Master of Child Play Therapy

Postgraduate coursework

The Master of Child Play Therapy at Deakin is the first child play therapy postgraduate course offered by an Australian university.

Domestic student information

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Key facts


2 years full-time or part-time equivalent.


  • Cloud (online) mode, however there are significant placement and campus requirements
Cloud (online)

Key dates

Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 2 2020 close 5 July 2020

Current Deakin Students

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

Course information

Develop your interpersonal, creative and expressive skills to work effectively with children and their families as a child play therapist.

Child play therapy is a growing specialist area within the mental health and early childhood sectors. It is an evidence-based profession in which play is used to transform children’s lives when they have experienced abuse or trauma, have a developmental disorder, or are experiencing a mental health issue.

This two year Master degree provides specialist training for students with relevant prior experience and qualifications. The orientation of the course is primarily Humanistic but other approaches will be presented in the course materials. Placement units are an important component of the program.

You will be eligible to apply to become a registered play therapist with the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA). This course is primarily delivered online with occasional intensive study sessions.

Study the first play therapy course offered by an Australian university and make a significant difference in the  lives of children, young people and their families.

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Course structure

To complete the Master of Child Play Therapy students must attain 12 credit points. Units may be worth 1 or 2 credit points - check each unit for its credit point value in the course structure below. 10 credit points are core (these are compulsory) plus 2 elective credit point (you can choose which one to study from the list provided) in Year 1 Trimester 2.

All commencing Faculty of Health Undergraduate and Postgraduate course work students are required to complete HAI010 Academic Integrity in their first trimester of study (0 credit point compulsory unit).

Students may exit the course after completing a specified sequence of 4 units for the award H505 Graduate Certificate of Therapeutic Child Play, or after completing the specified sequence of 8 units for the award H605 Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play.

Core units

Year 1 - Trimester 1

  • Academic Integrity HAI010 (0 credit points)
  • Foundations of Play Therapy HSO710 *
  • Child Attachment Environment and Trauma HSO711 *
  • Assessment and Measurement in Play Abilities HSO713 *
  • Childhood Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology HSO715 *
  • Year 1 - Trimester 2

  • Therapeutic Use of Self HSO709
  • Engaging Children in Play Using Directive Approaches HSO712
  • and two 1CP elective units or one 2CP elective unit 

    Year 2 - Trimester 1

  • Humanistic Play Therapy HSO720
  • Year 2 - Trimester 2

  • Systemic Play Therapy HSO723
  • Professional Practice and Behaviour HSO717
  • *must complete prerequisite for HSO712 and HSO724

    Elective units

    Select two 1 credit point elective units

  • Research Literacy for Health Practice HSH725 **
  • and 

  • Foundations in Narrative Theory ALL743
  • Child and Adolescent Development HPS772
  • Determinants of Health and Wellbeing in the Lives of People with Disability HDS732
  • Social, Physical and Emotional Health and Wellbeing ECP712
  • OR

    Select one 2 credit point elective unit

  • Play Therapy Research Thesis HSO724 ***
  • ** must select a research pathway of either HSH725 and one other elective or HSO724 (i.e. must complete at least one research unit)

    *** must complete if student wishes to undertake HDR minimum entry requirement and must attain >70% grade.

    Key information

    Award granted
    Master of Child Play Therapy

    2020 course information

    Deakin code
    Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
    Approval status
    This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
    Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition
    The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.

    Campuses by intake

    Campus availability varies per trimester. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Read more to learn where this course will be offered throughout the year.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Cloud Campus mode, however there are significant placement and campus requirements

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Cloud Campus mode, however there are significant placement and campus requirements.

    Additional course information

    Domestic students enrolled in this postgraduate coursework program may be eligible for student income support through Youth Allowance and Austudy.

    Further information can be found at Deakin University's Fees website.

    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

    In accordance with Department of Human Services policy, all students are required to undertake a National Police Record Check at the commencement of their course. This police check needs to be completed annually for the duration of the course.

    Students are also required to hold a current Working with Children Check in Victoria (or the interstate equivalent) at the commencement of their course.

    Students who fail to obtain both a Police Record Check and Working with Children Check prior to the commencement of their first unit will not be able to commence clinical components and this will impede progress in the course.

    NB: Clinical components include observation of a child at play, infant-parent observation, play assessment, and therapeutic play and play therapy clinical placements.

    The Faculty of Health Work Integrated Learning Team utilise an online service called ‘Fit2Work’ for police checks, and students will receive an email with instructions on how to apply. Students should not apply for a police check until they have received this email from Fit2Work.


    As a student in a Cloud (online) course in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to spend 11-13 hours every week studying, interacting via CloudDeakin and completing assessment tasks for each credit point in your course. There are also significant placement and campus requirements.

    Students are required to attend intensive workshops at the Geelong Waterfront Campus for several units in the Master of Child Play Therapy and Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play. Dates for 2020 are listed here

    Participation requirements

    The course involves a compulsory clinical placement of 250 hours in a professional placement there are 70 hours of online clinical supervision. The placements may be undertaken in your local area.

    Compulsory attendance of 12 days is required over the course which is broken into three on campus intensive placement workshops. 1 x 4 days in year 1 Trimester 2, 1 x 5 days in year 2 trimester 1 and 1 x 3 days in year 2 Trimester 2.

    Placement can occur at any time, including during standard holiday breaks listed here.


    Work experience

    There are clinical placements throughout the course - see individual unit descriptions for full details.

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    Entry requirements

    Entry information

    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.

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

    Entry will be based on performance in:

    • Bachelor Degree or higher in a related discipline or


    • Bachelor Degree or higher in any discipline AND two years relevant work experience or


    • evidence of academic capability judged to be equivalent

    Fees and scholarships

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place
    $27,000 for 1 yr full-time* - Full-fee paying place
    Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
    Estimated tuition fee - (CSP)?
    Not applicable

    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. Not all courses at Deakin have Commonwealth supported places available.

    The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing the first year of this course. 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 8 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 $45,881.

    Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2020 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.

    Estimate your FEE-HELP repayments


    FEE-HELP payments

    per pay-cycle


    Take-home pay
    after FEE-HELP and tax

    per pay-cycle

    Your estimated FEE-HELP repayments

    • $* is the 2020 estimated tuition fee for a Master of Child Play Therapy (12 credit points) at Deakin
    • 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 15% Deakin Alumni Postgraduate Course Fee Bursary);
    • 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 15% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees. Your Immediate Family Members may also be eligible to apply for this bursary.

    Learn more about Deakin’s 15% postgraduate bursary

    Apply now

    How to apply

    Apply direct to Deakin

    Applications can be made directly to the University through the Application Portal. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the how to apply web page. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.

    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.

    Register your interest to study at Deakin

    Please complete the Register your interest form to receive further information about our direct application opportunities.

    Entry pathways

    This course provides a pathway to higher degree by research courses and other postgraduate coursework programs.

    Students who complete H605 Graduate Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play will be guaranteed a place in the course and receive 8 credit points of credit.

    Alternative exits

    Contact information

    Prospective Student Enquiry Centre
    1800 693 888


    Why choose Deakin

    Career outcomes

    Graduates will be eligible to work in professional healthcare teams, in individual private practice, and in a range of health, education and community contexts.

    Professional recognition

    Graduates will be eligible to apply to become a Registered Play Therapist with the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA).

    Note: All information regarding professional recognition is accurate at the date of publication. Enquiries regarding accreditation and professional membership should be directed to the School of Health and Social Development in order to ascertain the current status of accreditation at any future point in time beyond publication. Representations about accreditation apply only to the course, and the relevant professional body retains discretion as to who they admit as members of their association. Deakin University cannot exercise any control over membership of an external body.

    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.

    Graduate Learning Outcomes

    Course Learning Outcomes

    Discipline Specific knowledge and capabilities

    Apply an advanced and integrated theoretical and practical knowledge of the principles underlying Child Play Therapy and the processes involved in therapeutic practice.


    Demonstrate verbal, written and interpersonal communication necessary to interpret theoretical positions, convey ideas, proposals and findings, pertaining to Child Play Therapy, to a specialist and non-specialists audiences.

    Digital Literacy

    Use appropriate technologies to locate credible discipline-specific information and disseminate this information to specialist and other professional groups in an ethical and professional manner.

    Critical thinking

    Analyse, critically evaluate and synthesize complex cases, problems, concepts and theories in the field of Child Play Therapy.

    Problem Solving

    Apply advanced knowledge and skills to and select appropriate therapeutic approach(s) and modify treatment plans as required to solve a range of problems within the field of Child Play Therapy.


    Demonstrate personal autonomy and expert professional judgement in the field of Child Play Therapy showing responsibility and accountability, in conjunction with reflective practice.


    Establish and maintain collaborative professional relationships demonstrating responsibility and accountability to the child, family, carers, multidisciplinary professionals and other relevant stakeholders.

    Global Citizenship

    Demonstrate professional and ethical practice and respect for diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts, and an awareness of international developments in Child Play Therapy


    * 2019 Student Experience Survey, based on undergraduate students
    # ARWU Rankings 2019
    ~ According to the Voice Project IT Service Quality Support Benchmark Survey
    ^ Australian Graduate Recruitment Industry Awards, 2017, 2018, 2019 winner
    ^^ Australian Graduate Survey 2010–2015, Graduate Outcomes Survey 2016–2019 (GOS), Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT)

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