Environmental Risk Assessment

Subject EVSC90014 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

November, 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: 24 hours lectures and 18 hours practical/tutorial sessions
Total Time Commitment: 2012 Teaching Dates: 3rd November - 8th November
Prerequisites: None
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements: For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry. The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website: http://www.services.unimelb.edu.au/disability/


Dr Terry Walshe


Email: twalshe@unimelb.edu.au
Subject Overview:

Environmental Risk Assessment aims to provide you with the skills to undertake and critically evaluate environmental risk assessments. We outline the history and social context of risk and explore the psychology of risk perception. You will be introduced to quantitative and qualitative tools with the objective of giving you the ability to select, apply and assess technical and socially based risk assessment. The subject is structured to develop your skills in writing reports and participating in group exercises.

While the contact period is six intensive days, the learning period is longer. Reading materials are distributed in September and a small assessment task is set to encourage you to be fully prepared. You will be required to complete a take-home examination and a substantial practical report in the weeks following the course.

The subject is made up of lectures in the mornings and practical exercises in the afternoons. It assumes no formal background in quantitative methods. An understanding of basic statistical concepts (means, medians, standard deviations, confidence intervals, basic linear regression) is an advantage. If you have not been involved in an undergraduate statistics class before, contact Dr Terry Walshe to discuss your options.


At the completion of the subject, participants should be able to:

  • Describe approaches to risk assessment in various disciplines;
  • Discuss the relevance of a range of scientific disciplines to environmental risk assessment including ecology, toxicology, epidemiology, statistics, psychology and sociology;
  • Analyse the role of different evidentiary approaches to supporting risk assessments including empirical observation and analysis, modelling, and use of expert opinion; and
  • Judge the merit of scientific arguments based on null hypothesis significance testing.
Assessment: You are required to complete an application of the methods to a real, work-based problem. A report from this work is worth 50% of the mark. The balance is made up of 10% for a short assignment and 40% for a three-hour examination.

Prescribed Texts: None.
Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Conservation, Restoration and Landscape Management
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Sustainable Forests
Waste Management

Download PDF version.