Learn from academics who are pioneers in the field
Pathway to the accredited masters course in play therapy
Flexible study on our premium online learning platform
2 years full-time or part-time equivalent.
Online, however there are significant placement and campus requirementsOnline
Direct applications to Deakin for Trimester 1 2024 close 28 January 2024
The Master of Child Play Therapy trains you to support children’s psychosocial, emotional and mental health and wellbeing through the therapeutic powers of play. Graduate from this internationally recognised course ready to apply for registration as a play therapist and join a rewarding profession that is growing in demand.
Want the skills to make a profound impact on the long-term health, wellbeing and happiness of children?
Even adults with years of life experience can find it hard to work through difficult feelings and experiences. It can be more difficult for children. Play therapy is increasingly being used as a way of helping children overcome challenges in their life and make sense of their experiences. The beauty of play therapy is its developmental sensitivity. It allows children to express themselves through a comforting and familiar medium – play!
Just as adults may need to talk about difficulties with a counsellor or psychologist, children can benefit greatly from playing about their experiences. Through play, and within the safety of a therapeutic relationship, children can process difficult life experiences including trauma, abuse, neglect, illness, grief and loss, and a range of social, emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties. Play therapy is an evidenced-based approach for working with children based on the premise that play is a child’s first language, and that play is therapeutic.
If you already love working with children and want to play a pivotal role in their psychosocial and emotional development, a career in play therapy will be incredibly rewarding. The Master of Child Play Therapy will give you everything you need to get there. It is an internationally recognised degree, accredited by the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA), and the only course of its kind offered by an Australian university. It is also a recognised pathway to becoming a Registered Play Therapist. Upon graduation, you will have the practical experience and professional recognition needed to apply for registration.
The course explores evidence-based principles in play therapy, and the study areas you will cover reflect the needs of the industry today and into the future. Some of the key areas include:
- History and foundations of play therapy
- Childhood development
- Neuroscience and psychopathology in children
- Attachment and trauma
- Therapeutic assessment
- Therapeutic medical play
- Therapeutic use of self
- Engaging children in therapeutic play
- Humanistic Play Therapy
- Filial Play Therapy
A strong focus of the curriculum is developing your reflective, interpersonal, creative and expressive skills. These are crucial skills that allow you to work effectively with both children and their families.
While the course is conveniently delivered on our premium online learning platform, allowing you to study at your own pace, there are many opportunities to apply your skills through practical learning in your own community. For example, you will get to experience what it’s really like to work as a play therapist through 250 hours of clinical placement. You can secure placements in a variety of settings such as preschools, childcare centres, primary schools, allied health services, disability services and private practice. For students interested in continuing their studies at a research level, the course offers elective research units that develop your practical research skills and hone your critical analysis.
A highlight of the course is being able to learn from academic staff who are not just involved in the field but leading the way through the work and research they contribute. We have staff involved with key Australian and International Play Therapy organisations such as the International Play Therapy Study Group (IPTSG) and the International Consortium of Play Therapy Associations and their insights, case studies and experiences are filtered into the course.Read More
- Award granted
- Master of Child Play Therapy
2024 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.
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 DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit-point compulsory unit) in their first trimester of study.
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.
Year 1 - Trimester 1
Year 1 - Trimester 2
and two 1 credit point elective units
Year 2 - Trimester 1
Year 2 - Trimester 2
*must complete prerequisite for HSO712
Select two 1 credit point elective units
and one of
Select both elective units:
** must select a research pathway of either HSH725 and one other elective or HSH731 and HSH732 (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.
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 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 may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.
Mandatory student checks
Applications are accepted from students who possess the skills and prerequisites required to complete the course, gain professional certification and practise safely. The inherent requirements of the course are listed here.
Police Record Check
In accordance with the policies of health and human services organisations, all students are required to undertake a Police Record Check prior to undertaking professional placements in each calendar year that they are enrolled in a placement unit. Students who fail to obtain a Police Record Check prior to the commencement of a professional placement will not be able to undertake their mandatory placement units and this will impede progress in the course.
Students with a criminal record are not precluded from enrolling in play therapy degrees at Deakin but may face difficulties in obtaining placements which are required to complete the degree. Many agencies are reluctant to place students whom they perceive may place service users staff or the organisation itself at risk, e.g. when offending has involved crimes of violence against children or adults, or crimes of deception such as fraud and embezzlement
Working With Children Check (or State/Territory equivalent)
In accordance with the Worker Screening Act 2020, all students are required to undertake a Working with Children Check at the commencement of their course. Students who fail to obtain a Working with Children Check prior to the commencement of professional placement will not be able to undertake their mandatory placement units and this will impede progress in the course.
Students are a potential source of infection for service users and colleagues and may be required to comply with any requirements for immunisation as specified by a particular placement organisation. Students are required to declare their immunisation status to satisfy the requirements of health and human service organisations where they will be undertaking their professional learning experience. A placement organisation may refuse to accept a student for placement if the student’s immunisation status is not satisfactory to the placement organisation. This may impede progression in the course.
Students who fail to obtain both a Police Record Check and Working with Children Check prior to the commencement of their first placement unit will not be able to commence clinical placement and this will impede progress in the course.
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 undertaking an online course (with on-campus intensives in some units) in the Faculty of Health you will be expected to participate in a range of learning activities each week. You will spend 11-13 hours per unit (i.e., per 1 credit point unit) each week engaging in a combination of self-paced study, seminars, online interactions and assessment tasks during the trimester teaching period. In some instances, teaching intensives, placements and assessment tasks may also take place outside of the trimester teaching periods. You can refer to the individual unit details in the course structure for more information on each unit.
If you are undertaking the course full-time, you can anticipate spending 40 hours or more per week in study across Trimester 1 in the first year of the program. Trimester 1 focuses on theoretical knowledge and consists of four theory units (HSO710, HSO711, HSO713 and HSO715). These units are designed to be self-paced so that you can work through the material at a time that suits. Students who are working or who have other significant commitments typically undertake the course part-time. No play therapy units run in Trimester 3; however, students may undertake the research unit HSH725 in Trimester 3 depending on their individual course plan.
In addition, there are significant placement and campus requirements throughout the program. Within the Master of Child Play Therapy students complete three placement units (HSO712, HSO720 and HSO723) and a total of 250 clinical hours and 70 hours of online clinical supervision. Clinical play therapy supervisors are provided by Deakin. Placement units run the full length of the trimester including the study and examination period. All placements must be undertaken in Australia.
Each placement unit also consists of an intensive teaching workshop held prior to the start of placement. Intensive workshops may take place outside of the trimester teaching period. You will be required to attend intensive workshops live across consecutive days and will need to take time off work and other commitments to attend. Intensive workshops are held virtually for the placement units HSO712 and HSO723 across 3 days. The placement unit HSO720 Humanistic Play Therapy is a 2-credit point unit. For this unit you must attend a 5-day on-campus intensive workshop at the Geelong Waterfront campus. This workshop is typically held in February prior to the start of Trimester 1 each year. Teaching intensive workshop dates are listed here.
The course involves compulsory clinical placement units with 250 clinical hours and 70 hours of online supervision required for course completion. Each placement unit (HSO712, HSO720, HSO723) consists of an intensive teaching workshop held prior to the start of each placement. You will be required to attend intensive workshops live across consecutive days and will need to take time off work and other commitments to attend. Intensive workshops may take place outside of the trimester teaching period.
Intensive workshops are held virtually for the placement units HSO712 and HSO723 across 3 days. For the placement unit HSO720 Humanistic Play Therapy you must attend a 5-day on-campus intensive workshop at the Geelong Waterfront campus. This workshop is typically held in February prior to the start of Trimester 1 each year. Teaching intensive workshop dates are listed here.
There are clinical placements throughout the course - see individual unit descriptions for full details. These placements must be undertaken in Australia.
Ask a question about studying at Deakin
Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum course entry requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.
Please note, there are limited places in this course and entry is competitive. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible. Applications for this course may close prior to the published closing date if all places are filled.
To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet at least one of the following criteria:
- completion of a bachelor degree or higher in a related discipline
- completion of a bachelor degree or higher in any discipline and at least two years' of relevant work experience
English language proficiency requirements
To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:
- bachelor degree from a recognised English-speaking country
- IELTS overall score of 6.5 (with no band score less than 6.0) in each component of test
- other evidence of English language proficiency (learn more about other ways to satisfy the requirements)
Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn’t have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you’re able to commit to your study.
Fees and scholarships
Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
The available fee places for this course are detailed above. 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 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.
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 $51,550.
Please note: fees shown by the calculator are indicative only and based on 2024 rates. Actual fees may vary. We advise confirming fees with Prospective Student Enquiries prior to enrolment.
Estimate your FEE-HELP
per pay cycle
after FEE-HELP and tax
per pay cycle
Your estimated FEE-HELP repayments
- $* is the estimated full cost for a Master of Child Play Therapy (12 credit points), based on the 2024 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.
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.
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.
Applications for Trimester 1, 2024 are open. Create an account in the Deakin Application Portal, start your application, enter personal details, education experience, upload supporting documents and submit. Need help? Play this video, or contact one of our friendly future student advisers on 1800 693 888 or submit an online enquiry.
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.
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 entry into the H706 Master of Child Play Therapy and receive up to 8 credit points.
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.
Play therapy is an emerging profession in Australia. Parents and healthcare providers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of play therapy, especially as mental health issues in children continue to rise. As a result, the demand for qualified therapists has increased. The Master of Child Play Therapy puts you in a strong position to take advantage of this growing demand.
When you graduate from the course, you will be eligible to apply for registration as a play therapist with the Australasia Pacific Play Therapy Association (APPTA). Once you are registered, you can start working independently as a play therapist in:
- private practice
- charitable organisations
- government departments.
Your unique skill set will also open up employment opportunities in other areas that intersect with children's health such as:
- child protection and children's services
- domestic violence support
- family support services
- the legal system (particularly in court evaluations of children’s needs)
Graduates of this course 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 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 Play Therapy, to a specialist and non-specialist audiences.
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.
Demonstrate an ethical research approach to critically evaluate, analyse and synthesize complex cases, problems, concepts and theories in the field of Play Therapy.
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 Play Therapy.
Demonstrate personal autonomy and expert professional judgement in the field of 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.
Demonstrate professional and ethical practice and respect for diverse social, cultural and environmental contexts, and an awareness of international developments in Play Therapy.