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ECO8011 Global Issues in Sustainability

Semester 1, 2020 Online
Short Description: Global Issues in Sustainablty
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Commerce
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 089999 - Mgt & Commerce not class
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Brad Taylor

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


Humans, through population growth and anthropogenic changes to natural ecosystems, are endangering the sustainability of their own habitat. Current human activities have the earth on a pathway of unsustainable biological and economic outcomes. The deleterious outcomes which arise from these activities include climate change, pollution, biodiversity loss and depletion of natural resources. This course provides an opportunity to learn about these harmful global issues impacting on present generations and the reasons for the continuation and exacerbation of these problems in market based economies.


This course investigates major phenomena threatening planet earth's environment and consequently the progress of industrialisation and the standard of living in both rich and poor countries alike which have arisen through natural resource exploitation. Topics include phenomena such as: climate change, pollution, loss of biological diversity, and depletion of natural resources.

In the first third of the course, human population growth and the demand for and utilisation of resources will be explored as fundamental underlying causes of current issues in sustainability. The basic science behind issues will be introduced and explained.

In the last two thirds of the course, the discussion will turn an investigation of the reasons for the outcomes observed. A public policy approach will be used to investigate how we got to this position and how these challenges can be overcome to correct/change the unsustainable pathways the global environment and economy is heading. This will particularly include examining the market-based economic concepts which explain, in part, why this situation has come about and why it continues on an unsustainable path.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate how human activity threatens the sustainability of the earth’s environment;
  2. understand how market based economics has contributed to the current situation;
  3. understand how market based economies contribute toward the continuation of this environmental damage.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction: overview of the course 2.00
2. Sustainability and the biophysical environment 32.00
3. Economics, the biophysical environment and sustainability 64.00
4. Conclusion: summary and explanation of how the course complements the other courses in the specialisation 2.00

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. (

A selection of readings will be provided.

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.
If reference materials are considered necessary they will be named at the end of each module. This course is at master level and students are encouraged to develop their own skills for searching the rich information sources available on the web through URL pages and through streaming and webinars.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Directed Study 39.00
Private Study 96.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 25 25 19 Mar 2020
ASSIGNMENT 2 25 25 23 Apr 2020
ASSIGNMENT 3 50 50 12 Jun 2020 (see note 1)

  1. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the assignment by their examiner via StudyDesk.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility 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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

    Requirements after S1, 2020:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are: To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

    Requirements after S1, 2020:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

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

  6. Examination information:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are:

    There is no examination in this course.

    Requirements after S1, 2020:
    This is a restricted examination. Candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the examination for this course are:
    1. writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination).
    2. an unmarked non-electronic translation dictionary (but not technical dictionary). A student whose first language is not English may take a translation dictionary into the examination room. A translation dictionary 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:
    Due to COVID-19 the requirements for S1 2020 are:
    There is no examination in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

    Requirements after S1, 2020:
    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. Referencing in assignments: 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 at

Date printed 19 June 2020