School of Health and Behavioural Sciences - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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School of Health and Behavioural Sciences

The School of Health and Behavioural Sciences delivers some of the most popular degree programs at USC. Students receive state-of-the-art teaching and training facilities located within the Health and Sport Tower while the Sunshine Coast region benefits from a greater number of better trained professionals and world class research in the fields of health and sport sciences.

The School’s teaching, research and outreach focuses on the prevention of disease and disability to improve quality of life by influencing the practices of the consumer and/or the provider. Research concentrates on the discovery of new knowledge and the application of new knowledge to programs, policies and practice.

The School is divided into six key discipline areas:

Discipline of Biomedical Science

Discipline Lead—Professor Robert Harvey

Vision: To be a leading Biomedical Science discipline that delivers high quality teaching, learning and graduate outcomes, in addition to building research productivity and outputs that positions USC for a sustainable future.

Approach: The Bachelor of Biomedical Science provides students with a comprehensive understanding of how the human body works and what happens during disease. Core competencies in communication and analytics form a foundation for specialised studies in human physiology, pathophysiology, biochemistry, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology and pharmacology. The program provides the opportunity to link with industry and to develop specific interests in biomedical science by employment in biomedical research and education, biodiscovery, respiratory and sleep diagnostics, communicable disease control, drug registration, medical sales and marketing and scientific writing and publication. In addition to this, the Associate degree in Medical Laboratory Science provides students with training to gain employment in the pathology industry as entry level medical laboratory technicians. Medical laboratory technicians conduct clinical investigations dealing with an understanding of human diseases and improvement of human health. The program provides the link to industry placements and training by experienced medical laboratory scientists and technicians to handle human specimens and use modern laboratory equipment for conducting pathology testing. Graduates of the program will receive full credit towards the Bachelor of Biomedical Science which can be completed with only one additional year of study. If your dream is to become a doctor then USC's Bachelor of Medical Science is your first step. This highly competitive program provides provisional direct entry (subject to entry requirements) to Griffith University's Doctor of Medicine program - and to your future medical career.

Biomedical Science team

Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics

Discipline Lead—Professor Fiona Pelly

Vision: A leading research and teaching focused nutrition and dietetics discipline that integrates nutrition and physical activity for lifelong health and achievement.

Approach: The nutrition and dietetics discipline builds on basic science and core nutrition principles that are used to develop students’ knowledge and critical thinking skills related to food and nutrition. We use innovative teaching and learning techniques to improve student learning, teach evidence based approaches to address nutrition issues, and incorporate student based evaluations and assessment to continually improve learning outcomes. Our program integrates current technology, professional development, and practical experiences to train skilled dietetic practitioners who are creative in their problem solving, ethical in their practice, and can contribute positively to diverse communities through their service and leadership.

Nutrition and Dietetics team

Discipline of Occupational Therapy

Discipline Lead— Dr Michele Verdonck

Vision: To be a leading research and teaching focused Occupational Therapy discipline promoting participation in meaningful occupation to enhance the lifelong health and wellbeing of individuals and communities.

Approach: The Occupational Therapy discipline builds on core principles from the health sciences to develop students’ knowledge and skills related to the therapeutic potential of occupation. We use innovative teaching and learning techniques to improve student learning, teach evidence based approaches to address occupational needs, and incorporate student feedback to continually improve learning outcomes.

Through integrating current technology, our program provides practical experiences to educate skilled occupational therapy practitioners. Our graduates are creative, problem-solving, ethical and will contribute positively to the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities through their service and leadership.

Occupational Therapy team

Discipline of Psychology

Discipline Lead— Associate Professor Jonathan Mason

Vision:  Committed to education, research and evidence-based practice. A psychology degree from USC is the first step in a fulfilling and lifelong career that is both varied and engaging.

Approach: The psychology discipline offers a variety of programs with APAC-accredited psychology sequences*. Our degrees offer students choice, allowing them to tailor their learning to their interests. Our Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology), Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) (Honours) programs  give students a solid foundation in psychology as they study areas including basic psychological principles, social psychology, personality and assessment, research methods, cognitive and perceptual psychology, and human development, as well advanced topics in research, ethics and professional practice.

To further add to the university experience, we have a number of exciting double degrees that combine an APAC-accredited sequence of psychology study with areas such as criminology (Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) / Bachelor of Criminal Justice), business (Bachelor of Business / Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology)) and counselling (Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) / Bachelor of Counselling). Our students can also apply to Study Overseas to undertake courses with an overseas higher education provider. The academic credit gained from their overseas study is counted towards their current USC program, ensuring they are not behind their cohort upon return.

*Only APAC-accredited psychology programs allow graduates to practise as provisional or registered psychologists in Australia.

Psychology Team

Discipline of Public Health

Discipline Lead—Associate Professor Jane Taylor

Vision:  Contribute to equity and health outcomes for all by leading quality translational public health research of local and global relevance, and training work-ready public health graduates in partnership with community and the public health industry.

Approach: The public health discipline prepares work-ready public health graduates in health promotion, environmental health, health communication, epidemiology and public health, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health. Our undergraduate and post graduate programs develop students' knowledge and skills in critical public health practice necessary to address health inequities within and between populations. Led by academics with real world practice experience, we use innovative technologies and teaching strategies that enable students to develop their problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration skills to solve complex public health challenges. Our programs ​are underpinned by a holistic, ecological and strengths based perspective. We provide students with a range of learning opportunities that replicate workplace scenarios, including work experience. Public health academics are engaged in local, national and international research with opportunities for students to contribute.​

Public Health team

Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science

Discipline Lead—Professor David Jenkins

Vision: The vision of the Sport and Exercise programs is to better understand human health and performance, and to effectively apply and communicate this knowledge in the real world.

Approach: The Sport and Exercise programs combine teaching, research and real world applications to prepare graduates for the workforce. Our programs span all the foundation disciplines of sport and exercise, including biomechanics, exercise physiology, psychology, motor control and learning, coaching and sports media.There is a strong emphasis on applied research that has a direct impact on
athlete performance and in the clinical sense human health. Our approaches are underpinned by experimental research that is grounded in fundamental scientific principles. Our research is connected to the world and region. We collaborate with partner institutions nationally and internationally, as well as the local industry. We also engage with the community through the USC Sports Clinic where we offer athlete and clinical testing, and provide workplace learning opportunities for our undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Sport and Exercise Science team

Each discipline houses a wide range of programs that focus on international, regional and community issues while maintaining strong links with industry and community groups.

Head of School
Professor John Lowe


For more information about the programs on offer, please contact:

Future student or Community

Current student
Tel: +61 7 5430 2890

School of Health and Behavioural Sciences
School Support Officer: Nicole Bolitho
Tel: +61 7 5459 4513

Research, Development, Engagement and News

Sport and Exercise Science
Sport and Exercise Science Research and News
Nutrition and Dietetics kitchen
Nutrition and Dietetics

Research in the discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics