Edith Cowan University

Edith Cowan University

Edith Cowan University Details

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t is with great pleasure that I welcome you to Edith Cowan University.

At ECU we are guided by our values of integrity, respect, rational inquiry and personal excellence. Our focus on teaching and research is inspired by engagement and partnerships with those in the many communities we were established to serve.

Research at ECU extends knowledge and improves the quality of life for Australians and people across the globe. Our research priorities focus on solving real world problems across social, economic, physical and environmental domains.

Established in 1991, ECU has grown rapidly into a quality university with excellent student satisfaction and internationally recognised research.

Students and graduates at ECU are amongst the best in the world, with many fulfilling crucial roles in our society. Their outstanding achievements have been recognised throughout Australia and internationally through awards, grants, scholarships and prizes.

ECU is committed to widening participation and breaking down barriers that restrict entry to education, and we are continuing our work on the enhancement and development of alternative entry pathways to higher education.

We are a university that values diversity and this is exemplified by our multicultural student cohort spanning a wide range of ages. We also support gender equality and ECU is advancing this commitment through our membership of the Athena SWAN Charter in Australia.

I encourage you to find out more about how ECU can help you reach your potential.

Professor Steve Chapman

Edith Cowan University (ECU) provides the ideal learning environment for people who want to reach their potential.

Located in Western Australia, our industry-relevant teaching and research, supportive study environment and award-winning facilities enable ECU students to do more than just survive in this world – they thrive in it.

Established in 1991, ECU took the opportunity to reshape the way higher education is delivered in a distinctive and inspiring campus environment.

ECU courses are developed in consultation with industry, and teaching staff have extensive industry experience and networks. It’s why ECU students can expect placement opportunities, fieldwork, practicums and networking events as part of their studies.

This approach has been rewarded with five-star ratings for teaching quality over the past seven years, along with consistently high ratings for graduate satisfaction and generic skills, as reported in the Good Universities Guide.

ECU’s world-class research strives to make a difference to the community in Western Australia and beyond. ECU focuses on working with our communities, business and government organisations to solve real-world problems.

The University was named after Edith Dirksey Cowan, the first woman to be elected to an Australian Parliament. Her life was dedicated to the belief that education was the key to growth, change and improvement in society.

Her example informs ECU’s values as we pride ourselves in developing capable graduates who lead engaged and productive lives in the communities in which they live and work.

At a glance

ECU has more than 27,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. We also annually welcome over 4,000 international students, originating from more than 100 countries.

From 2016, our eight Schools will collectively deliver more than 300 diverse courses across Health & Medical Sciences, Engineering, Education, Arts & Humanities, Business & Law, Nursing & Midwifery, Science and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Courses are offered on our three campuses – Joondalup and Mount Lawley in metropolitan Perth and the South West Campus at Bunbury, 200km south of the capital city. ECU also offers a comprehensive suite of online study options.

ECU incorporates the world-renowned Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, the oldest and most popular School of Education in Western Australia, the largest Nursing program in the State, and Kurongkurl Katitjin, our Centre for Australian Indigenous Education and Research.

Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties

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


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.

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