- Code ENVS6020
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
- ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
- Course subject Environmental Science
- Areas of interest Forestry, Geography, Human Ecology, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Biological Anthropology More...
The course applies the principles of ecosystem sciences to the study of the human environment. The emphasis is on the significance and function of ecosystems, how humans have affected these systems over time, and what are the opportunities of and barriers to making positive changes. Dynamical systems thinking and the concept of coupled social ecological system is introduced as a powerful means of comprehending the behaviour of these complex situations. Field trips allow students to experience first-hand the complexity of these human-ecological interactions and the challenges of managing them sustainably. In the latter half of the course, human-nature interactions over human history are critically reviewed, including hunter gatherer societies, early agricultural societies and modern globalised urban and industrial societies. Some key contemporary challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene are presented for critical reflection. Students extend their understanding of one of these challenges in their final research report and presentation.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Demonstrate advanced understanding of Human Ecology, including knowledge of the history and background to the topic.
- Demonstrate advanced understanding of key linkages between ecosystem and social processes and how they relate to human-nature interactions, and to integrate this understanding with knowledge drawn from their own degree backgrounds.
- Use systems approach to ‘get at' an understanding of the complex, multi-scaled, interactions that characterize human-ecological situations, and their associated problems
- Apply this understanding in to a significant contemporary challenge facing humanity in the Anthropocene.
- Communicate human ecological systems approaches to social-environmental challenges to a range of audiences in effective written and oral form.
There are field trip fees of approximately $120 for the 3-day field trip (payment to ANU Science Shop).
- Students can opt between attending the field trip or undertaking 21 hours of independent research related to the field trip. Note: there is a limited quota of places for the field trip. Information about this will be communicated to the class in the first week of the teaching semester. Students should contact the Course Convenor if they have any questions.
If you do not meet the requisites for this course, it may be possible to receive a permission code. If you are prompted for a permission code on ISIS, please request one online via the following form.
- Tutorial preparation, attendance and participation. Assess the ability to participate in discussions that draw in a diverse range of knowledge backgrounds on some key issues in Human Ecology (10) [LO 1,2]
- Systems diagram quiz. Assesses the ability of students to command basic concepts from lectures and course readings as well as other materials, and engage in discussions with peer students (15) [LO 1,2]
- Fieldtrip assessment. Brings the systems approach techniques to bear on a real case study that exhibits many of the process and conflicts evident in complex human-environment situations. See "Other Information" for additional details. (35) [LO 1,2,3,4]
- Final report. In a 2,000 word research report, explore one or more of the key ‘challenge’ concepts developed in the latter half of the course by application to a location-based case study of their own choosing (40) [LO 2,4,5]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:
- Face-to face component which may consist of 2 x 1 hour lecture and 1 x 1 hour tutorial per week plus 6 hours of workshops across the semester.
- Either a 3 day (21 hours) field trip OR 21 hours of independent research to support equivalent preparation to enable submission of assessment task (3). Please see Other Information for additional advice.
- Approximately 67 hours of self-study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.
Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.
To be determined.
Requisite and Incompatibility
Please refer to the course WATTLE site.
Areas of Interest
- Human Ecology
- Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability
- Biological Anthropology
- Environmental Studies
- Human Sciences
- Population Studies
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
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- 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.
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