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 have access to leading edge training facilities while the 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.

Head of School
Professor John Lowe


Each of the six disciplines house a wide range of programs that focus on international, regional and community issues while maintaining strong links with industry and community groups.

Deputy Head of School, Learning & Teaching

Dr Nicole Masters

The School is divided into six health 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.

Associate Degree in Medical Laboratory Science

Bachelor of Biomedical Science

Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Accelerated)

Bachelor of Medical Science

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.

Undergraduate Certificate in Nutrition

Bachelor of Nutrition

Bachelor of Dietetics (Honours)

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.

Undergraduate Certificate in Allied Health Assistance

Diploma in Allied Health Assistance

Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)

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.

Undergraduate Certificate in Health Promotion Foundations

Bachelor of Health Science

Graduate Certificate in Health Promotion

Graduate Diploma in Health Promotion

Master of Health Promotion

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.

Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology

Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science

Bachelor of Sports Studies


Research in the field of medical and health science is thriving at USC. The Sunshine Coast region is currently experiencing massive growth in health services with more than $2 billion investment in health and hospital care currently underway, including the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

Building on its close relationships with public and private health and allied health providers in the region, USC is set to expand its contribution to improving regional and national health and wellbeing through groundbreaking research.

Deputy Head of School, Research

Dr Kate Mulgrew​

Biomedical Science

The Biomedical Science Discipline's Research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline
  • Healthy ageing
  • Endocrine function across the lifespan
  • Female athlete health
  • Bone health and body composition
  • Exercise physiology and training adaptation
  • Falls prevention
  • Evidence based transfusion practice
  • Blood management in cardiac surgical, orthopedic and emergency departments
  • Use of subcutanoeus immunoglobulin (SCIg) in Australia
  • Transfusion of older adults
  • Transfusion-related acute lung injury (TRALI)
  • Neutrophil immunobiology
Nutrition and Dietetics

Research Areas:

Research Partners:

Nutrition and Dietetics Research fosters a collaborative research environment from across undergraduate students through to academics. We have a number of local, national and international collaborative partners including:

  • Queensland Health

  • The Australian Institute of Sport

  • Sports Dietitians Australian

  • Professionals in Nutrition for Sport and Exercise (PINES)

  • The Queensland Academy of Sport

  • Sunshine Coast Council

  • SEED International

Occupational Therapy

The Occupational Therapy Discipline's Research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Clinical outcome measurement and registry creation
  • Hardware and software design for physical function assessment
  • Clinical trials and patient tracking
  • Clinical biomechanics, gait and balance assessment
  • Working with clinicians to improve the way they assess and monitor their patients
  • Assistive technology
  • Mainstream technology
  • Occupational therapists use of technology
  • Environmental control systems
  • Spinal cord injury and neurological conditions
  • Parasport and adaptive/disabled sport and reverse integration
  • Dual pathways for parasports students

The Psychology Discipline's Research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Cognitive psychology (biased attention and memory)
  • Health psychology (body image, diet, exercise, eating disorders, media)
  • Chronic pain
  • Climate change in the Pacific
  • Neuropsychology
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • My-AHA (My Active and Healthy Ageing)
  • Neuropsychology
  • Dementia
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Decision making capacity and decision making processes
  • Cognitive functioning and physical health conditions
Public Health

The Public Health Discipline's Research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Pharmaceutical opioid use in people living with chronic non-cancer pain
  • Suicide-related behaviours in people living with chronic non-cancer pain
  • Problematic pharmaceutical opioid use behaviours
  • Medicinal cannabinoids
  • Prospective observational cohort studies
  • Financial toxicity: financial hardship faced by cancer patients
  • Lifetime costs of surviving cancer in Queensland, Australia: health service usage from cancer diagnosis up to 20 years
  • The cost-effectiveness of influenza vaccination for health care workers
  • The cost-effectiveness of skin cancer prevention
  • Presenteeism among healthcare workers with laboratory-confirmed influenza infection
  • Systematic literature reviews
Sport and Exercise Science
Research areas:
  • Patient blood management
  • Transfusion in older adults
  • Emergency medicine transfusion
  • Blood stocks and inventory management

Collaboration partners:

Sport and Exercise Science research collaborates with several industry partners, which includes:

  • Queensland Health
  • Swimming Australia Limited
  • Australian Paralympic Committee
  • International Paralympic Committee
  • Sport and Recreation Queensland
  • Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Australian Institute of Sport
  • German Sports University

Sport and Exercise Research spans all the foundation disciplines of sport and exercise science, including biomechanics, exercise physiology, psychology, coaching, and motor control and learning.

SHBS School Staff

Listing of all School of Health and Behavioural Sciences staff and profiles.


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

HDR Coordinator, SHBS
Dr Melinda Dean