Faculty of Science

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2015 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

FacultyFaculty of Science
OfferedNot offered in 2015
Coordinator(s)Dr Fiona Hogan


This unit emphasises the basic physical and chemical processes involved in creating and shaping the physical environment. Relevant human impacts and management issues are discussed. Topics covered include environmental ethics; the structure of the Earth; plate tectonics; minerals, rocks and weathering; earthquakes, volcanoes and glaciation; streams and flooding; mass movement; coastal zones; energy resources; waste management; sustainable development. There is no prerequisite for this subject.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Describe the physical processes involved in creating and shaping the physical environment - those changes in the environment over which humans have no control, and those which we are able to control and manage;

  1. Discuss some of the ethical and economic factors that influence our approach to resource management;

  1. Describe the basic geological processes and structures occurring within the environmental systems of the Earth;

  1. Use basic terminology to describe geological and hydrological systems;

  1. Discuss the various resources used by plants and animals (including humans) for their existence, and ways in which these can be adequately managed and maintained;

  1. Identify a range of representative rocks and minerals;

  1. Discuss the role that humans can take in managing the physical environment;

  1. Assess the human impacts on selected environmental resources, critically comment on the existing management of those resources and propose an effective resource management plan.


Two assignments: 40%
Examination (2.5 hours): 60%

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures per week and the equivalent of three hours of practical/tutorial/fieldwork per fortnight

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)