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Edith Cowan University

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Academic staff


Total enrollment
27,500 (2015)

1 January 1991



+61 13 43 28

Hendy Cowan

Steve Chapman

Edith Cowan University

$772.8 million AUD (inc. devises)

270 Joondalup Dr, Joondalup WA 6027, Australia

Undergraduate tuition and fees
Domestic tuition: 16,600 AUD (2011), International tuition: 20,850 AUD (2011)

Notable alumni
Musa Aman, Anne Aly, Graham Watt, Farzad Sharifian, Joshua Oigara

Curtin University, Murdoch University, University of Western Australia, University of Notre Dame Au, Deakin University


Edith Cowan University (ECU) is an Australian public university located in Perth, Western Australia. It was named after the first woman to be elected to an Australian Parliament, Edith Cowan, and is the only Australian university named after a woman.


ECU is situated in Western Australia, with more than 27,000 students at undergraduate and postgraduate level, approximately 4,300 of whom are international students originating from over 100 countries outside Australia.

ECU was granted university status in 1991 and was formed from an amalgamation of teachers' colleges with a history dating back to 1902 when the Claremont Teachers College was established, making ECU the modern descendant of the first institution of higher education in Western Australia.

The university offers more than 300 courses across two metropolitan campuses, in Mount Lawley and Joondalup, and a regional campus in the South West, Bunbury, 200 km south of Perth; many courses are also offered for study online. Additionally, the university has partnerships with several education institutions to conduct courses and programs offshore.

Divisions of note include the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), recognised as one of Australia's prestigious performing arts training academies; the School of Nursing and Midwifery, which offers the largest undergraduate nursing program in WA and the School of Education which offers the widest range of secondary teaching specialisations within WA. The university is the largest provider of Psychology and Community Studies courses in Western Australia. ECU is also home to the WA Screen Academy.

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The origins of Edith Cowan University date back to 1902 with the establishment of Claremont Teachers College, the first tertiary education institution in Western Australia.

Other teacher training colleges were formed over the years, including Graylands Teachers College (GTC), the Western Australian Secondary Teachers College (WASTC), Nedlands College of Advanced Education (NCAE), Mount Lawley Teachers College (MLTC) and Churchlands Teachers College.

In 1982 these colleges were all merged to form the Western Australian College of Advanced Education (WACAE) - with campuses in Churchlands, Nedlands, Claremont, Bunbury and Joondalup.

Western Australian College of Advanced Education (WACAE) was granted university status on 1 January 1991 and changed its name to Edith Cowan University.

Edith Cowan University was named after the first woman to be elected to an Australian Parliament, Edith Dircksey Cowan, and is the only Australian university named after a woman. Cowan worked tirelessly to raise funds for students to attend universities in other states, prior to a university being built in Western Australia, obtaining government support for her scheme. Her work in this area was acknowledged by naming Western Australia's oldest education institution and newest university after her, as well as her image being added to the Australian $50 note.

Cowan believed that education was the key to growth, change and improvement and her contribution to the development of Western Australian education was significant. She strove to achieve social justice and campaigned for the rights of women, children and families, for the poor, the poorly educated and the elderly. She promoted sex education in schools, migrant welfare, and the formation of infant health centres, and was instrumental in obtaining votes for women in Western Australia.

In 1991, the university purchased the house that Cowan, her husband and family resided in for approximately 20 years. The house was reconstructed on the university's Joondalup Campus with the assistance of the West Coast College of TAFE, the reconstructed house was opened in 1997. Edith Cowan House, Building 20 on the university's Joondalup Campus, currently plays host to the Peter Cowan Writer's Centre.

Teaching Schools

The university has eight teaching schools

School of Business and Law Broad disciplines: Business and Law

School of Arts and Humanities Broad disciplines: Communication, Arts, Humanities, Psychology, Social Sciences, Social Work, Criminology and Justice

School of Education Broad disciplines: Teacher education for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary schools

School of Engineering Broad disciplines: Full range of Engineering specialisations

School of Medical and Health Sciences Broad disciplines: Exercise and Health Sciences, Medical Science, Biomedical Science, Speech Pathology and Paramedicine

School of Nursing and Midwifery Broad disciplines: Nursing and Midwifery

School of Science Broad disciplines: Biology and Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Biochemistry, Computing and Security Sciences

Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts Broad disciplines: Full range of performing arts and related specialities

Research Centres

The university has a number of research centres within its areas of research strength: Health and Wellness; Education; Environment and Sustainability; Electronic Engineering and ICT; Social and Community; Business and Society; Communications and Creative Arts; and Security, Law and Justice. Several of these research centres are categorised as Major National Research Facilities and WA Centres of Excellence in Science and Innovation.

Business and Society

  • Centre for Innovative Practice
  • Marketing and Services Research Centre
  • Communications and Creative Arts

  • Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
  • Dance Research Centre - Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
  • The ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation
  • Education

  • Centre for Schooling and Learning Technologies
  • Edith Cowan Institute for Education Research
  • Fogarty Learning Centre
  • Engineering and ICT

  • Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE)
  • Centre for Communications Engineering Research
  • Centre for Research in Information and Technology Systems
  • Electron Science Research Institute
  • National Networked Tele-Test Facility for Integrated Systems
  • The Western Australian Centres for Microscopy/Nanoscale Characterisation
  • Western Australian Centre of Excellence for MicroPhotonic Systems
  • Environment and Sustainability

  • Centre for Ecosystem Management
  • Centre for Marine Ecosystems Research
  • Consortium for Health and Ecology
  • Natural Resources Modelling and Simulation Research Group
  • The Western Australian Marine Science Institution
  • Health and Wellness

  • Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet
  • Centre of Excellence for Alzheimer's Disease Research and Care
  • Child Health Promotion Research Centre
  • Exercise and Sports Science Research Group
  • Melanoma Research
  • Parkinson's Centre
  • Population Health Research Group
  • The Systems and Intervention Research Centre for Health
  • VARIO Health Institute
  • WA Centre for Cancer and Palliative Care
  • Western Australian Centre of Excellence for Comparative Genomics
  • Security, Law and Justice

  • SECAU Security Research Centre
  • The Sellenger Centre for Research in Law, Justice and Policing
  • Social and Community

  • Centre for Indigenous Australian Knowledges
  • Centre for Social Research
  • Centre for Sustainable Regional Futures
  • Vice-Chancellors

    Professor Steve Chapman commenced as Vice-Chancellor in April 2015. Previous Vice-Chancellors include Kerry Cox (from 2006 to 2014) Professor Millicent Poole (from 1997 to 2005) and Professor Roy Lourens (from 1991 to 1997).

    Governing council

    The University Council is the governing body of the organisation which controls and manages the operation, affairs, concerns and property of the university, in accordance with its Corporate Governance Statement.

    The membership of the council is composed of people across various disciplines and groups as mandated under Part III, Sect. 9 of the Edith Cowan University Act 1984.

    Its membership includes persons appointed by the Governor of Western Australia, co-opted members, members of the academic and general staff of the university as elected by the members of these groups, and alumni and student guild representatives. With the exception of the Chancellor and students, members of council are elected for three-year terms, or in the case of a by-election for the balance of the current term. An elected member of the council may serve for up to three consecutive terms, after which they are subject to a twelve-month break before they may be reconsidered for council. Students elected to University Council hold office for a term of one year from the date their election takes effect, and are not eligible for re-election more than once.


    ECU has three campuses, consisting of two metropolitan campuses at Joondalup and Mount Lawley, and one at Bunbury, in Western Australia's South West Region. Programs are also offered at regional centres throughout Western Australia.

    The Joondalup Campus is the University's headquarters. Facilities on the campus include a new Health and Wellness Building, a multimillion-dollar sport and fitness centre, a new award winning library and student hub, an outdoor cinema screening Perth International Arts Festival Lotterywest Festival Films during the summer months and on-campus accommodation. The campus also forms part of the Joondalup Learning Precinct, which includes the West Coast College of TAFE and the Western Australian Police Academy. It is serviced by the Joondalup CAT and is close to the Mitchell Freeway.

    The Mount Lawley Campus is close to Perth's central business district. Facilities on the campus include extensive media training and performing arts facilities, a sport and fitness centre and on-campus accommodation. The campus also forms part of the Mount Lawley education precinct with the Mount Lawley Senior High School and is home to one of Australia's most successful and well known arts training institutions, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts(WAAPA).

    The South West Campus is located in Bunbury, two hours drive south of Perth. The South West Campus (Bunbury) is the largest university campus outside the metropolitan area and is part of an educational precinct comprising South West Institute of Technology and the Bunbury Health Campus which includes St John of God Hospital and South West Area Health Services. The campus has modern facilities, small class sizes, a comprehensive range of courses and on-campus accommodation.

    The university offers selected programs at various regional centres, including Broome, Geraldton and Margaret River. The Margaret River Education Campus opened in 2004 and is a collaborative project between ECU, Curtin University and the South West Regional College of TAFE. The campus's centrepiece is the Centre for Wine Excellence.

    The university formerly had two campuses in Perth's western suburbs - Churchlands and Claremont. These campuses were closed down in the mid-2000s with the Churchlands Campus becoming a residential estate and the Claremont Campus being acquired by the University of Western Australia.

    In 2014 the university opened the ECU Health Centre on Dundebar Road in Wanneroo. The Centre includes the Wanneroo GP Super Clinic, ECU Psychological Services Centre, pharmacy and allied health practitioners.

    Academic profile

    Study programs are offered at Associate Degree, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels in numerous subject areas. Additionally there are number of Vocational education courses offered by Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and several University Preparation Courses which prepare students for undergraduate study.

    The university offers more than 300 courses across its three Western Australian campuses, with some courses also offered for study off-campus (Distance Education).

    A significant number of ECU courses are unique to Western Australia and Australia - including Ocean Engineering, Arts Management, Aviation, the Home Economics specialisation in secondary teaching, Design and Technology secondary teaching, a double degree in Nursing and Midwifery, an accredited online Law degree.

    The university has partnerships with several education institutions to conduct courses and programs offshore in countries such as China, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Vietnam and Kenya

    Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ)

    The 2008 national Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ) reports that 92.1% of ECU's domestic and international Bachelor level graduates were satisfied with the quality of their course, with the national average at 88.5% and the Western Australia state average at 90.0%. The 2008 CEQ also reports that 89.6% of ECU's domestic and international Bachelor level graduates were satisfied with the teaching experience during their course, with the national average at 82.8% and the Western Australia state average at 85.0%.

    Graduate Destination Survey

    The 2008 national Graduate Destination Survey reports that 84.7% of ECU's domestic Bachelor level graduates are in full-time employment with the national average at 86.01% and the state average at 87.9%.


    The 2016 Good Universities Guide rates ECU five stars, the highest star rating, for teaching quality and graduate starting salary. The 2016 QS World University Rankings listed ECU in the 701+ band, putting the university in the top five per cent of universities worldwide. ECU is also named in The Times Higher Education 150 Under 50, a list of the best universities in the world under the age of 50.


    ECU has more than 27,000 students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. More than 4,300 international students originating from more than 100 countries study with ECU each year. This includes the offshore delivery of a variety of courses in a number of countries, student and staff exchange programs with other universities, joint research activities, international consultancies and individual academic links.

    Guilds and Student Associations

    All students are represented by the ECU Student Guild. This includes Postgraduate students, under the Postgraduate Studies Department, and International students under the International Students' Council.

    There are a range of academic groups and associations for undergraduate students of particular disciplines, including: Boomerang@ECU (Advertising); Dead Pilot's Society Superseded by Edith Cowan Aviators (ECA) as found on the social networking site Facebook; ECU Engineers (EEC); ECU Society of Psychology and Social Science (ECUSPSS); Sports Science @ ECU; Town Planning Student Association; ECU Nurses; Society Of Security Science (SOSS); NorthLaw Society (NLS); ECU Public Relations Chapter; Computer and Security Science Association (CASSA); ML Education (Primary Education); Early Childhood Collective and Arts Management Student Organisation (AMSO); Western Australian Student Paramedics (WASP) and more.

    Along with the student associations, there are various social and sporting clubs that are affiliated with ECU Sport or the Guild. Some of these include: ECU Badminton Club, Tennis Club, Jack of Arts, Enactus, Buddhist Youth Club, ECU Parties and Events, Humans vs Zombies, Nerd Space, ECU Cheerleading Club, ECU Quidditch Club, The Sound, Touch Football, Mixed Netball, and more.

    Notable people

    Notable alumni of ECU include:

  • Ahmed Adeeb, former Vice President of the Maldives
  • Anne Aly, political scholar and counter-terrorism expert
  • Musa Aman, the chief minister of the Malaysian state of Sabah
  • Darren Beazley, sports administrator
  • Donna Burke, singer and voice actress
  • Alistair Edwards, former Australian international soccer player
  • Mark Gasser, concert pianist
  • Omolola Ladele, leading Nigerian academic and current provost of Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education
  • Terry Mills, former Chief Minister of the Northern Territory
  • Joshua Oigara, Group CEO of the Kenya Commercial Bank Group
  • John Paterson, Aboriginal leader and advocate
  • Christopher Phillips, writer
  • Farzad Sharifian, linguist
  • David Scott; educationist, former headmaster of Kingswood College and Newington College
  • Gregory Sica, sports writer
  • Kris Stewart, theatre producer
  • David Templeman, politician
  • Graham Watt, politician
  • Danielle Wood, writer
  • Actors who graduated from WAAPA: Hugh Jackman, Frances O'Connor, Jai Courtney, Dominic Purcell, Lisa McCune, Marcus Graham, William McInnes, Lucy Durack, Emma Matthews, Eddie Perfect, Tim Minchin and Simon Lyndon;
  • Notable academics, including former faculty and staff members, include:

  • Anne Aly
  • Alexandre Da Costa, Associate Professor of Classical Music - Strings
  • Chris Edmund, former Head of Acting at WAAPA
  • Kamran Eshraghian, electronics engineer and expert in the field of VLSI
  • Mark Gasser
  • Geoff Gibbs (1940 - 2006), founding dean of dramatic arts and principal of WAAPA
  • David W. Goodall, believed to be Australia's oldest working scientist
  • Colleen Hayward, Head of Kurongkurl Katitjin, Centre for Indigenous Australian Education and Research, and 2009 inductee into the Hall of Fame at the Aboriginal Awards of Achievement
  • Cat Hope, Associate Dean of Research at WAAPA
  • Linda Kristjanson, Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology
  • Geoffrey Lancaster, world-renowned fortepianist
  • Ralph Martins, Chair in Aging and Alzheimers and named WA Australian of the Year for 2010;
  • Craig Valli, 2010 Achiever of the Year Award, Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunications Awards (WAITTA);
  • Julie Warn, director of WAAPA
  • Graham Wood, Dean of Teaching and Learning at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
  • References

    Edith Cowan University Wikipedia

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