• Class Number 7414
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr James Latimer
    • Dr James Latimer
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course will provide students with the skills and knowledge to understand and explain the complex chemical and biogeochemical cycles that drive environmental systems and processes. The course will provide a foundation in modern environmental chemistry, exploring the interaction between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. Building upon these foundational topics, the course will investigate the chemical nature and physical properties of pollutants. Students will develop an understanding of the chemical behaviour of polluting compounds in the environment, with an emphasis on aquatic, marine, atmospheric, and soil chemistry. Using this understanding, the course will address the measurement and treatment of air, water, and soil pollutants to prevent future environmental contamination and ensure that environmental health can be maintained. This course will provide an important focus on indigenous perspectives and contributions to this field of study. Students will be able to draw on course materials that provide diverse gender, cultural, and geographical perspectives on these topics.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand and explain the chemical and biogeochemical cycles that drive environmental systems and processes.
  2. Understand and analyse the energy and material flow between various environmental systems and processes.
  3. Explain the interaction and dependency between biogeochemical, biological, and chemical processes in the air, water and soil and the impacts of pollutants on these systems and processes.
  4. Identify and differentiate between various kinds of environmental pollutants and their treatment methods.
  5. Evaluate methods of monitoring environmental health and explain the steps necessary to maintain the health of various environmental systems.

Research-Led Teaching

Major assignment outcomes provides valuable information to local agricultural enterprise.

Field Trips

Assorted field trips around Canberra and the surrounding region. All trips occur in the Workshop time slot. Transportation is provided and leaves from the Fenner School Field Services compound.

Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos for lectures and other instruction, two-way video conferencing for interactive learning, email and other messaging tools for communication, interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities, print and/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus groups, etc.

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to Environmental Chemistry:
  • States of matter
  • Molecular structures, functional groups, bonding
  • Reaction equations, stoichiometry, chemical calculations
  • Equilibrium chemistry
Pre-semester chemistry knowledge questionnaire [no marks].Week 1 workshop - Revising chemical concepts [2.5%].
2 Aqueous Chemistry 1:
  • pH, electrical conductivity, dissolved oxygen
  • Laboratory procedures
Week 2 workshop - Labs as the basis of field chemistry [2.5%].
3 Aqueous Chemistry 2:
  • Redox and energy states
  • Microbial element cycling (biogeochemical cycles)
  • Calibrating and using field sensors
  • Sample collection and preservation
Week 3 workshop - In situ environmental measurements [2.5%].
4 The Chemistry of Rocks:
  • Elements to minerals to rocks to landscapes
  • Microstructures determining macrostructures
  • Weathering processes
  • Applications of rock leaching: groundwater, mineral deposits, acid mine drainage
Week 4 workshop - Geochemistry applications [2.5%].
5 Soil Chemistry 1:
  • Soil formation, components and structure
  • Soil water
  • Soil mineralogy
  • Soil acidity and acid neutralising capacity
  • Soil sampling and analysis
Week 5 workshop - Soil sampling and analysis [2.5%].
6 Soil Chemistry 2:
  • Nutrients in the soil
  • Agricultural soil constraints
  • Agroclimates: what is grown where and why
  • Agricultural soil and water sampling
Major assignment given to students at workshop.Week 6 workshop - Agricultural site visit for major assignment [no marks].
7 Atmospheric Chemistry:
  • Atmospheric composition, structure and processes
  • Outdoor air pollutants
  • Indoor air pollutants
  • The chemistry of climate change
Mid-semester test is due during at beginninf of week [10%].Week 7 workshop - Air quality [2.5%]
8 Isotope Chemistry:
  • Stable and radioactive isotopes
  • Natural isotope fractionation processes
  • Isotope chemistry applications: dating, provenance, tracing
Week 8 workshop - Isotope chemistry [2.5%]
9 Indigenous Chemistry and Landscape Management:
  • Applying chemistry for improved land management decisions
  • Case studies: agriculture, urban, mining, native systems
  • Indigenous chemistry and landscape connectivity
Week 9 workshop - Indigenous chemistry and land management [2.5%]
10 Contamination and Pollution Chemistry:
  • Polarity and transport
  • Exposure pathways
  • Endpoints and toxicity
  • Applying contamination guidelines
Week 10 workshop - Urban pollution chemistry [2.5%]
11 Remediation Chemistry:
  • Treating to avoid pollution
  • Treating pollution in real-time
  • Treating legacy pollution
Week 11 workshop - Plastics [2.5%]
12 Evaluating, Monitoring and Maintaining Environmental Systems:
  • Identifying target parameters
  • Creating efficient and representative sampling programs
  • Semester content revision and consolidation
Week 12 workshop - Environmental monitoring [no marks]Major assignment due [25%].

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Weekly workshop assessments 25 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Mid-semester test 10 % 18/09/2023 10/10/2022 1,2,3
Major assignment 25 % 27/10/2023 17/11/2023 1,2,3,5
Exam 40 % * 01/12/2023 1,2,3,4,5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines , which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Integrity Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Weekly workshop assessments

Ten workshops throughout the semester will have associated assessments, typically taking the form of an online Wattle quiz. Workshops will involve significant group activities and peer-to-peer learning. Students' lowest score will be excluded, with the best nine of ten scores counting for 25% of the subject grade. Assessments will be due 17:00 on the Friday of the week in which the Workshop occurred, unless stated otherwise.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 18/09/2023
Return of Assessment: 10/10/2022
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3

Mid-semester test

Online Wattle quiz to consolidate and test content covered in the first half of semester. Quiz will open at the beginning of the mid-semester break and will be open for a week. Results will be returned in Week 7. Test is worth 10% of the subject grade.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 27/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 17/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,5

Major assignment

The major assignment will combine field sampling, laboratory analysis, and data interpretation learned through this course, culminating in the writing of a report due at the end of semester (27th October). This assignment will include milestones throughout semester, with field sampling and laboratory analyses taking place in scheduled sessions. The major assignment is worth 25% of the subject grade.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Return of Assessment: 01/12/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5


The exam will cover the all content covered during semester. The exam is worth 40% of the subject grade.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr James Latimer

Research Interests

Soils, waters and rocks in agricultural, native, urban and industrial landscapes.

Dr James Latimer

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr James Latimer

Research Interests

Soils, waters and rocks in agricultural, native, urban and industrial landscapes.

Dr James Latimer

By Appointment
By Appointment

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