ENVT4461 Assessing Environmental Quality

6 points
(see Timetable)

If this unit does not have an online alternative, then students who are presently unable to enter Western Australia and whose studies would be delayed by an inability to complete this unit, should contact the unit coordinator (details given on this page) to ascertain, on an individual case-by-case basis, if alternate arrangements can be made to support their study in this unit.

Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face Predominantly face-to-face. On campus attendance required to complete this unit. May have accompanying resources online.
This unit gives students a basis for assessing the state of, and human impacts on, various environments. Students learn the different types of pollutants that enter the environment and transport pathways to environmental and human receptors, as well as the potential for attenuation to occur. Natural and agricultural catchments, urban land, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and air quality are discussed. Through case studies, guest lectures from environmental practitioners and a field trip, students will learn the fundamental processes affecting pollutant fate in different environments. Students will also work with practical aspects of environmental quality assessment, including design of sampling programs, analysis of samples, management of data and application of statistical methods for testing hypotheses. The course will result in both a solid grounding in the fundamental controls on pollutant mobility vs attenuation and the practical skills to gather and interpret site-specific data. The result will be a strong basis for formulating conceptual site models, which in turn is key for assessing environmental risk and environmental management.
Students are able to (1) discuss the diverse types of pollutants that threaten environmental quality, and understand environmental controls on their transport and fate; (2) demonstrate an understanding of sampling design and laboratory analysis for appropriate environmental data collection ; (3) critically appraise such data using appropriate statistical methods such as ANOVA and regression analysis; (4) evaluate environmental information quantitatively in a way that allows impact to be assessed; and (5) produce environmental assessment reports with conceptual site models as a basis for source-pathway-receptor analysis of environmental risk.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a portfolio of short assignments based on laboratory activities, computer tutorials and lectures; (2) report on collection and synthesis of environmental data to inform a conceptual site model and sampling plan; and (3) a detailed report on environmental assessment based on applying the statistical and plotting techniques to an environmental data set. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Andrew Rate and Dr Deirdre Gleeson
Unit rules
ENVT3361 Environmental Assessment
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week; practical classes: 4 hours per week (one practical session involves field work)
  • 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.