Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management

Course PD-BFIREPM (2014)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2014.

Year and Campus: 2014 - Creswick
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 100 credit points taken over 12 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Dr Christopher Weston


Melbourne School of Land & Environment Student Centre
Ground Floor, Melbourne School of Land and Environment (building 142)

Current Student Enquiries
Phone: 13 MELB (13 6352)

Future Student Enquiries

Course Overview:

The Postgraduate Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management combines specialized bushfire science, urban planning, design and construction and fire management subjects to meet the urgent need to equip existing professionals with world's best practice skills in managing fire risk across the urban-natural environment interface. Students are provided with the opportunity to participate in case studies of best practice and to develop professional networks in the fire risk management arena. The course will cover aspects of bushfire knowledge from building planning and regulation (Planning Stream) through to fire management and landscape-level considerations (Management Stream).

Learning Outcomes:

The PG Diploma in Bushfire Planning and Management will qualify graduates for specialist bushfire assessment planning and design or bushfire management positions within either the building practice sector (Bushfire Planning Stream) or the forest and natural resource management sector (Bushfire Management Stream) and provide a pathway to further study, by:

Bushfire Planning Stream

• Developing knowledge, skills, understanding and competence in the area of bushfire science and building and planning design to mitigate bushfire risk;

• Developing a thorough approach to bushfire planning assessments theory and practice through an understanding of conceptual planning and building issues and knowledge of the environmental, regulatory and policy drivers that influence building and planning in fire-prone areas of Australia;

• Increasing knowledge and analytical capabilities appropriate to building and planning in bushfire prone environments;

• Developing risk management strategies including knowledge of emergency risk management arrangements and bushfire safety policies that influence the planning of new development and the necessary considerations and actions in response to bushfire threats;

• Developing competence in the assessment, planning and design of new developments or modification to existing buildings in bushfire prone environments using both prescribed provisions and through development of alternative solutions based on sound principles;

• Increasing knowledge of the principles of performance based design;

• The completion of a bushfire planning project that addresses alternative solutions within the bushfire building and planning regulatory space and,

• Extending scholarly and critical attitudes in bushfire planning disciplines.

Bushfire Management Stream

• Developing knowledge, skills, understanding and competence in the area of bushfire science and management;

• Developing a thorough approach to bushfire management theory and practice through an understanding of the biological, environmental and social drivers of forest fire management in Australia and internationally;

• Increasing knowledge and analytical capabilities appropriate to bushfire management;

• Developing competence in the design, conduct and analysis of bushfire management practices;

• The completion of a project report that critically reviews a fire-related topic that is current in a fire management workplace and,

• Extending scholarly and critical attitudes in bushfire management disciplines.

Course Structure & Available Subjects:

Bushfire Management Stream available from 2013. Bushfire Planning Stream available from 2014.

Subject Options:

Core Subjects

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Students to select either the Bushfire Management Stream or the Bushfire Planning Stream

Bushfire Planning

Students to complete the following subjects;

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Students to complete one of the following electives;

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

Bushfire Management

Students to complete the following subject;

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Students to complete 50 points of the following electives;

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Entry Requirements:

1. The Selection Committee will evaluate the applicant’s ability to pursue the course successfully using the following criteria -

  • an undergraduate degree in a cognate discipline with at least H3 (65%) average in the final year or equivalent; or
  • an undergraduate degree in any area including at least 25 points in one or more of Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics or Statistics, or equivalent, and with at least H3 (65%) average in the final year; or
  • an undergraduate degree in any area and a Graduate Certificate in Environment with at least H3 (65%) average in the Certificate.
  • a two-year associate degree or diploma in a relevant discipline, at least five years documented, relevant professional experience, and an appropriate level of performance on a test conducted by the Selection Committee to confirm generic skills necessary for successful study in the program.

2. The Selection Committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports and employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Note: The requirement for at least H3 (65%) average in each case may be waived where the applicant can demonstrate significant professional development in a relevant area since graduation.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Melbourne School of Land and Environment (MSLE) welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and School policy to take reasonable steps to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable the student’s participation in the School’s programs. MSLE contributes to the New Generation degrees and offers a broad range of programs across undergraduate and post-graduate levels many of which adopt a multi-disciplinary approach. Students of the School’s courses must possess intellectual, ethical, and emotional capabilities required to participate in the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the School. Candidates must have abilities and skills in observation; motor in relevant areas; communication; in conceptual, integrative, and quantitative dimensions; and in behavioural and social dimensions. Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability, however students need to be able to participate in the program in an independent manner and with regard to their safety and the safety of others. I. Observation: In some contexts, the student must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic and applied sciences. More broadly, observation requires reading text, diagrams, maps, drawings and numerical data. The candidate should be able to observe details at a number of scales and record useful observations in discipline dependant contexts. II. Communication: A candidate should be able to communicate with fellow students, professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing. III. Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function necessary for participation in the inherent discipline-related activities. The practical work, design work, field work, diagnostic procedures, laboratory tests, require varying motor movement abilities. Off campus investigations may include visits to construction sites, urban, rural and/or remote environments. IV. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of professionals in land and environment industries, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures. V. Behavioural and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students. Students who feel their disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit.

Further Study:

The PD BFIREPM entitles graduates 100 points credit towards the Master of Forest Ecosystem Science that in turn enables progression to a research master or PhD program.

Graduate Attributes:

The PD BFIREPM will be highly distinguished by a commitment to:• learning and teaching based on the best available research in bushfire management, planning and design and related disciplines;• a respect for the intellectual maturity and diversity of experience in the student cohort;• pedagogies that promote independent critical inquiry, analysis and reflection;• a strong engagement with the bushfire science and planning professional community in designing and delivering the program;• the full utilization of human and material resources of the Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science. Graduates of the PD-BUSHFMG will meet the University of Melbourne graduate attributes at a high level, and, in particular will:• be well-prepared for accomplished practice in bushfire management and planning professions;• demonstrate a respect for the evidence base of research underpinning best practice in bushfire planning and management;• have a strong commitment to principles of ethical practice and to furthering equity and diversity within the bushfire, planning and risk management professional community;• be committed to ongoing development of their own professional knowledge and skills through continuing critical inquiry;• demonstrate leadership by their capacity to plan and implement creative and productive change in their workplace and their profession;• be able to communicate bushfire science professional knowledge both to their peers and to members of the general community.

Professional Accreditation:

Students completing the PD-BFIREPM (Bushfire Planning Stream) will be eligible to apply for accreditation under the Bushfire Planning and Design (BPAD) scheme administered by FPA Australia (Fire Protection Authority Australia)

Links to further information:

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