Earth Systems and the Economy

Subject MULT10012 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 1 (Undergraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

March, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 3 x one hour lectures per week for 9 weeks, 1 x one hour tutorial per week for 8 weeks, 1 x one hour seminar per week for 10 weeks.
Total Time Commitment: Estimated total time commitment of 120 hours
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: Students cannot gain credit for this subject and 625-101 The Global Environment.
Core Participation Requirements: It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study and reasonable steps will be made to enhance a student’s participation in the University’s programs. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this with the subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Assoc Prof Stephen Gallagher



Subject Overview:

This subject will review the dynamic processes that have shaped our Earth and the use of Earth resources to improve human well being. Students should gain an understanding of our planet’s past history and will explore the many and complex interplays between our economy and the natural world. Major themes will include:

  • economics, the environment and climate variability;
  • society’s dependence on Earth resources, including water, soil, metals and petroleum; and
  • the impact of Earth hazards, such as earthquake and volcanic activity.

Through a series of lecture, seminar and tutorial components we will explore these themes from scientific and economic perspectives, taking lessons from history to help inform our future on dynamic Earth. The course is aimed at students with no previous knowledge in the earth sciences or economics.


Society is built on a dynamic planet and within a landscape continually shaped by Earth and atmospheric processes. These processes present some hazards to society, such as earthquakes and severe weather, but are also responsible for the natural resources on which our economic and social futures depend.

This subject will explore the past, present and future linking dynamic earth processes with contemporary economic issues and dilemmas.


Two 1000 word essay assignments submitted during the semester (50%); a 2-hour written examination in the examination period (50%). A reading topic will be assessed in the examination.

Prescribed Texts:

To be advised

Breadth Options:

This subject potentially can be taken as a breadth subject component for the following courses:

You should visit learn more about breadth subjects and read the breadth requirements for your degree, and should discuss your choice with your student adviser, before deciding on your subjects.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

This descriptive subject should give students an ability to make informed comment about the topics covered. A number of these are currently under public debate, such as the balance between the health of our environment and our dependence on finite natural resources.

The subject should build a student's ability to present technical topics in written form, a skill that is useful in later work. Students will also participate in some simple collaborative projects (tutorials & seminars) that should enable the development of skills to question, debate and understand controversial subjects in Earth Sciences and Economics. Other generic skills acquired in this subject include learning how to observe and describe earth science subjects in the laboratory and in the field, and learning more about how to think about materials produced in complex processes.

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