The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Environmental science is truly a global concern and we need to focus on applying a holistic approach to environmental management as a way forward for the sustainable future of our planet earth. We live in a time of great change and challenge. Depletion of natural resources, overpopulation, over-exploitation, global climate change and pollution are just part of an extensive list of environmental concerns. Environmental sustainability stands at the interface between humans and the Earth and explores the interactions and relations between them. This relationship will need to be considered in virtually all future decision making.

Particular emphasis will be placed on the new United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which came into effect on 1 January 2016, and are a landmark agreement by all countries on a blueprint for a better future. The SDGs provide a fundamentally new approach for addressing the social, environmental and governance challenges facing Australia and the world. Australia ranks highly on social and economic development but urgently needs to address climate and environmental goals.

The course will begin its focus at the global level, moving to the national level and then to the personal level of the student. The primary goal is to assist students to make sound judgements concerning the environmental and sustainability issues which impinge on their own conduct as professionals, citizens and informed agents for change. This course would inform their main course of study and allow them to practice environmental concepts and practices in their chosen field of specialisation.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Critically explain key sustainability challenges;

2. Use evidence from varied sources to describe and analyse sustainability interventions;

3. Apply environmental ethics when explaining sustainability challenges and interventions;

4. Analyse and communicate environmental observations in written reports and poster presentations;

5. Engage in effective online peer-to-peer learning.


The topics to be covered include:

1. Understanding Environmental Sustainability and Our Future

2. Environmental Science - Integration of Environmental, Social and Economic systems

3. Environment - A Policy Approach

4. Founding Environmental Concepts, Themes and Issues

5. Sustainable Solution Tool Box


Students cannot enrol in this course if they are in enrolled in one of the following programs: 11368 - Bachelor of Development Studies; 11587 - Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management; 40057 - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Environmental); 40090 - Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Environmental)/Bachelor of Science; 40095 - Bachelor of Development Studies/Bachelor of Social Science; 40101 - Bachelor of Development Studies/Bachelor of Business.

Assessment items

Practical Demonstration: Perform an Environmental Audit

Written Assignment: Analysis of a University of Newcastle campus sustainability initiative

Quiz: Online quizzes

Online Learning Activity: Participation in Group Discussion

Contact hours


Online Activity

Online 120 hour(s) per Term Full Term

Hours per week will vary depending on whether the course is run in Semester 1 or 2, or as a compressed summer or winter term. The total number of hours per term remains the same.