• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society and the Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Biology, Geology, Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Nicholas Engerer
    • Penelope King
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course provides an integrated understanding of Earth as a system.

Topics include: a history of Earth's environment; systems theory; the  biophysical and biochemical processes that characterise the oceans, atmosphere  and land surface; together with an introduction to the global water and carbon  cycles. Lectures provide a scientific perspective on and basis for understanding  global change processes. Practical sessions offer hands-on experience with  global systems. A major field excursion introduces students to methods for  environmental measurement and observation.

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates (EMSC1006)  but will be assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. use systems thinking to describe the physical and biophysical processes that define the Earth, and especially those processes that drive large-scale environmental change
2. explain how the previous changes in Earth's environmental conditions and on-going Earth system processes provide a basis for understanding human-environmental interactions and impacts
3. analyse to what extent humans can force global environmental change by deliberately or incidentally influencing the Earth system
4. describe how the atmosphere, the land and the oceans interact and the feedback mechanisms between the three

Other Information

There will be a field trip.  Students are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of the field trip; in 2013 it was $160.    

Payment may be made at the Science Cashier, Bldg 42, or online at ScienceShop:  http://scienceshop.anu.edu.au/

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

  • Practical/workshop assignments (35%; LO 1-4)
  • Field report (10%; LO 1-4)
  • Assignment (10%; LO 1-4)
  • Tests (45%; LO 1-4)

Students in the graduate version of this course will be required to demonstrate a more advanced understanding of the material in the assessment items.

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


65 hours of contact, comprising lectures, practicals, and field excursion

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed EMSC1006 or GEOL1006.

Prescribed Texts

Core Text: The Blue Planet (2011) by Brian J Skinner & Barbara W Murck . 
Recommended Text: A Short Introduction to Climate Change (2012) by Tony Eggleton

Assumed Knowledge

Bachelors degree


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1650
2014 $2946
2013 $2946
2012 $2946
2011 $2946
2010 $2916
2009 $2916
2008 $2916
2007 $2520
2006 $2520
2005 $2520
2004 $2160
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3606
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4165 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions