Sexology refers to the scientific study of human sexuality. The scientific study of sex and sexuality can be traced back at least to the classical Greek period in the Western world, and even earlier in the Eastern world. Throughout history, emphasis in sexological study has tended to focus on the outcomes of sex, rather than the experience of sexuality. Specific focal areas for the study of sexology have primarily prioritised human reproduction and sexual health as topics for learning and research. The study of love, sexual emotions, human relationships, human sexual response, criminal sexual behaviour, sexual function, sexual pleasure and fulfilment have been relatively recent endeavours in the scientific study of sexuality.
Students in the Sexology Program at Curtin University study all the above topics, plus issues of legality, values, law reform, sex trafficking, sexual changes throughout life, diversity, gender, fetishes, desire, fixations, arousal, disease, erotica, cross cultural sexual practices, and many more topics.
What is Forensic Sexology?
Forensics is often discussed in relation to the legal system and crime; however, the Forensic Sexology stream within the program uses a more generic description of forensics that describes it as 'the application of sexology in the collection of material for evidence in a decision making forum'. This means that Forensic Sexology includes the study of aspects of criminology - such as sex offences, sex offender assessment and treatment, profiling sex offenders, treatment for the survivors of sexual assault, sexuality and the law, sexual law reform, expert etc - but it also involves the collection of material that can be used to challenge certain behaviours, customs, and even governing laws. For example, is it possible for a person with severe intellectual disability to give consent for sexual activity? Is it possible to stop female genital mutilation by presenting other strategies that fulfil the objectives of such a controversial and harmful practice? How do governing laws impact on the consensual expression of sexuality?
The Curtin University Sexology teaching and research program was established in 1978, by Professor Rosemary Coates, has continued to lead the way in Sexological education and research in Australia . Though now semi-retired from Curtin, Professor Coates is still actively involved in the Sexology Program through teaching and supervision of research and is very busy in her role as the President of the World Association for Sexual Health . This role extends to work across the globe with other major organisations including the World Health Organisation, the United Nations, Governments and peak sexology organisations.
In early 2005, under the leadership of Dr Gareth Merriman, the Sexology teaching and research program moved to the School of Public Health and became a Sexology Department. This new focus under Public Health provided additional collaborative links with local, state, national and international programs in health promotion, therapy, epidemiology, education and evaluation, research, policy development, and human rights advocacy. The School of Public Health provides world-class facilities for teaching and research, and an ideal environment for student learning.
The Sexology Department now coordinates and teaches undergraduate sexology units, a Graduate Certificate in Sexology, a coursework Postgraduate Diploma in Sexology, and a Masters of Sexology, and has a strong higher degree by research stream with many Masters (by research) and PhD students researching essential contemporary and applicable topics. Our research activities are supported by a number of academic staff with international reputations for the quality of their research, teaching and industry linkage. We are very fortunate to have excellent research collaborations both locally and internationally.
Graduates of the program are gaining work in related fields in Australia and in other countries with over 80% of graduates gaining such employment with 6 months after graduating. Other graduates have gone on to higher degrees by research for example a PhD Please spend some time viewing the Web based information about our programs.
We welcome enquiries from prospective students around the world about any of our programs. We also welcome enquiries from academics and others interested in research collaborations or study visits.
Award Winning Sexology Program:
Our Program has been awarded the prestigious World Association for Sexual Health ‘Award for Excellence & Innovation in Sexuality Education’ for 2007. This is only awarded every two years and is highly competitive with all programs across the world eligible to apply. This is the first time that this prestigious international award has been granted to a University. [ Read More ]
This award is an excellent commendation of the past work that Professor Coates has done in developing and running the program, (1979 : 2004), and the work that has been done in coordination, revising the content and teaching by the Sexology team since being more appropriately placed in the School of Public Health, (Jan 2005). It also reflects the scope of the program in educating students in general areas of sexuality education as well as tackling the more difficult areas such as forensic issues, sexual abuse prevention and management, treatment issues for sex offenders, disability and sexuality, illness and sexuality, cross-cultural aspects of sexuality education and counselling, and many others.
Entry into the undergraduate units
Any University student is allowed to enrol in the undergraduate units. There are two undergraduate sexology units and 2nd year to 4th year students can enrol in these units. It is available in first and second semester and enrolment is based on whether your course allows you to do this unit. We value opinions of students in the diverse field of University studies and enjoy having this diversity within the classes
Entry into the Sexology Courses
To enter the Postgraduate Diploma of Sexology or the Masters of Sexology you need to have a minimum of a Bachelors degree (or equivalent). The Postgraduate Diploma is the first full year of the 2 year Masters program. Details on the courses are noted below.
The courses are tailored towards a professional degree providing successful students with knowledge and skills to specialise in a variety of fields in sexology. A recognised bachelor degree in a related health profession, such as medical, social work or welfare studies, theology, education, health promotion, health sciences, psychology, sociology, anthropology, biological sciences, or related disciplines is required.
Applications can be made at any time for all programs; however, the Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Programs commence for fulltime study in first semester, which in Australia begins late February/early March. Those students wishing to study part-time can begin their studies in Semester 1 or 2
Upon completion of the coursework Postgraduate Diploma or Masters degree there are a number of study options that students can undertake. Students pursuing studies by higher degree may apply for scholarships. Information about Australian and International student scholarships, and closing dates, can be found on the Curtin Scholarship website .
Students on the program enjoy strong links with the:
Please note that the Sexology and Forensic Sexology units are only available as face-to-face taught units, in either a weekly or a block-taught tuition pattern. Other units in the course are taught as fully on-line or externally. More information is available via the Course Coordinator.
We have continued teaching units face-to-face and believe, in this important area, this is the best way to support student learning and to achieve a high level of Graduate competencies. Undergraduate students from Curtin and other Universities can study a single unit or more.
- Sexology Attitudes and Values 280 - Conducted in Semesters 1 and 2, (required to study other units)
- Sexology in a Contemporary Context 380 - Conducted in Semester 2
- Research Project 383 - Conducted in Semesters 1 and 2, (Health Promotion Planning 381 or any previous version)
Postgraduate students from other programs and Universities can complete a single unit or more within the Postgraduate programs
Master & Doctoral Programs
- Master of Sexology (more information available on this course soon)
- Doctor of International Health / Doctor of Public Health
Graduates are eligible for membership of the Australian Society of Sexuality Educators Researchers and Therapists National (ASSERT National), which is affiliated to the World Association for Sexology (WAS). Graduates may obtain a specialist title as a Sexuality Therapist, Sexuality Educator, and/or Sexuality Researcher, through ASSERT National after completion of supervision requirements. Requirements for such titles in other countries differ.
As the field of sexology is diverse, recognition of these degree programs as entrance into specific professions is dependent on the professional regulations of that discipline. For examples, psychology, education, therapy, justice.
Graduates have established careers in the fields of sex therapy, sex education and consultancy, child and elder protection, sexual health policy development, human rights, disability, cyber-safety training, health promotion, youth work, academia, medical management, risk management, forensic assessment, group work, sexual research, cross-cultural work, international programs, population management, organisation management, and many others.
As the Sexology Program has excellent professional affiliations, and attracts local, interstate, and international students, many opportunities arise for greater links outside of Perth and Australia for work opportunities.
- To find out what types of career pathways and exciting employment our graduates have had please view our graduate stories .
- Staff and Lecturers for Sexology : Click here to view information on the staff working in this area.
- Course Coordinators (postgrad)
- Curtin Online Handbook : (Program & Course Information)
- Online Unit Outlines
- Student Resources : Curtin University and the School of Public Health have many resources available to students.