Environmental science Environment

Environmental science Environment

As an environmental scientist, you’ll use Earth science, climate science, ecology, biology and chemistry to explore key biophysical systems and the impacts of human activity on those systems.

At Macquarie, you’ll also learn how to regulate and manage human activities to protect the environment for generations to come.

Professional experience

Take a stance on environmental conservation and support the health and wellbeing of your community through Macquarie University's unique PACE program.

PACE provides opportunities for undergraduate students to gain practical experience working with leading academic researchers and industry partners on mutually beneficial projects.

Through PACE, environmental sciences students recently worked on a project to examine the legacy from over 100 years of atmospheric deposition of lead and other metals as a result of the operations of the Pasminco Cockle Creek Smelter around Boolaroo, near Newcastle in NSW. The findings from this research project were published in numerous newspapers, discussed on TV and on radio and were finally addressed in Australia's High Court.

"PACE presented us with an opportunity to apply our skills and knowledge to an important environmental management issue that can adversely affect both environmental health and human safety." – PACE alumna, Samantha Frant-Vest

See the world in a new light and you just might change it. Learn more about the opportunities available through PACE.

Graduate outcomes 

Hilary Bekmann

Master of Environmental Science

“I have always been an all-rounder and specialising when I finished school was something I struggled with. The good thing about environmental science is that being an all-rounder is a real benefit because you have to be a good communicator, good with numbers and good at science – a jack of all trades – that’s the way I see it!” 

Since completing her masters degree Hilary now works at Macquarie University as the Manager, Operational Sustainability.

Scholarships and prizes

Macquarie University offers a range of scholarships and prizes. Most have a strong emphasis on social inclusion and equity and are awarded on the basis of financial need and/or other hardship. Others recognise factors such as academic excellence or sporting achievement etc. These Scholarships provide opportunities each year to many students to undertake studies at Macquarie University.  Each year Macquarie University awards over $2 million in scholarships. In addition to the University scholarships many faculties also provide scholarships for students.

Comprehensive information on university scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate students can be found on the scholarships and prizes page.

We currently offer four majors:

  • Environmental Earth Science
  • Climate Science
  • Spatial Information Science
  • Environmental Management

The program contains significant fieldwork where students apply their knowledge in real environments. We are also committed to work integrated learning and many of our PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) units work closely with industry partners. Our graduates are work-ready and obtain jobs in a range of fields in industry and government.

Students who have undergraduate degrees that involve training in cognate areas – subjects related to the environment or sustainable development – can apply for credit for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).  If your application is successful your previous training is recognized and you are not required to undertake the four 600 level subjects.  As such the Masters degree can be completed in 18 months rather than 2 years.

In 2015 we are convening the following Masters programs:

We also convene units for related programs managed by the Department of Biological Sciences:

The proximity of laboratories, equipment and growth facilities enable convenient analysis of plants from controlled environments on site.

Soil and growth media are also prepared on site, avoiding transport issues.

Finally, parking is adjacent with restricted access available for delivery of bulky materials. The University's science buildings and Macquarie Centre are all within a five-minute walk.

Find out more about our glasshouses and growth cabinets at our Plant Growth Facility.

Our research and teaching is multidisciplinary (including science, law and health) and incorporates a specific focus on environmental contaminants stored and transported in:

  • aerosols
  • dusts
  • ice
  • soils
  • sediments
  • water.

“It all started with the National Geographic channel!” she laughs. “I drank it all in and started making plans to do my bit to save the world.”

After graduating with British high school qualifications, Arundathi found limited environment degrees in Sri Lanka. So she started her search for an overseas university.

“I found Macquarie a mere two weeks before the next semester’s application deadline,” she recalls. “It not only had the generous scholarships for international students, but the degree that I wanted to study, one of the best science faculties that Australia had to offer, and the most beautiful campus.”

“In fact, once I saw pictures of the campus lake and open grounds, I pretty much fell hook line and sinker!” she laughs.

During her time at Macquarie, Arundathi learned everything from drawing GIS maps from scratch to dissecting a possum. But she says the most important thing she learned was the ability to “think for herself” - a big change from the rote learning common in Sri Lanka.

“In Sri Lanka there is only one right answer and that is your teacher’s,” she notes. “I love the fact that in Australia we are all on the same playing field - all voices count and there is no black and white, only multicolour. It makes learning fun rather than a chore.”

Having graduated with a Vice Chancellor’s Commendation for Academic Excellence and armed with skills she could not have learned from a textbook, Arundathi says she feels prepared for a successful career.

“My Macquarie degree is a step to my ultimate goal to work for an international organisation such as World Vision or WWF,” she says. “I believe the only obstacle that can stop you is yourself.”

Now completing a postgraduate urban planning degree in Melbourne, Arundathi admits she is missing Macquarie.

“If I had my way I would be doing my masters at Macquarie,” she says. “It’s such a beautiful campus with so much to offer, and it still feels like home to me!"

The University was built in the 1960s. Prior to that, the predominant use of the area was market gardens. Even during that phase of land use, there remained pockets of native vegetation. These pockets continue to exist and have increased in size over the last four decades. Changes in land use in the surrounding suburbs have increased the importance of the native vegetation on campus. The main area of native vegetation is on the northwest side of the lake, but other smaller pockets can be found near the entrance to the railway station, near the southwest corner of the campus and scattered across campus.

Macquarie University is located close to the native vegetation in Christie Park and Lane Cove National Park. The arboretum will act to integrate the campus with its natural surrounding areas. Development of the arboretum will extend the range of birds living in the natural vegetation of Christie Park and Lane Cove National Park and further encourage biological diversity on campus.

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