of Education

About this course

The Graduate Diploma of Education is a one year diploma (full-time or part-time equivalent) that offers graduates of disciplines other than education a qualification to teach one subject in a secondary school.

Specialisation units are generally delivered by practising teachers who bring their first-hand teaching experience to the course. School-based, professional experience enables student teachers to put theory into practice as they observe and reflect on the dynamics of the classroom. This experience also enables students to become acquainted with the formal and informal aspects of what occurs in classroom and secondary schools.

All core education units can be studied by distance education, but students will be required to attend a two-day workshop at Lismore or Coffs Harbour in session one and session two.

Career opportunities

Graduates typically work as teachers nationally and internationally. In addition to teaching in secondary schools, graduates pursue work in a range of training and development settings in industry, the public service, the arts, and in tourist resorts as recreational or activities officers.

Professional recognition

This course is approved by the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards and is nationally recognised. Graduates of the course meet the qualification requirements for accreditation/registration as a teacher in schools across all Australian states and territories.

Usually, Australian teacher qualifications are recognised internationally, but students need to check with potential employers and teacher registration authorities in other countries regarding accreditation requirements.

Professional placement

Students complete a program of practical in-school teaching experiences throughout the course to demonstrate their independent and professional capabilities as secondary school teachers.

Major areas of study

Students study one of the following curriculum specialisations:

  • English (Lismore, Distance education*)
  • Human Society and its Environment (HSIE), which comprises modern history or geography, with the optional addition of ancient history, business studies, legal studies, economics, society and culture (Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast)
  • Mathematics (Distance education)
  • Music (Lismore)
  • Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) (Lismore)
  • Science (Distance education*)
  • Technology and Applied Studies (Distance education)
  • Visual Arts (Lismore).

* The English and Science specialisations each require attendance at a two-day Lismore workshop in session one and session two. Contact the School of Education if you have any further queries.

Assessment methods

The assessment methods used in this course vary from unit to unit. Most units have progressive assessment with marks typically allocated across a combination of assessment tasks due at different times during the study period. Some units may also include a formal examination at the end of the study period. Assessment requirements for each unit are advised in writing to students at the commencement of each study period with clear guidelines, due dates, and the weighting for each assessment task.

Teaching methods

On-campus students experience a variety of teaching approaches including face-to-face lectures and tutorials. Some units offer online activities, classes, pre-recorded and/or live lectures. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

The online study option is highly interactive and strives to promote collaboration and a sense of community. Students may receive online pre-recorded and/or live lectures, electronic study materials, workshops, online discussion forums and virtual classes. The method of teaching may vary from unit to unit.

Advanced standing

Your previous learning experiences relevant to one or more units in this course may help you reduce the duration of your degree.

  • Recognition of formal and non-formal learning
    Credit may be awarded to a student for formal learning (gained through full or partial achievement of an accredited qualification or course) or non-formal learning (that takes place through a non-accredited course or program of learning) completed at Southern Cross University or in other learning settings in Australia and/or overseas.
  • Recognition of informal learning
    Credit may be awarded on the basis of current informal learning (that takes place through work, social, family or leisure activities).

To help you identify how much credit you may receive for your related prior learning visit SCU Pathways.

An application for advanced standing must be submitted so we can assess your prior learning. Please apply for advanced standing at the same time as you apply for admission into this course, because the amount of credit awarded will determine the sequence of units you will study.

 Go to course structure to see if specific advanced standing rules also apply to this course.

Learning support

Learning resources

MySCU is a student's point of entry to a range of online services and resources that support study and student life. The portal includes unit learning sites and information sites where students can access resources, communication tools and useful links that are integral to their studies.

The web-based study environment Blackboard Learn delivers an advanced online learning environment for students and lecturers to communicate and collaborate through virtual meeting spaces, classrooms, and discussion boards. They can share files, presentations and applications. If a tutorial or lecture is recorded, students can view it afterwards.

Learning materials include the provision of unit information guides, study guides and readings. Students may need to purchase or access prescribed text books.

The SCU Library provides a wide range of services that include face-to-face and online help, and access to print and electronic resources. To find out more, see the Library Toolbox.

The Academic Skills team supports student learning by offering online and on-campus academic skills workshops, assignment reviews and small group or one-on-one face-to-face, phone or Skype consultations during business hours 9am to 4.30pm. Appointments can be made via the MySCU Hub ‘Connect Now’ button or on the Academic Skills home page. Students can also book appointments online in Career Hub.

The YourTutor service provides online after-hours study support for SCU students. This service is available from 4pm to midnight Sunday to Friday via the 'Connect Now' button on MySCU Hub or from a link in nominated unit learning sites. The YourTutor service offers generic writing feedback and live online chat assistance for foundational concepts and study skills.

Equipment and facilities

Southern Cross University provides students with modern well equipped teaching spaces such as lecture theatres, classrooms, and studios or laboratories tailored to meet the needs of specific study disciplines. Contemporary audiovisual equipment is standard in most teaching venues, and students have access to computer labs for individual study purposes.

Course structure

See the University’s Rules Relating to Awards, in conjunction with the Specific Award Rules listed below.

Table of contents

Admission requirements

  1. In addition to Rule 2 Section 3 of the Rules Relating to Awards, applicants for admission to candidature may be selected in exceptional circumstances, where candidates have completed, over a period of not less than three academic years, so much of the requirements for Rule 2 Section 3 that the remaining requirements may be completed by Distance Education study in one year concurrently with candidature for the Graduate Diploma of Education, provided that no person may qualify for the award of the Diploma until all requirements for the award of their degree have been satisfied.
  2. Applicants for admission to candidature under Course Requirement Rule (a) shall also be required to have undertaken to the satisfaction of the School Board a proportion of studies during their degree which are relevant to subjects taught in secondary schools.
  3. Applicants’ qualifications must meet the requirements for admission for secondary graduate study as advised by the NSW Institute of Teachers or its successor.
  4. To meet the University’s minimum English Language Proficiency requirement an applicant must satisfy one of the following criteria:
    1. have completed senior secondary study to the equivalent of the Australian year 12 or have completed at least one year of full-time study (or equivalent part-time study) at AQF diploma equivalent or higher where:
      1. the country where those studies were undertaken is listed in Schedule A of the Rules Relating to Awards – Rule 2; and
      2. the language of instruction was English; or
    2. achieved a minimum test score, within two (2) years of the date of application for admission, equal to or above the minimum listed below:
      1. International English Language Test System (IELTS). The applicant must have a minimum overall score of 7.5, including a minimum result of 8.0 in both the speaking and listening modules and 7.0 in reading and writing;
      2. International Second Language Proficiency Rating (ISLPR). The applicant must have a score of at least 4+ in each of the four areas: speaking, listening, reading and writing.

For the purposes of satisfying English Language Proficiency requirements for admission, applicants will only be considered on the above criteria and will not be considered on the basis of other criteria established by the Rules Relating to Awards – Rule 2, Section 1 – English Language Proficiency Subsection.

Course requirements

  1. To be eligible for the award of the Graduate Diploma of Education a candidate shall successfully complete not less than eight (8) units (96 credit points) comprising:
    1. all units listed in Part A;
    2. a two (2) unit sequence selected from Part B
  2. Permission to undertake a practicum will at all times be at the discretion of the Head of the School of Education

Schedule of units


How to apply

Domestic students

International students

Confirm you meet the entry requirements including English language and academic entry and any specific pre-requisites.

Southern Cross University accepts applications directly through the International Application for Admissions form.

Additional information on how to apply is available at SCU International. Please note applicants from some countries need to go through an Education Agent.

The information on this page may be subject to change over time. Please check this page again before acting and see our disclaimer.

From the 1st of June, 2017, the term 'Distance Education' has been replaced with 'Online'