• Offered by Nat Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Population Health
  • Areas of interest Climate, Public Health, Epidemiology, Environmental Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Kayla Smurthwaite
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings
  • STEM Course

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.

This course examines the fundamental concepts in environmental health, health needs assessment, and environmental risk assessment and management. This will include a range of environmental risks, including water and food quality, sanitation, air quality, occupational health, environmental toxicology and the built environment. This course will also examine the pathways through which climate change is likely to influence human health. These include the likely health effects of rising ambient temperatures, shifting patterns of vector-borne and food-borne diseases, physical and mental health risks of extreme weather events, potential food and water insecurity, occupational health risks, and the likely impacts of climate change on health equity, vulnerability and resilience.

This course will provide an introduction to research methodologies used to examine the relationships between environment and health, and examine the determinants and management of health protection. The emphasis will be on understanding the literature linking environment to health, the assessment of health risks and benefits associated with environmental factors, and the evaluation of frameworks designed to protect public health, including the risks and benefits associated with current and future climate change.    


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand environmental risks to population health.
  2. Apply an environmental health risk assessment framework and identify the sources of uncertainty in the assessment.
  3. Analyse the direct and indirect pathways through which environmental change can impact population health.
  4. Evaluate an environmental health risk of global importance.
  5. Create a communication and consultation plan for an environmental health risk.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Online quiz (5) [LO 1,2,3]
  2. Risk assessment essay (30) [LO 2,3,4]
  3. Risk assessment oral presentation (10) [LO 2,4]
  4. Online forum posts (30) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  5. Tutorial participation (5) [LO 1,2,3,5]
  6. Risk communication essay (20) [LO 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 expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to-face component (either in-person or online) which may consist of one 3-hour lecture per week throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 10 hours per week of self-directed study, including course readings and assignments.

Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on understanding the relationship between environmental risks and human health, interpreting published works in the area and synthesising and analysing the strength of the evidence.

Lectures and small group group discussions will be used to facilitate learning and provide opportunities to explore specific topics in more detail.

Inherent Requirements

No specific inherent requirements have been identified for this course.

Prescribed Texts

There are no prescribed texts for POPH8318. Course readings will be posted to the Wattle site on a weekly basis.

Assumed Knowledge

This course is designed for public health professionals and post graduate students from a range of disciplines seeking to gain skills and expertise in the fields of environmental health and climate change, specifically as they relate to health and strategies to optimise health outcomes.

Basic epidemiological knowledge and biostatistics skills would be helpful but not essential.

Recommended courses (not prerequisites):

  • POPH8100: Fundamentals of Epidemiology
  • POPH8101: Biostatistics in Population Health
  • ENVS3020: Climate Change: Science, Society and Policy


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
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
2831 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A
2550 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 Online N/A

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