• Code ENVS6205
  • 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

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 1984 Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States and in the 2014 SAMOA Pathway. These meetings recognised that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have 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.  


The particular challenges faced by a Fiji as a SIDS will be explored in this course. The field trip aims to give students a first-hand experience of the real-world circumstances that confront an island nation by exploring important sectoral themes in the context of sustainable development.  


The course will investigate the interactions between economic development and the sustainable management of key sectors including fisheries, agriculture, water catchment management, tourism, waste management, cultural heritage management and marine and coastal biodiversity. Within each theme students will consider factors relevant to island nations, including climate change, natural disasters, water availability, gender, cultural identity, population and race relations, governance and globalization.  


The course will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development PACE-SD. 

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate advanced understanding of the complex social, environmental and cultural challenges that confront an island nation, like Fiji
  2. Demonstrate enhanced skills to interact with people from another country in a culturally sensitive manner
  3. Gain practical experience in using interdisciplinary approaches to resolving sustainable development issues in an island context
  4. Effectively present and discuss complex ideas, and to: listen, assess and respond to ideas of others
  5. Demonstrate an advanced ability to undertake analysis of issues related to island sustainable development and to present these in a coherent manner

Other Information

  • This intensive course will next be delivered in-country in the Winter Session (July 2022) subject to the lifting of current COVID-19 travel restrictions. Enrolment is limited and merit based. Students must register an expression of interest to enrol via the following website by 28 February 2022.
  • 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

  1. Students taking the 6 unit version will complete the following assessment: (null) [LO null]
  2. Pre-trip preparatory exam (10) [LO 1]
  3. Learning and photographic journal (~3300 words) (30) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  4. Group project communication paper (2000 words) with oral presentation at end of Field School (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Policy paper (3000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  6. Students taking the 12 unit version will complete the following assessment: (null) [LO null]
  7. Pre-trip preparatory exam (10) [LO 1]
  8. Learning and photographic journal (~3300 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  9. Group project story map (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  10. Analytical research paper (4000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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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 to and from Fiji) plus additional personal study.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with ENVS2005.

You will need to contact the Fenner School of Environment and Society to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

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 



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 to 12 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $685 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $980 per unit
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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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
4274 22 Jul 2022 02 Sep 2022 02 Sep 2022 16 Oct 2022 In Person View
4275 22 Jul 2022 02 Sep 2022 02 Sep 2022 16 Oct 2022 In Person View

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