Study with us

Study with us

The Department of Environmental Sciences strives to provide a learning experience that produces graduates who are creative, innovative and adaptable, who are willing to take on challenges and learn from those experiences.

We deliver a distinctive learning experience with active learning, field based programs and authentic assessment.

Students who study environmental sciences at Macquarie use Earth science, climate science, ecology, biology and chemistry to explore key biophysical systems and the impacts of human activity on those systems. Our students learn how to regulate and manage human activities to protect the environment for generations to come.

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 and water.

Undergraduate study

Our 3-year undergraduate programs are taught predominantly within the Bachelor of Environment and Bachelor of Science. Our units and majors also contribute to a range of other programs both within the Faculty of Science and Engineering and in other Faculties of the University. These include the Bachelor of Archaeology, Bachelor of Arts, and Bachelor of Marine Science.

We currently offer four majors:

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

Our programs contain 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.

Bachelor of Environment

The Bachelor of Environment is firmly based in the scientific aspects of the environment, but also focuses on social science and socioeconomic issues related to environmental matters. Students become highly knowledgeable about how individuals, societies and governments can best navigate a path towards a healthy environment, and in turn towards economic and social prosperity.

As students learn to manage the environment and safeguard it for future generations, they contribute to finding the solution to key concerns of our time.

The Bachelor of Environment offers the development of a solid grounding in the fields of biology, climate science, environmental Earth science, environmental management and spatial information science. Students gain valuable skills relating to natural resource management and environmental management. They have opportunities to acquire field skills in a range of natural resource environments, complemented by laboratory training and professional exposure.

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Bachelor of Science

The Bachelor of Science aims to inspire scientific innovations beyond imagination. This course offers the opportunity to major in one, or even two, areas that particularly interest the student, aimed at exploring the answer to a broad range of science questions.

The Bachelor of Science has a strong focus on practical work in the field and in our laboratories to enhance student skills and their problem-solving abilities. It allows the combination of the study of science with arts, commerce, education, law and many other disciplines. Our modern laboratories offer exposure to the latest instrumentation and tools. Internationally recognised researchers teach the most up-to-date scientific knowledge.

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Postgraduate study

The department has a long history of welcoming students seeking a career change or seeking to integrate environmental knowledge into their chosen fields. The Master of Environment and Master of Sustainable Development are two-year programs designed for students who have Bachelor degrees but are being introduced to environmental issues at an academic level for the first time.

Both offer Graduate certificate and Graduate diploma options.

We also convene units for related programs managed by the Department of Biological Sciences under the Master of Marine Science and Management.

Master of Environment

The Master of Environment is an interdisciplinary degree and the Department offers two specialisations: in Environmental Management and Environmental Science. Students are offered opportunities to develop theoretical, practical and research skills. Access to government and industry linkages is granted to students via guest lectures, case studies and research projects.

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Master of Sustainable Development

This course helps student to develop practical skills so that they are equipped to effect changes towards sustainable development – development that meets the needs of the present while safeguarding Earth’s life support system on which the welfare of current and future generations depend. Students have options to develop capabilities in a diverse range of areas including the environment, international politics and organisational management according to their professional needs.

Key features include:

  • a focus on change-oriented processes for sustainable development, including organisational change, education and capacity building, and strategic planning.
  • opportunities to undertake a practical component either as work experience, consultancy practice or research.
  • the opportunity to study some units from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management (MGSM) if students wish to work in organisational sustainability.

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Graduate Diploma of Environment

The Graduate Diploma of Environment introduces students to core skills and knowledge needed to address environmental challenges. The program provides an introduction to environmental studies for students coming from non-cognate backgrounds and provides access to Macquarie's wide range of advanced environmental units. Students with relevant environmental qualifications can apply for a shortened program which allow them to focus in on the subjects of most interest to them. The program is flexible and provides access to subjects in the fields of environmental science, environmental management, sustainable development, geography and climate change. Students with sufficient grades can articulate with full credit from this award to the Master of Environment.

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Graduate Diploma of Sustainable Development

The Graduate Diploma Sustainable Development degree aims to develop skills to support working with organisations or communities to innovate, encourage new thinking, new processes, and change management towards more sustainable practice. Sustainability is increasingly being integrated into all sectors and at all levels. The multidisciplinary nature of sustainable development requires skills in synthesis and integration from multiple disciplines. The Graduate Diploma provides an opportunity to broaden the capability to work with different disciplinary perspectives to address practical problems and to engage people in determining the future they want.

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Higher Degree Research

Research students in the Department of Environmental Sciences have the opportunity to work with academics at the forefront of their fields. From research into tropical cyclones, toxic dust and natural hazards to Antarctic contamination and invasive species, Macquarie’s environmental sciences researchers operate at the interdisciplinary interface between environmental and Earth sciences, ecology, and social and policy implications. We undertake cross-departmental and cross-institutional collaborative research with colleagues in the fields of biology, climate science, Earth system sciences and geochronology.

Generous scholarship schemes are available for applicants with proven research experience and excellent potential. The department conducts and promotes interdisciplinary research in a wide variety of environmental sciences covering: 

  • environmental management, 
  • physical geography, 
  • environmental geoscience, 
  • environmental quality, 
  • climate science, 
  • spatial information science, and 
  • other related natural and physical sciences.

Higher Degree Research Options

As a higher degree research candidate at Macquarie, you’ll be encouraged to take an interdisciplinary approach to addressing contemporary environmental questions, many of which intersect with other fields. Using this approach, your research will help find the answers to questions yet to be asked, and solve the big environmental problems that matter to business and society.

The Department of Environmental Sciences at Macquarie University provides two research options, through either the Master of Research, or the PhD program.

The Master of Research is a two-year training program which begins with advanced coursework in year 1, through to intensive research in year 2.

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A PhD in Environmental Science at Macquarie University involves extensive research alongside some the world’s best scholars in state of the art research facilities.

Find out more about the Master of Research and PhD programs at Macquarie University.

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