Environmental Modelling

Subject EVSC90020 (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2015:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 02-Mar-2015 to 31-May-2015
Assessment Period End 26-Jun-2015
Last date to Self-Enrol 13-Mar-2015
Census Date 31-Mar-2015
Last date to Withdraw without fail 08-May-2015

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2 x 1-hour lectures each week and 6 x 3-hour practical (computer laboratory) classes (42 hours in total)
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


600-615 Thinking and Reasoning with Data or equivalent statistical subject

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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 active and safe participation in a subject are encouraged to discuss this with the relevant subject coordinator and the Disability Liaison Unit.


Prof Michael Mccarthy


Dr Brendan Wintle
Email: b.wintle@unimelb.edu.au

Dr Michael McCarthy
Email: mamcca@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

Modelling is a fundamental component of Environmental Science, being used for prediction, monitoring, auditing, evaluation, and assessment. This subject introduces students to a wide range of models used by environmental scientists including models of climate change, population dynamics, pollution, hydrology, habitat and species distributions. Both deterministic and stochastic models are used as examples. The subject explains how to develop conceptual models that can then be quantified and analysed using mathematical and statistical methods. Topics covered include development of the basic model structure, estimation of parameters and calibration, methods of analysis, sensitivity analysis, model evaluation and model refinement. The subject teaches students how to simplify apparently complex problems.

Learning Outcomes:

The subject aims to provide students with:

  • an appreciation for the role of modelling in environmental science;
  • an overview of the range of environmental models in use;
  • the skills required to model environmental systems and processes;
  • an introduction to the construction and mathematical analysis of environmental models; and
  • a high level of ability to analyse and evaluate environmental models.
  • one literature review or essay of up to 3000 words (30%) due mid semester;
  • two reports on construction, analysis and/or evaluation of environmental models up to 3000 words in total (30% each), one due mid semester and one due at the end of semester; and
  • one 15 minute oral presentation (10%) due towards the end of semester.
Prescribed Texts:

To be confirmed

Recommended Texts:

Environmental Modelling: Finding Simplicity in Complexity (Wainwright and Mulligan)

Bayesian Methods for Ecology (McCarthy)

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Generic skills gained from this subject include:

  • synthesis of information from a range of sources;
  • appropriate simplification of complex problems to make them amendable to analysis;
  • high level written communication and presentation skills;
  • high level oral communication and presentation skills;
  • the ability to exercise critical judgement, think rigorously and independently, account for decisions, and solve problems; and
  • application of advanced analytical methods.
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Climate Change
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation

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