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Unit outline_

ENVI3888: Environmental Impact Assessment Project

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Understanding and being able to undertake Environmental Assessment is a challenge for graduates of many academic disciplines. This unit will investigate the history, strengths, weaknesses and potential of various forms of environmental assessment through an integrated project that enables students to build on their disciplinary knowledge, work in cross-disciplinary teams and develop an interdisciplinary approach and knowledge. You will learn the methods of environmental assessment, and to understand critically the theory and practice of Environmental Assessment from both positive (scientific) and normative (value) perspectives. The positive perspective will focus on the scientific aspects of the assessment process, the quality of science in Environmental Assessment, mitigation measures. By doing this unit, you will develop teamwork skills, decision-making skills, research and communication skills and a knowledge of environmental assessment relevant for future employment. There will also be involvement from organisations that are potential employers of graduates from this major.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
GEOS2X21 and (GOVT2228 or AREC2003 or GEOS2X11)
ENVI3112 or ENVI3912
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Phil McManus,
Lecturer(s) Robert Fisher,
Phil McManus,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Essay incorporating a Literature review
Written assignment
40% Week 05 3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6 LO9
Assignment group assignment Group report
Written report
40% Week 11 2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7
Assignment group assignment Brochure
Groupwork brochure to synthesize & communicate key points from group work.
10% Week 12 1-2 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8
Assignment Group Work Evaluation
Peer review of contribution to groupwork
10% Week 12 Faculty template
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 1. Introduction to the Environmental Impact Statement; 2. Unit of study goals, structure and requirements Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO9
Week 02 1. Overview of Environmental Impact Statement procedures; 2. Environmental assessment in New South Wales Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO9
Environmental Studies disciplinary knowledge Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO9
Week 03 1. Social impact assessment; 2. Stakeholder analysis Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Social Impacts practice Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5
Week 04 Indigenous/heritage/Developing countries and cultural competence Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO3
Environmental Impact Statement: Indigenous/heritage/Developing countries Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Week 05 Cumulative impacts. Planning ports. Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO4 LO6
Assessing impacts at ports Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Career readiness. Climate change and health. Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO4 LO6 LO7
Climate change and impact assessment practical Practical (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Science communication workshop and Group project based work Practical (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 08 Group based project work Project (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 09 Group based project work Project (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 10 Group project based work Project (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 11 Group based project work Project (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 12 Group based project work Project (4 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Unless otherwise indicated, students are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the associate dean. For some units of study the minimum attendance requirement, as specified in the relevant table of units or the unit of study outline, may be greater than 80%. The associate dean may determine that a student has failed a unit of study because of inadequate attendance.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in environmental assessment
  • LO2. understand the history and forms of environmental assessment
  • LO3. apply the basic concepts to a group-work, project based assessment exercise
  • LO4. critically evaluate existing literature and assessment processes
  • LO5. engage in group-work and decision-making to review an environmental assessment
  • LO6. find and analyse information and judge its reliability and significance
  • LO7. create a report that synthesises knowledge and critique of an environmental assessment
  • LO8. communicate the group's knowledge in an accessible format for a general audience
  • LO9. Understand and be able to communicate the subject area of Environmental Studies.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This is the first time this unit has been offered.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health
and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.