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  • Psychology & Social Science

    Psychology & Social Science

Psychology & Social Science

At ECU, we offer a range of diverse and nationally‑recognised courses across the areas of Psychology, Social Science, Speech Pathology, Counselling and Social Work.

Whether you want to explore the complexities of the human mind, improve people's ability to communicate, or provide advice, counselling services or assistance, there is an ECU course available to help you achieve your personal, professional and academic goals.

What's more, students have access to lecturers who are active researchers and experienced clinicians.

ECU research into women and workplace incivility

Research from ECU and the University of New England found that women experience disrespectful behaviour in the workplace more frequently than men, but that they tolerated it by working harder. Men tended to react by taking longer breaks away from work and taking spurious sick days. These findings were from a study of 317 Australian white collar workers that examined workplace incivility. Examples of incivility include refusing to acknowledge co-workers, gossip, rolling one's eyes at co-workers' suggestions, texting or emailing during meetings, making derogatory comments or insulting colleagues. Workplace incivility is considered a step down from bullying. However, the study showed that it still has a significant impact on the office environment and productivity and is therefore an issue that must be stopped as early as possible.

Social Work graduate wins WA Social Worker of the Year

Social Work graduate Felicity Creagh was named WA Social Worker of the Year at the 2011 Social Worker of the Year Awards.

The award was offered to Felicity for her passion for helping young mothers and her ability to provide constant encouragement; helping to change the lives of many young families.

Close Links With Industry

We have close links with the professions of psychology, children and family support, youth work, speech pathology, counselling, welfare and community work.

Our approach to teaching, as well as our course content, is guided by industry, the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council, the Australian Community Workers Association, the Australian Association of Social Workers, and many more.

ECU research into women and workplace incivility

Research from ECU and the University of New England found that women experience disrespectful behaviour in the workplace more frequently than men, but that they tolerated it by working harder. Men tended to react by taking longer breaks away from work and taking spurious sick days. These findings were from a study of 317 Australian white collar workers that examined workplace incivility. Examples of incivility include refusing to acknowledge co-workers, gossip, rolling one's eyes at co-workers' suggestions, texting or emailing during meetings, making derogatory comments or insulting colleagues. Workplace incivility is considered a step down from bullying. However, the study showed that it still has a significant impact on the office environment and productivity and is therefore an issue that must be stopped as early as possible.

Balance Work/Life Commitments and Study Online

Many of our undergraduate Psychology, Social Science and Social Work courses are available online, allowing students to balance work and study commitments.

Social Science and Social Work courses have an additional field work and/or workplace component which must be completed in an approved workplace.

Bachelor of Speech Pathology Receives Accreditation

ECU's Bachelor of Speech Pathology course has been awarded accreditation by the national professional body Speech Pathology Australia.

A panel of national accreditors reviewed areas such as course content and clinical training experiences provided to students, and were impressed by the program and facilities at ECU.

Award Winning Support Program For First Year Students

First year students have the added support of a nationally‑acclaimed, award‑winning peer mentoring program to help them settle into university life and study. This program links incoming students with second or third year students, to give them inside knowledge on how to succeed in their studies.

Why study Psychology?

If you are interested in how people think, feel and behave, study Psychology with us.

This fascinating area of study provides students with knowledge of how humans think, function and behave in a multitude of settings, and the various factors that can impact on normal function.

As a Psychologist, you can play an important role in ensuring the wellbeing of individuals, families and organisations.

The lowdown on our Social Science and Social Work Courses

Our Social Science and Social Work courses have a focus on professional practice that includes non-traditional and emerging study areas such as social justice, human rights, crime and inclusion.

Social Science and Social Work graduates will be able to provide much needed support to the community, based on the practical skills they acquire during the course.

Why study Speech Pathology with us?

Our Speech Pathology students gain the practical skills to help adults and children with communication and swallowing impairments.

As a Speech Pathology student, you will have access to early practicum experiences, small classes, the most up-to-date research in the area, and lecturers with extensive clinical and research backgrounds.

Accredited programs = qualifications with a difference

The Bachelor Social Work, offered at our South West (Bunbury) campus and online, provides a professional education in the field of social work, with graduates eligible for membership of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW).

All our undergraduate Psychology courses are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC) and on completion, students are eligible to apply for a fourth year of study from an accredited program.

We're leading the way in the growing community sector

We are the only university in WA to offer specialised majors in Children and Family Studies, Youth Work and Human Services within a Social Science program.

Our Social Science graduates have a range of career options ahead of them, particularly within the fast‑growing Community sector.

"ECU is the only uni in WA that offers the Children and Family Studies specialisation."

"As an Education Assistant, I wanted to gain a greater understanding of child development, so I decided on a Bachelor of Social Science at ECU. It's the only uni in WA that offers the Children and Family Studies specialisation. The course is designed to meet current industry requirements, and I have gained employment before I have even graduated! Initially, I was concerned about returning to study after being out of education for 20 years, but the extra support I received helped me adapt in no time."

Angela Sabitzer
Social Science student

Art helps build individual and community resilience

In 2012, Master of Social Science student Meagan Shand completed a research project exploring how participation in community arts contributed to building individual and community resilience.

The three-year project, initially launched in 2009, was such a success it expanded to include a public exhibition of all art works created over the three-year period. In addition, thanks to the assistance of a Capacity Building Grant from the Mental Health Commission, an online community art resource book was developed.

Ms Shand attributes her project's success to hard work, as well as the support of her ECU Research Supervisor, whose experience in the field and flexible approach aided her throughout her research journey.

The Psychology of Sport

Psychology and Social Science academic Dr Craig Harms assisted in preparing swimmers who competed in the 2012 Australian Olympic swimming trials in March 2012.

The squad utilised Dr Harm's background in the psychology of sport to help overcome the rigorous mental pressures and distractions associated with swimming at an Olympic level.

Dr Harms worked with the athletes in an effort to overcome their nerves and fight through the mental barriers they might experience on race day, acting as both their advisor and confidant.

Support for Indigenous parents in remote regions

School of Psychology and Social Science Senior Lecturer Dr Andrew Guilfoyle has received a Commonwealth grant to work in collaboration with Save the Children Australia in assessing the way Indigenous parents are supported in remote regions in Western Australia.

The Indigenous Parents Support (IPS) works with four Bardi Jawi communities and aims to enhance parenting skills, build more connected and resilient communities, reduce disadvantages due to isolation and increase social engagement among families.

Why study Social Science?

Social science is about the inter-relationships of communities, people and individuals within a society.

The principles of social justice, equity, gender and social inclusion are embedded within our Bachelor of Social Science course, with particular attention to the needs and empowerment of people who are vulnerable and oppressed in a society.

To assist and support students to be employment ready in their chosen field, professional practice is a major component of all Social Science majors.

International aphasia expert works with our Speech Pathology team

Leading stroke and aphasia researcher, Professor Audrey Holland, recently came to ECU from the University of Arizona as a Visiting Fellow to work with the Speech Pathology team in our School of Psychology and Social Science.

Professor Holland and the team developed two national competitive grant proposals and worked on ways to develop a clinical stroke service and research centre for people with aphasia, both at ECU and in the northern corridor of Perth.

Aphasia is a language impairment after stroke, which affects a person’s ability to speak, understand, read and write. Professor Holland is an internationally recognised expert in the field and has published widely on all aspects of aphasia and has been involved in the establishment of aphasia support centres across the US and the UK.

Double your options

Choosing to do a double major will broaden your expertise and career opportunities. A range of programs can be combined.

For example, combine traditional psychology with: business, criminology or children and family studies. Or if you are more interested in the social science area perhaps combine welfare and community work with youth work, addiction studies, counselling, women's studies or sport management to name but a few, and you will be eligible for membership of the Australian Institute of Welfare and Community Workers.

All our psychology courses are accredited by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council.

"Studying at ECU has opened up a world of opportunity for me."

"I started Psychology at ECU quite unsure of what I wanted out of university study. Thanks to the engaging, challenging and eye-opening experience of the courses of study I've undertaken, as well as the support of a very approachable and knowledgeable group of staff, I'm beginning a career in a field I'm very passionate about. I've had the opportunity to undertake a PhD, work as a research assistant on nationally and internationally recognised research projects, present my own research at conferences and meet with internationally recognised figures within my area of research interest."

Matt Merema
Clinical Psychology PhD student

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