• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Environmental Studies
  • Major code ENST-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate
Environmental Studies Major

The major in Environmental Studies equips students with a broad understanding of (i) the complex and often conflicting, interrelationships between human societies and their environment; and (ii) the solutions, or sets of solutions that are available to address our most intractable environmental problems. Reflecting the complexity of human-environment relationships, the major in Environmental Studies offers a range of possible study areas, from natural ecological and earth system processes; through environmental management, resource use and policy, to cultural ecology and the history of environmental change, perception and philosophy.

The breadth of disciplinary coverage means that the courses relevant to this major are taught across several ANU Colleges, including Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Economics, Law, and Medicine, Biology and Environment. Different coherent approaches and areas of focus are achieved by grouping these courses to meet students' particular interests, ranging from a concentration on those natural resources that provide the essential economic foundations for society through to the study of more general aspects of the environment affecting quality of life. A common theme is the interactivity between humans and their environment at the individual and societal levels, as well as global, regional and local scale change processes. The major in Environmental Studies provides students with the multidisciplinary perspectives, skills and knowledge to engage meaningfully with the complex problems facing societies and the environment in the 21st century.



Due to structural changes in the undergraduate program rules in 2012, the courses that make up the new 2012 majors may be different to the pre-2012 majors, and therefore some courses cannot be counted between majors.  Students are advised to contact the CASS Student Office if they are unsure about their Majors.


Learning Outcomes

Students who complete this major will have the skills and knowledge to:

  • Understand the connections between human culture, institutions and policies and environmental systems and change.
  • Critically assess the relationships between human cultures and societies, the institutions, economic and political paradigms that characterise them, and the impacts on the natural environment.
  • Apply multi- and interdisciplinary approaches to tackling complex problems in a variety of contexts (e.g. climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainability in business and industry, regional planning, land care, public participation, and cultural heritage).
  • Gather and analyse relevant data for creating adaptive responses to environmental issues.
  • Synthesise the principal approaches to environmental management and other relevant fields of study.
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This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must consist of:

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
ENVS2011 Human Ecology 6
ENVS3021 Human Futures 6

A maximum of 12 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
BIOL1008 Human Biology 6
ENVS1001 Environment and Society: Geography of Sustainability 6
ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research 6
ENVS1004 Australia's Environment 6
ENVS1008 Sustainable Development 6
SOCY1002 Self and Society 6
SOCY1004 Introduction to Social Psychology 6

A minimum of 12 units must come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
ENVS2012 Sustainable Systems: Urban 6
ENVS2013 Society and Environmental Change 6
ENVS2022 Sustainable Systems: Rural 6
ENVS3028 Environmental Policy 6
ENVS3040 Complex Environmental Problems in Action 6
INDG3002 Indigenous Peoples and Development 6
SOCY2022 Environmental Sociology 6
PHIL2114 Sustainability, System and Agency 6

A maximum of 12 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
ANTH2135 Vietnam Field School 6-12
ENVS2005 Island Sustainable Development: Fiji Field School 6-12
ENVS2007 Economics for the Environment 6
ENVS2014 Qualitative Research Methods for Sustainability 6
ENVS2017 Vietnam Field School 6-12
ENVS2025 Indigenous Cultural and Natural Resource Management 6
ENVS3001 Climate Change Science & Policy in Practice 6
ENVS3004 Land and Catchment Management 6
ENVS3005 Water Resource Management 6
ENVS3007 Participatory Resource Management: Working with Communities and Stakeholders 6
ENVS3020 Climate Change Science & Policy 6
ENVS3033 International Environmental Policy 6
ENVS3039 Biodiversity Conservation 6
LAWS3103 Law and the Environment 6
MGMT3101 Business and the Natural Environment 6
POLS2011 Development and Change 6
VCUG3001 Unravelling Complexity 6
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