The University of Newcastle, Australia
Available in 2020

Course handbook


Many areas of the world have contaminated sites as a result of anthropogenic activities. With 60% of such contaminated sites located in the urban environment there is significant potential for human exposure to contaminants. For this reason, remediation of contaminated sites is legislated as a necessity prior to rehabilitation or redevelopment of such sites. Current process for the assessment and remediation of contaminated sites requires a detailed assessment of risk contaminants pose to both environment and human health. It is best to follow the risk based approach to managing contaminated sites. Currently developments in risk assessment provides fundamental information to better understand the dynamics, fate and mechanisms of contaminants. The aim of this course is to provide students with the history, concepts, principles, practice and statistical skills, models and future directions in exposure assessment and toxicity assessment of risk characterisation, as well as involved uncertainties.

Availability2020 Course Timetables


  • Semester 1 - 2020

Learning outcomes

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

1. Understand the development and history of risk assessment across countries and understand the principles in the human health risk assessment

2. Understand current compliance model used in environmental regulation

3. Comprehend procedures in risk assessment, calculate the exposure estimation using math software under various scenarios

4. Obtain a professional level understanding of bioavailability concepts and their application in risk characterisation

5. Address threshold and non-threshold assessment method; apply statistical methods to toxicity database

6. Determine the variability and uncertainty in risk process

7. Provide a perspective in next generation risk assessment

8. Apply knowledge and techniques in qualitative and quantitative case studies


Topics covered include:

  • An overview introduction on the history and development of risk characterisation;
  • Introduction of commonly used compliance models;
  • Introduction of major components in risk characterisation;
  • Introduction of bioavailability for heavy metal and organic compounds;
  • Introduction of classical exposure model, as well as statistical analysis;
  • Introduction of classification of carcinogen and non-carcinogen; 
  • Benchmark dose method and meta-analysis;
  • Introduction of PBPK model;
  • Introduction of risk calculation; as well as sensitivity and uncertainty analysis;
  • Introduction of next generation risk assessment.

Assumed knowledge

This course assumes no previous knowledge other than a basic understanding of chemistry, biology and statistics.

Assessment items

Literature Review: Literature Review

Presentation: Presentations and Practical Reports

Written Assignment: Final essay

Contact hours



Face to Face On Campus 3 hour(s) per Week for 2 Weeks


Face to Face On Campus 2 hour(s) per Week for 10 Weeks