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Master of Sustainable Development


Faculty of Science and Engineering
Master of Sustainable Development (MSusDev)
Admission Requirement:
• Australian level 7 bachelor's qualification or recognised equivalent
• 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: 1 year - 2 years depending on RPL granted
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
Volume of Learning:
Equivalent to 2 years
General requirements:
Minimum number of credit points 64
Minimum number of credit points at 800 level or above 48
Minimum number of credit points at 600 level 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

600 level

Special Topic in Environment A: Biophysical Environments (4)
Rethinking Resource Management (4)
Environment and Society (4)
Australian Environmental Futures (4)
Australian Environmental Futures (4)

800 level

Sustainable Development: Introductory Principles and Practices (4)
Education for Sustainable Development (4)
Research Methods for Sustainable Development (4)
Environmental Management Practice (4)
4 cp from
Environmental Research Report (4)
Special Topic in Environment and Geography A (4)
Environmental Decision Making (4)
12cp from
Contemporary Conservation in Australia (4)
Regional and Global Conservation (4)
Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Science in Environmental Management (4)
Climate Change and The Climate System (4)
Environmental Economics (4)
Environmental Planning (4)
Globalisation and Sustainable Development (4)
Sustainable Urban Regions (4)
Environmental Impact Assessment (4)
Environmental Law and Sustainable Development (4)
International Environmental Law (4)
16cp from
Indigenous Interests and Identities (4)
Social Movements, Knowledge and Development (4)
Cross Institutional Study B (4)
Climate Change Impacts (4)
Climate Change: Policies, Management and Adaptation (4)
Strategic Corporate Social Responsibility (4)
Social Entrepreneurship (4)
Organisational Behaviour (4)
Leadership and Motivation (4)
Supply Chain Management (4)
Management of Innovation (4)
BCA801 - BCA803
ENVS units at 800 level
GEOP units at 800 level
GSE units at 800 level
HGEO units at 800 level
ICOM units at 800 level
IRPG units at 800 level
LAW850 - LAW861
POL units at 800 level
SOC810 - SOC831


Program Learning Outcomes and Additional Information
AQF Level Level 9 Masters by Coursework Degree
CRICOS Code 083810A
Overview and Aims of the Program Macquarie University offers a Master of Sustainable Development (and Post Graduate Diploma and Post Graduate Certificate). The Master of Sustainable Development serves the needs of professional roles in sustainability - in corporations, industry, the public sector, internationally and consultancies.

Sustainable development is an internationally embraced imperative oriented to meeting the needs of a growing population, addressing social justice now and for the future, while ensuring the integrity of the planetary systems to support all life. Australia has identified many challenges to address on its path to sustainability such as the rise of inequality and disadvantage, food and agriculture, education, climate change, regional Australia, sustainable cities, sustainable growth and prosperity through innovation and the environment. All organisations and institutions need to embrace and embed sustainability into their culture and operations.

The Master Sustainable Development degree is designed to develop skills in creating environments for innovation, new thinking, new processes, and change management in organisations of all sizes and focus, from small and medium enterprises, to governmental agencies. The multidisciplinary nature of the field requires skills in synthesis and integration from multiple disciplines to address practical problems in such areas as developing a business to reflect corporate social and environmental responsibility, essential for its licence to operate and to innovate; to engaging community in determining the future they want in development or local government work, to integrating sustainability into the design of products, buildings, or infrastructure.

The Master of Sustainable Development has a strong focus on how to effect changes towards sustainable development and to work with stakeholders with diverse perspectives and values. The degree provides options for students with three years relevant work experience to broaden or deepen capabilities in a diverse range of disciplinary options from the environment, economics, law, social science, international politics, business and organisational management according to professional need. The emphasis is on assisting those who wish to integrate more sustainable thinking and innovation into their existing profession or who to change professions to be in a more socially and ethically oriented field.
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. describe and explain how the Earth system functions, its critical thresholds, forecasts of future environmental conditions and the impacts on sustainable development (K, T)
2. analyse and evaluate the interactions of environmental changes on security, economic and social conditions, poverty alleviation, quality of life, equity, health, biodiversity, and the nexus of food, water and energy security (T, K, E)
3. critically evaluate the implications of contemporary values, theories, policies, strategies, tools and knowledge to progress sustainable development practice in diverse cultures and contexts (T, K, P)
4. synthesise and apply scientific, technical, political, economic, social, change management and governance considerations to support change for sustainable development while considering effects on the opportunities available to future generations (T, E, P, K)
5. creatively use the contributions of diverse disciplines and values to apply to sustainable development theory and practice (T, K)
6. critically select and apply a variety of tools and approaches in ways appropriate to practice in different professional contexts (T, J, E)
7. apply knowledge from research and about research methodology, methods and ethics to sustainable development research (P, T)
8. apply futures, critical and holistic thinking to sustainable development issues (T)
9. undertake independent and team work projects informed by ethical principles and professionally report on findings (P, E, J)
10. communicate to various audiences, in diverse written and oral forms (C)
11. demonstrate a capacity to take ethical and strategic decisions to respond to ongoing global change while meeting sustainable development goals (E, P, 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 and are also able to choose from a pool of related units designed to develop your capability according to your learning goals. Teaching and learning approaches are student-centred. 800 level units may be taught as weekly three hour sessions or in block mode, where teaching is condensed into approximately 6-7 full days, spread over some weeks. These involve weekends. For those with no environmental background 4, 600 level units are provided.

The teaching and learning approaches are designed to encourage creative and critical thinking about sustainable development as well as a range of practical skills oriented towards professional development.
Teaching and learning strategies include:
• a combination of a presentations and workshops that involve peer-to-peer discussion and learning
• guest lectures from professional practitioners, providing case material for analysis and/or to present practical applications of issues
• field visits to observe and learn from practice
• mentoring students as they undertake guided work based experience.

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 and research. 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.

The workshop sessions provide a safe environment to practice skills, make presentations, facilitate workshops, prepare for consultancy, 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 throughout 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 consultancy report writing; preparing project proposals for funding; planning and facilitating a workshop session, undertaking interviews, preparing documentaries, literature reviews, and even blogs. Other individual assessment tasks (level 600) may include quizzes, exams.

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 are provided for specific assessment tasks to help you 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 may 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. 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 The Master of Sustainable Development is used by the majority of Australian students to gain entry into professional roles in sustainability – in the public sector from local government to state or federal government as well as in non government organisations, small and medium enterprises, corporations and industry including consultancy firms. Depending on relevant work experience graduates might gain employment in international organisations or aid agencies. International students, on returning home enter a range of organisations as outlined above. The Master Sustainable Development degree is designed to enable the student to develop skills to transition to new avenues in their existing sector of employment or to work in new areas. The skill emphasis is on creating environments for innovation in sustainability, new thinking, new processes, and change management in organisations of all sizes and focus. The multidisciplinary nature of the field requires skills in synthesis and integration from multiple disciplines to address practical problems in such areas as developing a business to reflect corporate social and environmental responsibility, essential for its licence to operate and to innovate; to engaging community in determining the future they want in development or local government work, to integrating sustainability into the design of products, buildings, or infrastructure.
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