Unit description

Introduces statistical methods required for environmental science/management; the different types of variables, exploring data with descriptive statistics, graphically presenting data, performing tests of significance (chi-square, t-test, correlation, regression and analysis of variance) and presenting the results of statistical analyses. Emphasis is placed on matching suitable data with an appropriate statistical method in an environmental management setting and developing a "tool kit" of skills and resources to help students become independent in data management and analysis.

Unit content

  • Data management skills and descriptive statistics with Microsoft Excel, scientific calculators and SPSS, including; variable types, measurements and units, number skills, rounding, significant figures, preparing data for statistical analysis, graphs and data transformation 
  • Measures of central tendency (mean, mode and median) and dispersion (standard error, variance and standard deviation)
  • Dealing with uncertainty
    • Populations and samples
    • Probability distributions
    • The normal distribution
    • Confidence intervals
    • Type I and Type II error
  • Hypotheses testing for differences
    • Student's t test
    • Analysis of variance
  • Hypotheses testing for relationships/association
    • Correlation
    • Linear regression
  • An introduction to non-parametric equivalents of common tests
  • Hypothesis testing with categorical data: Chi square
  • Presenting different variable types and the results of hypothesis testing in a professional manner
  • Experimental and survey design.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Prescribed texts

Session 2

  • All students will require a copy of this textbook. This textbook provides the scaffolding around which the skills required to complete all assessment items and develop the toolkit of skills you will require for the remainder of your degree will be developed: Ennos, R, 2012, Statistical and Data Handling Skills in Biology, 3rd edn, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow, England. ISBN: 9780273729495.
Prescribed texts may change in future study periods.

Teaching and assessment


Teaching method
Lecture on-site 2 hours (11 weeks)
Tutorial on-site 2 hours (11 weeks)
Structured online learning 1 hour (13 weeks)
Research Proposal25%
Exam: open book50%


Teaching method
Tutorial online 1 hour (13 weeks)
Structured online learning 4 hours (11 weeks)
Research Proposal25%
Exam: open book50%

Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2015 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 2

Fee paying courses
For POSTGRADUATE or UNDERGRADUATE full fee paying courses please check Domestic Postgraduate Fees OR Domestic Undergraduate Fees


Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.