University of Technology, Sydney

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91147 The Biosphere

8cp; 5hpw
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides an introduction to the science of the biosphere; a collective term encapsulating all life on earth. The subject explores the environment and how it relates to life, interactions among the various living and non-living components within the biosphere, and with external factors such as climate, the fundamental construct of the Earth's crust, and issues associated with land and water. Throughout the subject there is an integrated focus on the science of the biosphere and the effects of humans and their activities on the biosphere, including current issues such as climate change, sustainability and the water crisis. There is a secondary emphasis in this subject on introducing key tertiary level generic skills, notably the development of an in-depth understanding of the scientific method, logical thought, ethical practice and integrity and science communication.

Some of the skills that students acquire in this subject include presentation and interpretation of scientific data, and communicating science. As this subject is taught from a science perspective by active research scientists, it significantly enhances the student's understanding of how the process of science works, and how science determines the level of importance placed on the key issues in contemporary environmental science. Students actively engage in both experimental practice and the interpretation of scientific problems. Areas where science has struggled to communicate critical issues to the general public is discussed extensively, as well as the characteristics of the scientific method that sometimes lead to confusion and conflict over scientific findings.

This subject has been designed to challenge students' thinking on issues such as climate change, the origin of life, how we understand the relationships between organisms, how we deal with major worldwide crises such as the water crisis and overpopulation, and the transition to a sustainable society. Through an understanding of the scientific approach to solving these problems students gain an enhanced appreciation of these issues, and are thus able to take a more informed stance when investigating how these issues affect society.

Typical availability

Autumn session, City campus

Detailed subject description.

Fee information

Information to assist with determining the applicable fee type can be found at Understanding fees.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.