Interdisciplinarity and the Environment

Subject MULT90005 (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 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: Three hours of classes each week - combination of lectures and tutorials. 3 hours x 12 weeks = 36 contact hours.
Total Time Commitment:

Contact Hours: Three hours of classes each week - combination of lectures and tutorials. 3 hours x 12 weeks = 36 contact hours. Total Time Commitment: Approximately 170 hours, comprising class time, preparation and assignments.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge:

This subject should be taken in the final semester or year of the Master of Environment

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:


Dr Stephanie Lavau



Subject Overview:

Environmental issues are often complex, controversial and associated with uncertain knowledge. In this context, Interdisciplinary and Environment explores the ‘knowledge challenges’ that environmental professional face in their everyday work. Particular attention is given to the challenges of integrating knowledge across disciplines and sectors. Through a discussion of integrated and interdisciplinary research on the environment we will examine broader questions about the context, forms and purpose of contemporary knowledge production and use for environmental policy and management questions. We will consider the values increasingly used to determine whether certain knowledge is a valid guide for environmental action and how these values both encourage and challenge integrated knowledge for environmental decision making. Incorporating perspectives from a broad range of environmental professionals and academics, the subject draws on and develops students’ practical understanding of knowledge production systems, including the role played by academics, consultants, think tanks, and NGOs in environmental decision making.

The course focuses on the following main questions:

  • How does the way we frame environmental issues influence the kinds of knowledge seen as relevant to environmental decision making, and the kinds of solutions we consider? What strategies can assist in reframing environmental problems?
  • What are the challenges in integrating knowledge across disciplines and sectors, and what strategies can help environmental professionals meet those challenges?
Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the ways knowledge is created and applied in a variety of environmental professional practices.
  • Distinguish the advantages and disadvantages of interdisciplinary and disciplinary knowledge production for researchers and decision makers in different settings.
  • Develop and practice utilising key collaboration skills notably: self-reflexion; clear communication of specialist knowledge; understanding of and respect for others’ perspectives; and integration of different types of knowledge.

  • A 1,500 word reflective essay, due in week 5, worth 30% of the overall mark for this subject.
  • A 3,500 word assignment in three parts (an individual briefing paper, a collaborative briefing paper and an individual reflective essay) worth 70% of the overall mark for this subject. This assignment requires collaboration in small project groups. The final assignment is due following the SWOT VAC period.
Prescribed Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

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

Students in this unit should:

1. Enhance their interdisciplinary thinking and learning skills, including skills for collaboration, integration and translation of knowledge across disciplines.

2. Further develop their critical thinking though readings, class discussions, collaboration and assessment.

3. Further develop analytical approaches to environmental issues of complexity and uncertainty.

Links to further information:
Related Course(s): Master of Design (Urban Design)
Master of Urban Design
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Climate Change
Climate Change
Conservation and Restoration
Conservation and Restoration
Education and Social Change
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Efficiency Modelling and Implementation
Energy Studies
Energy Studies
Environment and Public Health
Environmental Science
Environmental Science
Governance, Policy and Communication
Governance, Policy and Markets
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Integrated Water Catchment Management
Public Health
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Cities, Sustainable Regions
Sustainable Forests
Sustainable Forests
Tailored Specialisation
Tailored Specialisation
Waste Management
Waste Management

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