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Course (2020)

Information on this page, including unit offerings, is from the 2020 academic year.

Master of Sustainable Development (MSustDev)


  • Course Outline
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Title Master of Sustainable Development (MSustDev)
Course Code M1214
Study Level Master's by Coursework (Graduate)
Organisational Unit Global Studies
Academic Contacts

Academic Chair: Mr Allan Johnstone | Email: A.Johnstone@murdoch.edu.au | Tel: 9360 6278

Qualification Master of Sustainable Development (MSustDev)
Duration 2 years full-time or part-time equivalent
Availability Murdoch campus (internal)
Murdoch campus (external)
Restriction All graduate courses are subject to restriction.
Description The Master of Sustainable Development takes a holistic approach, providing students with the knowledge and skills that are particularly relevant for a wide range of sustainability careers within local, state or federal government, businesses and NGOs. The course addresses the implementation of sustainability at local, regional and global levels, and within urban and rural areas, and a wide range of organisations. Students have the opportunity to explore cutting-edge sustainability practices and policy relating to such areas as energy, water use, waste, climate change, biodiversity, urban planning and land management, international development, and sustainability education.

The Core module provides a sophisticated understanding of some of the most important dimensions of Sustainable Development practice, including: sustainability issues and implementation at the global, regional and local levels; urban and regional sustainability; climate change adaptation, sustainability education; and sustainability and international development within Asia. Within this Core module, each student is also given an opportunity to develop expertise by doing a Research Project or Dissertation on an aspect of sustainability that is particularly relevant to their career.

Professional Electives enable students to acquire professional skills in areas including: project management, community development, design thinking and strategic communication.

Policy Electives give students an opportunity to develop specialised expertise in areas such as: environmental impact assessment, energy policy, GIS, and environmental management, policy and law.

Finally, the course concludes with a Capstone program that gives students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge and research skills by undertaking a Research Dissertation (that could qualify students seeking admission to a PhD) or a Research Project.
Admission Requirements: Onshore course offerings Recognised Bachelor's degree (AQF Level 7) or higher, or equivalent training, though not necessarily in an area directly related to the proposed course, or satisfactory preparation through previous study or professional experience.

Equivalent of an Academic IELTS overall score of 6.0 with no band less than 6.0.
Special Requirements There may be a reduction in choice of units if completing this course in the external mode.
Course Learning Outcomes DLO 1 KNOWLEDGE Graduates of the Master of Sustainable Development demonstrate advanced and integrated mastery of theory and practice pertaining to sustainability within: a) households and communities; b) urban and regional areas; c) mining industries and communities; d) the Asia Pacific region; and e) in regards to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
DLO 2 KNOWLEDGE Graduates also demonstrate and apply knowledge of research principles and methods relevant to sustainable development scholarship and practice.
DLO 3 SKILLS Graduates have the cognitive skills to review critically, analyse, consolidate and synthesise the knowledge of the sustainable development field and that of related disciplines. Key competencies include complex systems thinking and the integration and synthesis of different disciplinary perspectives.
DLO 4 SKILLS Graduates have the cognitive and technical skills required to develop programs, policies and visions that enhance sustainable development within households, communities, urban and regional areas, and globally. Graduates can identify and interpret sustainable development problems across different scales and design context-specific strategies for improved sustainability outcomes.
DLO 5 SKILLS Graduates have the written and oral communication skills to explain and justify methodologies and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences.
DLO 6 APPLICATION Working independently and within teams, graduates apply sustainable development knowledge and skills: a) with creativity and initiative to new situations in professional practice and scholarship; and b) ethically and with high level personal autonomy and accountability.
Employment Prospects This course aims to develop the skills, knowledge and professional acumen needed for sustainable development leadership within international and Australian businesses, government agencies, and non-government organisations. Students acquire expertise in innovative sustainability practices, as well as high-level research training and professional development. During the course, each student is given an opportunity to build their professional resume by undertaking a career-relevant internship or practical project for academic credit. The course brings together high-achieving students and industry practitioners from many different parts of the world and harnesses their unique skill-sets through team projects and other forms of interactive learning. Part of the course's magic come from the networking and ideas exchange that take place when tomorrow's sustainable development leaders come together in this dynamic environment.
Internet Access RequirementsMurdoch units normally include an online component comprising materials, discussions, lecture recordings and assessment activities. All students, regardless of their location or mode of study, need to have access to and be able to use computing devices with browsing capability and a connection to the Internet via Broadband (Cable, ADSL or Mobile) or Wireless. The Internet connection should be readily available and allow large amounts of data to be streamed or downloaded (approximately 100MB per lecture recording). Students also need to be able to enter into online discussions and submit assignments online.

Course Structure - 48 credit points

Core Units - 27 or 36 credit points

Theory - 21 credit points

SUS512 Sustainability, Ecology and Communities - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

SUS523 Cities and Sustainability - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

COD505 Community, Industry and Local Government - 3 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external

SUS611 Resilient Regions: People and Practice - 3 points
MURDOCH: SUM-internal (quota of 120 places), SUM-external

AST650 Culture, Communities and Sustainability in Asia - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

ENV536 Education for Sustainability - 3 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external

ENV680 Climate Change Adaptation: Ecosystems and Societies - 3 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external

Capstone Experience - 6 or 15 credit points

Select one of the following two options:

ART6401 Masters by Coursework Research Project - 6 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external, S2-internal, S2-external, SUM-internal, SUM-external


ART610 Masters by Coursework Research Dissertation - 12 points
MURDOCH: H-internal, H-external, S1-internal, S1-external, S2-internal, S2-external, Y-internal, Y-external

and either:

SWM618 Social Science Research Design - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal


ART604 Advanced Research Methods - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external, S2-internal, S2-external

Specified Electives - 12 or 21 credit points

Students completing ART610 Masters by Coursework Research Dissertation

and ART604 Advanced Research Methodsor SWM618 Social Science Research Design are required to complete 12 credit points from the lists of electives below.

Students completing ART6401 Masters by Coursework Research Project are required to complete 21 credit points from the lists of electives below, with at least 9 credit points being 600-level units.

Professional Electives

SUS632 Sustainable Development Internship Project - 6 points
MURDOCH: H-internal, H-external, S1-internal, S1-external, S2-internal, S2-external, SUM-internal, SUM-external, Y-internal, Y-external

MBS662 Business, Society and the Environment - 6 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

MBS684 Managing Strategic Risk and Projects - 6 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external, SUM-internal, SUM-external

BIO681 Challenges in Food Security - 3 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external

MBS687 Effective Leadership - 3 points
Not available this year

MBS651 Leading and Managing Nonprofit Organisations - 3 points
MURDOCH: S2-internal, S2-external

GRD503 Design Thinking Tools - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal

SWM621 Ethics and Global Justice - 3 points
Not available this year

TLC501 Communication Skills for Postgraduate Study - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S2-internal

Policy Electives

ENV556 Principles of Environmental Impact Assessment - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

ENV552 Comparative Environmental Policy and Law - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

PEN591 Energy Policy - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal, S1-external

ENV616 Environmental Policy for the 21st Century - 3 points
MURDOCH: S1-internal (quota of 40 places), S1-external (quota of 10 places)

No course plans are available for this course in 2020.

To check other years, go to the Course Plans site.

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