Application Round 2 is open until 11:59 pm on Tuesday 28 March 2023.
Register on Arc (Access. Resource. Collaborate) to attend the course Q&A webinar with the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) at the University of Melbourne in February 2023.
The Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) program (the program) is for teachers in Victorian government mainstream schools interested in enhancing their capacity to support students with learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyscalculia, through tertiary study.
How to apply
Prospective applicants can apply online via this link to
Applicants are strongly encouraged to discuss their interest in the program with their school principal to clarify alignment with school strategic priorities for inclusive education, and literacy and numeracy goals.
Important details about Round 2 eligibility criteria, recipient obligations, and how to apply are available in the Round 2 application guidelines (accessible below).
Round 2 application guidelines
Round 2 application guidelines
Learning specialists, leading teachers and classroom teachers currently working in mainstream government primary or secondary schools and directly supporting students with learning difficulties are encouraged to apply.
Prospective applicants must be qualified practising teachers with full registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching.
Teachers keen to apply for the course should discuss their interests with their principal before applying. Principal class applicants should contact the Inclusive Education Scholarships Unit (the IESU) to confirm their eligibility before submitting an application.
Check your eligibility
If you have questions about eligibility, you can:
- check the
School Eligibility Tool on Arc to see whether your school already has a recipient.
- contact the IESU.
This online postgraduate course is designed and delivered for the department by MGSE.
The program will deepen the disciplinary knowledge and pedagogical practice of teachers, so they have the skills, expertise, and confidence to meet the needs of all students, including students with dyslexia and dyscalculia, through contemporary, evidence-based strategies and fidelity of practice.
The four subjects in the course aim to develop teachers' understandings of learning difficulties and the interactions between different types of learning difficulties, including dyslexia and dyscalculia.
Check out MGSE's course page Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) - The University of Melbourne (unimelb.edu.au) to see whether the program aligns with your postgraduate study needs and your school's goals for increasing support for students with learning difficulties.
Each round of this program has 75 places available. Successful applicants start the program in Semester 2 (July) each year and complete the course part-time over 12-24 months.
Designed for working teachers, each subject will run for 12 weeks and consist of four online teaching days combined with self-directed reading and assignment work to be completed online. The online synchronous teaching days will be scheduled on weekends (Saturday or Sunday), ensuring recipients can balance study commitments with work and personal responsibilities.
No casual relief teacher provision is required as this course has no practical component.
See what motivated teachers to join the program
Narelle De Young – Greenvale Primary School
Narelle De Young pinched herself the day she learned about the Graduate Certificate of Education (GCE) program.
A leading teacher at Greenvale Primary School in Melbourne's north-west, she had been devouring professional learning opportunities, especially those relating to learning difficulties.
"I could already see in our classrooms how things like a phonics scope and sequence were transforming learning, especially for kids who were struggling.
"But I could also see how some of the expertise and research that's out there has been slow to flow through to the classroom. I was looking at doing my Master's, but then I discovered that not only was the department running a scholarship program, there was a course – the Grad Cert – that ticked all the boxes for me."
Narelle's application to Round 1 of the GCE program was successful, and in July 2022, she and 46 other program recipients started their two-year part-time course – with fees covered by the department.
Narelle teaches Year 4 in a job-share, spending the rest of her time working with the school's professional learning communities (PLCs) and Strategic Action Teams (SATs). She allocated Sunday afternoons – "in the front room with a pot of tea" – for the bulk of her study, and looked forward to the collaboration and broad benefits that would flow from the course.
"It's not as if you go to a lecture for two hours, and then go home," she explains. "The way the program works, you can actually go back in, re-visit the information, let it sit with you, then workshop it with fellow students and colleagues.
"I don't have to leave school to go to school. I'll still be there in my leading teacher role, and through the PLCs or the SATs we can start investigating, fine-tuning or changing things as we gain more knowledge and understanding."
Narelle is also on the committee for the Hume-Moreland English Network (NET) which presents professional learning to the region once a term, and is a facilitator for the department's Inclusive Classrooms 'Learning Difficulties including Dyslexia' professional learning module.
"I think doing the course will make me a little bit more comfortable and confident in these roles," Narelle says.
Of course, the ultimate beneficiaries remain the students.
"Anything that's going to support a student with learning difficulties or dyslexia is going to be worth it – and not only that, it's going to help every student in that grade," Narelle says. "It's not just like it's beneficial to one person – it's just really good, explicit teaching."
"Anything that's going to support a student with learning difficulties is going to be worth it."
Maria Saric – Diverse Learners Hub
"There is not one learning model that fits all students," says educational leader Maria Saric. "And what works one day with one student might not work the next. So I can't be static. I have to keep deepening, refining and adding to my knowledge – there's no end to learning."
Maria is among the first intake of DET scholarship recipients who have just started the new Graduate Certificate in Education (Learning Difficulties) at the University of Melbourne.
She has only just started a new job – as an Education Improvement Leader within the Department's Diverse Learners' Hub – but had no hesitation in returning to university at the same time.
"I thrive on a challenge," she says, laughing. "That's probably what sparked my passion for inclusive education. At 18, I thought I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher … then while I was studying I got a job teaching swimming to adults with disabilities. I fell in love with the challenges – and the even greater rewards – that come with helping people of all abilities to realise their potential."
Maria is confident the GCE and her new role will "complement each other perfectly". The Hub, as the name suggests, is at the core of the Victorian Government's landmark Disability Inclusion initiatives, supporting teachers, schools and leaders to meet the needs and aspirations of every student in the state.
A former special school teacher, Maria has experience in working with diverse learners, especially those with autism. Completing the course means she is linked to contemporary evidence-based practice for supporting students with learning difficulties that can be shared with the partner schools she works with in the region.
"I know I've got a lot in my bank of resources already to take to schools, but I can't wait to add to that, so I'm as prepared as I can be to help – and to inspire," she says.
"And it's not like the old days of teaching courses, where you took everything you heard in lectures at face value. I'm looking forward to the collaboration, the support, the questioning. Saying 'what would you do in this situation?' "
Wendy Roberts, Maria's manager in the North Eastern Region, shares Maria's enthusiasm.
"It's such an exciting time," says Dr Roberts. "The GCE has been co-designed by DET and the University of Melbourne – so it's perfectly tailored for the Victorian context, and for Victoria's inclusive ambitions. It's a ripple that will start a wave – of being open to change, and to really wanting to do better and support the change in how we support diverse learners."
"I have to keep deepening, refining and adding to my knowledge – there's no end to learning."
Relevant professional learning
Interested in getting a head start on understanding learning difficulties?
Check out the department's Learning Difficulties web pages.
Or explore these modules in the Inclusive Classrooms Professional Learning Catalogue
Information about Disability Inclusion and related programs
Additional postgraduate study opportunities are available
Through the Master of Inclusive Education Program, teachers can make a significant contribution to how their schools plan and support students with disabilities and additional learning needs, using contemporary evidence-based, best-practice approaches.
The long-term vision of the master's program is that every Victorian government school will have a masters-qualified inclusive education teacher on staff, creating and leading a more inclusive school environment for all students across the state, regardless of their abilities and backgrounds.
For more information, visit Master of Inclusive Education program.
Contact the Inclusive Education Scholarships Unit