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


The ocean drives global systems that make the Earth habitable. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, and much of the food, oxygen & energy that we consume are all ultimately directly provided or regulated by the ocean. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future. However, there has been a continuous deterioration of our capacity to conserve and sustainably use the resources of the world's oceans due to climate impacts, pollution, water quality deterioration and an incomplete understanding of ocean environments. This gives rise to a range of oceans challenges that society is attempting to address through a number of global initiatives, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) framework.

This unit will introduce critical global oceans challenges, including :

a. Pollution: Ending, and recovering from, marine debris and nutrient pollution

b. Conservation: Managing, protecting and restoring critical ocean ecosystems

c. Food: Building secure and sustainable aquatic food industries

d. Energy: Providing affordable, reliable and sustainable energy from the ocean

e. Coastal protection: Building the resilience of coastal systems and communities in a changing climate

f. Global understanding: Increasing knowledge, exploration, research capacity and technology transfer for the marine environment

In each case, students will gain an understanding of the ocean processes that shape the challenge, the global extent of the challenge faced, and potential solution pathways.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) demonstrate an understanding of ocean environments and processes that shape global oceans challenges and solution development; (2) articulate the extent, rates of change and complexities of global oceans challenges, and the social, economic and environmental benefits that can result from their solution; (3) characterise the human influence on the oceans, both in terms of creating and solving global challenges.; (4) define the role of each oceans-facing discipline (from marine science to law, engineering to policy) in the development of solutions to global oceans challenges.; (5) use field data and observations to assess the local extent of a global oceans problem; and (6) work within a multi-disciplinary group to communicate the local manifestations of global oceans challenges and a range of possible solutions.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) quizzes; (2) individual reports; and (3) collaborative project presentation. 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 Marco Ghisalberti and Dr Scott Draper and Dr Arnold van Rooijen
Contact hours
2 hours lectures per week and 2 hours workshops 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.