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Specialisation: Environmental Science

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:
Specialisation Details

Environmental Science


Department of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering
Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Environment
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Study Period Offerings:
Session 1 (February), Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 20 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

Contemporary Conservation in Australia and New Zealand (4)
Ecological Processes (4)
Air and Water Quality (4)
Air and Water Quality (4)
Environmental Research Report (4)
Environmental Research Report (4)
8cp from
Conservation of Australasian Wildlife (4)
Climate Change Impacts (4)
Climate Change Impacts (4)
Climate Change and The Climate System (4)
Introduction to Geographic Information Science for Postgraduates (4)
Environmental Applications of GIS and Remote Sensing (4)
Science in Environmental Management (4)
Climate Change and The Climate System (4)
Introduction to Geographic Information Science for Postgraduates (4)
Environmental Health (4)
Pollution Control and Waste Management (4)
Environmental Applications of GIS and Remote Sensing (4)
Research Project Part A (8)
Research Project Part B (8)
Management of Degraded Environments (4)
Science in Environmental Management (4)
Management of Degraded Environments (4)
Environmental Health (4)
Pollution Control and Waste Management (4)
Research Project Part A (8)
Research Project Part B (8)


Additional Information
Overview and Aims of the Program Environmental science is the application of all fields of natural science towards solving environmental problems. It seeks to understand processes occurring in the natural world and how human population affect those processes, and to apply this knowledge to developing solutions that will achieve long term environmental sustainability. Students are therefore able to study in depth the core environmental science discipline areas of ecology and physical environmental sciences, including a range of specific units of applied interdisciplinary environmental study.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. display specialised knowledge and advanced understanding of environmental science (K)
2. demonstrate knowledge and understanding of disciplinary methodologies in physical environmental science and ecology (K)
3. apply a range of research methodologies to environmental measurement and analysis (T, P, I)
4. formulate and apply environmental solutions in the framework of scientific and socio-managerial concepts (J, P, A).

5. critically and analytically integrate the principles of environmental science and measurement to environmental assessment (T, I)
6. interpret, analyse and critically evaluate environmental reports and plans (J, L)
7. demonstrate practical fieldwork skills working on large team research projects (T, P)
8. effectively communicate environmental science orally and in writing (C)
9. confidently collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to eventuate positive professional outcomes (E, A).
Learning and Teaching Methods You will be encouraged throughout this program to develop the relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. The program is structured so that you engage in a set of required units while also being able to choose from a pool of related units designed to increase your overall understanding and to allow you to further specialise in particular areas. Within this structure you will be exposed to diverse teaching and learning approaches that are designed to be student-centred and flexible.

The teaching and learning approaches are designed to encourage creative and critical thinking about environmental issues as well as a range of practical skills oriented towards professional development. Teaching and learning strategies include weekly workshops that typically involve a lecture accompanied by in-class activities involving peer-to-peer learning; block-mode teaching where teaching is condensed into extended blocks involving guest lectures and practical activities spread over two or three days; and field trips to research sites to collect and analyse data. In each case staff work closely with students to ensure the best learning outcomes. The program mixes the knowledge and skills of academic staff with practising professionals who play a prominent role in many of the teaching and learning activities.

Within the program there is an emphasis on student centred learning through peer-to-peer interaction and discussion, drawing on the diverse skills and backgrounds of people within the class. Students are expected to research subjects outside class time and present that research via a variety of formats in class. Many units are aimed at developing professional teamwork skills and require students to work in small teams to generate and present ideas and research. There are also opportunities to apply skills and knowledge to practical ‘real world’ problems by producing research reports for public, private and community sector organisations.

A unique feature of the program is a week long field trip experience in Jervis Bay where teams of students work together to research socio-ecological issues facing the region. This provides an opportunity to apply critical thinking and research skills, work in teams, collect and analyse data, communicate findings to academic and non-academic stakeholders and write-up in-depth individual reports. The combination of learning and teaching strategies provides the ideal foundation for a career addressing environmental challenges.
Assessment You will be exposed to a wide range of assessment tasks through this program. The majority of these are individual pieces of work oriented at developing the critical thinking, practical and communication skills required for a career in environment. The most common assessments involve writing essays and reports on contemporary environmental topics; writing reviews and evaluations of current policies and approaches; making presentations and participating in discussions with your peers. Other individual assessment tasks may include quizzes, exams, research proposals, research projects, review of academic papers, critical reflections and environmental modelling. You will also be required to work in groups on group assessment tasks that will reflect your knowledge, as well as teamwork and communication skills.

Clear standards and criteria for coursework are included in the unit guide. Marking rubrics are provided for specific assessment tasks to help tailor your work to what is expected. Feedback on submitted assignments takes a range of forms but will generally involve written notes regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your work as well as either quantitative or qualitative assessment in accordance to the assessment marking rubric. Teaching staff can also provide feedback in-class or through personal appointments for further feedback and guidance. Constructive peer feedback may be sought for some assessment tasks, particularly those that require presentations. When conducting research for a public, private or community sector organisation as part of your training, feedback will also be sought from these entities.

One of the major assessment tasks for the program is based on a week-long field trip to Jervis Bay. Students work in groups researching particular socio-ecological issues before presenting their ideas for formative feedback from staff, other students, and local non-academic stakeholders at the end of the field-trip. They then write up individual in-depth reports based on the collated data to demonstrate their critical thinking, practical and professional communication skills.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. For recognition of prior informal and non-formal learning, please refer to the relevant RPL Plan, which describes the evidential requirements and approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit in this program.

For undergraduate RPL plans visit
For postgraduate RPL plans visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Our graduates can build successful careers across all levels of the government sector, non-government organisations, community organisations, consultancies and the corporate sector.

• Catchment Management Authorities
• community organisations
• consultancies
• Department of Environment and Climate Change
• NSW Environmental Protection Authority
• NSW Department of Primary Industries
• industries dealing with minerals, energy, waste recycling and management, air quality, water quality and climate change science and management
• Marine Parks Authority
• non-government organisations.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit