After completing a BS in Exercise and Sports Science in the US, Nick Winkelman had no problems getting a job. However, he felt something was missing. “I always had this drive to better myself academically,” he says. He started searching for an online degree that could broaden his intellectual horizons. That’s where Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth, Western Australia, one of the world’s best universities under 50 years old, stood out.
ECU emphasised flexibility and diversity. It attracted talented individuals from many fields and backgrounds. This was precisely the kind of environment Winkelman wished to be part of. And the Master of Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) was the ideal programme to advance his knowledge.
Offered by the School of Medical and Health Sciences, the programme is designed to provide sports science or related graduates like Winkelman the chance to enhance their strength and conditioning training through modules in research and computer methods, physiology, applied biomechanics, advanced resistance training, and several other relevant topics.
While every class was compelling, it was the programme’s practical elements that truly enriched Winkelman’s academic journey. “The thing that really made it special was how it ended – you go on-campus for a two-week practicum workshop,” he says. “They bring in all of the other students in your cohort from all over the world and all these strength and conditioning coaches and practitioners from all of these top teams — all of whom have also graduated from ECU.”
It wasn’t long until Winkelman joined their ranks. Upon graduating, he completed his PhD and served as the Director of Movement and Education for EXOS (formerly Athletes’ Performance), located in Phoenix, Arizona. He oversaw the development and execution of all internal and external educational initiatives. These included week-long mentorship programmes taught in over 20 countries and online courses including the EXOS Performance Specialist Certification. Today, he is the Head of Athletic Performance and Science at the Irish Rugby Football Union.
“When I look at those who have graduated and contributed to ECU, to me, we have some of the best thinkers and coaches across every ingredient that is strength and conditioning,” says the author of “The Language of Coaching: The Art & Science of Teaching Movement.” “To be one of those graduates, it means everything to me; from a professional sense, that I can be part of a legacy, knowing that ECU sits as the fabric and foundation for where I stand. I’m very proud of that.”
Joining this legacy has never been easier, thanks to ECU’s commitment to providing an excellent education and student experience. This starts before your first day and extends to the day you graduate — sometimes, even going beyond. Being an ECU student means being supported at every turn — even if you aren’t sure what to study. ECU’s Education Agents can pair you with a programme that matches your interests or aspirations, help you gather the right documents and strategise an effective application.
Upon acceptance, you’ll be free to explore the My Uni Start website, which will walk you through everything there is to know about adapting to life at ECU and Perth — a city renowned for much more than its 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, friendly locals and historic attractions. Its mild Mediterranean climate, fresh air, white beaches, and affordability are just a few features that explain why students consistently rank it as one of the most popular study destinations.
However, choosing ECU isn’t just about fun in the sun. Neither is it purely about classrooms and textbooks. It’s about finding a home away from home. This university’s commitment to student well-being extends to its exceptional accommodation options. For example, on-campus villages redefine student living by offering an all-inclusive concierge experience — think of everything from furniture and utilities to high-speed Wi-Fi and 24/7 support.
Living on-campus, renting a property, boarding with family, or sharing with friends are a few of the options. Regardless of where you live, there will be many opportunities to connect with fellow students and locals. For example, ECU’s International Café is a welcoming space reserved for students from around the world to come together, share stories, and build lasting connections.
ECU wants everyone to be creative thinkers — and offers the resources that make this possible. From peer mentors in the first semester to comprehensive assistance with assignments, research, and online studies, you will always receive the guidance you need. And if challenges arise, such as medical conditions, family responsibilities, or cultural considerations, the Access and Inclusion team can assist you with solutions.
The best part? ECU’s support doesn’t end the day you graduate. They help plan your future career through workshops, industry events and one-to-one career advice. For practical experiences, internships, and employment opportunities, you can tap into the university’s extensive industry connections.
To learn more about the university with a five-star rating for students’ overall experience (Good Universities Guide), click here.