• Code ENVS2005
  • Unit Value 6 to 12 units
  • Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Geography, Human Ecology, Development Studies, Pacific Studies, Sustainable Development
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Sara Beavis
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Winter Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

Intensive course including an in-country field based experience in early July. Enrolment is limited. See "Other Information" for details.

Small island states face considerable challenges as they attempt to achieve sustainable development. Particular challenges for these nations were recognised in the 1984 Barbados Programme of Action for Small Island Developing States and in the 2014 SAMOA Pathway. These meetings recognised that Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have a narrow range of resources, which forces undue specialization; excessive dependence on international trade and hence vulnerability to global developments; relatively small watersheds and threatened supplies of fresh water; costly public administration and infrastructure, including transportation and communication; and limited institutional capacities and domestic markets, which are too small to provide significant scale economies.  


The particular challenges faced by a Fiji as a SIDS will be explored in this course. The field trip aims to give students a first-hand experience of the real-world circumstances that confront an island nation by exploring important sectoral themes in the context of sustainable development.  


The course will investigate the interactions between economic development and the sustainable management of key sectors including fisheries, agriculture, water catchment management, tourism, waste management, cultural heritage management and marine and coastal biodiversity. Within each theme students will consider factors relevant to island nations, including climate change, natural disasters, water availability, gender, cultural identity, population and race relations, governance and globalization.  


The course will be undertaken in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific’s Pacific Centre for Sustainable Development PACE-SD.  

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the complex social, environmental and cultural challenges that confront an island nation, like Fiji
  2. Interact with people from another country in a culturally sensitive manner
  3. Apply interdisciplinary approaches to resolving sustainable development issues in an island context
  4. Effectively present and discuss ideas, and to listen, assess and respond to ideas of others
  5. Apply observation skills and to document these pictorially showing perceptions towards unfamiliar cultural and environmental circumstances and their linkages
  6. Undertake analysis of issues related to island sustainable development and to present these in a coherent manner

Other Information

  • This intensive course will next be delivered in-country in the Winter Session (July 2022) subject to the lifting of current COVID-19 travel restrictions. Enrolment is limited and merit based. Students must register an expression of interest to enrol via the following website by 28 February 2022.
  • There are additional field trip fees of approximately $1100 applicable to participation in this course (payment to ANU Science Shop). Students will also need to cover the costs of their own airfares as well as some meals. Limited New Columbo Plan scholarships are available for domestic undergraduate students.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Students taking the 6 unit version will complete the following assessment: (null) [LO null]
  2. Pre-trip preparatory test (10) [LO 1]
  3. Learning and photographic journal (~2200 words) (30) [LO 1,3,4,5,6]
  4. Group project during Field School short communication paper (1000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,6]
  5. Policy paper (2000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  6. Students taking the 12 unit version will complete the following assessment: (null) [LO null]
  7. Pre-trip preparatory exam (10) [LO 1,3,4,5]
  8. Learning and photographic journal (~2200 words) (30) [LO 1,3,4,5,6]
  9. Group project short communication paper during Field School (to be posted up as a blog on Wattle site) (1500 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,6]
  10. Analytical research paper (3000 words) (30) [LO 1,2,3]

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Two days of seminars and preparatory work on aspects of island sustainable development, at the ANU on a weekend in April. Ten day Field School in Fiji (early-mid July) (excluding travel to and from Fiji) plus additional personal study.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed 24 units towards a degree. Incompatible with ENVS6205.

You will need to contact the Fenner School of Environment and Society to request a permission code to enrol in this course.

Prescribed Texts

Recommended Reading:

  • Department of Economic and Social Affairs (2010) Trends in Sustainable Development: Small Island Developing States (SIDS), 46 pp. http://www.sidsnet.org/sites/default/files/resources/trends_in_sustainable_development_sids.pdf. 
  • Prasad, BC and Tisdell, CA (2006) Institutions, Economic Performance and Sustainable Development: A Case Study of the Fiji Islands, Nova Science Pub., 278 pp. (extracts to be provided). 
  • Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (2012) Fiji Country Report, in: Pacific Regional MDGs Tracking Report, p 49-60, 212.  http://www.forumsec.org/resources/uploads/attachments/documents/MDG%20Track%20Rpt%20web%2020122.pdf
  • Read, R (2006) Sustainable natural resource use and economic development in small states: the tuna fisheries in Fiji and Samoa, Sustainable Development, 14:2, 93-103. 
  • Veitayaki, J. (2006) Caring for the Environment and the Mitigation of Natural Extreme Events in Gau, Fiji Islands: A Self-help Community Initiative, Island Studies Journal, 1:2, 239-252

Assumed Knowledge

Recommended courses:

  • ENVS1001 Environment and Society: Geography of Sustainabilit,
  • ENVS1003 Introduction to Environmental and Social Research
  • ENVS1008 Sustainable Development
  • ENVS2011 Human Ecology
  • ENVS2013 Society and Environmental Change
  • ENVS2014 Qualitative Research Methods for Sustainability
  • ENVS3021 Human Futures
  • ENVS3040 Complex Environmental Problems
  • PASI3005 Pacific Islands Field School.




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 to 12 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
7.00 0.14583
8.00 0.16667
9.00 0.18750
10.00 0.20833
11.00 0.22917
12.00 0.25000
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $740 per unit
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $1000 per unit
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4267 30 Apr 2022 22 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person N/A
4268 30 Apr 2022 22 Jul 2022 22 Jul 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person N/A

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