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Graduate Diploma of Sustainable Development


Faculty of Science and Engineering
Graduate Diploma of Sustainable Development (GradDipSusDev)
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 - 1 year
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)
Volume of Learning:
Equivalent to 1 year
General requirements:
Minimum number of credit points at 800 level or above 32
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)
Research Methods for Sustainable Development (4)
8cp from
Contemporary Conservation in Australia (4)
Regional and Global Conservation (4)
Science in Environmental Management (4)
Climate Change and The Climate System (4)
Environmental Economics (4)
Environmental Planning (4)
Sustainable Urban Regions (4)
Environmental Impact Assessment (4)
Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Globalisation and Sustainable Development (4)
Environmental Law and Sustainable Development (4)
International Environmental Law (4)
12cp from
Indigenous Interests and Identities (4)
Social Movements, Knowledge and Development (4)
Epidemiology (4)
Mathematical Background for Biostatistics (4)
Health Indicators and Health Surveys (4)
Cross Institutional Study B (4)
Climate Change Impacts (4)
Climate Change: Policies, Management and Adaptation (4)
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 8 Graduate Diploma
CRICOS Code 083770D
Overview and Aims of the Program The Graduate Diploma Sustainable Development degree aims to develop skills to support working with organisations or communities to innovate, encourage new thinking, new processes, and change management towards more sustainable practice. Sustainability is increasingly being integrated into all sectors and at all levels. The multidisciplinary nature of sustainable development requires skills in synthesis and integration from multiple disciplines. The Graduate Diploma provides an opportunity to broaden the capability to work with different disciplinary perspectives 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. 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. evaluate the implications of contemporary values, theories, policies, strategies, tools and knowledge to progress sustainable development practice (T, K, P)
4. synthesise and apply scientific, technical, political, economic, social, change management and governance considerations to support change for sustainable development (T, E, P, K)
5. critically select and apply a variety of tools and approaches in ways appropriate to practice in different professional contexts (T, J, E)
6. demonstrate an ability to use knowledge from research and about research for sustainable development projects (P, T)
7. apply futures, critical and holistic thinking to sustainable development issues (T)
8. undertake independent and team work projects informed by ethical principles and professionally report on findings (P, E, J)
9. communicate to various audiences, in diverse written and oral forms (C)
10. demonstrate a capacity to take ethical decisions to respond to sustainable development goals (E, P, J).
Learning and Teaching Methods 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:
• 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 and research. 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; preparing project proposals for funding; planning and facilitating a workshop session, undertaking interviews, preparing documentaries, literature reviews, 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 Diploma of Sustainable Development enables the student to develop skills to transition to new avenues in their existing sector of employment or to apply sustainability in that work. However around half of the students are making, or wanting to, a career change and the program is to give knowledge and skills in the new area. The Graduate Diploma can be used to gain entry into professional roles requiring sustainability – in the public sector such as local and state government, non government organisations, enterprises, corporations and industry - though this will depend on previous experience relevant to the position. International students, on returning home enter a range of organisations as outlined above. Increasingly a Master degree is preferred by employers with relevant work experience for international work and consultancy and other positions outlined above. The Graduate Diploma units can be credited towards a Master degree at a later stage.
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