Master of Specialist Teaching
The Specialist Teaching programme is relevant for educators working with children and learners who have special educational needs in early childhood, primary, and secondary sectors.
The programme is coursework-based, meaning it is ideal for educators who aim to provide professional leadership in their area of expertise but who do not wish to undertake a thesis. The Master of Specialist Teaching (MSpecTchg) employs a mix of distance and blended learning delivery options that provide flexibility for all students, regardless of location.
The degree can be awarded unendorsed, or endorsed in one of four areas. Graduates will gain a comprehensive understanding of their selected specialism, and will have the expertise, knowledge, interdisciplinary networks, and strategies to provide innovative approaches to meet children’s and learners’ special education needs in their workplace.
Normally the minimum requirement is a three-year bachelor’s degree from an Aotearoa New Zealand university, or a qualification or combination of qualifications considered to be equivalent. If you gained your qualifications overseas, these will need to be assessed to make sure they are of an equivalent standard.
You are also required to meet UC's English language requirements.
Specific entry requirements
Candidates wishing to enrol in the Master of Specialist Teaching must have either:
- qualified for an Aotearoa New Zealand teacher education degree (to a minimum standard of attainment); and/or
- qualified for a recognised three year diploma in early childhood, primary, or secondary teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand (to a minimum standard of attainment); and either
- hold a current teacher registration in Aotearoa New Zealand*, and normally have acquired at least two years relevant experience as a teacher or educator in a recognised educational workplace or community setting; or
- have been admitted ad eundem statum to enrol for the Master in Specialist Teaching; and
- been approved as a candidate by the Dean of Education and Health Sciences.
Candidates who have completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Specialist Teaching, or equivalent qualification demonstrating appropriate academic achievement, may be granted Recognition of Prior Learning, enabling them to gain entry directly to Part II of the programme.
The relevance and standard of undergraduate studies and any subsequent professional work experience are the main criteria of approval.
How to apply
You can apply online at MyUC. Find out more about how to apply for graduate and postgraduate qualifications.
The MSpecTchg consists of two parts. In Part I, students complete one compulsory core theory and foundations course (30 points), and three compulsory courses (90 points) from one of the endorsement schedules. Each endorsement includes:
- one specialist theory and foundations course
- one professional practice course (including practical assignments)
- one extended practicum course including experience in specialty practice settings.
On satisfactory completion of Part I with a B grade average or higher, students will be eligible to progress to Part II.
Part II consists of two 30-point courses, one chosen from three courses, and one optional course. Part II can be completed by distance study.
Participants can study this Master's in 12–18 months full-time, or up to 6 years part-time.
The degree can be awarded unendorsed, or endorsed in one of four areas:
- Complex Educational Needs
- Deaf and Hard of Hearing
- Early Intervention
- Learning and Behaviour
See the Specialist Teaching programme website for more information on each endorsement.
For the up-to-date Schedule of courses, see the Regulations for the Master of Specialist Teaching.
Postgraduate study can bring many career benefits, such as specialist skills and enhanced knowledge, entry into specific occupations, higher starting salary/progression rates, research capability/achievement, and evidence of high academic attainment/self-discipline.
- Read what other UC postgraduate students have gone on to achieve in their studies and careers in our student and graduate profiles.
- Our Careers, Internships & Employment team can help you to achieve the career you want, connect with employers or find a job.
- For research into career destinations by qualification, visit the Universities New Zealand website.
- Find out more about what you can do with a degree from UC.
- Come along to an upcoming information event for prospective postgraduate students.
For full requirements see the Regulations for the Master of Specialist Teaching.
For study planning help contact the College of Education, Health and Human Development:
College of Education, Health and Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800