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Undergraduate teaching areas in GES

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SGES has for several years outlined four thematic streams to direct undergraduate students towards deepening their analytical, integrative and applied skills in “understanding and doing global, regional and urban sustainability”. These are:

Conservation of biological diversity and cultural heritage

The enormous increase in global trade and industrialisation has intensified pressure on areas rich in biological diversity and cultural heritage.  This interdisciplinary area of study focuses on the distribution and character of the Earth’s vegetation and distinctive ecological, cultural, and indigenous landscapes shaped by human action.  It draws on biogeography, palaeoecology, indigenous studies, history, and indigenous archaeology to develop innovative perspectives and participatory approaches to ecological and cultural conservation. Students undertaking this area of study will develop analytical skills, practical and field-based experience, and basic and applied research abilities that will enable them to pursue careers in biodiversity conservation, ecological management, management of cultural landscapes and indigenous cultural heritage in Australia and international contexts.

Climate change

Climate change represents the most prominent and urgent global environmental issue facing the world today. This interdisciplinary area of study investigates the functioning of the climate and atmosphere in the past, present, and future through a range of disciplinary approaches from earth systems science through to environmental policy. Students undertaking this area of study will develop analytical skills, practical and field-based experience, basic and applied research abilities that will enable them to pursue careers in environmental management, climatology, climate change mitigation and adaptation policy in national and international contexts.

Urban, regional, and international development

Cities have always played an important role in linking different economic activities, innovation, trade, social relations, and cultural identities of regions and countries.  In the 21st century, and for the very first time in human history, the proportion of the world’s population living in urban areas exceeds those living in rural areas.  This global urban transition has immense consequences at both national and international levels in terms of demand for natural resources, infrastructure, and local governance for ensuring urban and regional prosperity, equitable development and social justice, and ecological and cultural resilience in the face of climate change. This interdisciplinary area of study focuses on the changing relationships between the city and countryside, uneven global development, urban growth and change, industrialisation and rural development.  Students undertaking this area of study will develop analytical skills, practical and field-based experience, basic and applied research abilities that will enable them to pursue careers in urban and regional development, population and housing policy, spatial economic policy making, international development and environment agencies, and non-governmental organisations committed to social justice and human rights-based development.

Land and water management

Sustainable land and water management are pressing environmental issues facing cities and regions in Australia and many parts of the world. This interdisciplinary area of study draws from scientific investigations in geomorphology, hydrology, soil science and biogeography, as well as social science approaches to environmental and resource management. It provides a sound understanding of key environmental processes, as well as treating the many challenges arising from the human use and stewardship of landscapes.  Students undertaking this area of study will develop analytical skills, practical and field-based experience, basic and applied research abilities that will enable them to pursue careers in areas such as catchment management, water supply and river management, land capability mapping, resource inventory, park management, the management of bushfire impacts on land and water resources.

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