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 develops skills in modelling ecological, environmental, agricultural and economic systems, and the relationships between them. It builds on skills and experience developed at the undergraduate level through a series of modules that provide an overall understanding of the place of modelling in the natural sciences and a general overview of common modelling approaches and issues including the goals and purposes of modelling, types of models, the modelling process, systems analysis and conceptual modelling, and validation and testing. A range of practical laboratory exercises and a project allow a more detailed focus on techniques and issues specific to disciplines such as botany, zoology, theoretical ecology, agro-ecology, agricultural and resource economics, marine and aquatic ecosystems, and conservation ecology.

6 points

Students are able to (1) explain the possible purposes of modelling natural systems; (2) discuss the relationship between modelling and experimental work; (3) describe a range of different modelling approaches; (4) explain how models can be evaluated and validated; and (5) understand, explain, use, modify, construct and evaluate models of ecological, agricultural, environmental and economic systems.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignments; (2) a quiz; and (3) a small project. 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 Michael Renton
Unit rules
enrolment in
Master of Professional Engineering (62550)
or Master of Agricultural Science (72510)
or Master of Biological Science (72520)
or Master of Environmental Science (72530)
or Master of Geoscience (72550), Master of Hydrogeology (72540), Master of Science (70630)
or Master of Biotechnology
or honours in the Faculty of Science
Advisable prior study
SCIE4401 Data Use in the Natural Sciences
or SCIE4402 Data Management and Analysis in the Natural Sciences
or ENVT3362 Environmental Modelling
or SCIE3367 Decision Tools for Natural Resource ACCT2112 Management Accounting
Contact hours
30 contact hours, total workload 160 hours
  • 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.