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The Environmental Sustainability major within the Bachelor of Development Studies equips students with an understanding of the causes and consequences of unequal development and an ability to assess policy options for a more equitable and sustainable future. Understanding the nature and operation of globalisation processes is critical to the question of development. Students will examine globalisation processes at a variety of scales, with a focus on urban and regional impacts, sustainable development and cultural diversity.
Graduates have the knowledge and abilities that typically suit roles in varying levels and departments of government, private industry, research organisations and environmental consultancies. Furthermore, opportunities exist in non-governmental organisations and international donor agencies, typically in developing countries.
For more information about Environmental Studies, visit the School of Environmental and Life Sciences site.
Academic advice: view Study Pathways for this major »
Honours: An Honours year is available to students as a separate program in the form of an additional year to those who meet the entry requirements. For more information about this program, see Bachelor of Development Studies (Honours).
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of postgraduate study options available. Postgraduate study may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the postgraduate study options following the Bachelor of Development Studies include:
Postgraduate coursework programs can add further specialisations in areas including business, safety, quality assurance and teaching. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
The Planning Institute of Australia website contains a list of courses that are accredited for those interested in the field of urban and regional planning.
Below is a sample of job titles and descriptions that includes positions suitable for Environmental Sustainability graduates as well as positions that will require further study or experience.
- Access and Equity Advisor
- Agricultural Scientist
- Bushland Assessment Officer
- Cartographer / Spatial Information Technician/ Land Information Officer
- Climate Change Analysts
- Community Development Worker
- Community Liaison Officer
- Conservationist / Ecologist
- Cultural Heritage Officer
- Cultural Resource Manager
- Development Compliance Officer
- Development Managers (International Aid)
- Environmental/Ecological Biologist
- Environmental Officer/Analyst/Consultant
- Geographic Information System Officer/Analyst
- International Aid/Development Worker
- National Parks Ranger / Field Officer
- Park Ranger
- Planning Officer
- Environmental Planner
- Policy Officer/Analyst
- Soil Geographer / Land Management Specialist
- Tourist Information Officer
- Water Resource Manager/Engineer
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the environmental sustainability industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Environmental Sustainability that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Environmental Sustainability graduates find employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries in small, medium or large organisations. Some large international aid organisations offer internship programs as well as employment opportunities. Most of these organisations require post graduate qualifications at either Masters or PhD level as well as relevant paid or unpaid experience. Below is an example of some of the major organisations.
- ActionAid Australia (International)
- Amnesty International (International)
- Anglicare (Australia)
- Asian Development Bank (Australia)
- Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economists (Australia)
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australia)
- Australian Conservation Foundation (Australia)
- Australian Council for International Development (International)
- Australian Local Government (Australia)
- BHP Billiton (Australia)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Department for Environment and Heritage (SA) (Australia)
- Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (Australia)
- Department of Climate Change (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW) (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Conservation (WA) (Australia)
- Department of Environment and Heritage (Australia)
- Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs (Australia)
- Department of Immigration and Citizenship (Australia)
- Department of Sustainability and Environment (VIC) (Australia)
- Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (Australia)
- Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Australia)
- Department of Water and Energy NSW (Australia)
- Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation (SA) (Australia)
- Department of Water (WA) (Australia)
- EnergyAustralia (Australia)
- Environment and Conservation Association (Australia)
- Environment Protection Authority Victoria (Australia)
- Environmental Protection Agency (Australia)
- Environmental Resources Management (Australia)
- Friends of the Earth Australia (Australia)
- GHD (International)
- Greenpeace Australia (Australia)
- Hunter Water (Australia)
- Local Government - NSW directory (Australia)
- Macquarie Generation (Australia)
- National Parks and Wildlife Service (Australia)
- Origin Energy Australia (Australia)
- Santos (Australia)
- United Nations Development Project (Australia)
- URS Corporation (Australia)
- Wilderness Society (Australia)
- Xstrata (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
- Australian Conservation Foundation (Australia)
- Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (Australia)
- Ecological Society of Australia (Australia)
- Environment and Conservation Association (Australia)
- Environmental Consultants Association (Australia)
- The Environmental Management Systems Association (Australia)
- Institute of Public Administration Australia (Australia)
- International Development Association (Australia)
- International Institute for Sustainable Development (International)
- Sustainable Development Association (Australia)
- Urban Development Institute of Australia (Australia)
- World Association for Sustainable Development (Australia)
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Development Studies are the skills, abilities and knowledge that are highly sought after by a broad range of employers. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
On completion of the Bachelor of Development Studies Degree, a graduate will:
- Be committed to knowledge creation, ethical practice and critical perspectives about development and underdevelopment.
- Possess substantial & broad knowledge of cultural diversity; globalisation & economic development; environmental sustainability; and urban & regional development as development issues.
- Demonstrate a capacity for logical, critical and creative analysis.
- Have high level communication skills and the ability to engage in constructive public and professional discourse in community, cross cultural and policy context.
- Be able to perform both autonomously and collaboratively with advanced skills in collecting organising and presenting information.
- Have the capacity to be engaged, responsible, sensitive and effective world citizens.