ENVCHG 300 : Research Design for Environmental Change


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An understanding of research on environmental change. Students will be introduced to research topics and appropriate methodologies for investigating environmental change. Principles of scientific writing and communication will also be addressed. Students will apply these skills by developing and writing a research proposal or critical review.

Course Overview

Climate change remains a high-profile global issue. Overall, this course aims to equip students with some of the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the ramifications of climate change from a scientific research perspective. Fundamentally interdisciplinary, the course will draw on several topics insights from global-to-regional environmental change, applied climatology, and atmosphere and ocean processes. The course strives to provide a broad appreciation of major processes of environmental change and of the people and institutions involved in environmental management. The course seeks to allow you to apply appropriate methods to a certain research project of interest in the environmental change area so that you develop analytical skills in approaching environmental change issues. Throughout the course, you will explore the nature of undertaking research on key processes (using appropriate data) that cause the climatic environment to change, at a range of temporal and spatial scales, with a focus on applications and contemporary issues.

This course is part of the BAdvSci(Hons) specialisation in Environmental Change but will also suit students that are interested in undertaking applied scientific research on environmental change.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: Programme Coordinator approval

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the steps required to build an academic research project, including the conceptualising of the problem with reference to current research in environmental change. (Capability 1 and 2)
  2. Acquire and apply conceptual and empirical resources. (Capability 2, 3 and 4)
  3. Design a research project using appropriate methodologies. (Capability 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Prepare a research project proposal to a professional standard. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 35% Individual Coursework
Reports 50% Individual Coursework
Presentation 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4

Special Requirements

Students enrolled in this course are reminded that full attendance to classes and other activities is encouraged
for your successful completion of this course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.
For this course, you can expect 8-10 hours of lectures, 8 hours of tutorial, 50 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 82 hours of work on assignments and/or assessments.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings where possible. Other learning activities including tutorials will be available as recordings where possible.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Special advice for Offshore students
This course is available online to students resident offshore. The assessment and learning delivery mechanisms may differ from that presented in this Digital Course Outline. Please contact the Course Coordinator for further details (Evan Weller, evan.weller@auckland.ac.nz).

Learning Resources

There is no recommended course book. Any recommended readings will be posted on Canvas in association with particular sessions.
Note, no paper handouts will be provided. Sta presentations and other handouts will be available electronically on Canvas.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally as specified in delivery mode
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 04/03/2021 12:25 p.m.