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Unit of study_

GEOS2921: Environmental and Resource Management (Adv)

Semester 1, 2024 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

Advanced students will receive the same core lecture materials as for GEOS2121 but have a separate seminar and are required to complete alternative written work.

Unit details and rules

Unit code GEOS2921
Academic unit Geosciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
A mark of 75 or above in GEOS1X01 or GEOS1X02 or ECOP1X01 or SIEN1000
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Rebecca Cross,
Lecturer(s) Phil McManus,
Rebecca Cross,
Tutor(s) Amelie Van Der Stock,
Stephen Lound,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final exam
Short answer and essay component
30% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Participation Participation (tutorial and lecture)
Tutorial participation
10% Ongoing 50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO9 LO8 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Individual project
25% Week 06
Due date: 28 Mar 2024 at 23:59
2000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO8 LO9
Assignment Fieldtrip report
25% Week 09
Due date: 26 Apr 2024 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Assignment Practical report
10% Week 13
Due date: 24 May 2024 at 23:59
500words plus maps
Outcomes assessed: LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9

Assessment summary

  • Essay: Students will write an essay that answers one of the provided essay questions. 
  • Fieldtrip report: Students are required to undertake a self-guided fieldtrip in their local government area. Students will then write a report about identified environmental issues and provide recommendations for their local government area. 
  • Participation:  Attendance and participation in lectures and tutorials is expected in this unit.  Participation will be assessed during the tutorials (weeks1-12). You are expected to prepare for tutorials by carefully reading and considering the required readings (see unit of study handbook). The readings will be provided electronically through the Canvas website. Attendance will account for 5 marks in total, with 0.5 marks deducted for each session not attended. Failure to attend at least 8 of the 11 tutorials/practicals without an approved Special Consideration application may result in an Absent Fail grade.  A series of non-weighted quizzes and exam-style questions are available to students during the tutorials to provide feedback on their own participation, progress and learning. 
  • Practical report:  Students will attend 3 x 2hr practicals in weeks 10-12.  These will be held in computer labs for on-campus students and online for remote students. Students will use ArcGIS Pro software to produce maps for a 500word report.
  • Final exam: The exam will include both short answer questions and an essay component. Short answer questions will be graded based on ‘what you know’ and on the student’s ability to clearly communicate their understanding. The essay component of the exam will assess knowledge, ability to construct an argument, clarity of language and originality. The exam could cover any material presented during the lectures and through the required readings.

    If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator. 

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.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply subject knowledge to novel situations.


75 - 84

At D level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a solid knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad understanding of the unit material but has not fully developed the ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


50 - 64

At P level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge of the subject.


0 - 49

At F level, a student does not demonstrate proficiency in the unit material. A ‘fail’ reflects unsatisfactory achievement and is given to a study who does not have threshold knowledge of the subject.

For more information see

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.

Support for students

The Support for Students Policy 2023 reflects the University’s commitment to supporting students in their academic journey and making the University safe for students. It is important that you read and understand this policy so that you are familiar with the range of support services available to you and understand how to engage with them.

The University uses email as its primary source of communication with students who need support under the Support for Students Policy 2023. Make sure you check your University email regularly and respond to any communications received from the University.

Learning resources and detailed information about weekly assessment and learning activities can be accessed via Canvas. It is essential that you visit your unit of study Canvas site to ensure you are up to date with all of your tasks.

If you are having difficulties completing your studies, or are feeling unsure about your progress, we are here to help. You can access the support services offered by the University at any time:

Support and Services (including health and wellbeing services, financial support and learning support)
Course planning and administration
Meet with an Academic Adviser

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the unit: What is nature? Lecture (1 hr)  
Indigenous and local environmental knowledges and management Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 02 What is natural resource management? Protection versus sustainable use Lecture (1 hr)  
What is natural resource management? Policy and practice in Australia Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 03 Capitalism and the environment: Opportunities, contradictions and limits Lecture (1 hr)  
Capitalism and the environment: Ecosystem services and offsetting Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 04 Bodies: Population and scarcity Lecture (1 hr)  
Bodies: Environmental and social justice Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 05 Agricultural systems and NRM Lecture (1 hr)  
Introduction to the self-guided fieldtrip Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 06 Oil, coal and the petro-state: Can we live with(out) them? Lecture (1 hr)  
Energy and renewables: Can we engineer a sustainable grid for all? Independent study (1 hr)  
Week 07 Conduct self-guided fieldtrip Lecture (1 hr)  
Unpacking the international climate regime Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 08 Carbon farming and credit generation: will this mitigate climate change? Lecture (1 hr)  
Climate Change: Justice and just transitions Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 09 Climate Change: Disasters and development Lecture (1 hr)  
Managing environmental risk Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 10 Commons and commoning: practicing collective action for collective good Lecture (1 hr)  
Rights for nature: is this the answer? Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 11 Caring for Country and Indigenous environmental governance (Guest Lecture) Lecture (1 hr)  
Nature based approaches to sustainable and resilient development Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 12 The regenerative agricultural revolution Lecture (1 hr)  
Indigenous native grains revitalisation (Guest Lecture) Lecture (1 hr)  
Week 13 Indigenous agricultural governance (Guest lecture) Lecture (1 hr)  
Conclusion and exam preparation Lecture (1 hr)  

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.

Required readings

Please see unit of study guide on canvas for more information.

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. articulate different constructions of nature and key concepts in environmental thought, and how these are socially and culturally specific
  • LO2. demonstrate the social, political, economic constitution, and outcomes, of environmental processes, change, and management
  • LO3. identify the uneven distribution of environmental ‘goods’ and ‘bads’ and the reasons for this outcome
  • LO4. critically interrogate different environmental and resource management theories and practices and outline their assumptions
  • LO5. describe key environmental and resource management challenges and their causes, particularly climate change
  • LO6. demonstrate skills in analysing and interpreting primary research data using Geographic Information Systems
  • LO7. present analysis of an environmental or resource challenge in a report (rather than essay)
  • LO8. organise and communicate a coherent argument in written, oral and inter-personal forms
  • LO9. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, and think critically and independently as a future scientists and global citizen.

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.

Feedback from previous years have been incorporated into the program - additional resources have been provided and the advanced project assessment has been refined.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulations 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. A link to general wellbeing and support services for students is provided (along with other links to important information and resources) at the end of this document. 

Practical classes are held in computer laboratories. The following general safety rules apply to these spaces.

  • Face to face students will occupy every second computer (evenly numbered computers) whilst completing their practical work to maintain social distancing.
  • For the safety of others and for the protection of equipment, no eating or hot drinks are allowed in practical classes.
  • In case of fire or any emergency, follow all instructions of your class demonstrator.
  • Students should act with civility to other students and the class demonstrator. Rude, discrimatory, racist, sexist or bullying behaviour is not acceptable under any circumstances and will not be tolerated.


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.