Research areas

Accessibility links

Research areas


The Faculty of Arts, Business and Law supports research in the following areas:

Accident research

Fatality-Free-Friday.jpg Our accident and safety-related research focuses on understanding and enhancing system performance in order to improve safety and  remove threats to public health. Underpinned by a human factors systems approach and focusing on public health and safety-related issues, we research in transportation (road, rail, aviation, maritime), workplace safety, disaster preparedness, response and recovery, defence, and outdoor recreation. For more information refer to USC's Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems and the Adolescent Risk Research Unit.


Research strengths in accounting include accounting education, accounting regulation, audit committees, balanced scorecard, behavioural accounting research, behavioural finance, corporate governance, earnings quality, financial reporting, forensic accounting, management accounting, sustainability accounting.

Art and digital design

Design LightboxIn the field of art and digital design, research includes studies of Aboriginal art and culture, environmental and contemporary art, aesthetics, curatorship, visual culture and visual literacy, as well as a range of applied design fields including graphic design, 3D design, 3D printing and fabrication, electronic media design, photo media, imaging and video technologies, game development, mobile gaming, application design, information design and visualisation.

Climate change

Tristanpearce 220X140Global environmental change has a number of dramatic consequences for local communities and other sectors of society. Managing global challenges such as climate change requires understanding of a range of areas including sensitivity, vulnerability, risk, adaptation and adaptive capacity in order to create resilient societies. For more information refer to the Sustainability Research Centre.

Coastal management

National Projects Coastal ManagementMost of the world’s population is located in coastal regions. Integrated coastal management is a globally recognised approach to managing coastal pressures and creating sustainable coastal livelihoods. Our research investigates social and ecological systems, institutional arrangements, community engagement, livelihoods, and community development. For more information refer to the Sustainability Research Centre.

Communication and media studies

Research in communication and media studies includes areas such as new communications technologies, screen production cultures, national identity and communication policy, convergence, and industry education. With a strong focus on practice-led research, researchers examine and analyse industries and issues that have recently undergone a period of rapid technological, regulatory and economic change.


Psych_Clinic_13.jpgCounselling and psychotherapy are applied professional disciplines and our research focus is oriented to practical. Research areas include: the therapeutic relationship, counsellor education, counsellor identity, cultural diversity in counselling, marriage and family counselling, supervision in counselling, Jungian psychotherapy, positive psychology and mindfulness practices, somatic psychology and body, mind/spirit integration, problem gambling, addictions, violence and crime prevention, situation harm reduction, suicide, grief and loss, client-directed and outcome-informed counselling, mental health, aged care, case study research and transpersonal psychotherapy.

Creative writing

Creative Writing Academics 220X140Research of, and within, creative writing covers a broad range of genres—such as writing fiction for adults, young adults and children—and forms—such as short story collections, novels, illustrated novels, graphic novels and illustrated books. Research in the field of creative writing includes the production of a creative artefact (such as noted above) and an exegesis (a theoretical accompaniment exploring the innovation, derivation and significance of the creative artefact).


Drama StudentsResearch of, and within, drama covers a broad range of areas including: theatrical scripts, theatrical performances, applied theatre, cabaret performances, actor training, performer training, performance art, and general performance studies. Research in the field of drama includes the production of a creative artefact (such as noted above) and an exegesis (a theoretical accompaniment exploring the innovation, derivation and significance of the creative artefact).

Entrepreneurship and innovation

IMG 2066If entrepreneurship is your focus, consider researching in entrepreneurial attitudes, abilities and intentions, risk recognition and risk reduction. Other interest areas are start-up innovation, strategies for commercialising technological innovation, venture capital, intellectual property rights, organisational competence, new venture management, entrepreneurship, strategic management, venture capital financing, eBusiness, technological and organisational evolution, innovation diffusion, and social entrepreneurship.


IstanbulGeography is the study of the interactions between humans and their environments in different places, regions and spaces. Its holistic understanding of society and the environment is used to explore where, how and why different cultures, political systems, social groups, economic systems, landscapes and environments have emerged in different places or at different scales, and what this means for our collective future. It is particularly useful for the global cross-cutting challenges of our time such as ensuring sustainability, engaging with global diversity, and counteracting inequities and access to resources of marginalised peoples within and between different nations. Our geography research includes animal geography, children’s geographies, Indigenous peoples’ engagement in environmental management, rural and regional geography, environmental geography, and cultural geography.

Historical studies

Expertise in historical research includes education, exhibitions and museums, gender relations, heritage studies, labour history, world history, Indigenous history, macrohistory and social change, migration, race relations, transnational history, Italian history, political history, sport history, history of emotions, social and cultural history, and oral history.

Indigenous studies

Indigenous studies is an area of importance to all Australians in order to fully bring about equity and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all areas of Australian life. Indigenous studies focuses on the cultures, histories, rights, interests, knowledge and perspectives of Indigenous peoples throughout the world. It also incorporates the intercultural spaces of colonialism, neocolonialism and postcolonialism with particular attention to racism, and the global and national state structures and processes that impact on Indigenous peoples, incorporating a 

focus on Indigenous peoples’ responses to these. Current research expertise lies in research around land/territories (eg Indigenous peoples and sustainable livelihoods, protected areas, climate change); cultural, heritage and identity studies (eg place-based identity, self-concept, representation and art, curatorial and museum studies); the cultural, social, historical, and institutional systems and contexts that affect Indigenous peoples (eg local knowledge, governance, racism studies, community aspirations, industry practices), and education (eg reconciliation, cultural competency, educational transition pathways). For more information refer to Indigenous Studies Research Theme.


IT006 220x140.jpgInformatics plays a vital role in business and can explore the following business and health related non–technical topics: business analytics, business value of information technology, change management, electronic business, electronic commerce and the digital economy, end-user computing training and support, ICT work-arounds such as feral information systems and Information Systems (IS) management such as information system planning, strategy formulation and effectiveness measures.

Interactive technologies and games

Engage Lab 220X140Take your part in shaping the digital future by researching computer games, serious games, games for health and wellbeing, smartphone and tablet technologies, social media, biometric sensing and feedback, adaptive technologies, affective computing (emotion research), interactive art, visual communication, human-computer interaction, gamification, alternative reality gaming, gesture-based interaction, speech technologies, simulation, and 3D printing. Join our researchers working with emerging technologies and collaborating with international high-tech companies on large-scale technologies to change the world. For more information refer to the Engage Research Cluster.

International economics and finance

Rapid globalisation has led to increased interdependence among countries. Issues attracting the attention of researchers include the impact of foreign direct investment on firm productivity, product quality and exports. Other areas of research include firm capital structure, international finance issues such as exchange rate exposure puzzle, and the finance and development nexus.

Internet media studies

Internet media studies researches how the lines between real and virtual, traditional and new are being blurred through 'prosumer/produser' interactivity. Research in this multi-disciplinary area examines the shifting notion of power and the flow of cultural meanings and artefacts and their legal, ethical, social and political implications on the wellbeing of individuals, communities and society at large.


_K0Y1770.jpgResearch in journalism addresses issues such as studies of journalists’ professional views, comparative studies of journalists and the media, international journalism, media coverage of disasters and death, journalism theory, journalism and conflict, Indigenous journalism, lifestyle journalism, journalism education, online journalism, citizen and participatory journalism, the role of social media in journalism and the relationship between public relations and journalism.

Management and international business 

USC-1Nov13-005.jpgIn management, choose to research supply  chain management, value chain, leadership, organisational and professional commitment, organisational behaviour and work-related values / value congruence, organisational conflict, organisational development, organisational learning, performance measures, regional development, small business management, strategic management, HRM practices, workforce diversity, health administration management, strategy, team dynamics, total quality management, global culture dynamics, cultural change and environmental management systems.


Prawn Farming_03.jpgYou can research in consumer behaviour, marketing education, services marketing and social marketing, in a variety of contexts (local, national and international), using a wide variety of methodological approaches.




Natural resource management

DV WaterholeThe use, preservation and management of  natural resources is contested between various stakeholders and interests. Focus areas include decision-making, planning, sustainable tourism, and monitoring and evaluation. As part of our water governance team, you can also research into governance of water resources, institutional arrangements, stakeholder perspectives, attitudes and values. For more information refer to the Sustainability Research Centre.


Urban-Courtyard.jpgPlanning research focuses on integration between land-use planning and transport, ageing in place and affordable housing, coastal governance, planning for climate change, water demand planning, and the effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution. For more information refer to Sustainability Research Centre.

Politics and international relations

Political research includes areas such as Australian politics and foreign policy, citizenship, social movements, electoral policy, public policy and public sector management, governance, human rights, Indonesia–Australia relations, Japan– Australia relations, Japanese politics, Northeast Asian security, Japanese security issues, Australia in Asia and international relations theory.

Property economics and development

As an enduring and tangible asset, property is the popular investment choice for wealth creation. For some, it provides an investment opportunity, for others a place to work, rest or play, but for all it is an integral part of our environment. Our research focus is on optimising decision-making processes as well as influencing urban development and land-use in our region.


Research in psychology addresses the mental process of human behaviour. Our expertise covers relationships and communication between  mothers and daughters; gaming psychology; phenylketonuria (PKU) and mental health; alcohol and other drug use; body image, diet and exercise; cognition, including attention and memory; cognitive development; metacognition, anxiety and trauma conditions; cultural and cognitive perspectives on hope; health psychology across the lifespan; positive psychology factors as predictors of health, work-life balance; professional ethics; clinical psychology; refugee mental health and wellbeing; social inclusion; social psychological determinants of protective health behaviour; and sport and exercise psychology.

Public communication and promotion

In the interdisciplinary area of public communication and promotion, research draws from communication and media studies, public relations, advertising,  health promotion and social marketing to question and examine the construction, representation, circulation and reception of promotional discourses and symbols including edutainment in the public arena. The field deconstructs public and commercial campaigns and engages with public/audience responses and participation in an increasingly mediatised and viral environment.

Public relations and advocacy

Research in public relations and advocacy explores the complex relationship between and among social entities such as government, non- government and business organisations, including nations of diverse political leanings, via critical and empirical work. Explore research such as the global news media in international conflicts, the use of social and alternative media for citizen journalism and grassroots advocacy, the impact of new and emerging media on the identities of public individuals and organisations, or how soft power and diplomacy are deployed in issues management and damage control.

Social sciences

Papua-1.jpgSocial science is fundamentally concerned with human social relations, and research in this area is orientated towards issues of social inclusion, inequality and justice. Our research investigates alcohol and drug dependencies, Australian racism and anti-racism, child protection, counselling (child, adolescent and family) and therapeutic practice frameworks, development and underdevelopment in the global south, rural and regional development, welfare and public policy, marginalised children and young people, families, gender, health, mental health, aged  care, disabilities, cultural diversity, environmental sustainability, gambling, globalisation, grief and loss, migration, organisational change, religion, futures studies, work, employment, state policy and Indigenous issues, social theory and research methodology, and violence and crime prevention.

Social work

Social work research at USC draws on social science knowledge and methods including newer, innovative approaches such as critical reflection to develop creative responses to social issues. Critical research aims to generate knowledge   that contributes to a more socially just, equitable, democratic and sustainable world. Critical approaches to research are used to: analyse social policies; power relations and oppressive practices that lead to social, political, cultural or gendered disadvantage faced by vulnerable citizens, groups and communities; formulate creative responses to social disadvantage and inequality; promote human rights; and promote ethical standards.


UNWTO Regional ConferenceThe core focus of sustainability aligns with  the social, behavioural and economic sciences. In addressing concerns of society and the environment, this important transdisciplinary research area offers a broad spectrum of opportunity. Combine research across a range of disciplines to explore your own view of this transforming concept. For more information refer to the Sustainability Research Centre.

Tourism, leisure and events

Indonesia 220X140Conduct research in tourism, leisure and events within the idyllic tourist destination of Queensland's Sunshine Coast, and in partnerships with government and private enterprise locally, nationally and internationally. Our research covers marine and coastal tourism, culinary tourism and events, event portfolio management, Asia-Pacific tourism development, dive tourism, eco and sustainable tourism, sports event tourism, festival and event marketing and management, tourist behaviour, values and self-concept theory, innovations in tourism, tourism and social media, destination management, tourism policy and decision-making, social capital and social networks, work integrated learning, and small business tourism.

Back to top

Back to top

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned more than {{model.MaxResults}} results.
The top {{model.MaxResults}} of {{model.TotalItems}} are shown below, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned {{model.TotalItems}} results, ordered by relevance ({{model.TotalSeconds}} seconds)

Searching {{model.SearchType}} for "{{model.Query}}" returned no results.

No search results found for