FAQs – Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas
I would like to become a secondary school teacher. What could I take into consideration when identifying my learning areas?
Your choices in your undergraduate studies will determine what learning areas you are eligible to apply for. Remember that you MUST have completed a major sequence in at least one of your learning areas at a tertiary level, and at least a minor sequence in a second learning area. If you meet the requirements for more than two learning areas, it is wise to consider several factors including employability (see question below), and the subjects or area you are most interested in and have the greatest depth of knowledge of.
Learning areas such as Mathematics, Science and English are very much in demand in Victorian schools, however you must ensure that you have the appropriate tertiary related experience before applying for these learning areas.
To help you make your decision, look at the content and outcomes listed for each of the learning area subjects in the University handbook. Keep in mind that certain learning areas are specific to either senior (years 11 &12) or junior school (years 7-10) only. It may be worth considering your employability across a school and selecting a combination of learning areas that allow you to teach across a range of year levels or across different disciplines.
For example, if you have an undergraduate degree in chemistry, you might apply to Science and Chemistry as your learning areas. The Science Learning Area will prepare you to teach science to students in years 7-10, where students study across biology, chemistry, Earth and space sciences and physics. The Chemistry Learning Area will prepare you to teach senior chemistry, a subject that available to students in years 11 and 12 studying their Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE).
Why do I need to complete a major sequence in at least one of my learning areas at a tertiary level, and what does this mean?
Keep in mind that a Master of Teaching prepares you for a career in secondary teaching in Victorian schools. To gain entry to the Master of Teaching (Secondary) you need to demonstrate that you already have strong content knowledge of your learning area, gained in the tertiary studies you have already completed.
A major sequence is a total of three-quarters of a year of successful full-time higher education study, usually comprising sequential discipline study taken over three years, e.g. a part in each of the first, second and third years of study, or equivalent study. In most tertiary, undergraduate degrees, this equates to six subjects, with no more than two at first-year level and no less than two subjects at third-year level.
I qualify for two learning areas but am really interested in a learning area I don’t meet the requirements for. What can I do?
You will gain some insight and experience in a third area through one of the Foundations Electives.More about the structure of the course, including Foundations Electives, can be found here. Foundations Electives are available in Arts, Digitech, English, Health & Phys Ed, Humanities, Languages, Mathematics and Science.
Alternatively, you can do additional study at a tertiary level to meet the requirements for the learning area you are particularly interested in (see question below).
I have completed tertiary studies but don’t currently meet the learning area requirements. What I can do?
You can meet learning area requirements by enrolling in single-subject study through the University of Melbourne's Community Access Program (CAP). Information relating to fees and enrolments is available from the CAP webpage. Alternatively, you could consider a graduate certificate or graduate diploma at the University of Melbourne or another higher education institution to complete the relevant subjects.
We recommend contacting us with the subjects you intend to enrol in to ensure that the subjects will meet the requirements for the learning area. To assist us with assessment, please attach academic transcripts for all the tertiary studies that you have attempted or have planned.
Please note that confirmation of eligibility does not guarantee an offer of a place. As part of the selection process, eligible applicants will be ranked by our Selection Committee according to prior academic performance and the results of the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT) selection test. In addition, some learning areas have a cap on the number of students per year (see question below).
If you don’t meet the requirement for two learning areas in the Master of Teaching (Secondary), you may also consider applying for another teaching course:
- Master of Teaching (Early Childhood)
- Master of Teaching (Early Childhood and Primary)
- Master of Teaching (Primary)
- Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Teaching
Do learning areas have limits to the number of students that can be enrolled each year (caps)?
Yes, some of our learning areas have caps. Applications are assessed on a rolling basis and we recommend you apply early to avoid disappointment. If you are currently studying to meet learning area requirements, you can still apply for the Master of Teaching (Secondary). Refer to FAQ titled ‘Can I apply for the Master of Teaching before I finish my current studies?’ Learning areas that have reached capacity will be updated on the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas page. NOTE: the Chinese and TESOL Learning Areas are historically the first to reach their caps.
How can I find out which learning areas are most in demand in Victorian schools?
You can view currently advertised jobs in Victorian government schools to get an idea of the learning areas that are in the highest demand from the DET Jobs in Victorian Government Schools page. The Saturday Age newspaper may provide some insight into roles available at Catholic and independent schools. Learning areas that are always in high demand include Mathematics, English and the Sciences.
Keep in mind that some study areas specific to VCE are not offered in all schools. To learn more about VCE studies offered by schools you may wish to browse the search for a school or study on the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority website.
How can I be sure the subjects that I take at an undergraduate level will qualify me to enter two learning areas or one double learning area?
Be sure to read the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas page carefully. Pay particular attention to the requirements for the two learning areas, or one double learning area, you would like to take and remember that you MUST have completed a major sequence in at least one of your learning areas at a tertiary level.
Can I apply for the Master of Teaching before I finish my current studies?
Yes, you can apply to the Master of Teaching in the final year of your studies.
In your application, include information on the subjects or degree you are currently enrolled in. Provided you meet the course entry requirements, our admissions team will issue you with a conditional offer, guaranteeing you a place in the course and learning area provided you successfully meet the conditions of your offer within the specified timeframe (i.e. successful completion of the subjects and/or course you are studying). Remember that eligibility of learning areas does not guarantee an offer of a place.
If you are in high school, you can find out more about how to become a teacher at the University of Melbourne. School leavers can choose to bundle an undergraduate degree offer with an offer for a place in the Master of Teaching through our Graduate Degree Packages. You can choose to enrol in your desired undergraduate and graduate study pathway immediately after your final year of high school.
I have a Commerce or Humanities background and need more information on learning areas
First, remember that you MUST have completed a major sequence in at least one of your learning areas at a tertiary level and met the requirement for a second learning area, as per the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas page. If you are eligible for more than two learning areas, you may like to consider a combination of employability and the areas you have a particular interest in and/or in-depth knowledge of.
To help you make your decision, look at the content and outcomes listed for each of our learning area subjects in the University handbook. Keep in mind that certain learning areas are specific to either senior (years 11 &12) or junior school (years 7-10) only, whilst other learning areas focus across years 7-12.
For students with a Commerce background: the Economics, Legal Studies, Business Studies and Accounting learning areas cover senior secondary VCE (years 11 and 12). Schools are more likely to advertise jobs in Economics, Legal Studies and Accounting with the assumption that a teacher who can teach these areas will also have the skills and knowledge to teach junior commerce and Business Management (whether this is one of your learning areas or not). Business Management and Commerce is not a highly employable learning area combination and is best avoided if an alternative is available.
For students with a Humanities background: the History, Politics, Legal Studies and Economics learning areas cover senior secondary VCE (years 11 &12), while the Humanities learning area covers years 7-12. The areas that are listed under the Humanities (and Humanities Additional) learning area provide the best preparation for teaching humanities across secondary schools in Victoria.
What is the difference between Humanities and Humanities Additional?
Humanities Additional is only available to students who have Humanities or History at their other learning area eg. Humanities and Humanities Additional or History and Humanities Additional. As there is some similarity between History and Humanities, History students looking to take Humanities need to take Humanities Additional as this learning area specifically designed to meet the needs of these students. As outlined in handbook, Humanities Additional introduces Teacher Candidates who are studying the Humanities or History Learning Area with additional research and practice in the teaching of Humanities and Social Sciences in the context of Australian/Victorian Curricula and Frameworks. This subject will deepen students understanding of the nature of Humanities education for secondary school students across years 7-12 in Victoria.
Can I change my learning area once I receive my offer?
Any changes to learning areas must be discussed with our Admissions team prior to course commencement. Changes are subject to availability and eligibility.
When I graduate, am I limited to only teach subjects related to my learning areas?
When you register as a teacher with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT), you are not required to specify your learning areas. This means that you can teach any subject that the principal of your school determines that you have the knowledge and skills to teach. Keep in mind that Principals prefer to employ teachers who have deep specialist subject knowledge and specific qualification for the learning area that they will teach.
Where can I find out more about TCAT?
You can find out more about the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT) on the TCAT FAQ page.
I am fluent in a language other than English, but I have not completed a major in that language. Can I still meet the learning area requirements to teach that language?
If you have not completed a major in a language at a tertiary level, it is possible to meet the learning area requirements by taking an approved language test and submitting a Statement of Equivalence. The aim of the Statement of Equivalence assessment is to determine whether you have sufficient oral and written competence and cultural understanding of the language being assessed to teach that language in Victorian schools. In other words, whether your overall competency in that language is at least equal to a major sequence at a tertiary level.
Keep in mind that being a native speaker of a language doesn't necessarily mean you should apply for the language learning area; it takes a lot of work and dedication to learn about your own language and how to teach that language.
Please contact one of the approved test providers for more information.
I studied a language at school and have been given advanced placement in a language program at the tertiary level. Will I qualify for the Languages Learning Area?
Yes, if you completed languages at school and have been granted advanced placement into a language program at the tertiary level you may only need to do four language subjects over your undergraduate degree. You would then usually take advanced subjects such as literature or cultural studies (in your chosen language). Latin students often take this pathway.
I would like to teach outside Victoria, Australia after I graduate. Will this course and the learning areas I take qualify me to do that?
It is important to remember that this course and the related learning areas, prepares teacher candidates for registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) and for teaching in Victoria, Australia. The focus of the course is on secondary schooling under the Victorian curriculum. While many of our graduates go on to teach interstate and internationally, it is your responsibility to check the relevance of the course content and the teacher registration requirements in the jurisdiction you wish to teach.
I would like clarification on which learning areas I qualify for. How do I do this?
We encourage you to submit a course application and our Admissions team will assess your learning areas during your application assessment. If after reading the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas page carefully you remain unsure, you can submit a question to our team.
I need to talk to someone about my learning areas. Who should I contact?
You can book a bespoke 1:1 chat with our experts if you have specific questions about the course and would like to discuss them further. There is a lot of information available online, so prior to booking a consultation, please read the Master of Teaching (Secondary) Learning Areas page, Master of Teaching (Secondary) study page and relevant pages in the University handbook.