• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Stephen Dovers
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

As society grapples with the challenges of sustainability in the face of social, economic and environmental change, it is important that future leaders and decision makers are well informed about the most up-to-date, relevant research.  In this course you will engage with experts undertaking leading-edge research on a range of current issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions, and will consider applications of this knowledge to future research directions, policy development and environmental and resource management. The application of this knowledge internationally and in Australia will be considered through the frameworks of the Millennium Development Goals (and their successors), the ‘safe and just living space for humanity’ concept, the UNEP Global Environment Outlook, and the Rio+20 The Future We Want outcomes including the emerging Sustainable Development Goals.  The course also offers the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the implications of current research insights relevant to a particular issue of your choice.  Examples of themes considered include

• sustainability and sustainable development

• climate adaptation and mitigation policy

• consumption and behaviour

• disaster management

• environmental economics

• environmental humanities

• environmental policies and institutions

• global environmental governance and international trade law

• urbanisation and urban systems

The course is structured as a series of intensive, small-group discussions based on preparatory reading.  These intensive discussions are led by experts in the field and focus on exploring the most up-to-date research and thinking on each theme from a variety of perspectives, with particular emphasis on relevance to your experience and professional interests.  You are also expected to draw on the extensive and varied opportunities to learn from world-leading experts available at the Australian National University and across Canberra, by attending and reporting on relevant seminars, workshops and other forms of research communication external to the course.

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. Identify, explain and apply the theoretical foundations of a series of society-environment related issues. (LO1)

2. Critically explore the links within and between key themes and issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions. (LO2)

3. Discuss a variety of disciplinary perspectives on current issues, across political science, economics, law, human ecology and the humanities. (LO3)

4. Critically analyse and articulate the role of science in decision-making, including policy and practice. (LO4)

5. Interpret and communicate the implications of current research for decision-makers. (LO5)




Indicative Assessment

• Research report on self-selected topic relevant to the themes of the course - 3000 words (70%) [LO 1-5]

• Workshop discussion facilitation (10%) [LO 1,2,4]

• Briefing report on engagement with research communication outside course contact hours (e.g. seminars attended) - 1200 words (20%) [LO 1-5]

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.


26 contact hours comprising tutorials, seminars and workshops.  In addition students are required to attend approximately 12 hours of relevant seminars, conference presentations, workshops or similar events external to the course (e.g. at other areas of ANU, CSIRO or government departments); and to undertake approximately 80 hours self-directed study.

Prescribed Texts


Recommended Reading:  

These readings provide overall context for the course.  Additional, advanced reading material will be required for each specific theme studied.

Griggs, D, Stafford-Smith, M, Gaffney, O et al. (2013) Sustainable development goals for people and planet, Nature 495, 305-307, doi:10.1038/495305a

Lindenmayer, D, Dovers, S, Olson, M and Morton, S (2008) Ten Commitments: Reshaping the Lucky Country's Environment. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.

Raworth, K (2012) A Safe and Just Operating Space for Humanity. Oxfam Discussion Papers, Oxford: Oxfam. http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/dp-a-safe-and-just-space-for-humanity-130212-en.pdf

United Nations (2012) The Future We Want: Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Outcomes of the Conference. A/CONF.216/L.1. New York: UN.

UNEP (2012) Global Environment Outlook GEO5: Environment for the future we want. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Program.



Assumed Knowledge

Recommended Courses ENVS6025 Addressing Complex Environmental Problems, ENVS6306 Human Futures, ENVS8003 Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation, ENVS8015 Contemporary Perspectives in Environmental Science.


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 $1542
2014 $2946
2013 $2946
2012 $2946
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8793 21 Jul 2014 08 Aug 2014 31 Aug 2014 30 Oct 2014 In Person N/A

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