Majoring in Environmental Studies

Almost every area of science is concerned with environmental issues, solving environmental problems and improving and conserving our environment. Environmental studies is the examination of human interactions with the natural and built environment. It encapsulates the fundamental social aspects of sustainability, environmental impact, law, ethics, development, energy use, economics and politics. In order to adequately cover the material, the units are taught by various staff from within the Faculty of Science, as well as other supporting Faculties.

Environmental studies begins in first year, where you will be introduced to the earth, environment and society as a holistic field of inquiry. We recommend that you select a broad range of science units, particularly those offered by the School of Geosciences and the School of Biological Sciences. In second year, you will learn the role of conservation biology and applied ecology in environmental science, examining pattern and process in natural systems and evaluating how these are being affected by human impacts. You will develop solid analytical foundations in social science approaches to the environment and how our social, political and economic systems have attempted to manage environmental issues and problems of natural resource scarcity. .

In third year, you will study applied social and management issues, including Australian laws pertaining to environmental matters and environmental governance. You will investigate a number of environmental issues at the various levels of analysis, policy making, implementation, enforcement and dispute resolution. You can explore energy sources, uses, and alternatives, and the various social implications involved in each. You can study the theory and practice of environmental assessment, including environmental impact assessment (EIA) processes and how our planning system addresses environmental problems.

The basic requirement for majoring in environmental studies is that students complete 24 credit points of senior environmental studies units. This is achieved by enrolling in two units listed under senior environmental studies per semester. Study of the intermediate ENVI units (GEOS2121 and BIOL2024) is highly recommended.

The Environmental Studies Major

The Environmental Studies Major will be constituted as follows:

The Environmental Studies Major consists of 24 credit points of senior units of study from the following:

  • ENVI 3111/3911 - Environmental Law and Ethics
  • ENVI 3112/3912 - Environmental Assessment
  • ENVI3114/3914 – Energy and the Environment
  • BIOL3007/3907 – Ecology
  • GEOS 3520/3920 - Urban Citizenship & Sustainability
  • GEOS 3014/3914 - GIS in Coastal Management
  • RSEC4132 – Environmental Economics

This should include at least 12 credit points of the ENVI-coded units of study.


Any students who are uncertain as to what combination of Units will best serve their interests should contact their year coordinator:

First Year:
Second Year:
Third Year:

Marine Science:
Postgraduate (Environmental Science):
Postgraduate (other streams):