• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Cultural Studies, Drama, Health Medicine and the Body, Biotechnology, Public Health
  • Work Integrated Learning Fieldwork
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Craig Strong
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

This course builds an understanding of key processes that have shaped Australia's biophysical environment. Through an exploration of Australia’s evolution through time, students acquire foundation knowledge across a range of environmental science disciplines, an understanding of contemporary issues, and an appreciation for the unique challenges faced in the future for Australia’s environment. As student’s move through topics, they will learn about geology, climate and weather, soils, landscape evolution, water, flora, fauna, and biodiversity with an appreciation for how these interact and depend on one another. Having gained an understanding of the evolution of Australia, students will also explore topical issues in contemporary Australian environmental science. 

Lectures are delivered by a diverse range of disciplinary experts. Online lectures are supported by some live lectures and also activities that reinforce learning. Lectures are complemented by a strong practical component (in person), in which students learn through posing questions and solving problems in panel discussions, laboratory and field classes, and during a fieldtrip.

Honours Pathway Option

Subject to the approval of the course convenor; HPO students will be required to demonstrate greater depth of understanding of the content of the course. HPO students will submit alternative advanced research report, equivalent to a minimum of 20% of overall assessment.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. recognise the patterns and processes which characterise Australia’s climate and explain their connection to the evolution of Australian landscapes and biota;
  2. understand the geological development of Australia in general, and understand the relationship to soil;
  3. discuss the unique characteristics of water in Australia and the interacting environmental and social factors that make it so;
  4. describe the development of Australian soils and understand the implications for ecosystem productivity;
  5. recognise key morphological traits in Australian plant and animal families and how they cope with nutrient deficiency, aridity, flood, herbivory/predation and fire;
  6. integrate knowledge across a range of disciplines to critically evaluate complex environmental problems.
  7. develop communication skills in an appropriate science format

Work Integrated Learning


Students may engage with WIL partners (internal/external) as a component of the course

Other Information

There is an optional field trip which requires an additional fee of approximately $150 (payment to ANU Science Shop). Students will be asked to register their intention to participate in the field trip via the course WATTLE site.

  • Field-based teaching and learning activity forms an integral and important part of many courses delivered by the Fenner School of Environment & Society. For this course, this includes an optional 2 day field trip. Fieldwork activities are designed to allow you to put the skills you’ve learned in the classroom into practice in new environments and provide powerful enrichment to student learning. Students should contact the Course Convenor if they have any questions.

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. Quizzes (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Research Synthesis (25) [LO 1,6,7]
  3. Multimedia Presentation (25) [LO 1,6,7]
  4. Examination (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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 3 x 1 hour lectures plus 1 x 2 hour workshop per week (including some field based activities).
  • Approximately 70 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.

There is also an optional 2 day trip to the South Coast or Snowy Mountains in the first weekend of the mid- semester teaching break. See "Other Information" for more details.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined.

Requisite and Incompatibility

Incompatible with ENVS6104.

Prescribed Texts

Prescribed texts not required, but suggested reading indicated.

Preliminary Reading

Australian Department of Environment & Heritage (2016) Australia State of the Environment. https://soe.environment.gov.au

Twidale, C.R. & Campbell, E.M. (2005) Australian Landforms - understanding a low, flat arid and old landscape. Rosenburg Publishing.

Attiwill, P. and Wilson, B. (2006) Ecology: an Australian perspective. Oxford. South Melbourne.

McKenzie, N, Jacquier, D., Isbell, R. and Brown, K. (2004) Australian Soils and Landscapes. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood. https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/3821/

Assumed Knowledge

General science knowledge.


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
6082 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View

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