Course Title: Ethics, Policy and Law in Environmental Engineering

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Ethics, Policy and Law in Environmental Engineering

Credit Points: 12.00

Important Information:

Please note that this course may have compulsory in-person attendance requirements for some teaching activities. 

To participate in any RMIT course in-person activities or assessment, you will need to comply with RMIT vaccination requirements which are applicable during the duration of the course. This RMIT requirement includes being vaccinated against COVID-19 or holding a valid medical exemption. 

Please read this RMIT Enrolment Procedure as it has important information regarding COVID vaccination and your study at RMIT:

Please read the Student website for additional requirements of in-person attendance: 

Please check your Canvas course shell closer to when the course starts to see if this course requires mandatory in-person attendance. The delivery method of the course might have to change quickly in response to changes in the local state/national directive regarding in-person course attendance. 


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 1 2012,
Sem 1 2013,
Sem 1 2014,
Sem 1 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020,
Sem 1 2022

Course Coordinator: A/Prof. Gavin Mudd

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3209

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.13.05A

Course Coordinator Availability: office or email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

This course comprises three components relevant to your future professional practice as an Environmental Engineer: Ethics; Policy and Law

The Ethics component introduces the moral framework(s) upon which ethical decision making is based and includes a close study of the evolution and formulation of professional engineering code(s) of ethics. You will be encouraged to recognise and reconsider your assumptions and attitudes relating to the assessment, sustainability and performance of natural, built and social systems. Different perspectives arising from case studies will be analysed from the viewpoint of a professional engineer. 

The Policy component explores the basis of environmental and indigenous policy within engineering projects, especially the structure of a good environmental policy. Case studies and examples are explored to build policy skills and knowledge.

The Law component briefly reviews the legal basis and structure of environmental legislation –especially the key acts of parliament, regulations and various international treaties. Law underpins the very purpose of environmental engineering, and this component builds the skills and knowledge needed for a graduate environmental engineer.

WAM statement:

Please note that if you take this course for a bachelor honours program, your overall mark in this course will be one of the course marks that will be used to calculate the weighted average mark (WAM) that will determine your award level. (This applies to students who commence enrolment in a bachelor honours program from 1 January 2016 onward. See the WAM information web page for more information.)

The WAM web page link:;ID=eyj5c0mo77631

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the Program Learning Outcomes for BH080 Bachelor of Engineering (Environmental Engineering) (Honours)


1 Knowledge and Skill Base

1.3. In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline.

1.4. Discernment of knowledge development and research directions within the engineering discipline.

1.5. Knowledge of contextual factors impacting the engineering discipline.

1.6. Understanding of the scope, principles, norms, accountabilities and bounds of contemporary engineering practice in the specific discipline.

3 Professional and Personal Attributes

3.1. Ethical conduct and professional accountability

3.4. Professional use and management of information.

3.5. Orderly management of self, and professional conduct.

On successful completion of the course, you should be able to:

  1. Argue the advantages of behaving as an ethical professional engineer
  2. Read and interpret texts and research articles about ethical conundrums
  3. Propose and justify solutions for ethical problems
  4. Communicate your findings effectively as a written report and as an audio-visual presentation
  5. Provide an overview of the basic elements of the legal and regulatory framework in relation to environmental law
  6. Propose a framework for the development of policy in complex environmental issues 

Overview of Learning Activities

  • The course involves lectures, tutorial/workshop sessions, online fora, individual work and team-based activities. 
  • Students will utilise case studies of ethical systems failure and will analyse the environmental, engineering and economic implications associated with these incidents.
  • Review of environmental law case studies and the development of environmental policy.

Overview of Learning Resources

Current literature and bespoke resources will be used as required and as appropriate to the study area(s). The textbook, Buckeridge J. 4 Es: Ethics, Engineering, Economics & Environment.2nd Edition, Federation Press, has been written specifically for the Ethics Module of this course. 

Overview of Assessment

Note that: ☒This course has no hurdle requirements.


Individual Assessments (45%).

CLOs 1,2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Groups Assessments 2 (35%)

CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


Individual Test (20% )

CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6