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 is concerned with the nature and future of humankind, current conditions and lifestyles of peoples across the world and prospects for change in the foreseeable future. It explores human wellbeing at local, regional and global levels and its promotion in a world of rapid change. Students discuss major challenges such as population explosion, weapons of mass destruction, pollution, endemic poverty and environmental degradation. They consider recent advances in science and technology and how these can contribute to human wellbeing in a sustainable environment. They collaborate with students from different disciplines through forums and projects and learn to integrate creative and analytical skills from the humanities, evidence from the sciences and skills from the professions in their exploration of human and world futures. The academic objective of the unit is to prepare students to engage with global challenges and opportunities within their chosen careers and personal lives. Specifically it fosters understanding and ongoing interest in (1) the current state of humanity and indices of human wellbeing, lifestyles, values and the environment; (2) what makes us human and gives us the capacity and propensity to change ourselves and the world we live in; (3) how advances in science and technology can be harnessed to benefit humanity at a global level; and (4) how all of these factors could influence not just the way we live but the very meaning of humanity in the twenty-first century. Emphasis is placed on critical and creative thought, collaborative skills, the ability to formulate questions and to find, evaluate and present information on human and world futures.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 elective

Students demonstrate that they (1) appreciate local, regional and global differences in living standards, lifestyles, cultures, beliefs, values and aspirations; (2) recognise that these differences can impact on resolution of major challenges of the twenty-first century and ultimately on human wellbeing and environmental sustainability; (3) recognise that we live in a rapidly changing world and that awareness and understanding of likely changes is crucial to help shape world futures; (4) understand that complex problems can only be resolved through integrating knowledge, methodologies and perspectives from a range of appropriate disciplines; (5) have developed an ability for critical and creative thought and for collaborative work towards producing reports of value to others; and (6) have developed research and communication skills and an ability to independently explore new areas related to human and world futures.


This comprises 10 weekly assignments (assessed weekly); two integrative reports (due mid- and end of semester); review of achievements (due end of semester); collaboration, forums and tutorials (assessed weekly); project presentation (due end of semester); and project report (due mid- and end of semester).

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

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Neville Bruce

Essential readings are provided online through the LMS (Learning Management System) and CMO (Course Materials Online).

  • 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.