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  • Exercise & Health Sciences

    Exercise & Health Sciences

Exercise & Health Sciences

Exercise and Health Sciences encompasses a number of exciting areas of study, including health science, exercise and sports science, occupational therapy, and sports science and football. Students have access to state‑of‑the‑art facilities including occupational therapy suites and specialised laboratories for exercise and sports science, occupational safety and health, and nutrition, all of which allow students to put the theory into practice. Courses can lead to rewarding careers in health promotion, nutrition, occupational safety and health, exercise and sports science, occupational therapy, and more.

ECU's Elite Athlete Program

As a member of the Elite Athlete Friendly University (EAFU) network, ECU aims to support elite athletes in achieving and balancing both their academic and sporting pursuits. Through our Elite Athlete Program, supported by the Australian Sports Commission, we're encouraging the next generation of sporting stars to strive for personal excellence in all aspects of their life.

Occupational Therapy teaching suites

Our Occupational Therapy students have access to three well‑equipped occupational therapy laboratories with specialised equipment for students to learn hands‑on skills in physical rehabilitation, assistive technology and communication. These laboratories combine with a range of impressive facilities to create a state‑of‑the‑art learning environment.

Exercise and Sports Science at ECU

ECU's Exercise and Sports Science course is fully accredited by Exercise Sports Science Australia (ESSA). Students have the option to complete an additional year of study via our Exercise Science and Rehabilitation course, which enables graduates to gain accreditation as an exercise physiologist through ESSA.

ECU offers a range of specialised health and sporting facilities, all fully equipped with state-of-the-art equipment. Our range of purpose-built laboratories cater to the different functions in exercise and sports science such as biomechanics, strength and conditioning, performance analysis and skill acquisition.

Health Science students travel abroad

Every year, our Health Science students have the opportunity to take part in international practicum placement in Bali. In collaboration with Health Communication Resources (HCR), students reside and work in a Balinese village for three weeks.

The placement offers students an inside look at international healthcare programs, enabling them to further develop their studies and skills in community development and health promotion.

OSH students undertake practical workplace learning

In 2012, Health Science students majoring in Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) were offered first-hand experience in the field, as well as networking opportunities and potential employment prospects thanks to an initiative created by Viridian Glass and ECU.

Located in Jandakot, Viridian Glass is Australia's largest glass provider, and gave ECU students valuable practical experience including an OSH induction, extensive site tour, and a review of a current job safety analysis.

Students were also given the opportunity to ask Viridian Glass General Manager, Gabriel Tana, about how OSH practices are implemented in the workplace.

Strength and Conditioning laboratory

Our strength and conditioning laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility that has the capacity to conduct training studies and evaluate neuromuscular performance. The lab contains a custom isometric testing device which utilises an Advanced Mechanical Technology Incorporated (AMTI) force plate to measure ground reaction forces, as well as Electromyography (EMG) technology to investigate neuromuscular performance.

ECU receives Environmental Health accreditation

In March 2012, our Environmental Health major received national accreditation by Environmental Health Australia and the WA Environmental Health Officers Professional Review Board.

The Environmental Health major is a specialist stream within the Bachelor of Health Science course. It was developed in consultation with local WA employers of Environmental Health Officers, and was mapped against EnHealth criteria for Environmental Health Practitioners.

Hands-On Training Through the Spinal Injury Centre

We've recently announced an exciting partnership with Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA), resulting in the creation of the "Walk On" rehabilitation program, based at ECU's Health and Wellness Institute.

The Centre will provide access to hands‑on training to both ECU staff and students from the Exercise Science and Rehabilitation course, allowing them to develop specific rehabilitation exercises.

ECU's Human Performance Centre

Our Human Performance Centre (HPC) provides undergraduate students studying courses including the Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Sports Science) and the Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science and Rehabilitation) with the chance to get involved in sporting and health‑related activities to gain practical experience. Students can put what they have learned in their classes into practice within the community, including sporting teams and elite athletes.

Putting theory into practice

"As part of my Health Promotion Course I participated in a practicum in Bali. I was able to put the theory I’d learned within my course into practice by helping create public service announcements for radio and promoting environmental, anti-smoking and nutrition messages."

"It was a hugely rewarding and humbling experience. I’ve now been accepted to study in Canada, which will help me establish even more allied health contacts to assist my future career."

Irene Cullen
ECU Health Science student

New-Look Strength and Conditioning Laboratory

Our strength and conditioning laboratory is a state-of-the-art facility that has the capacity to conduct training studies and evaluate neuromuscular performance. The lab contains a custom isometric testing device which utilises an Advanced Mechanical Technology Incorporated (AMTI) force plate to measure ground reaction forces, as well as Electromyography (EMG) technology to investigate neuromuscular performance.

Innovative research into the reduction of muscle pain

In 2012, researchers from ECU's School of Exercise and Health Sciences investigated the effectiveness of electromagnetic therapy in treating musculoskeletal conditions. The research tested the effectiveness of a new hand held 'e-cell' device as small as a computer mouse to ease muscle pain within 30 minutes of use. The results indicated that 'e-cell' treatment significantly enhanced the recovery of muscle function, including a rapid return of strength and range of motion, and greatly reduced swelling and tenderness. Since the research took place, it's been suggested that the e-cell could even assist in the treatment of post-operative care for joint replacements.

Understanding school students by assessing their sporting activities

In an effort to improve the depth of investigation into how school sports participation influences athlete development in Australia, Exercise and Health Sciences lecturer Dr Nimphius has embarked on a five-year study investigating fitness and physiological changes among students who play sport supported by the school to better understand how the students change, grow and become more fit.

The research, which commenced in 2012, involves studying students from Darling Range Sports College, which has students specialising in a variety of sports including Australian Rules football, cricket, soccer, rugby union, netball, swimming and baseball. The testing involves both standard and innovative measures that will provide one of the most extensive descriptions of physical fitness, performance capacitance and health in adolescents, and could also provide insights into the benefits of school sports programs on health.

ECU Sports Science and Football (Soccer) course

Our Bachelor of Science (Sports Science and Football) course is the only one of its kind in Australia. It offers a solid foundation of both science and football‑related units including Physiology, Performance Analysis and Advanced Coaching and Leadership and Management in Football. The qualification can lead to careers in areas such as football coaching, sports coaching, sports science, physiology and teaching.

A job secured before graduating

With professional experience and a Diploma of Occupational Health & Safety under her belt, Shaydeen Thompson decided she wanted to further enhance her skills and career, and so returned to study, commencing an undergraduate degree in Occupational Health & Safety with us.

Due to her professional and academic background, Shaydeen completed her three year undergraduate degree in just two years.

What's more, she completed her final three units online, rather than coming to campus, so she could work full-time.

Before officially graduating, Shaydeen secured a position with a renowned integrated energy company, which she commenced in February this year.

Research that's on the pulse of muscle therapy

School of Exercise and Health Sciences' Professor Nosaka and Master of Science (Sports Science) student Henry Banyard are investigating the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMFT)for exercise-induced muscle damage that typically experienced by athletes.

The technique is being used with volunteers, in whom delayed onset muscle soreness has been induced by eccentric exercise of the elbow flexors. If the treatment proves to have benefits, it could offer a relatively cheap and portable addition to the range of treatments available to our elite athletes.

Work/Life balance - a great success!

Mature-age student Michelle Tegg returned to university after deferring for four years to care for her family. Tackling her studies head on, she attended both TAFE and university consecutively, completing her Exercise & Sports Science qualification with us part-time.

In her final year of study, Michelle received some unexpected news: she was due to have her fourth child.

Studying until only a few months before her baby was due to arrive, she deferred for one semester, then returned to University to complete her qualification with flying colours!

Michelle has now commenced postgraduate studies with us!

Exercise & Sports Science - Nationally Accredited by ESSA

Our Exercise & Sports Science course was the first Sports Science course in WA to be fully accredited by Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA).

Students completing a Sports Science program at ECU also have the option of doing a fourth year in rehabilitation, offering a Bachelor of Science (Exercise Science & Rehabilitation) qualification.

This offers students immediate accreditation as an "Exercise Physiologist" through ESSA.

Promising ECU Researcher Awarded a Research Scholarship by the Cancer Council

PhD in Sports Science student, Greg Levin, was recently awarded a top-up Ancillary PhD Scholarship by the Cancer Council of Western Australia.

The $12,000 scholarship supports the work of promising young PhD students with a research interest in cancer, and will allow Greg to conduct research into the effects of exercise on the mental health and quality of life of cancer survivors.

Greg is currently working with the team at ECU's Health and Wellness Institute, and hopes to understand why and how cancer survivors experience a boost in self‑esteem and quality‑of‑life when they combine exercise with their treatments.

Exercise and Sports Science facilities

Our Exercise and Sports Science area operates a number of laboratories in each of its program areas which are fully-equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, available for use by undergraduate and postgraduate students, in Australia.

Each purpose-built lab is catered to the different functions in biomedical science such as biomechanics and digitising, exercise physiology, rehabilitation, phlebotomy, human movement, motor control, strength and conditioning and skill acquisition.

Nutrition Laboratories

Our Nutrition labs play an essential part of our nutrition courses:

  • The dedicated Nutrition Food laboratory is designed for students to work on practical projects involving food. The multifunctional lab has a food demonstration and teaching area, computing stations for dietary analysis and diet development and individual or group work areas for food preparation, cooking and tasting and food analysis. Students have access to equipment such as microwave / convection heating facilities, gas hotplates, modern freezers and automatic dishwashers.
  • The Nutritional Assessment laboratory provides a range of equipment for teaching and learning for both undergraduate and postgraduate students, including anthropometric equipment for nutrition assessments. The lab reflects a realistic hospital setting with high tech equipment for measuring body composition and metabolic rate and analysing blood samples. It is fully functional for dietary and physical assessments which can be undertaken in the privacy of a clinical cubicle. Students have access to technical equipment and can undertake assessments of community clients. Dietary analysis software is used in order to give immediate paper based feedback to clients.

Occupational Therapy facilities

We have three well-equipped occupational therapy laboratories and teaching resources in the new Health and Wellness Building on our Joondalup Campus.

The laboratories have specialised equipment for students to learn hands‑on skills in physical rehabilitation, assistive technology and communication technology. They labs combine with a range of impressive facilities to create an environment that is supportive, colourful and fun.

Vario Wellness Clinic - Open to the community

Our Vario Wellness Clinic is staffed by allied health professionals and is open to the community for consultation.

You can book consultations for physiotherapy, dietetics, psychology, clinical psychology and exercise physiology.

The clinic also runs a range of programs designed for specific health conditions and populations. Programs include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Weigh 2 Go Kids
  • Fighting Fit Veterans
  • Living Longer Living Stronger
  • Parkinson's

Please see the Vario Wellness Clinic website for information on services.


"My progress has been supported by some of the finest Sports Science researchers in the field."

"ECU has given me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of engaging in innovative research into athletic performance. I hope my contribution will lead to significant improvements in the upper limits of athletic performance. The Sports Science discipline at ECU employs some of the finest researchers in the field. In addition to excellent supervision and support, the facilities are second to none."

Prue Cormie
Sports Science postgraduate student

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