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REN1201 Environmental Studies

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Fraser Coast
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Sciences
School or Department : Biological & Physical Sciences
Version produced : 30 December 2013

Contents on this page


Examiner: Andy Le Brocque
Moderator: Joachim Ribbe

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at <>.


As the effects of population pressure, unsustainable resource use and pollution increasingly influence global social and economic stability and quality of life, an understanding of environmental issues by graduates from all disciplines is essential. This course aims to develop informed and positive attitudes toward environmental issues, an understanding of the causes and symptoms of environmental degradation, and of corrective actions and the policies which support them.


The course provides a general introduction and overview of the emergence of environmental issues at the global scale. An inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the environment is provided at a general level for students across all Faculties. The material is presented in a number of inter-related modules that cover the biophysical environment, politics, economy and society, and human impact on the natural environment. The course focuses on ecological principles for thinking about the environment, the links between society and environmental exploitation and the development of ecologically sustainable development. Consideration is given to population growth, the influence of technology, environmental economics and the role of community value systems. Issues examined from a global perspective include land utilisation, mining and fishing, energy production and use, water pollution, atmospheric pollution, urban systems and waste management. Special attention is given to ways in which environmental problems are dealt with under the ecologically sustainable development framework.


On completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the factors contributing to global and national environmental problems;
  2. demonstrate an appreciation of the inter-relationships between ecological, social and economic aspects which make up modern environmental issues;
  3. demonstrate a thorough understanding of the processes involved in human interactions with the environment.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction and the Biophysical Environment 23.00
2. Politics, Economics and Society 15.00
3. Human Impact on the Natural Environment 23.00
4. Environment and Society 39.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Miller, GT 2010, Living in the environment, 17th edn, Thomson Brooks/Cole, Pacific Grove, CA.
    (ISBN 9780538735346.)

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Botkin D & Keller E 2009, Environmental Science: Earth as a Living Planet, 7th edn, John Wiley and Sons, Inc, Hoboken, NJ.
  • Cunningham W & Cunningham, MA 2010, Environmental Science: A Global Concern, 11th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.
  • Elliott, L 1998, The global politics of the environment, MacMillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire.
  • McConnell R, Abel D 2008, Environmental Issues: An Introduction to Sustainability, Pearson-Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
  • UN Development Programme, UN Environment Programme, World Bank & World Resources Institute 2000, World Resources 2000 - 2001:, People and ecosystems: The fraying web of life, World Resources Institute, Washington, DC.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assignments 30.00
Examinations 2.00
Online Lectures 26.00
Online Tests 3.00
Private Study 80.00
Tutorials 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Online Quiz 1 60 10 19 Mar 2012 (see note 1)
Online Quiz 2 60 10 23 Apr 2012 (see note 2)
ASSIGNMENT 1 60 30 30 Apr 2012 (see note 3)
Online Quiz 3 60 10 14 May 2012 (see note 4)
2 HR RESTRICTED EXAMINATION 120 40 End S1 (see note 5)

  1. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  2. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  3. Assignment 1 must be submitted via the Electronic Assignment Submission Environment (EASE) on the course StudyDesk.
  4. Online Quizzes will be undertaken via the course StudyDesk and each must be completed in a single session within the specified period.
  5. Examination dates will be available during the Semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students' responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without prior approval then a penalty of up to 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment will apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded. No assignments will be accepted after model answers have been posted.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the weighted aggregate of the marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access only to specific materials during a Restricted Examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination). Students whose first language is not English, may, take an appropriate unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary) into the examination. Dictionaries with any handwritten notes will not be permitted. Translation dictionaries will be subject to perusal and may be removed from the candidate's possession until appropriate disciplinary action is completed if found to contain material that could give the candidate an unfair advantage.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ via the electronic assignment submission environment (EASE) on the course website. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be produced within five days if required by the Examiner. In the event that a due date for an assignment falls on a local public holiday in their area, such as a Show holiday, the due date for the assignment will be the next day. Students are to note on the assignment cover the date of the public holiday for the Examiner's convenience.

  2. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete-Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete-Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  3. Students must use the assignment template (.doc or .docx document) provided on the course Website for electronic submission of assignments. The templates include an assignment cover page and marking criteria and must be submitted in a Microsoft Office Word 2007 compatible format.

  4. In accordance with Faculty of Sciences and USQ regulations, applications for extensions to assignment due dates must be made in writing to the Examiner before the assignment due date. Applications for extensions must be accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence.

  5. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide.