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Climate Science for Decision-Making (ATOC90002)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeATOC90002
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. This subject covers the basics of climate science - including climate change, natural variability, extremes, climate scenarios, and detection and attribution - and how this translates into impacts on society, ecosystems and economies. The subject focuses on the production of climate science and data and how its creation, analysis, and use informs decisions made from multiple perspectives and across multiple levels, including governments, industry and communities. The subject has a particular focus on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. To develop practical skills, students are required to apply knowledge from the course to develop and justify various stakeholder positions, policies, or business cases. Students will build climate profiles for relevant stakeholders in order to assess and debate how national or other circumstances frame responses at the local, state and international level.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

  • Identify the key components of the climate system, including their feedbacks, complexity and variability across a range of time-scales;
  • Discuss the relevance of climate data, scenarios and uncertainties to decision-making;
  • Analyse climate impacts on human and natural systems;
  • Navigate and discuss climate science presented in the IPCC Assessment Reports, scientific peer-reviewed literature and the media;
  • Debate differing international perspectives and policy options pertaining to climate issues; and
  • Analyse and differentiate between climate policy positions based on varying understandings and uses of climate science.

Generic skills

  • Demonstrate advanced independent critical enquiry and analysis and the ability to apply these in a negotiation setting;
  • Apply a strong sense of intellectual integrity and ethics of scholarship;
  • Produce high-level writing and verbal communication;
  • Think critically and creatively, with an aptitude for continued self-directed learning;
  • Critically examine, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a range of disciplines; and
  • Analyse and prepare evidence to support informed decision-making.

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects


Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

This subject requires all students to actively and safely participate in laboratory activities. Students who feel their disability may impact upon their participation are encouraged to discuss this matter with the Subject Coordinator and Student Equity and Disability Support.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • Analysis of each week’s topic (8 x 250 words), worth 40% in total - throughout semester
  • Written assessment/s (total 2,000 words), worth 40% - due Weeks 5, 9 and at the end of semester
  • Participation in a negotiation (3-hr session held during the final seminar), worth 20% - Week 12

Dates & times

  • Semester 1
    Principal coordinatorMalte Meinshausen
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hoursOne 3-hour participatory seminar per week
    Total time commitment170 hours
    Teaching period 4 March 2019 to 2 June 2019
    Last self-enrol date15 March 2019
    Census date31 March 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail10 May 2019
    Assessment period ends28 June 2019

    Semester 1 contact information

Time commitment details

Students will be expected to devote 170 hours of study to this subject over the semester, including assessments and readings.

Further information

Last updated: 8 June 2019