The UNSW Introduction to the Sydney Environment (BEES6601) course outlines the physical, biological and social environments of Sydney. It covers material related to Sydney associated with the academic disciplines of geography, earth science, climatology, biology, ecology and environmental science. It also looks at contemporary environmental issues and constraints facing Sydney, such as loss of bushland or climate change, which are a key component of the course.

The course includes 10 x 1.5 hr lectures, 10 x 1.5 hr workshops and optional field trips with self-guided options for people who cannot participate in organised field visits. Assessment includes ‘reflective’ exercises to consider the students’ initial (and changed) perceptions of Sydney. Workshops involve issue-based discussions, with student-led presentations and student-directed learning.

Major topics covered during the course include:

  • the physical, biological and social environment of Sydney
  • the geology, geomorphology and soils of the Sydney basin
  • the general climatic characteristics of Sydney
  • the natural vegetation of the Sydney basin and human impacts
  • the vertebrate zoology of Sydney
  • the marine biology of Sydney harbour
  • the indigenous people of the Sydney basin
  • the European history of Sydney
  • the development of Sydney as a global city
  • contemporary environmental issues in Sydney.

Term offering: 

  • Summer term
  • T2C

Course attendance: Short/intensive course


  • Postgraduate
  • Undergraduate - Third Year

Discipline: Geography

Course code: BEES6601

Conditions for enrolment   

An Introduction to the Sydney Environment is specially designed for incoming’ study abroad’ or exchange students but is also relevant to any domestic or international students that are new arrivals to Sydney.

The course is available to both undergraduate and postgraduate students. Although it has no pre-requisites, it’s taught as an upper-level course and not designed for first-year students nor available to students who are doing majors at UNSW Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences.  

Career opportunities

Environmental science analyses and provides solutions to current environmental challenges including waste management, climate change and pollution.

At UNSW Science, you can study the Bachelor of Environmental Management or further specialise in this field with our Honours program.

Relevant roles

  • Meteorologist 
  • Geologist 
  • Geophysicist 
  • Hydrologist 
  • Ecologist 
  • Environmental scientist
  • Natural resource manager 
  • Marine scientist 
  • Marine biologist 
  • Environmental scientist

Find out more

For more information, please contact:

Professor Scott Mooney (For Summer Offering)


T: +61 2 9385 8063

Associate Lecturer David Edwards (For Summer Offering)


T: +61 2 9385 8064

Prof. Mike Letnic (For T2C Offering)


T: +61 2 9385 2079