Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit provides advanced fundamentals of environmental systems and their dynamics. The focus is on expanding the knowledge acquired in the undergraduate degree in a broader context and to one that is dealing with complex environmental systems and their behaviour in time and space. The unit covers the definition of complex environmental systems including the interaction between natural and built environment, external forcing, water, heat and momentum budgets, the utilisation of external forcing by organisms, biogeochemical cycling, an introduction to surface and subsurface hydrology, ecological processes and ecosystem functioning, and finally global warming and carbon budgets. Engineering case studies are used to highlight the systems approach to environmental issues.

6 points

Students are able to (1) function effectively in a multidisciplinary team; (2) write concise technical reports; (3) give a professional oral presentation; (4) manage group discussion; (5) locate and evaluate sources of information including references and appropriate data; (6) quantify temporal and spatial scales of importance for various environmental systems; (7) quantify the temporal and spatial scales of importance for the interaction between natural and built environments; (8) quantify the temporal and spatial scales of importance for catchment processes including interaction between ground and surface water and ecological process; (9) identify and quantify the role of biogeochemical processes in complex environmental systems; and (10) quantify and conceptualise multiscale change in environmental systems including impact assessment and prediction of future dynamics.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment; (2) field work; (3) class discussions; and (4) final 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)
Professor Anas Ghadouani
Unit rules
enrolment in
the Master of Professional Engineering (Environmental Engineering specialisation)
  • 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.