• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Geography, Human Ecology, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Resource Management and Environmental Science, Development Studies More...
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Edwina Fingleton-Smith
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2019
    See Future Offerings

In a time of rapid population growth, unlimited economic growth and the threat of climate change, it is increasingly obvious that we need a transformation in the way we manage our resources, environment and economies. However, bringing about such societal change is not easy, whether it be at the global, national or local level. This course considers the complex drivers behind societal change in pursuit of environmental objectives.

Using both global and local case studies, the course will break apart some of the crucial building blocks of modern society and explore how we understand the concepts of society, environment, and the economy and the complex relationships between them. The course will also look at who ‘we’ is and how different individuals and groups experience the environment and environmental change differently. From here the course will explore how societies can and do pursue change, the complex relationships which influence change, the different discourses represented in the global conversation about environmental and social issues, and the links between international environmental movements and local, domestic environmental outcomes. In particular, the course will address such questions as: What are the key factors for successful societal change? What are the barriers? How do we know we are addressing the most critical environmental issues? And how do we know when we have succeeded?

Note: Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

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. Apply sociological concepts and analytical methods and relate them to concepts and methods from human geography and political economy to analyse society-environment relationships and to distil policy implications.
  2. Employ theories and methods for situating social change within institutions and governance arrangements that will guide and interact with social and behavioural change including cross scale interactions.
  3. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of key concepts and a good command of the literature in interdisciplinary scientific communities including human ecology, environmental sociology, environmental history, ecological economics, industrial ecology and environmental policy.
  4. Employ advanced research, writing and presentation skills.
  5. Reflect on their own learning, demonstrate high levels of information literacy, and interact with others through communication skills that include speaking, writing and facilitating small groups.

Indicative Assessment

Regular attendance and participation in class work is expected, and tutorial attendance is compulsory.  Assessment will be based on:

  • 4,000 word essay on a topic related to the course (65%) (LO 1-4)
  • 400-600 words public thought piece (15%) (LO 1-4)
  • A group presentation and planning and facilitation of group exercises (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.


42 contact hours comprising one 3 hour lecture/seminar per week and a full day field trip. Preparation is required for weekly seminars.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed ENVS2013

Preliminary Reading

To be advised.

Areas of Interest

  • Geography
  • Human Ecology
  • Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability
  • Resource Management and Environmental Science
  • Development Studies
  • Environmental Studies
  • Human Sciences
  • Population Studies



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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8506 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person View

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