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Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development


Faculty of Science and Engineering
Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development (GradCertSusDev)
Admission Requirement:
• Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent in environment, science, social science, development, economics, business, education, or a related discipline
• GPA of 4.50 (out of 7.00)
English Language Proficiency:
IELTS of 6.5 overall with minimum 6.0 in each band, or equivalent
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
Candidature Length:
Full-time: 0.5 years
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — 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

Sustainable Development: Introductory Principles and Practices (4)
Education for Sustainable Development (4)
8cp from
Climate Change Impacts (4)
Climate Change: Policies, Management and Adaptation (4)
ENVS units at 800 level
GEOP units at 800 level


Note that students commencing in Session 2 can only study a part-time load in their first session.
Program Learning Outcomes and Additional Information
AQF Level Level 8 Graduate Certificate
Overview and Aims of the Program The Graduate Certificate Sustainable Development is designed to develop fundamental skills to support working with organisations or communities towards more sustainable practice. Sustainability is increasingly being integrated into all sectors and at all levels. The Graduate Certificate enables the student to broaden their capability in aspects of sustainable development or from a different disciplinary perspective to address practical problems and to engage people in determining the future they want.
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. explain the fundamentals of how the earth system functions, thresholds, forecasts of future environmental conditions and the impacts on sustainable development (K, T)
2. analyse and evaluate the interactions of environmental changes on biodiversity, security, economic and social conditions and progress to sustainable development (T, K, E)
3. evaluate policies, strategies, tools and knowledge to progress sustainable development practice (T, K, P)
4. apply scientific, technical, political, economic, social, change management or governance considerations to support change for sustainable development (T, E, P, K)
5. apply futures, critical and holistic thinking to sustainable development issues (T)
6. undertake independent and team work projects informed by ethical principles and professionally report on findings (P, E, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods You will be encouraged through this program to develop the relevant skills, methods, knowledge and understanding to match your current capabilities through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. The program while short is structured so that you engage in two required units to orient you to the field and Macquarie approach to the degree. You are able to choose from a limited range of related units designed to increase your overall understanding and to allow you to develop your capability according to your learning goals.

Within this structure you will be exposed to diverse teaching and learning approaches that are designed to be student-centred and flexible, and to encourage creative and critical thinking about sustainable development.

Teaching and learning strategies include:
• 800 level units may be taught as weekly sessions or in block mode, where teaching is condensed into approximately 6-7 full days, spread over some weeks (these involve weekends)
• the sessions are typically oriented to be workshops that involve an orientation presentation accompanied by in-class activities involving peer-to-peer learning
• guest lectures from professional practitioners are used to provide a case study for analysis and to present practical application of issues
• field visits are included to observe and learn from practice
• staff work closely with students to ensure the best learning outcomes
• the staff include those with long practical professional careers in the work place, providing a practical grounding along with academic and research active staff.

Within the program there is an emphasis on student directed learning through peer-to-peer interaction, preparing to teach others and discuss, drawing on the diverse skills and backgrounds of people within the class. Students are expected to research issues outside class time and present that research via a variety of formats in class.

Many units are aimed at developing professional teamwork skills and require students to work in small teams to generate and present ideas. The workshop sessions provide a safe environment to practice skills, make presentations, facilitate workshops, and undertake research interviews.
Assessment Assessments are undertaken at the unit level and contribute to the overall program outcomes. 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 your career in sustainable development.

The most common assessments involve writing essays and reports on sustainable development issues or topics; writing reviews and evaluations of current policies, programs and approaches; making presentations and participating in discussions with your peers.

Some assessment tasks are oriented to practical skill development related to the work place: such as report writing; planning and facilitating a workshop session, undertaking interviews, preparing documentaries, and even blogs. You will be required to work in groups on some group assessment tasks that will reflect your knowledge, as well as teamwork and communication skills.

Clear standards and criteria for coursework are included in the unit guide. 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 through personal appointments for further feedback and guidance. Constructive peer feedback may be sought for some assessment tasks, particularly those that require presentations.
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 The Graduate Certificate of Sustainable Development enables the student to develop a fundamental concept of the field and, depending on choice of units, to develop skills in an area of sustainable development, either updating or deepening knowledge in a cognate area, or to broaden understanding of another disciplinary area. The Graduate Certificate is most likely to be of value to those in employment to up-skill or transition to new avenues in their existing sector of employment. The Graduate Certificate is unlikely to enable you to gain entry into a new profession requiring sustainability. Nonetheless, sustainability is increasingly required in the public sector such as local and state government, non government organisations, enterprises, corporations and industry. Study for the Graduate Certificate can be credited to a Master or Graduate Diploma in sustainable development.
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