Quantitative Environmental Modelling

Subject ENEN90031 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

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

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 48 hours (Lectures: 2 hours per week; Computer Laboratories: 2 hours per week)
Total Time Commitment:

200 hours


Admission to the 206EC Master of Environmental Engineering


Students must have completed either the following subject:

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2


Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2


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 Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Prof Andrew Western


Professor Andrew Western

Email: a.western@unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:


Environmental problems are highly complex and challenging to analyse and are often addressed through modelling. Being skilled at environmental modelling is a core professional requirement for an Environmental Engineer. This subject focuses on environmental modelling methodology including the steps of model conceptualisation, model construction, model evaluation and model application using a range of energy, water and waste models in Matlab. The subject complements ENEN90032 Environmental Analysis Tools and ENEN90028 Monitoring Environmental Impacts which provide other core environmental engineering skills. It provides modelling skills for a wide range of discipline based subjects such as ENEN90006 Solid Wastes, ENEN90034 Environmental Applied Hydrology and ENEN90027 Energy for Sustainable Development. The subject is of particular relevance to all Environmental Engineers but is also of relevance to a range of engineering and environmental analysis disciplines that require advanced modelling skills.


The relationship between theoretical and empirical understanding and their use in model conceptualisation and construction will be explored. This subject introduces a range of environmental modelling techniques applicable to different environmental problems. In this subject students will conceptualise and construct, evaluate and utilise their own model to undertake a technical evaluation of a specified range of potential solutions to an environmental problem. Students will also develop professional judgement skills to critically evaluate models and model results.

Specific topic areas:

  • System conceptualisation
  • Model construction and validation (computational accuracy)
  • Model evaluation
  • Calibration and optimisation
  • Model uncertainty assessment techniques
  • Issues of appropriate model complexity
  • Students will have an opportunity to review a modelling topic of their choice.

Students will use MatLab to undertake modelling tasks and will be required to learn some MatLab programming skills in the subject.

Learning Outcomes:


On completion of this subject the sstudent expected to:

  1. Select an appropriate approach to quantitative modelling of problems, given existing knowledge and data
  2. Develop a conceptual model designed to investigate and solve engineering problems
  3. Apply, calibrate and evaluate a quantitative model of the problem using generic modelling software in a MATLAB programming environment
  4. Apply models to investigate problems and synthesise recommendations based on the modelling
  5. Write and present engineering reports of modelling studies.
  • One MatLab assignment (10%) of approximately 500 words, due week 3 and requiring 13 to 15 hours of work. Intended Learning Outcome (ILO) 3 is addressed in the assignment
  • One modelling report (20%) of approximately 1000 words, due week 6 and requiring 25 to 30 hours of work. ILOs 3, 4 and 5 are addressed in the report
  • One modelling report (30%) of approximately 1500 words, due week 12 and requiring 35 to 40 hours of work. ILOs 3, 4 and 5 are addressed in the report
  • One critical literature review (30%) of approximately 2000 words, due during the examination period and requiring 35 to 40 hours of work. ILOs 1, 2 and 5 are addressed in the review
  • One 10-minute oral presentation of the literature review (10%) during week 11 or 12 and requiring 13-15 hours of work. ILOs 1, 2 and 5 are addressed in the presentation of review.
Prescribed Texts: None
Recommended Texts:

Beven, K. 2009 Environmental Modelling: An Uncertain Future? Routledge

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.


The learning in this subject is a combination of problem based learning in computer workshops and through assignments and lectures that provide the theoretical background for each. In addition each student undertakes and presents a literature review on an environmental modelling topic of their choice. The modelling assignments allow for choice between water, energy and waste focussed problems.


The subject textbook is Beven, K. 2009 Environmental Modelling: An Uncertain Future? Routledge.
In addition a range of journal papers, many of which are review papers, are provided.
Students are also expected to search the journal and other literature available through the library.
MatLab self-paced learning is available at http://aaee-scholar.pbworks.com/Learn-MATLAB


Presenter(s) from industry present a modelling case study. Students who are already working in industry can base their literature review topic on an aspect of modelling relevant to their workplace.

Related Course(s): Doctor of Philosophy - Engineering
Master of Engineering Structures
Master of Environmental Engineering
Master of Information Technology
Master of Philosophy - Engineering
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Energy Studies
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
MIT Spatial Specialisation
Master of Engineering (Environmental)
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation
Waste Management
Waste Management

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