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Unit of study_

SUST5004: Sustainable Development and Population Health

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit introduces students to the extremely close nexus between human health, demographic change and environmental sustainability issues. This relationship is examined within the context of the three pillars of sustainable development with a focus on achieving equitable outcomes. This unit explores the extent to which environmental changes influence population demographics and health, and the extent to which demographic and secular changes impact on the physical environment. The influence of migration, conflict, food insecurity, droughts, flooding, heat stress, emerging and re-emerging infections and chronic health problems on poverty, ageing and dependency, physical, mental and social health and economic sustainability will be analysed alongside the elements needed to preserve the diversity and functioning of the ecosystem for future human survival. International models and policies for mitigating and/or adapting to the negative consequences of globalisation, urbanisation, overconsumption, and resource depletion will be analysed for their potential benefits and harms to sustainable population growth, optimal health and equitable distribution of essential resources.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SUST5004
Academic unit Science Faculty
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Edward Jegasothy,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small continuous assessment Responses to discussion forums
Short answer question
20% Multiple weeks 250 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO3
Tutorial quiz End of module quiz
MCQ quiz
25% Multiple weeks 30 minutes each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment Critical thinking ssay
Written essay
25% Week 05 3 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Health and environmental impact assessment
Defined task
30% Week 13 3000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5 LO4

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

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 Introduction and Exploring the nexus of health and sustainability Lecture (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 02 COVID-19 (And other case studies) and sustainability Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 Sustainable physical environment and health Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 04 Case study of fish consumption, sustainability and health Forum (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 05 Physical activity and mental health Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 06 Sustainable social environment and health Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 07 Discussion forum: Working from home policies Forum (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 08 Sustainable economic environment and health Lecture (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 09 Fiscal strategies Tutorial (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 10 Addressing health and sustainability issues Lecture (2 hr) LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 11 Discussion forum: Single use medical devices Forum (2 hr) LO1 LO3 LO4 LO5
Week 12 Bringing it all together Tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Attendance and class requirements

  1. Be present and participate actively in a minimum of 9 of the 12 online sessions workshops
  2. Log on and participate in all 4 online discussion fora (unless specific permission has been granted)
  3. Contribute to all class or group discussion sessions

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

Various texts recommended on Canvas

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. describe and explain the various dimensions of health and the pillars of sustainable development
  • LO2. analyse and assess the close relationships between sustainability issues with health and demographic changes
  • LO3. interpret and explain the balance between social needs, the physical environment and economic activity with health and wellbeing of communities
  • LO4. assess and explain the relative merits of policy and governance options for reversing, mitigating and/or adapting to current sustainability imperatives for populations and the planet
  • LO5. formulate approaches to help maintain the balance between sustainable development and health outcomes in communities.

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.

Assessment tasks have been simplified

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.


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