Course Title: China's Environmental Challenges

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: China's Environmental Challenges

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


120H Civil, Environmental & Chemical Engineering


Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


172H School of Engineering


Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019

Course Coordinator: Matthew Currell

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 0402

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 10.13.11

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

A background in environmental engineering and/or environmental science fundamentals.

Course Description


This course provides you with a hands-on, problem-based experience tackling some of China’s major environmental challenges.  You will learn in detail about these challenges, including pollution and depletion of groundwater and surface water, urbanisation, food security, air and soil pollution.

As part of this course you will participate in a two-week intensive field course in China, including site tours and liaison with local environmental professionals and non-government organization staff.  In the semester prior to the tour (semester 1) you will receive clear instructions on how to prepare for the field trip. During and following the tour you will undertake a team-based professional engineering investigation and develop an innovative proposal to address a chosen environmental challenge.  

As places on the tour are limited, you will be required to submit a written application and participate in an interview addressing these selection criteria: a) academic record and work ethic; b) ability to work as an effective team member c) record of demonstrated professional and ethical conduct. If the course is oversubscribed and should your submission be unsuccessful, you will need to enrol in an alternative course. Only students enrolling at the beginning of the academic calendar year and submitting an application will be considered eligible.

You are expected to self-fund all costs including international airfares, accommodation, insurance, visa and meals costs. If financial considerations are a barrier to participation, you are encouraged to apply for funding assistance from RMIT sources such as the Equity Travel Grant, RMIT Student Mobility Grants, and OS-HELP loans.

The course needs to have at least 12 students enrolled in order to take place.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development


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

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

2.2. Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources

3.2. Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains

3.3 Creative, innovative and pro-active demeanour

3.6. Effective team membership and team leadership


On completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Conduct independent and team-based research into international environmental issues, compiling data and literature to inform an engineering investigation.
  2. Apply theoretical knowledge of the causes, key influencing factors and potential solutions to major environmental problems.
  3. Analyse and solve complex environmental problems, demonstrating creative thinking.
  4. Demonstrate appropriate written and oral communication skills in an international context.
  5. Exemplify social and cultural awareness in problem solving interactions with peers and key stakeholders 

Overview of Learning Activities


Stage 1: After approval of your application for participation on the tour, you will attend initial briefing sessions and class discussions about China’s environmental challenges. You will then conduct an individual research assignment on a chosen challenge, to be submitted prior to the field tour.

Stage 2: You will participate in a two-week study tour in the People’s Republic of China (during the first two weeks of July). You will visit a range of sites relevant to China’s environmental engineering challenges including air and water quality monitoring sites. You will liaise with and interview local researchers in academic institutions, government and NGOs involved in environmental protection. You will then work in groups to research and propose solutions to one chosen environmental challenge encountered on the tour, through preparation of a professional engineering investigation report.

Stage 3: You will participate in a presentation and discussion forum at RMIT city campus, with international video link-up to China. Here you will share the results of your investigation with the class and key stakeholders in China.

Total study hours: 40 hours of classes in China, including field site visits, seminars and discussions. 12 hours of tutorials and information sessions at RMIT city campus prior to and after the field intensive module. In addition you can expect to spend a minimum of 48 hours in independent and group study.

Overview of Learning Resources

Learning resources will be provided and shared in an interactive online learning space (Blackboard).

Learning support will be available from the RMIT library services and staff.


Overview of Assessment


Assessment will be based on both individual and collaborative tasks.

Note that: ☒This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Task 1:  Research assignment (Individual)
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1,2 & 4

Assessment Task 2: Reflection on study tour activity (Individual)
Weighting 10%
This assessment task supports CLOs 2& 4

Assessment Task 3: Class presentation (Group)
Weighting 25%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1,2,3,4,5

Assessment Task 4:  Major assignment report (Group)
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1,2,3 & 4