• Code ENVS2005
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Geography, Human Ecology, Development Studies, Pacific Studies, Sustainable Development
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2019
    See Future Offerings

Intensive course including an in-country field based experience in early July. Enrolment is limited. See "Other Information" for details.

Small island states face considerable challenges as they attempt to achieve sustainable development. Particular challenges for these nations were recognised in the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, including a narrow range of resources, which forces undue specialization; excessive dependence on international trade and hence vulnerability to global developments; relatively small watersheds and threatened supplies of fresh water; costly public administration and infrastructure, including transportation and communication; and limited institutional capacities and domestic markets, which are too small to provide significant scale economies. This course gives students first-hand experience of the real-world circumstances that confront an island nation by exploring five important sectoral themes in the context of sustainable development: fisheries, agriculture, energy, tourism and biodiversity. Within each theme students consider factors relevant to island nations, including climate change, natural disasters, water availability, gender, population and race relations, governance and globalization.  


In association with localised in-country studies, students will explore sustainable development policies in a broader context including the Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States, the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development - 2012 (Rio +20).

Learning Outcomes

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

On completion of the course students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Understand the complex social, environmental and cultural challenges that confront an island nation, like Fiji (LO1)
  2. Demonstrate cultural awareness and sensitivity with people from another country (LO2)
  3. Apply interdisciplinary approaches to resolving sustainable development issues in an island context (LO3)
  4. Effectively present and discuss ideas, and to listen, assess and respond to ideas of others (LO4)
  5. Develop and participate in group learning processes and activities in the context of island sustainable development. (LO5)

Other Information

This is an intensive course offered on an annual basis including an in country field based experience in early July. Enrolment is limited and merit based so you will need to apply to Dr Sara Beavis  (Sara.Beavis@anu.edu.au) by 4 March 2019.

There are additional field trip fees of approximately $1100 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop). Students will also need to cover the costs of their own airfares as well as some meals.

Indicative Assessment

Students taking the 6 unit version will complete the following assessment:
  • Pre-trip preparatory test 10% [LO 1]
  • Learning and photographic journal (~2200 words) 30% [LO 1, 3,4, 5,6]
  • Group project during Field School (2000 words) with seminar presentation at conclusion of Field School 30% [LO 1, 2,3,4,6]
  • Policy paper (2000 words) 30% [LO 1,2,3]
Students taking the 12 unit version will complete the following assessment:
  • Pre- & post-trip (Group) development project checklist  10% [LO 1, 3, 4,5]
  • Learning and photographic journal (~2200 words) 30% [LO 1, 3,4, 5,6]
  • Group project during Field School (3000 words) with poster as communication for local communities 30% [LO 1, 2,3,4,6]
  • Research paper (5000 words) 40% [LO 1,2,3]
  • Post trip seminar  10% [LO 1, 2,3,4,6]

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Two days of seminars and preparatory work on aspects of island sustainable development, at the ANU on a weekend in April. Ten day Field School in Fiji (early-mid July) (excluding travel two and from Fiji) plus additional personal study.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 48 units towards a degree. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed ENVS6205.

Prescribed Texts

Recommended Reading:

Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2010) Trends in Sustainable Development: Small Island Developing States (SIDS), 46 pp. http://www.sidsnet.org/sites/default/files/resources/trends_in_sustainable_development_sids.pdf. 

Prasad, BC and Tisdell, CA (2006) Institutions, Economic Performance and Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Fiji Islands, Nova Science Pub., 278 pp. (extracts to be provided). 

Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (2012) Fiji Country Report, in: Pacific Regional MDGs Tracking Report, p 49-60, 212.   http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/attachments/documents/MDG%20Track%20Rpt%20web%2020122.pdf

Read, R (2006) Sustainable natural resource use and economic development in small states: the tuna fisheries in Fiji and Samoa, Sustainable Development, 14:2, 93-103. 

Veitayaki, J. (2006) Caring for the Environment and the Mitigation of Natural Extreme Events in Gau, Fiji Islands: A Self-help Community Initiative, Island Studies Journal, 1:2, 239-252

Assumed Knowledge

Recommended courses: ENVS1001 Environment and Society: Geography of Sustainability, ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research, ENVS1008 Sustainable Development, ENVS2011 Human Ecology, ENVS2013 Society and Environmental Change, ENVS2014 Qualitative Research Methods for Sustainability, ENVS3021 Human Futures, ENVS3040 Resolving Complex Environmental Problems, PASI3005 Pacific Islands Field School.




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 to 12 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
7.00 0.14583
8.00 0.16667
9.00 0.18750
10.00 0.20833
11.00 0.22917
12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $640 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2019 $910 per unit
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6390 01 Jul 2019 15 Jul 2019 26 Jul 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person View
6492 01 Jul 2019 15 Jul 2019 26 Jul 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person View

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