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Unit Overview


Environmental Engineering problems are complex and challenging, with modelling approaches typically playing a central role in evaluation of solutions. Modelling complex environmental systems is thus a core skill of professional Environmental Engineers. This modelling may be analytical, physical, numerical or empirical in nature. This unit introduces students to the modelling process in Environmental Engineering. Models will be developed to understand how a wide range of environmental systems (atmospheric, marine/coastal, hydrological and urban water systems) function and respond to perturbation.

Students work through the modelling process in Environmental Engineering including: model conceptualization; choosing between modelling approaches of various complexities; model construction, including in a numerical programming environment; model calibration and validation; assessment of model uncertainty and sensitivity; critical evaluation of model output; and communication of modelling results to an engineering audience.

This unit will utilise problem-based learning, meaning students will learn about model conceptualization and construction in the context of relevant Environmental Engineering challenges, with real datasets to validate the models developed. It is expected that students will develop their programming skills in this unit in using a numerical programming language for model construction.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Environmental Engineering major sequence

Students are able to (1) develop conceptual models of environmental systems for the investigation and solution of Environmental Engineering problems; (2) translate conceptual models into an analytical, physical, numerical or empirical modelling approach most appropriate to the problem; (3) articulate the limitations, sensitivity and uncertainty of models employed in Environmental Engineering; (4) use collected data to calibrate and validate models of environmental systems; (5) use a numerical programming environment to develop, apply, and present the results of a quantitative model; and (6) communicate to an engineering audience how modelling results are used to inform solution evaluation in Environmental Engineering..


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) case study reports (individual); (2) group project presentation; and (3) take home examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Ivica Janekovic and Professor Chari Pattiaratchi
Unit rules
Enrolment in
Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) or an associated Combined Degree
and GENG1014 Earth Systems Engineering
Advisable prior study
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
And CITS2401 Computer Analysis
Contact hours
2 hours lectures per week and 3 hours practical sessions per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.