• 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, Development Studies, Environmental Studies More...
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Edwina Fingleton-Smith
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Some activities that form part of this course can be taken remotely or on-campus in Sem 2 2020. Check timetable for details. Group limits may apply.

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:

  1. Identify and evaluate the drivers and barriers of societal change for environmental objectives in different contexts, particularly the respective roles of the media, public, civil society, governments and technological developments in encouraging that change.
  2. Critique and evaluate key environmental movements, and how they include or exclude certain groups in society or globally.
  3. Conduct in--depth problem analysis; design and implement appropriate research and evaluation tools.
  4. Employ advanced research, writing and presentation skills.
  5. Participate effectively in team-based integrative research projects.
  6. Design appropriate activities to faciliate others to develop innovative approaches to contemporary sustainability problems.

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. Opinion piece (10) [LO 1,2,4]
  2. Grand challenge problem video (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Grand challenge solution presentation (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Grand challenge research essay (20) [LO 1,2,4]
  5. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 1,2,5]
  6. Tutorial brainstorm facilitation (20) [LO 3,4,5,6]

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 lectures plus 1 x 2 hour tutorials per week
  • Approximately 82 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

Requisite and Incompatibility

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

Prescribed Texts

There is no prescribed text. Please refer to the course Wattle site for readings.

Areas of Interest

  • Geography
  • Human Ecology
  • Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability
  • 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
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
8802 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View
9800 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 Online N/A

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