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Major: Climate Science

Climate Science


Department of Environmental Sciences
Faculty of Science and Engineering

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

Requirements for the Major:

Completion of a minimum of 24 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

100 level

Biophysical Environments (3)
The Planet Earth (3)

200 level

Climate Change (3)
The Atmospheric Environment (3)

300 level

Integrated Climate Science (3)
Marine Climate, Weather and Coastal Oceanography (3)
Urban Climate and Air Quality (3)
Environmental Management (3)


Units marked with a C are Capstone units.
Units marked with a P are PACE units.
Overview and Aims of the Program Climate scientists aim to understand the earth’s climate system. Macquarie University's flexible approach to study is unique by allowing units in this field to be combined in several ways with studies in Biology, Chemistry, Computing, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics and other fields of science depending on individual interests. Opportunities for development of research and practical skills are emphasised throughout the program and students are valued as individuals with a thoughtful and practical contribution to society.

The general aims of this program are:
• To establish a set of core concepts that are fundamental to research and professional practice in climate science.
• To develop an understanding of the need for interdisciplinary, collaborative, and integrated approaches in climate system science.
• To develop practical skills in effecting technological solutions in the field of climate science.
• To develop the ability to examine, analyse, interpret and integrate scientific information, and critically evaluate data from various primary and secondary sources and use these data to inform decision making and management in climate science.
• To develop appropriate knowledge and skills to enable professional and effective participation in a relevant career in the discipline of climate science and to foster Life Long Learning.
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. have sufficient knowledge and conceptual understanding to be competent in the subject of Climate Science (K, C, J)
2. demonstrate a well-developed understanding of major climate science issues, their interrelationships and their management in a changing world (K, A, P, I, J)
3. exhibit the ability to formulate a problem, develop its methodical analysis, and critically interpret the findings in order to find an appropriate Climate Science-based solution (K, P, I, A)
4. evaluate and contend with the temporal and spatial scales of Climate Science and constraints associated with the absence of a universal approach or answer, in a creative and innovative manner (K, P, C, E, S, J)
5. apply practical knowledge gained to undertake analysis of climatic data and work with apparatus common to the Climate Science discipline (K, P, I).

6. examine, analyze, interpret and integrate scientific information from various primary and secondary sources (K, A, P, J)
7. demonstrate an understanding of practical laboratory and field based skills associated with typical measurement problems in the field of climate science (K, P, I)
8. describe a research problem, propose its analysis, and then articulate the respective findings through oral, written, and non-traditional media which are important tools in the communication of Climate Science (K, E, C, S)
9. comprehend the breadth and complexity of key ethical debates in Climate Science and an ability to engage in these (K, E, S, L)
10. analyse, reason, and question critically, with recognition of uncertainties inherent in Climate Science, by integrating knowledge that students have acquired from a range of sources (K, L, E, A, P)
11. have the capacity to grasp, and respond to the environmental and social implications of Climate Science (K, E, S, L)
12. work efficiently in project teams or independently as is often the case in Climate Science (K, L, C, P)
13. critically reflect on the experience of work placement in Climate Science projects, including the similarities and differences between learning at university and in practical application in workplace (K, J, E, S, L).
Learning and Teaching Methods You will be encouraged throughout this program to acquire the relevant climate science knowledge, associated practical skills, and understanding through a series of individual and team based activities. Knowledge transfer is facilitated through lectures, tutorials, and assessment tasks. Audio and visuals for lectures are available on-line. Courses that have an external offering provide on-campus sessions. You will typically undertake a series of assessments in which you will be expected to apply your understanding and practical skills to problem solving, climate system analysis and scientific communication.

Assigned tasks will involve acquiring information from many sources such as: the scientific literature, books, videos, and media. In addition, you will develop the necessary knowledge and skills through weekly lectures, hands on based practicals (see assessment methods for further information) to problem solve and to develop strong written and oral communication skills.

You will learn to communicate effectively using the variety of media and techniques to a wide range of people including your peers, clients, and users. Most assessments will require you to present either as a group or on your own and to receive feedback on it.

A unique feature of the climate science major is its hands on approach through laboratory and field based activities to apply knowledge to real world climate science problems. The program also incorporates Macquarie universities liberal Arts approach to learning where students undertake during their program a designated People and Planet unit and engage in the University’s Professional and Community Engagement (PACE) initiative. The later involves an internship in a climate science related industry and is an opportunity for you to apply your abilities in an authentic setting.
Assessment Assessment within the program is based on the submission of individual and group tasks and activities. Each unit in the program presents clear and concise standards and assessment criteria and are contained therein respective unit guides.

Coursework is aimed not only to impart a specific knowledge base in climate science but to develop and foster cognitive, creative, and problem solving capabilities. And further, to develop oral, and written communication skills as well as interpersonal, and personal competences.

The climate science major incorporates both summative and formative feedback. Opportunities are provided for feedback during the course of the student undertaking assessments as well as at the end of the task when a critical review and constructive feedback is provided to the student. This approach to feedback provides you with the necessary information and guidance on your development and progress. Feedback is designed to be timely allowing the student to optimize their progress. Feedback may be provided in written form or simply through discussion with peers and teachers.

The program is designed to scaffold climate science knowledge from year one through to year three. Similarly all learning outcomes are achieved throughout the program based on a cumulative approach. In third year the climate science capstone unit is designed to integrate the student’s accumulated knowledge in climate science through various assessment tasks. This unit is also a professional and community engagement (PACE) course where students are place in real world workplaces in the climate science field. Both the placement partner and the student prepare reports and a student presents their workplace experience to peers, climate science faculty, and to the university career development professionals for feedback.
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 (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit.

Information can be found at:

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 Examples of typical graduate destinations are placements in:
• environmental/engineering consultancy firms
• weather and climate related industries such as Weatherzone/ Weather channel
• Corporate Environmentally Sustainable Development officers for example in the mining industry
• insurance companies as natural hazard risk assessment officers
• government and non-government organizations. Examples of government organizations include work in the following areas:
a) Australian Government: Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO
b) State government: NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, EPA, NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (Forests, Agriculture etc).
c) Local government such as councils hire our graduates as well as Universities in various roles, for example, as a scientific officer.

Climate science is the comprehensive study of the Earth’s climate system, including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere (frozen water), land surface and biosphere. Employability of our graduates has always been high within the discipline of climate science. Our graduates are often taken up in non-traditional climate science disciplines due to their inter-disciplinary research and practical skills.
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

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2019 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148