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Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care

Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care (GDCH)

Entry requirements
Study mode
  • External
  • -
  • 1 year(s) (or part-time equivalent)
  • Feb, May, Sep


  • Are you aiming for a career shift into the early childhood education space? Do you have an undergraduate degree in any field and keen to make a difference in this rewarding profession? Become a qualified early childhood teacher with UniSQ. 
  • At UniSQ, we believe pivotal learning happens in the workplace, which is why we have a strong focus on recognition of prior learning (RPL). If you have a diploma with at least 5 years relevant workplace experience in a leadership position in the early childhood education space (Activity Group Leader, Head Teacher, Educational Leader, Group Leader), UniSQ provides recognition of this prior learning as a pathway to gaining the Graduate Diploma of Early Childhood Education and Care.
  • Learn from qualified academics with the understanding of industry, the time to ensure you're supported, and a true passion for education within a contemporary context. 
  • Put your learnings into practice with 60 days of professional experience, including 20 days with children aged 3-5 years, 10 days with children aged from birth to 35 months, and 30 days with children before they start formal schooling or another approved context

Professional accreditation

This degree is an approved Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) qualification with the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

Career outcomes

  • Once graduated, you may find work as a qualified early childhood teacher in early learning centres, preschools, long day care, kindergartens or as an educator within a family day care of traditional day care setting.

Entry requirements

Find the entry requirements most relevant to you.

  • Completion of an undergraduate degree, or equivalent, in any discipline, including a three-year education degree, from a recognised tertiary institution

  • a relevant diploma and a minimum of five years' of documented, relevant work experience in a leadership position in an early childhood setting (e.g. Activity Group Leader, Head Teacher, Centre Director, Educational Leader, Group Leader).

English language requirements

English language requirements apply to applicants whose previous undergraduate study was completed in a country other than Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, United Kingdom or the United States of America or undertaken in a language other than English. Applicants from a non-English speaking background must attain an IELTS score of at least 6.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in reading, writing, listening and speaking.

Additional requirements for placements

You must be able to meet the physical and other professional requirements of professional experience placements within this degree.

Some childcare centres may require evidence of vaccination prior to undertaking professional experience at the site.

State law in Queensland (Australia) requires that all adults working/undertaking professional experience/researching with children under the age of 18, are required to hold a current Positive Exemption Card (Blue Card) or hold a valid Working with Children Check. Students in other Australian states or in overseas contexts need to ensure they have complied with the equivalent requirements and have registered the details with the UniSQ Education Placement Office.

Recognition of prior learning or work experience

You may be eligible for recognition of prior learning if you have previously studied or have relevant work experience. This will help to reduce the number of courses that you need to study to finish your program.


UniSQ offers a number of bachelor degrees for you to study to help you meet the entry requirements for your chosen degree.

Note: This Graduate Diploma does not lead to teaching in primary or secondary schools and graduates are not eligible to apply for teacher registration in Queensland. For more information about the qualifications required to teach in schools, please refer to the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) or the Master of Learning and Teaching (Early Years).

Degree structure

To complete this degree students must complete 8 units.

Courses to be studied Units
Core courses 8
Total 8

Refer to the UniSQ Handbook for courses to be studied and recommended enrolment patterns.

Professional experience

You will also gain practical experience during the following placements:

  • 20 days with children aged 3 -5 years (Kindergarten)
  • 10 days with children aged from birth to 35 months
  • 30 days with children before they start formal schooling or another approved context. 

Fees and scholarships

Your actual fees may vary depending on the courses you select. We review our fees annually so these may be subject to change.

Approximate annual costs1 for your first year of study (8 units) in this degree are:

Study Mode Cost
Commonwealth supported

The Federal Government contributes to the cost of your course and you need to pay a student contribution.

AUD 4445
Domestic full fee paying

You are responsible for the full cost of your course and are charged a tuition fee.

AUD 23600

1 These are indicative annual fees for 2024. 

Student services and amenities fees

You may need to pay student services and amenities (SA) fees as part of your course costs.

Professional experience costs

This degree includes a professional experience component that may involve travel, accommodation and meal expenses.

Loan to help you pay your fees

You may not have to pay your course (subject) fees upfront. HECS-HELP and FEE-HELP allows you to defer your fees until your income reaches a certain level. Find out if you are eligible for HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP.

You may also be eligible to receive financial support from Centrelink.


At UniSQ, we offer a range of scholarships to support your success at university. Find a scholarship that works for you.

How to apply

Complete your online application directly to UniSQ.

Study period  Application closing date Orientation  Study period start date Finish date
Trimester 1, 2025  Monday 10 February Monday 3 February  Monday 10 February  Friday 9 May
Trimester 2, 2025 Monday 26 May Monday 19 May Monday 26 May  Friday 22 August
Trimester 3, 2025 Monday 8 September Monday 1 September Monday 8 September Friday 5 December 

More information on applying key dates is available.

Further information

Discover further information on applying to study at UniSQ that is relevant to you.

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Got questions?


Begin your study journey today with the university rated 5/5 stars for graduates starting salaries* and start the degree that’s right for you.

*Good Universities Guide 2024

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