• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Forestry, Geography, Interdisciplinary Studies - Sustainability, Environmental Science, Resource and Environmental Management
  • Work Integrated Learning Fieldwork
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Craig Strong
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2024
    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.

Honours Pathway Option

This course offers an Honours Pathway Option (HPO). Students in this option are required to attend 2 additional classes which will engage with the material at a higher level, and complete a a small research project proposal worth 10% . The standard course assessment will contribute 90% towards the final grade and the HPO 10%.

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. Demonstrate an understanding of the geological development of Australia and its relationship to soil;
  3. Discuss the characteristics of water in Australia and the interacting environmental and social factors;
  4. Describe the development of Australian soils and the implications for ecosystem productivity;
  5. Recognise key morphological traits in Australian plant and animal families and how they cope with environmental drivers;
  6. Integrate knowledge across a range of biophysical disciplines to complex environmental problems;
  7. Apply research, writing and presentations skills to biophysical issues.

Work Integrated Learning


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

Other Information

There is a non compulsory 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. 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.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Quizzes (x 2) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Research Synthesis (2000 words) (25) [LO 1,6,7]
  3. Multimedia Presentation (10 min) (25) [LO 1,6,7]
  4. Examination (2 hours) (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:

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

One non-compulsory 2 day trip. Please see "Other Information" for more details.

Inherent Requirements

This course includes a non-compulsory 2 day field trip.

For more information on field trips please visit: https://students.science.anu.edu.au/program-admin/college-science-field-trips

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
2024 $4680
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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
7825 22 Jul 2024 29 Jul 2024 31 Aug 2024 25 Oct 2024 In Person N/A

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