Apply for Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs

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Complex Communication Needs

Graduate certificate

Effective communication supports can promote autonomy and human rights for people with complex communication needs.

Course outline
  • Qualification
    Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs
  • Duration


    1 year part-time
  • Credit


  • Location


    Curtin Perth
Course outline

Deadlines for applying direct to Curtin

Select your preferred campus:

Intake Application open Application close

Semester 1, 2024

1 May 2023

Applications now closed!

Semester 1, 2025

Applications now open!

6 February 2025

Course outline



The Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs is designed for those passionate about fostering robust communication support systems. This course addresses the nuances of creating person-centred systems that enhance communication for both children and adults who benefit from additional communication supports.

You’ll explore the complexity of how to integrate augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in systems of support, emphasising the importance of autonomous communication. With a blend of theory and practical insights, learners will be equipped to not just understand but also shape the narrative around complex communication needs.

Whether you're a healthcare professional, an educator, or a policymaker, with the Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs, you are primed to make a significant difference in the lives of those with communication support needs.

Boost your career

With the rising demand in the disability sector, this course positions you to lead the way in ensuring communication accessibility.

Transition to specialised roles

If you're looking to specialise in complex communication needs, this course provides a comprehensive foundation to develop your expertise and skills.

What jobs can the Complex Communication Needs course lead to?


  • Clinical Practice Expert
  • Disability Support Leader
  • Communication Policy Advisor


  • Disability organisations
  • Healthcare institutions
  • Education services
  • Government departments

With the Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs, you are primed to make a significant difference in the lives of those with communication support needs.

What you'll learn

  • critically analyse and evaluate contemporary understanding of the concepts and principles supporting quality of life utilising human rights frameworks and a biopsychosocial model, with a focus on enhanced wellbeing, co-regulation and proactive supports that meet underlying needs.
  • identify, analyse and discriminate the range of individual, social and environmental factors that contribute to the experiences and underlying needs of people with communication support needs or behaviour that can be seen to be of concern.
  • understand and apply skills in a practice leadership role, coaching the support networks of people who have communication support needs, to develop multimodal communication strategies that are meaningful and accessible.
  • assess and facilitate implementation of evidenced based supports that are person centred and build the capability of support networks and environments.
  • understand and develop practical skills in addressing the complexity of accessing language and autonomous communication via AAC for children and adults who experience multiple barriers to typical language and communication development.
  • recognise potential or current aversive, abusive or restrictive practices within the field of Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and communication support.
  • demonstrate advanced knowledge and critical appreciation of the impact of values, system culture, beliefs, attitudes and ethical principles on the understanding of people’s underlying needs, neurodiversity, human rights, behaviour and communication support needs.
  • apply skills in developing the capability of support networks to build and implement communication and literacy accessible environments to enhance quality of life through informed decision making, consent, self-advocacy and relationships.

Why study Complex Communication Needs

Complementary learning opportunity

Graduates can expand their credentials by undertaking an additional two units to earn a Graduate Certificate in Positive Behaviour Support. These synergistic courses share foundational units, while offering specialisations relevant to each certificate.

Industry experts

Led by academics with industry experience, including from people with disabilities, means you’ll learn from people with a deep understand of how optimal communication can be supported.

Co-design excellence

This course is uniquely co-designed with industry experts (Microboards Australia) and individuals with lived experience of disability, ensuring relevance and deep insight.

Admission criteria

What you need in order to get into this course. There are different pathway options depending on your level of work and education experience.

Specifically, students require a bachelor of masters level degree in a related discipline across social or health sciences from a recognised tertiary institution OR a certificate III or IV qualification in a relevant area plus 5 years of previous experience working in providing disability services, in a job role involving the self-directed application of knowledge planning and implementation, with substantial depth in the specialised area of practice.

Application Requirements

Credit for recognised learning (CRL)

Use your experience to get credit towards your degree

Finish your course sooner with credit for your previous study or work experience.

Fees and charges

Domestic fee paying postgraduate

2024 Fee year:




Fees are indicative only.

* Based on a first-year full-time study load of 100 credits. The total cost will depend on your course options (i.e. units selected and time taken to complete).

Looking for more detail on the course structure?

View course structure


For start dates, please view the academic calendar.

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Semester 1
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Semester 1
  • Online

All endeavours are made to ensure location information for courses is up to date but please note they are subject to change.

The University reserves the right to withdraw any unit of study or program which it offers, to impose limitations on enrolment in any unit or program, and/or to vary arrangements for any program.

How to apply

Please review information on how to apply for the campus of your choice

Please note that each campus has different application deadlines. Please view our application deadlines page for further information.

  • The offering information on this website applies only to future students. Current students should refer to faculty handbooks for current or past course information.

    The information on this page may be subject to change. In particular, Curtin University may change the content, method or location of delivery or tuition fees of courses.

    While Curtin uses reasonable efforts to ensure that the information provided on this page is accurate and up to date, errors and omissions sometimes occur. Curtin makes no warranty, representation or undertaking (expressed or implied) nor does it assume any legal liability (direct or indirect) for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information.

    View courses information disclaimer.

  • Curtin course code: GC-COMCN
  • Last updated on: 14 June 2024

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Apply for Graduate Certificate in Complex Communication Needs