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Key Facts and History

Three students at table in library

Today, ECU has more than 31,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students, with a large international student cohort from more than 100 different countries around the world.

Our eight schools collectively deliver more than 220 courses across Arts & Humanities, Business & Law, Education, Engineering, Medical & Health Sciences, Nursing & Midwifery, Science and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.

Courses are offered on our campuses in Western Australia and at the Colombo Campus in Sri Lanka. We also offer a comprehensive suite of online study options, and have partnerships with international education institutions to deliver and facilitate ECU courses and programs.


Established in 1991, ECU was founded when a union of teacher colleges dating back as far as 1902 came together to form Western Australia’s first higher education institution. The university gets its name from Edith Dircksey Cowan OBE, the first woman to be elected to Australian Parliament.

Edith Cowan believed strongly in education as the key to growth and improvement, and tirelessly campaigned for the rights of women, families, and the poorly educated, including raising funds for students to attend university. She was instrumental in getting women in Western Australia the right to vote.

Her passion for social justice and education led to not only her name being taken for the newly formed university, but also to her image being added to the Australian $50 note. To this date, she is the only female with an Australian university named after her.

ECU’s values are closely tied to Cowan’s social contribution, as we pride ourselves on producing highly-skilled and passionate graduates who go on to make a real difference in their communities.

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