The University of Newcastle, Australia

Course handbook


This course provides an informative introduction to the fundamental aspects of biology relevant to the many issues confronting us in today's environmentally conscious world, whilst considering the sustainable use and conservation of the natural environment.

Although it will form the basis for subsequent study in this area anyone with an interest in environmental issues, but not wishing to pursue studies in science, will also find it an informative insight into the natural world.

Topics include genetics, evolution, the diversity of life, extinctions and captive breeding.

The course is particularly valuable to students intending to study Teaching, Marine Science, Sustainable Resource Management, Environmental Science or Development Studies.

Availability2018 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2018


  • Semester 1 - 2018

Learning outcomes

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

1. Define, explain and apply key concepts in environmental biology;

2. Demonstrate the ability to utilise data and produce and interpret diagrams relevant to environmental biology;

3. Demonstrate the ability to relate theory to practical applications in environmental biology;

4. Apply critical thinking, draw conclusions and synthesise information and key concepts to produce a report or address issues in environmental biology.


The core topics of the course are:

  1. Environmental protection, sustainability and conservation
  2. Systematics and taxonomy; the diversity of life
  3. Genes & genetics; conservation genetics
  4. Evolution: theory and evidence; genetics and natural selection
  5. Biodiversity threats; ex situ conservation; wildlife trade


This course is only available to students who are active in the Open Foundation Program or the Yapug Program.

Assessment items

Quiz: Online Quizzes

Annotated Bibliography: Annotated Bibliography

Portfolio: Portfolio

In Term Test: Mid-Semester Test

Formal Examination: Final Examination

Contact hours

Callaghan and Ourimbah


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 12 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 1 hour(s) per Week for 11 Weeks