Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership)

Postgraduate coursework

Upgrade your three-year teaching qualification to meet employer requirements in Australia and graduate with the equivalence of a four-year qualification.

Domestic student information

Key facts


1 year full-time or part-time equivalent


Please note online students will be required to attend intensives on campus


Key dates

Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 2 2023 close 25 June 2023

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

The Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership) provides professional development for early childhood teachers to upgrade their three-year teaching qualification. Upon completion of the course, graduates will be recognised as holding the equivalence of a four-year teaching qualification, which can meet employer and teacher registration requirements in Australia. This course may also be of interest to qualified early childhood teachers who are re-entering the teaching profession after having a lengthy absence.

Students will advance their existing teaching knowledge, skills and practices, graduating with a specialisation in a selected area of therapeutic play, education business leadership, or International Baccalaureate Early Years (Primary Years Programme (PYP)).

Graduates of the course will be able to seek employment as an early childhood teacher in a diverse range of early childhood settings. Furthermore, the expertise gained through specialisation and advanced curriculum studies positions graduates to be highly equipped for leadership roles in educational settings.

NB: This is not an initial teacher education course/teaching qualification.

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Course information

Award granted
Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership)

2023 course information

Deakin code
Postgraduate (Graduate Certificate and Graduate Diploma)
Approval status

The course is approved by the University pursuant to the Higher Education Standards Framework.

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 8.

Course structure

To qualify for the award of the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership), students must complete 8 credit points comprising:

  • 4 credit points of core units;
  • 4 credit points of advanced study specialisation in either Therapeutic Play, Education Business Leadership or International Baccalaureate Early Years (Primary Years Programme (PYP))
  • AAI018 Academic Integrity (0-credit-point compulsory unit)

This course includes supervised professional experience. The hours and days required will vary depending on the specialisation pathway selected.


Core units


Specialisation units


Total units

Core units

  • Academic Integrity (0 credit point)
  • Leading STEM in Early Childhood Teaching
  • Diverse Environments and Pedagogies
  • Pedagogies of Physical Development and Wellbeing
  • Teacher as Leader
  • Course electives

    Plus 4 credit points of advanced study specialisation in Therapeutic Play, Education Business Leadership or International Baccalaureate Early Years (Primary Years Programme (PYP))


    Refer to the details of each specialisation for availability.

    To qualify for a specialisation within the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership), a student must successfully complete 4 credit points of study from within that specialisation. 

    Specialisations are available in the following areas:

    Education Business Leadership

    Therapeutic Play

    International Baccalaureate Early Years (Primary Years Programme (PYP))

    Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Online with on campus requirement#

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Online with on campus requirement#

    * On campus requirement in intensive mode for conferences

    Additional course information

    Course duration - additional information

    Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.

    Mandatory student checks

    Successful applicants are required to hold a valid Working with Children Check (WWCC) prior to undertaking professional experience placements in education settings, as part of this course. For more information see:

    Interstate applicants must check the requirements and meet all conditions for undertaking professional experience in schools for their state or territory before undertaking professional experience placements as part of this course. 

    The Working with Children Check (Check) and a Police Check are different checks. Under the Working with Children Act 2005 (the Act) if you are doing child-related work and are not exempt, you must have a Check even if you already have a Police Check. The Police Check is not an assessment by a government agency.


    Students will on average spend 150-hours over the teaching period for each credit point undertaking required teaching, learning and assessment activities.

    Participation requirements

    Compulsory learning experiences

    Professional Experience Placements are a compulsory component of the course and a requirement for registration as a graduate teacher. Placement can occur at any time, including during the standard holiday breaks listed here:

    Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. More information available at Disability support services.

    Students are required to check the placement calendars published on the Professional Experience Office website each year. Placement takes priority over employment and placement periods are generally block placements of 5 full time days per week over 1-2 weeks.

    Course delivery is blended and students are required to dedicate time to weekly engagement with located or online teaching and learning activities and resources. This is recommended at combined total 8-10 hours per week per unit including active learning/engagement either face to face or online, and independent study.

    Students will be required to attend a one-day conference twice a trimester at a Deakin campus.

    Work experience

    Students will satisfactorily complete 35-hrs of professional experience placement as part of their completion of ECE703 Diverse Environments and Pedagogies. The School of Education Professional Experience Office makes all arrangements for students’ placements.

    Students may be required to complete additional placement hours and days to meet the requirements of elective units in their specialisation pathway.

    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    Entry will be based on performance in:

    • Completion of a Bachelor degree or higher in Early Childhood Education; OR
    • at least two years of relevant work experience (or part-time equivalent); OR
    • evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent.

    Deakin University offers admission to postgraduate courses through a number of Admission categories.

    All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements.

    Please note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee selection, which is based on merit, likelihood of success and availability of places in the course.

    Please note that English language requirements exist for entry to this course and you will be required to meet the English language level requirement that is applicable in the year of your commencement of studies.

    It is the students’ responsibility to ensure that they have the required IELTS score to register with any external accredited courses (more details).

    For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) Policy visit the Deakin Policy Library

    Recognition of prior learning

    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning which exceeds the normal entrance requirements for the course and is within the constraints of the course regulations. Students are required to complete a minimum of one-third of the course at Deakin University, or four credit points, whichever is the greater. In the case of certificates, including graduate certificates, a minimum of two credit points within the course must be completed at Deakin.

    You can also refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree and how to apply for credit.

    Recognition of Prior Learning may be granted to applicants based on prior studies and/or equivalent industry experience.

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $22,600 for 1 yr full-time - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
    Estimated tuition fee - (CSP)?
    $4,124 for 1 yr full-time - Commonwealth Supported Place (HECS)

    Learn more about fees.

    The available fee places for this course are detailed above.

    Tuition fees are determined by your enrolment:

    • If you are offered a full fee paying place, your tuition fees are calculated based on your course.
    • If you are offered a Commonwealth supported place, your tuition fees are calculated depending on the units you choose. A limited number of Commonwealth supported places are available for this course.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing this course within the same year. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of Prior Learning.

    One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.

    You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.

    Learn more about fees and available payment options.

    FEE-HELP calculator

    What is FEE-HELP?

    FEE-HELP loans cover up to 100% of tuition fees for eligible students. By taking out a FEE-HELP loan, the government pays your tuition fees directly to Deakin, and the balance is repaid from your employment income - but only once you're earning over $48,361.

    Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2023 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    Estimate your FEE-HELP

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    • $* is the estimated full cost for a Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership) (8 credit points), based on the 2023 fees.
    • is the annual FEE-HELP payment, based on your current salary
    • of your current salary be spent on FEE-HELP


    Deakin University (Deakin):

    • gives no warranty and accepts no responsibility for the currency, accuracy or the completeness of the information provided;
    • advises users that no reliance should be placed upon on the information provided, and;
    • instructs users that they should confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    This tool provides indicative information about the fees that will be payable in respect of courses and subjects offered to prospective students domiciled in Australia during the periods indicated.

    Please note that the fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and actual fees may vary. Users are advised to confirm the actual course fee with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    The estimated course fee is based on the tuition fee costs applicable to a domestic full time student commencing the course in Trimester 1 and studying full time for the duration of the course but:

    • does not include non-tuition costs that may apply, such as Student Services and Amenities Fees (SSAF);
    • does not take into account any scholarships or bursaries awarded to the student (including the 10% Deakin alumni discount);
    • assumes the maximum number of units that need to be successfully completed actual number completed may be reduced if recognition of prior learning is granted;
    • assumes that no exceptional, or non-typical, circumstances apply to the proposed course of study;
    • assumes that the options that the user selects are appropriate for the course of study that they intend to undertake;
    • where fees are estimated for future years those fee will be subject to annual increases in accordance with increases in the cost of course delivery.

    Scholarship options

    A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through the Applicant Portal. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.

    Download the course flyer

    To learn more about what the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership) at Deakin has to offer, download our course flyer.

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For more information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage. If you're still having problems, please contact us for assistance.

    Entry pathways

    Applicants who have completed the Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (E333) or Bachelor of Early Childhood and Primary Education (E334) at Deakin University have guaranteed entry into this course.

    Completion of the Therapeutic Play specialisation as part of the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education (Leadership) provides a pathway into the Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play.

    Contact information

    Our friendly advisers are available to speak to you one-on-one about your study options, support services and how we can help you further your career.


    Career outcomes

    There is an increasing demand for qualified early childhood teachers, with the workforce set to double in the next 10-years. Graduates are qualified to work in early childhood settings as early childhood teachers. Graduates are also equipped with expertise gained through their specialisation and advanced curriculum studies, providing opportunities for employment in leadership roles such as educational leaders, coordinators or educational advisers. 

    Using their advanced knowledge gained from their selected specialisation, graduates may also find employment opportunities in policy, consultancy, NGOs, research or community-based organisations (e.g. museums, outdoor education, arts institutions, etc).

    For more information go to DeakinTALENT

    Course learning outcomes

    Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.

    Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities

    Critically analyse, consolidate, synthesise and apply advanced knowledge of curriculum, theory, policy and regulations in early childhood education with an advanced understanding of how to transfer specialised knowledge into practice.


    Critically evaluate and use highly skilled communication strategies (oral, written, digital and nonverbal) to professionally transfer specialised knowledge, complex ideas and advanced theoretical concepts with diverse individuals and groups (such as children, families, parents and caregivers, colleagues and other professionals, community organisations).

    Digital literacy

    Critically evaluate and apply a range of technologies to collect, analyse, synthesise, evaluate, generate and transmit information for the purposes of advanced and specialised teaching and learning in a rapidly changing global environment.

    Critical thinking

    Apply advanced knowledge to critically analyse and evaluate contemporary issues, policies and research in educational and societal contexts to generate and transmit independent judgements to research and professional scholarship relating to complex problems in teaching and learning.

    Problem solving

    Apply highly developed analytical skills to complex professional situations and ideas to make independent judgements related to teaching and learning. Generate and transmit creative, innovative and authentic solutions to real-life and complex problems encountered when working with diverse individuals and groups (such as children, families, parents and caregivers, colleagues and other professionals, community organisations).


    Critically reflect on planning, problem-solving and decision making in teaching and learning contexts using research and scholarship. Use initiative and autonomy to apply advanced evaluative and analytic knowledge and skills to demonstrate responsibility for own learning and professional practice (and in collaboration with others).


    Actively and collaboratively participate in, and/or lead learning communities, involving learners, families, community members, colleagues and the broader profession.

    Global citizenship

    Adapt and apply advanced knowledge and skills that support the diversity of Australian society in the professional context. This includes influences of Indigenous and intercultural issues, family contexts, gender and disability on development, learning and teaching.

    Approved by Faculty Board May 2020