• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Forestry, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Resource Management and Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Craig Strong
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

This course builds an understanding of key processes that have shaped Australia's biophysical environment. Through a coordinated series of modules, students acquire foundation knowledge across a range of environmental science disciplines. One of the world’s great drainage basins, the Murray Darling Basin, is used as a case study to connect and integrate these modules into a clear narrative about the processes and issues affecting Australia's environment. In each module the case study is revisited to address topical issues and apply the learning covered in the module. By the end of the course, students will understand the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia.

Proposed modules include:

  • Creating a continent: the breakup of Gondwana - implications for geology, climate, soils and evolution of flora and fauna;
  • Geological events that shaped Australia: faults and rifts, volcanic activity, glaciations, sea level fluctuations;
  • Australia's climate: climate patterns in time and space, the nature and role of climate variability, and the impacts of global warming;
  • Australian landscape evolution: geomorphology, including effects of Aboriginal and European settlement;
  • Water in Australia: how much, where it is, comes from and goes to, and how to regulate its use;
  • Characterising Australian soils: soil formation and description, including aeolian deposition and land salinization - implications for productivity;
  • Australian vegetation: coping with nutrient deficiency, water, fire, herbivory, weeds;
  • Environmental policy and planning: linking science to policy and practice.

 

Modules are delivered by a diverse range of disciplinary experts. Lectures are complemented by a strong practical component, in which students learn through posing questions and solving problems in panel discussions, laboratory and field classes, and an overnight excursion.

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. critically appraise the role of the Murray-Darling as an integrated system whose processes and problems reflect the biophysical and social forces that have shaped Australia;
  2. understand the geological development of Australia in general, and the Murray Darling Basin in particular;
  3. recognise the patterns and processes which characterise Australia’s climate and explain their connection to the evolution of Australian landscapes and biota;
  4. discuss the unique characteristics of water in Australia and the interacting environmental and social factors that make it so;
  5. describe the development of Australian soils and understand the implications for ecosystem productivity;
  6. recognise key morphological traits in Australian plant families and explain their function in coping with nutrient deficiency, aridity, flood, herbivory and fire;
  7. integrate knowledge across a range of disciplines to critically evaluate complex environmental problems and critique policy approaches to solving those problems.
  8. formulate and test hypotheses and synthesise results in a scientific report.

Indicative Assessment

  • Field trip reports (40%)
  • Scientific report (20%)
  • Weekly practical exercises (20%)
  • Final examination (20%)

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.

Workload

65 hours of contact, comprising 2 lectures and up to 2 hours of practicals or tutorials per week; 5 days of fieldwork.

Assumed Knowledge

General science knowledge.

Fees

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:
2
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.

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

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8204 21 Jul 2014 08 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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