• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Climate, Sustainability Science, Biodiversity Conservation, Water Science and Management
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Peter Kanowski
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Delivery of this course will vary from student to student. Contact your course convener or supervisor to see if there is an on campus activity.

This interdisciplinary course draws on contemporary perspectives on current issues in the environmental sciences to explore evidence-based decision-making in the environmental sector. Researchers across the biophysical and ecological sciences provide exposure to contemporary theory, field methods and cutting-edge research and analytical techniques relevant to environmental decision-making. Frameworks for assessing environmental priorities, such as managing within planetary boundaries and the UNEP Global Environment Outlook, are used to explore key issues including  


  • freshwater systems 
  • biodiversity
  • sustainable land use (e.g. agriculture, forestry, soils, fire)
  • climate variability and change 


The course is structured as a series of intensive, small-group discussions based on preparatory reading. These intensive discussions are led by experts in the field and focus on exploring the most up-to-date research and thinking on each theme from a variety of perspectives, with particular emphasis on relevance to your experience and professional interests. Students are also expected to draw on the extensive and varied opportunities to learn from world-leading experts available at the Australian National University and across Canberra, by attending and reporting on relevant seminars, workshops and other forms of research communication external to the course. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand key current environmental issues and their implications across Australia and globally.
  2. Explain and apply contemporary theory and research methods employed in the environmental sciences.
  3. Source reliable contemporary scientific research findings across the environmental sector.
  4. Analyse and critique the scientific evidence base used for decision-making.
  5. Interpret and communicate research findings and their implications across the environmental sector for decision-makers.

Other Information

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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Learning journal (35) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. World café pre-facilitation notes (15) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  3. Oral "Conference" presentation (10) [LO 1,3,5]
  4. Literature review of and policy recommendations on an agreed environmental science topic. (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Workshops. Students are required to attend a minimum of five workshops in order to pass the course. (0) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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. 

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 1 x 2 hour Seminar plus 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week and 5 hours of skills development workshops throughout the semester. Students are required to attend a minimum of five workshops in order to pass the course.
  • 12 hours of attendance of relevant seminars, conference presentations, workshops or similar events external to the course (e.g. at other areas of the ANU, CSIRO or government departments.
  • Approximately 65 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.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined.

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Recommended Reading:

These readings provide overall context for the course. Additional, advanced reading material will be required for each specific theme studied:

Australia State of Environment Committee (2011). Australia State of Environment 2011. Canberra: Department of Environment and Energy.

Lindenmayer, D, Dovers, S, Olson, M and Morton, S (2008) Ten Commitments: Reshaping the Lucky Country's Environment. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing.

Rockstrom, J, Steffen, W. et al. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity, Nature 461, 472-475.

UNEP (2012). Global Environment Outlook GEO5: Environment for development. Nairobi: United Nations Environment Program.    

Assumed Knowledge

Recommended courses: ENVS6025 Addressing Complex Environmental Problems, ENVS6306 Human Futures, ENVS8003 Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation, ENVS8016 Contemporary Perspectives in Environment-Society Interaction.



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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
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
3792 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person View

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