Love sports? So do Australians.

The land down under boasts a country-wide culture dominated by sports and a strong dedication to sports science, which is good news for casual sports lovers, die-hard fans and students pursuing a degree in a sports-related field, like sports medicine, exercise science or  kinesiology.

In Australia, you can study abroad at the top-ranked university in the world for sports science, Deakin University, or at 14 other universities throughout the country that offer a range of courses. Even better, sports-related majors have the opportunity to combine a semester abroad with an internship in sports science, or an internship and research projects, complete a full-time internship, or even complete your degree in the field.

Read on to find out exactly why Australia is one of the best places in the world to dive deep into this field, which schools offer sports science programs, how you can gain course credits and real-world work experience, and how to get started.

Why Study Sports Sciences in Australia

You might think the U.S. has a strong sports culture, but you’ll still be blown away by Australia’s love for the game. Like we said before, sport is a major cultural element of Australian life and American students studying in Australia are often surprised by the time devoted to sports news in TV news broadcasts.

Crowds at an AFL game in Melbourne
The AFL (Aussie rules football) has the 4th highest average attendance of any sporting league in the world, with the grand final attracting a crowd of over 100,000

Participation in sports in Australia is high with almost half of 15- to 24-year-olds involved in some sort of organized sport or team. Since sport in Australia is organized through clubs and not schools, people tend to continue to be involved in organized sports beyond their school-age years.

With this strong emphasis on sport within the general population, success on the international sporting stage is seen as incredibly important by average Australians. Australia’s poor performance in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics made the country realize that there needed to be a focus on sports science to improve performances. This led to the establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport in 1981. (Now in the Olympics, Australia is often in the top five of the total medals tally despite a small population of 24 million people. For comparison, the U.S. is home to more than 323 million!)

The development of state-based sports institutes followed, as well as the development of a sports scientist community in the universities. With this early adoption of sports science, Australia has become a leader in the field and has even started to influence sports and sports science in the U.S.

Sports and Exercise Science University World Rankings

Deakin University in Melbourne, a city known as Australia’s sporting capital, is considered to have the top sports science department in the world. Their School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences was named the best in the world by Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) in 2016 and 2017, which is the first to publish a ranking of sports science schools and departments. The University of Queensland in Brisbane came in at #5.

Exercise Science Semester Study Abroad Programs in Australia

If you’re looking for a semester focused on exercise and sports sciences or kinesiology studies, TEAN provides programs at 15 schools in Australia which offer courses transferable to relevant degrees in the U.S.

Murdoch University exercise science lab
Murdoch University exercise science lab

Semester programs are available across the country in:

Melbourne – Deakin University, RMIT University, La Trobe University
Perth – University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, University Notre Dame Australia
Wollongong – University of Wollongong
Sydney – University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, University of New South Wales, Macquarie University
Newcastle – University of Newcastle
Gold Coast – Griffith University, Bond University
Brisbane – University of Queensland
Townsville – James Cook University

Learn more about semester study abroad options


Sports Science Internships in Australia

Instead of taking courses, you can also gain real-world work experience with a full-time internship (minimum 32 hours per week) in pre-established positions for 8 weeks (summer) or 14 weeks (semester), with optional academic credit.

Typical sports science internship placements include:

  • Research Labs – Tasks can include assisting with fitness testing and supervising exercise sessions for people recovering after a stroke, working with a physiotherapist organizing sports injury data and assisting with fitness testing, or supervising exercise sessions for people who have asthma or are overweight.
  • Sports Teams – Responsibilities can include sports taping and bracing, massage (pre- and post competition and training), and general first aid/wound care. There are also opportunities to aid in player screening and rehabilitation.

Even at the intern level, you’ll be introduced to a wide range of activities, tasks and situations and gain valuable experience for after you graduate. Don’t take our word for it:

Erin Crotty, University of Kentucky, Sports Medicine Intern
Erin Crotty, University of Kentucky, Sports Medicine Intern

“My internship placement was at the Sports Medicine Institute in Sydney, Australia. During my internship I interacted with different medical professionals at the institute including sports physicians, surgeons, massage therapists, podiatrists, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists. Along with learning from these medical professionals, I also was lucky enough to get business and marketing experience as well. Throughout my internship I worked on the marketing for the gym at the institute. I also was able to observe hip and knee replacement surgeries. Additionally, my boss was the team doctor for a professional rugby league team and I was able to go to a few games and experience the rugby culture in Australia. I really enjoyed learning from these professionals at the institute. My internship really gave me a whole new world of knowledge that I cannot wait to apply to my future career.”

Learn more about internship options


Sports Science Intern + Study Abroad Options in Australia

If you want to maximize your semester studying abroad in exercise sciences, you also have the option to combine a semester abroad with a hands-on internship.

At the University of Western Australia, ranked 20th in the world in sports science, students majoring in kinesiology, exercise science or other health-related fields can take an internship for credit with a professional Australian Rules football team in addition to your courses at UWA.

Australian Rules football! via GIPHY

Alternatively, Murdoch University in Perth offers a sports science semester abroad where you combine your courses with an internship and research experience in the field.

And there are even more options.

With TEAN’s deep connections in this industry across Australia, exercise science students who prefer to study abroad at Australia’s east coast schools, but still want to do a part-time internship in sports science, can do so with the help of our Internships team. When you apply for your program, simply inform your TEAN Program Manager that you also want to intern while in Australia and they’ll put you in contact with the Internships Program Manager to get the ball rolling.

Learn more about combined study and internship options


Sports Science Degree Programs in Australia

For U.S.-based students who want to complete their entire undergraduate or graduate degree program in Australia focusing on exercise science, TEAN offers a free service to assist you with your application and guide you through the entire process.

Deakin University Melbourne campus
Deakin University’s  School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences was named the best sport science school in the world by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU)
Learn more about degree program options


Short on time? Consider TEAN’s Summer Sport and Exercise Psychology (3-week) Program.
Still need more info? Contact us with questions by completing this form or call 312-239-3710.