• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Environmental Management & Development
  • Areas of interest Geography, Anthropology, Development Studies, Environmental Studies, Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Simon West
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This course is available for on-campus & remote (online) learning. All students participate in interactive, real-time classes.

This course provides students with an understanding and capacity to use key, critical social science practices applied in analysing environment and development problems and natural resource policy. These include common property theory; sociology of the state and the environment; socio-legal approaches to natural resources policy; and other political ecology frameworks. The course introduces students to key conceptual (theoretical) readings together with case studies where these approaches are applied. Students learn to apply these frameworks to analyse the political aspects of environmental change and to evaluate interventions to deal with them.  Students also perform political ecology analyses of particular natural resource problems in small groups.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain key theoretical social science frameworks for looking at environmental and development problems.
  2. Compare and assess the comparative value and usefulness of different conceptual approaches from policy sciences, political ecology, and other knowledge areas for understanding particular issues or problems.
  3. Critically analyse policy issues using key social science frameworks, preferably by combining these conceptual models in order to approach environmental policy and practical applied issues.
  4. Evaluate policy proposals and advocate alternative policy approaches and reforms.
  5. Critically assess the underlying causes of current environmental problems using conceptual frameworks from the field of political ecology.

Other Information

This course is based on research and policy related work that entails using key, critical social science practices to analyse environment and development problems and natural resource policy. In a similar fashion to a policy analyst, a student needs to apply these frameworks to analyse particular environmental issues and to evaluate

interventions to deal with them.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Reading Brief (min 350 wds x 8) (10) [LO 1,2]
  2. Survey Essay (1500 wds) (30) [LO 1,2]
  3. Work in progress presentation (0) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  4. Case study essay (2000 wds) (60) [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.


The standard workload for a 6 unit course is 130 hours including class time and independent study.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts

Robbins, P. (2020) Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, third edition)

link to ebook https://library.anu.edu.au/record=b2226337

Benjaminsen, T and H Svarstad (2021) Political Ecology: A Critical Engagement with Global Environmental Issues

Preliminary Reading

Bryant, R.L. (2015) The international handbook of political ecology. Edward Elgar Publishing. Full text online in library

Perreault, T. G Bridge, & J. McCarthy (eds.) (2015) The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology. London ; New York, NY, Routledge. Full text online in library

Robbins, P, J Hintz, S.A. Moore (2013) Environment and Society Wiley. (available as ebook from ANU library)

O'Lear, S. 2010. Environmental Politics. Scale and Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Connelly, J. Smith, G., D. Benson and C. Saunders, 2012. Politics and the Environment From Theory to Practice. Oxon: Routledge.

Death, C (ed) (2014) Critical Environmental Politics Routledge ebook available from ANU library


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
2023 $4560
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
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
On Campus
5292 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View
7497 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 Online View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions