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Specialisation: International Development

Award(s) to which this specialisation belongs:

International Development


Department of Geography and Planning
Faculty of Arts

Admission Requirements:
Admission to Master of Planning
Study Mode:
Full-time, Part-time
Attendance Mode:
North Ryde — Session 1 (February)
North Ryde — Session 2 (July)

This specialisation must be completed as part of an award. The general requirements for the award must be satisfied in order to graduate.

Requirements for the Specialisation:

Completion of a minimum of 16 credit points including the following prescribed units:

Credit points

800 level

Development Theory and Practice (4)
Social Impact Assessment and Cross Cultural Negotiation (4)
Globalisation and Sustainable Development (4)
4cp from
Heritage and its Management (4)
Environment and Development (4)


Overview and Aims of the Program The Specialisation in International Development is a focused program of study that develops students’ skills in planning in an international development context, and prepares them for a variety of planning positions in the public and private sector, including international organisations.

The Specialisation, and the Master of Planning it is offered through, are accredited by the Australian Institute of Planning and build on an urban and environmental studies program that commenced in 1978.

A key feature of the Specialisation is its focus on development policy and practice, in the context of sustainability, and how this applies to strategic land use planning and assessment.

A distinctive feature across the degree is the development of skills needed for the practicing planner. The curriculum is based on lectures, workshops, tutorials and importantly field visits to ground theory to practice.
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:

Demonstrate advanced practical and applied knowledge of development planning theory incorporating legal and governance principles, processes and practice

Critically evaluate planning and sustainability theories and apply this knowledge to contemporary development planning issues across spatial and temporal scales

Interpret and apply planning policies and instruments

Evaluate the implications of contemporary international development planning issues and how they impact on the environment and society

Demonstrate capacity to make ethical decisions in relation to professional planning practice

Synthesise core principles of urban and regional planning within an interdisciplinary context.
Learning and Teaching Methods Students are encouraged throughout this program to develop professionally relevant subject skills, methods, knowledge and understanding through a variety of independent and collaborative activities. The program is structured so that students do a set of required units which build core competencies, and electives which enable students to pursue their interests.

The teaching and learning approaches are designed to encourage creative and critical thinking about environmental, development and planning issues as well as a range of practical skills oriented towards professional development. Teaching and learning strategies include weekly workshops that typically involve a lecture accompanied by in-class activities involving peer-to-peer learning; block-mode teaching where teaching is condensed into extended blocks involving guest lectures and practical activities spread over two or three days; and field trips to research sites. In each case staff work closely with students to ensure the best learning outcomes. The program mixes the knowledge and skills of academic staff with practicing professionals who play a prominent role in many of the teaching and learning activities.

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 class. Students are expected to research subjects outside class time and present that research via a variety of formats in class. A number of 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.
Assessment Students are 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 as an environmental or development planner. The most common assessments involve writing essays and reports on contemporary environmental, development and planning topics; writing reviews and evaluations of current policies and approaches; and making presentations and participating in discussions with your peers. Other individual assessment tasks may include quizzes, exams, proposals, research projects, academic papers, critical reflections and the application of relevant environmental and development planning skills. You will also be required to work in groups on 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 guides. Marking rubrics provided for specific assessment tasks to help students clarify what is expected. Feedback on submitted assignments takes a range of forms but generally involves written notes regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each student’s work, as well as either quantitative or qualitative assessment in accordance to the assessment marking rubric. Teaching staff 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 the training, feedback is also 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 the Environmental Planning specialisation in the Master of Planning find employment in a wide variety of organisations: Government, in Australia particularly at local and state levels; non-government organisations; and in the private sector there are opportunities in specialist and multi-disciplinary environmental management, planning and engineering consultancies.

Career opportunities include:

State government: strategic planning; policy development and research; statutory planning; development assessment & control; environmental & social impact assessment

Local Government: strategic planning; statutory planning; development assessment & control; environmental impact assessment

Federal Government: policy development & research; environmental & social impact assessment

Private Sector: specialist and multi-disciplinary environmental management, planning and engineering consultancies; development companies & agencies

Non Government Organisations: advocacy & lobby groups; peak interest and action groups; research organisations.

The program prepares students via exposure to a wide variety of case studies; training in diverse disciplines and in cross-disciplinary thinking; workshops and field work that provide training in practical skills; and the opportunity to be part of a student consulting team with an actual government or private sector client.
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

Inherent requirements are the essential components of a course or program necessary for a student to successfully achieve the core learning outcomes of a course or program. Students must meet the inherent requirements to complete their Macquarie University course or program.

Inherent requirements for Macquarie University programs fall under the following categories:

Physical: The physical inherent requirement is to have the physical capabilities to safely and effectively perform the activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Cognition: The inherent requirement for cognition is possessing the intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative capabilities to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

Communication: The inherent requirement for communication is the capacity to communicate information, thoughts and ideas through a variety of mediums and with a range of audiences.

Behavioural: The behavioural inherent requirement is the capacity to sustain appropriate behaviour over the duration of units of study to engage in activities necessary to undertake the learning activities and achieve the learning outcomes of an award.

For more information see

2018 Unit Information

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