• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Alexander Van Der Meer Simo
    • Prof Saul Cunningham
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

This course is offered in two modes: online and in person. Please select the correct class number for the relevant mode of delivery when enrolling.

As society grapples with the challenges of sustainability in the face of social, economic and environmental change, it is important that future leaders and decision makers are well informed about the most up-to-date, relevant research. In this course you will engage with experts undertaking leading-edge research on a range of current issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions, and will consider applications of this knowledge to future research directions, policy development and environmental and resource management. The course also offers the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of the implications of current research insights relevant to a particular issue of your choice. Examples of themes considered include:

  • sustainable development
  • climate adaptation
  • environmental economics
  • environmental humanities
  • environmental policies and institutions

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. You 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 external to the course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Identify, explain and apply the theoretical foundations of a series of environment-society related issues.
  2. Critically explore the links within and between key themes and issues in sustainability and environment-society interactions.
  3. Discuss a variety of disciplinary perspectives on current issues in sustainability.
  4. Critically analyse and articulate the role of science in decision-making, including policy and practice.
  5. Interpret and communicate the implications of current research 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.

To enhance learning and to access a wider array of perspectives, and to complete Assignment 1 and 2, students are required to attend at least 3-5 seminars, public lectures, conference presentations, etc outside the course and to report on the research and ideas presented at 3 of them.

The scope of what these seminars are about is wide, but the report needs to connect what is presented to the themes of this course. Students should begin looking for seminars early. Checking the following events websites, but also search widely!

  • http://www.anu.edu.au/events
  • http://fennerschool.anu.edu.au/news-events/events (and look at the Fenner Newsletter each week, as some seminars listed there are not on the external News & Events webpage)
  • https://crawford.anu.edu.au/news-events/events/
  • http://climate.anu.edu.au/events
  • http://energy.anu.edu.au/news-events
  • https://www.eianz.org/events/category/australian-capital-territory
  • https://events.csiro.au/?k=&s=ACT
  • https://www.canberra.edu.au/events/
  • http://www.aares.org.au/imis_prod/AARES2016/Branches/Australian_Capital_Territory_Branch/AARES2016/Branch/ACT_Branch.aspx? hkey=72c9eb58-0aa3-4694-b2f5-0fc3469d7c30

Indicative Assessment

  1. Briefing report 1 (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Briefing report 2 (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Weekly worksheets (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Research synthesis report (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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.


This course is available as fully online or in person.

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

  • 1 x 3 hour seminar per week. Students participating online will be able to join activities remotely via Zoom.
  • 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). Students will be asked to formulate their own schedule of events in line with their availability, topic interests and location. These events can be offered in person, online, or a combination of both. Where an online student wishes to attend online events only and is unable to identify enough activities, they should contact the course convener for advice. Please also see 'other information'.
  • Approximately 82 hours of self directed 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

Recommended Reading:  

Readings will be provided on a course Wattle site

Assumed Knowledge

The following courses are complementary and would assist you in this course, ENVS6025 Addressing Complex Environmental Problems, ENVS8003 Climate Change Vulnerability and Adaptation. However the course is wide-ranging and a professional and/or academic background in environmental studies, politics, environmental policy, geography or similar would enable students to engage with the course material: 


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 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
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
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
4066 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 In Person View
4067 21 Feb 2022 28 Feb 2022 31 Mar 2022 27 May 2022 Online N/A

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