Sustainability

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Undergraduate Major

Description

Sustainability is about striking a balance between social equity and justice, economic growth, and environmental protection. Students will develop an understanding and an appreciation of the natural and social environment and the consequences of human's interactions with the environment. Areas of study include water catchment, vegetation and wildlife management, biodiversity and habitat protection, water usage, environmental planning and impact assessment, and public awareness and community participation in environmental decision-making.

Graduates are valued for their decision-making abilities grounded in a theoretical and applied knowledge of environmental science, verbal and written communication proficiency, and ability to work in a team. Careers can be found in all levels of government and non-government organisations, with involvement in environmental resource management, academic institutions, and research organisations. Careers can also be pursued abroad, in NGOs and international donor agencies, typically in developing countries.

View our Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management in the Program Handbook and the online prospectus What Can I Study?.

Further Study Options

Honours:

Some jobs require additional qualifications at Honours level. Honours is a one year stand-alone program, completed after successfully fulfilling the requirements of the undergraduate degree. View Bachelor of Environmental Science and Management (Honours).

Postgraduate Study

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 Environmental Science and Management include:

Research

Masters
PhD

Coursework

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.

Sample Jobs

Graduates majoring in Sustainability can find employment in a variety of roles in many different types of organisations. The list below provides typical job titles for graduates majoring in Sustainability.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.

Not everyone uses their degree in the same way and the transferable skills gained through university study may allow graduates to pursue a range of careers that might not be directly linked to their study. Below is a sample list of job titles that might be suitable for graduates with the skills gained majoring in Sustainability.

Some of these jobs will depend upon the amount and level of study undertaken, level of experience, and the combination of other majors and electives studied, for example some may require further study.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
  3. Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
  4. Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
  5. Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
  6. Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
  7. 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.

 

Sample Employers

Recruitment Timing

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 .

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.


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.

Australian

  • 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

International

Graduate Attributes and Employability

Bachelor of Environmental Science graduates majoring in Sustainability will have the skills, abilities and knowledge sought after by a broad range of employers. On completion of the degree, graduates can expect:

  1. Comprehensive theoretical and applied knowledge of environmental science and its application in environmental management within an interdisciplinary natural and social sciences base.
  2. The capacity for incisive, ethical and independent thinking on issues of environmental management and sustainability at all scales & the ability to apply knowledge in these diverse contexts.
  3. The capacity for analysis of environmental processes and problems, coupled with the ability to develop management strategies for environmental protection, remediation or restoration.
  4. Experience and skills in working as part of interdisciplinary teams and with diverse stakeholders.
  5. Advanced written, oral and other communication and negotiation skills.