• Offered by Mathematical Sciences Institute
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Mathematics
  • Areas of interest Accounting, Mathematics

This is an Honours Pathway Course. It emphasises a sophisticated and critical analysis of environmental models and offered in association with Fenner School.

Focus of the course will be on critical assessment of models used in published papers and one or more models will be coded and analysed to document their performance, limitations and potential improvements. This will include:

  • critical reviewing of papers
  • analytical exploration of the models described in the papers
  • coding models used in the papers and testing against actual or synthetic data
  • developing potentially improved model structures

The assessment of the course will be based on written reports on selected papers, as well as a project exploring a particular paper/model in more detail. The key component of the project will be proposing potential improvements in the work done, and doing at least some initial work on evaluating these improvements. This will include components of:

  • analytical evaluation of model behaviour
  • coding the original and improved versions of the model and conducting sensitivity analysis
  • exploration of structure of uncertainty in model inputs.

Note: This course will have shared lectures with MATH6102 but will have different tutorials and assessment which will emphasise a more sophisticated approach to the evaluation of the models.

Learning Outcomes

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Describe the basic processes and behaviours of different environmental systems and the major methods of modelling these (e.g. model family selection, model structure identification, parameter estimation, sensitivity assessment, optimisation)
  2. Appreciate the concept of tradeoffs and uncertainty sources in decision-making and optimisation through critical evaluation of case studies referring to hydrology, ecology, water quality and socioeconomics
  3. Evaluate the issues in building and evaluating models; formulate treatment of complex real-world problems (not just environmental problems); and select appropriate frameworks and methods to solve these, including using computer platforms and the statistical R package
  4. Communicate and engage with interest groups involved in a problem; and appreciate how integrated assessment can be used for managing our environment more sustainably, and the valuable role played by modelling
  5. Build a model of a system, drawing on an existing understanding of the typical behaviour of the system and available data.
  6. Be able to critically evaluate the limitations of a model, and identify potential research that will enable improvements in the model.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:

• Five reviews of selected papers (50%; LO 1, 2)

• Two presentations (10%; LO 3, 4)

• Project (40%; LO 5 and 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.


Offered subject to staff availability and student demand. Regular meetings and tutorials.

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have successfully completed MATH2305 or MATH2405. You are not able to enrol in this course if you have completed MATH6102

Assumed Knowledge

It will be assumed that students have a reasonable grasp of different model types (time series, PDE/ODE-based models, frequency domain models) as well as understanding of the issue of uncertainty in model inputs, structure and observed outputs.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Band 2
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and 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). You can find your student contribution amount for each course 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
2018 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2018 $5160
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings and Dates

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery
9313 22 Jul 2019 29 Jul 2019 31 Aug 2019 25 Oct 2019 In Person

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