• Offered by Research School of Earth Sciences
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Earth and Marine Science
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Environmental Studies, Earth Physics, Geology
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Andrew Valentine
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2019
    Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

This course provides an introduction to the fundamental concepts of computer programming and the Python programming language. It is targeted towards the needs of geoscientists. The course is designed to: (i) develop students’ problem-solving skills; (ii) give students a clear understanding of the fundamental concepts of computer programming, such that they are in a good position to learn any programming language required for their research; and (iii) ensure that all students have core competencies in the Python programming language, which will later be utilized in their research for tasks such as modeling, scripting, analyzing and processing data and generating high-quality figures for presentations and publications.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Apply strategies for: Breaking complex tasks down into manageable pieces; Tackling such tasks, and verifying that results are sound; Identifying and resolving undesired or unexpected results.
  2. Apply Python in their research work, including: Read and write data files in a variety of formats; Create figures and animations suitable for analysing or presenting results; Undertake simple computational modeling and simulation tasks.
  3. Recognize the fundamental concepts of programming and computer science, supporting the development of more advanced skills through self-study and further practice.
  4. Teach themselves other programming languages (e.g. Matlab, Fortran, C, …) as required.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assignment 1 - completed in class during first half of course; (20) [LO 1,4]
  2. Assignment 2 + oral exam - completed in own time following end of lectures (80) [LO 2,3]

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.


Lecture attendance (30 hours); Practical Sessions (30 hours); Practice and Assessment (70 hours).

Inherent Requirements

Not yet determined

Prescribed Texts

None specified

Assumed Knowledge

An undergraduate-level background in Earth Sciences, or cognate subjects, such as Chemistry,

Marine Science, Engineering, Mathematics, Physics and Physical Geography. Students are

assumed to be competent general computer users, but no prior knowledge of programming is

required. Some familiarity with basic mathematics is also assumed.


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. Tuition fees are indexed annually. 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
2019 $3840
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $5460
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
4934 25 Feb 2019 04 Mar 2019 31 Mar 2019 31 May 2019 In Person N/A

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
9988 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person N/A

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