Environmental Science

Environmental Science is the newest major in UC's Bachelor of Science and is an interdisciplinary programme, taught by staff from Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Forestry ScienceGateway Antarctica, Geography, Geological Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics and Physics and Astronomy.

Our academic staff are complemented by guest lecturers from industry, Crown Research Institutes and local government.

Environmental Science must be taken as a double major with another Bachelor of Science major. The topic looks at how the earth works, how people are affecting the environment and how to solve environmental issues. This new specialisation meets demand from both students and employers for a more specialised course of study in a field of growing national and international relevance.

Graduates will have a broad interdisciplinary background as students of both Environmental Science and their other chosen major.  They will be able to identify, monitor and solve a variety of problems associated with the environment.  They find employment in a range of careers including making businesses more sustainable, helping multinationals reduce the impact of major projects and as advisors in government agencies.

Why choose Environmental Science?

Human impact on the environment is a field of increasing concern. We aim to produce graduates with critical insight who will apply their innovative, problem-solving skills to create a better world.

The major offers opportunities to:

  • Develop critical analytical skills
  • Become an environmental decision maker
  • Shape our global future
  • Solve environmental challenges
  • Make a difference
  • Be part of solutions
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Human exposure to contaminants
  • Environmental fate and toxicity of contaminants
  • Water quality
  • Air quality
  • Contaminated land
  • Climate change
  • Antarctic Science
  • Biosecurity
  • Stable isotope geochemistry
  • Freshwater, marine and terrestrial ecology
  • Coastal science
  • Monitoring the Impact of Scott Base in Antarctica: A Recent Evaluation of Wastewater, Water and Soil Quality at Pram Point, Ross Island.
  • Mechanisms of trace metal and diclofenac toxicity in inanga (Galaxias maculatus).
  • Intertidal foraminifera of the Avon-Heathcote Estuary; response to coseismic deformation and potential to record local historic events.
  • Mauka makai’ ‘Ki uta ki tai’: The ecological and sociocultural values of estuarine shellfish fisheries in Hawai`i and Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Impacts of antimicrobial compounds in urban waterways receiving sewer overflows.
  • Characteristics of the Ross and Southern McMurdo ice shelves as revealed from ground-based radar surveys.
  • Metal contamination in streams in three New Zealand cities, the effects on benthic communities and the accumulation in a New Zealand mayfly.
  • Distribution, trapping efficiencies and feeding trials for Paranephrops zealandicus in central Canterbury.
  • Enhancing the performance of wastewater microalgae through chemical and physical modifications in high rate algal ponds.
  • Accumulation of trace elements in aquatic food chains due to sea-fill activities.
  • A comparison of the stable isotopic ecology of eastern, western, and pre-human forest ecosystems in the South Island of New Zealand.
  • An investigation into local air quality throughout two residential communities bisected by major highways in South Auckland, New Zealand.
  • Pocket beach wave processes and current systems investigated via field and numerical modelling studies: a case study of Okains Bay.
  • Evaluation of the customary fisheries management of shellfish in the Canterbury Region.
  • Population biology and restoration of intertidal cockle beds.

Postgraduate pathways in Environmental Science

  • ENVR 414 Current Issues in Environmental Chemistry
  • CHEM 421 Advanced Topics in Chemistry I
  • CHEM 422 Advanced Topics in Chemistry II
  • CHEM 423 Advanced Topics in Chemistry III
  • CHEM 424 Advanced topics in chemistry IV
  • DRRE 401 Introduction to Disaster Risk and Resilience
  • DRRE 402 Natural Hazard Risk Assessment
  • DRRE 403 Disaster Risk and Resilience Investigations
  • DRRE 408 GIS for Disaster Risk and Resilience
  • ENGE 413 Soil Mechanics and Soil Engineering
  • ENGE 414 Applied Hydrogeology
  • ENGE 415 Engineering Geomorphology and Geohazards
  • ENNR 422 Water Resources and Irrigation Engineering
  • ENNR 423 Sustainable Energy Systems
  • ENNR 405 Ecological and Bioresources Engineering
  • GISC 401 Foundations of Geographic Information Science
  • GISC 406 Remote Sensing for Earth Observation
  • GEOG 401 Well-Being, Community and Place
  • GEOG 402 Resilient Cities
  • GEOG 404 Resource and Environmental Management (REM) in New Zealand
  • GEOG 409 Coasts and Rivers: from Natural Processes to Urban Environments
  • GEOG 412 Atmospheric and Cryospheric Environments
  • GEOG 415 Geography Internship
  • GEOL480 Geological Evolution of NZ and Antarctica
  • GEOL478 Sedimentary Facies and Basin Analysis

For all enquiries about the Environmental Science major:

Sally Gaw

Associate Professor
Rutherford 656
Internal Phone: 95904

Anna Chapman

Senior Academic Advisor
Okeover 110
Internal Phone: 94117

Academic staff:

Elissa Cameron

Senior Lecturer
Animal Eco-Physiology
Biological Sciences Rm 234
Internal Phone: 95596

Dave Kelly

Professor
Ecology
Biological Sciences 339
Internal Phone: 95182

Simon Kingham

Professor
Geography Staff Block Rm 511
Internal Phone: 94064

Paula Jameson

Professor
Plant Biology
Biological Sciences 531
Internal Phone: 95181

Catherine Reid

Head of Department
Senior Lecturer
Palaeontology
Rutherford 312B
Internal Phone: 94438

Travis Horton

Associate Professor
Environmental Geochemistry
Rutherford 318
Internal Phone: 94386

Tara Murray

Lecturer
School of Forestry Rm 231
Internal Phone: 95987

Heather Purdie

Senior Lecturer
Geography Staff Block Rm 405
Internal Phone: 94131

Pieter Pelser

Senior Lecturer
Plant Systematics
Undergraduate Advisor
and Director of UC Herbarium
Biological Sciences 530
Internal Phone: 95228

Daniel Stouffer

Associate Professor
Complex Systems Ecology
Biological Sciences 518
Internal Phone: 92880

Leanne Morgan

Senior Lecturer
Waterways-Biological Sciences Bldg Rm 736
Internal Phone: 95839

Bill Davison

Professor
Fish Physiology
Biological Sciences 228
Internal Phone: 95170

Islay Marsden

Professor
Marine Biology
Biological Sciences 232
Internal Phone: 95185

David Norton

Professor
School of Forestry Rm233
Internal Phone: 95955

Angus McIntosh

Professor
Deputy Head of School
Freshwater Ecology
Biological Sciences 226
Internal Phone: 95186

Jim Briskie

Professor
Behavioural Ecology
Biological Sciences 435
Internal Phone: 95138

Jack Heinemann

Professor
Genetics
Biological Sciences 534
Internal Phone: 95597

Peyman Zawar-Reza

Associate Professor
Geography Staff Block Rm 508
Internal Phone: 94057

Helen Warburton

Lecturer
Freshwater Ecology
Biological Sciences Rm 331
Internal Phone: 95212

Deirdre Hart

Senior Lecturer
Geography Rm 402
Internal Phone: 94062

John Pirker

Advisor
Okeover 114
Internal Phone: 95201

Jennifer Brown

Head of Department
Erskine 400
Internal Phone: 95892

Adrian McDonald

Associate Professor
Director of Gateway Antarctica
Room 718
Internal Phone: 92064

Jenny Webster-Brown

Joint Professorial Chair in Water Resource Management
Biological Sciences 730
Internal Phone: 95837

Brett Robinson

Professor of Environmental Science
Rutherford Room 758
Phone: 3692587
Internal Phone: 92587