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Graduate Certificate of Social Impact Assessment


Faculty of Arts
Graduate Certificate of Social Impact Assessment (GradCertSIA)
Admission Requirement:
Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent in a social science, community engagement, community development, planning, or a related discipline
English Language Proficiency:
IELTS of 6.5 overall with minimum 6.0 in each band, or equivalent
Study Mode:
Attendance Mode:
Internal, External
Candidature Length:
Part-time: 1 year
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
External — Session 1 (February)
External — Session 2 (July)
Off-Shore — Session 1 (February)
Off-Shore — Session 2 (July)
Volume of Learning:
Equivalent to 0.5 years
General requirements:
Minimum number of credit points at 800 level or above 16
Completion of other specific minimum requirements as set out below

In order to graduate students must ensure that they have satisfied all of the general requirements of the award.

Specific minimum requirements:

Credit points

800 level

Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Special Topic in Environment and Geography A (4)
Urban Social Impact Assessment (4)
4cp from
Research Methods in Anthropology (4)
Development Theory and Practice (4)
Anthropology of Human Rights and Intervention (4)
Indigenous Interests and Identities (4)
Social Movements, Knowledge and Development (4)
Introduction to Geographic Information Science for Postgraduates (4)
Heritage and its Management (4)
Globalisation and Sustainable Development (4)
Special Topic in Environment and Geography B (8)
International Agreements and the Environment (4)
Environmental Impact Assessment (4)
Local Government Approval Process (4)
Research Methods for Sustainable Development (4)
Comparative Public Policy (4)
Politics and Policy: Theory and Applications (4)
Developing Social Policy (4)
Evaluation and the Policy Process (4)
Activism and Policy Design (4)
Doing Social Survey Research (4)
Qualitative Methods (4)
Political Economy for Social Policy and Research (4)


Program Learning Outcomes and Additional Information
AQF Level Level 8 Graduate Certificate
CRICOS Code Distance
Overview and Aims of the Program The program offers students a focused program of skills development, research training and appropriate theoretical engagement with the field of social impact assessment and allows students to extend that focus within specific practice, disciplinary and policy contexts. The program aims to develop a community of practice that harnesses international understanding of SIA experience and approaches, and ensures high level engagement with issues of social and cultural difference, participatory and consultative methods, robust research and practice framework, and ethical practice. It is aimed at graduates and practitioners in a range of fields whose work requires an understanding of the methods and implications of SIA, including planning, government, community and industry interests in urban planning, community, infrastructure and resource development, and organizational development. The program emphasizes the development and application of intercultural competence and negotiation of impact assessment and management plans with affected communities.
Graduate Capabilities

The Graduate Capabilities Framework articulates the fundamentals that underpin all of Macquarie’s academic programs. It expresses these as follows:

Cognitive capabilities
(K) discipline specific knowledge and skills
(T) critical, analytical and integrative thinking
(P) problem solving and research capability
(I) creative and innovative

Interpersonal or social capabilities
(C) effective communication
(E) engaged and ethical local and global citizens
(A) socially and environmentally active and responsible

Personal capabilities
(J) capable of professional and personal judgement and initiative
(L) commitment to continuous learning

Program Learning Outcomes By the end of this program it is anticipated you should be able to:

1. critically review, evaluate and respond the social component of an impact assessment report (K, T)
2. recognize good practice and design and to critique poor practice and design in social impact assessment (K, P, C, E, J)
3. recognize and respond to issues of social and cultural difference in social impact assessment (K, C, E, J)
4. assess and select appropriate social indicators to inform social impact assessment in a variety of settings (K, P)
5. recognize and utilize appropriate theoretical and conceptual approaches to social change relevant to social impact assessment in a variety of settings (K, T, P)
6. contribute to social impact assessment research as a member of a team (K, P, C, E)
7. contribute to stakeholder understanding of social impact assessment reports (K, P, C, E).

8. produce a critical review of a major impact assessment report using a range of communication methods (K, T, C, J)
9. develop or contribute to credible research design for a social impact assessment study (K, P, C, J)
10. facilitate stakeholder participation in or response to social impact assessment research (K, P, C, E, J)
11. provide effective commentary on social impact assessment policy or practice at a variety of scales (K, P, C, E, J)
12. prepare a short professional report which identifies the critical social impact issues relevant to a specified setting (K, P, C, E, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods You will be encouraged throughout this program to develop the relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. The program is structured so that you engage in a set of required units while also being able to choose from a pool of related units designed to increase your overall understanding and to allow you to further specialise in particular areas. Within this structure you will be exposed to diverse teaching and learning approaches that are designed to be student-centred and flexible, providing opportunities to pursue a range of options oriented towards fitting your schedules.

The teaching and learning approaches are designed to encourage creative and critical thinking about issues of social change and the interaction of culture, place and institutions in a range of settings relevant to the field of social impact assessment, as well as a range of practical skills oriented towards professional development. Teaching and learning strategies include lectures from university staff and external specialists; workshops and tutorial classes (available online as well as in classroom settings) including activities involving peer-to-peer learning; simulation or role-play exercises to encourage experiential learning, on-campus teaching blocks for external students, where teaching is condensed into extended blocks involving both lectures and practical activities; and supervised research projects focused on social impact assessment practice. In each case staff work closely with students to ensure the best learning outcomes, including negotiation of specific additional learning objectives on an individual basis to ensure a program tailored to professional development needs of individual students. The elective options allow students to explore a range of disciplinary areas relevant to social impact assessment and a range of approaches to learning and teaching.

Within the program there is an emphasis on student directed learning through peer-to-peer interaction and discussion, drawing on the diverse skills and backgrounds of people within the classes for required units, who are drawn from wide range of academic and experience backgrounds. Students are expected to research subjects outside class time and present that research via a variety of formats in class. Some units are aimed at developing professional teamwork skills and may require students to work in small teams to generate and present ideas and research, including collaborating using web-based communication. There are also opportunities to apply skills and knowledge to practical ‘real world’ problems by producing research reports for public, private and community sector organisations.
Assessment You will be exposed to a wide range of assessment tasks through this program. The majority of these are individual pieces of work oriented at developing the critical thinking, practical and communication skills required for a career in environment. The most common assessments involve writing in a range of presentation formats including essays, reports and short review-style pieces. You will also be required to make oral or web-based presentations and participate in discussions with your peers. Other individual assessment tasks may include quizzes, exams, proposals, research projects, academic papers and critical reflections. A major research report in some form is required to be focused on research in a topic focused on social impact assessment that will reflect your knowledge, research and communication skills.

Clear standards and criteria for coursework are included in the unit guides for individual units of study. Marking rubrics provided for specific assessment tasks to help tailor your work to what is expected. Feedback on submitted assignments takes a range of forms but will generally involve written notes regarding the strengths and weaknesses of your work as well as either quantitative or qualitative assessment in accordance to the assessment marking rubric. Teaching staff can also provide feedback in-class or online, or through personal appointments for further feedback and guidance. Constructive peer feedback may be sought for some assessment tasks, particularly those that require presentations. When conducting research for a public, private or community sector organisation as part of your training, feedback will also be sought from these entities.
Recognition of Prior Learning

Macquarie University may recognise prior formal, informal and non-formal learning for the purpose of granting credit towards, or admission into, a program. The recognition of these forms of learning is enabled by the University’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Policy (see and its associated Procedures and Guidelines. The RPL pages contain information on how to apply, links to registers, and the approval processes for recognising prior learning for entry or credit. 

Domestic Students
For undergraduate RPL information visit
For domestic postgraduate RPL information visit

International Students
For RPL information visit

Support for Learning

Macquarie University aspires to be an inclusive and supportive community of learners where all students are given the opportunity to meet their academic and personal goals. The University offers a comprehensive range of free and accessible student support services which include academic advice, counselling and psychological services, advocacy services and welfare advice, careers and employment, disability services and academic skills workshops amongst others. There is also a bulk billing medical service located on campus.

Further information can be found at

Campus Wellbeing contact details:
Phone: +61 2 9850 7497

Program Standards and Quality

The program is subject to an ongoing comprehensive process of quality review in accordance with a pre-determined schedule that complies with the Higher Education Standards Framework. The review is overseen by Macquarie University's peak academic governance body, the Academic Senate and takes into account feedback received from students, staff and external stakeholders.

Graduate Destinations and Employability Graduates of this program are employed in a variety of private, government and community (NFP) organisations involved in community engagement, impact assessment and project approval processes in the resources, infrastructure and regional development sectors.
Assessment Regulations

This program is subject to Macquarie University regulations, including but not limited to those specified in the Assessment Policy, Academic Honesty Policy, the Final Examination Policy and relevant University Rules. For all approved University policies, procedures, guidelines and schedules visit

Accreditation This is an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) accredited qualification.

2017 Unit Information

When offered:
S1 Day
Permission of Executive Dean of Faculty
HSC Chinese, CHN113, CHN148