Monash University

Postgraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2012 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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NOTE: This course has been updated - please refer to the 2012 handbook change register for details.

This course entry should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts

Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titleMSust
CRICOS code075340D
Total credit points required72
Standard duration of study (years)1.5 years FT, 3 years PT
Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)
Admission, fee and application details
Contact details


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the handbook are not available for study in the current year.


This interdisciplinary course is designed to meet the needs of graduates from a wide range of backgrounds who wish to enhance their qualifications for careers in environmental sustainability, corporate sustainability management, or sustainable development, encompassing policy and analysis, planning, consulting, education, advocacy and management. It is also designed for those who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding and experience to enable societal, organisational and individual change and responsible action to support sustainability both domestically and internationally. The course comprises three distinct streams, focussing on environment and sustainability, corporate sustainability management, and international sustainable development.

The three streams of the Master of Sustainability are:

  • Environment and sustainability:

    for students who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding and experience to enable societal and individual change and responsible action to support sustainability, and to enhance their qualifications for careers in environmental policy and analysis, planning, consulting, education, advocacy and management. Core units provide knowledge and skills to critically analyse problems of environment and sustainability and to propose realistic solutions in both personal and professional settings, while a wide range of electives cater for specialised needs and interests.
  • Corporate and environmental sustainability management:

    designed to meet the growing need for skilled professionals that have competencies in both business and environmental/sustainability management and who understand the nexus between the two. It is vocationally oriented and flexible, to accommodate students who have only business or environmental backgrounds, people with significant industry experience, and people wishing to move into the field.
  • International development and environmental analysis:

    for students who wish to pursue careers or enhance their professional skills in the fields of international development and environmental sustainability. Core units introduce students to international and comparative perspectives and approaches to development and global sustainability, and encourage critical and comparative analysis of international development policies and practice, promoting active engagement in sustainable development in transnational and regional contexts.

All three streams offer a research or internship project component, which provide students the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary real-world contexts to combine theory and practice in responding to local and global issues at individual, community, corporate and government levels.


Students successfully completing this course will have:

  • a sound knowledge of the diverse concepts pertaining to the interdisciplinary field of sustainability
  • an understanding of the world view of the field of study
  • a critical appreciation of the academic literature in the field of study
  • a familiarity with many of the key texts and cultural products pertaining to the field of study
  • advanced reading and communication skills, both written and verbal
  • advanced analytical skills
  • a grasp of research methodology and ethics, and an ability to undertake a small, independent research project in one of the disciplines represented in the program.


This course consists of one 6-point core unit to be completed by all students, then three or four additional core units (6 points each) for each of the individual streams, and additional elective units to the total value of 72 credit points. This must include a minimum of 24 points taken at level five. Students who meet the criteria can undertake research and/or internship project units comprising 12 or 24 points of their degree.


All units are six points unless otherwise noted.

Students in all streams must complete:

  • APG4425 Perspectives on environment and sustainability

Students will select a stream and must take the required units for that stream, as well as choose electives from the list below.

Stream A - Environment and sustainability

Stream Coordinator: Dr. Ruth Lane

Students must take:

  • APG4427 Frontiers in sustainability and environment
  • APG5426 Environmental analysis
  • APG5428 Environmental governance and citizenship

Stream B - Corporate and environmental sustainability management

Stream Coordinator: Dr. Wendy Stubbs

Students must take:

  • BTX9100 Sustainability regulation
  • APG5433 Corporate sustainability management
  • APG5434 Sustainability measurement

Stream C - International development and environmental analysis

Stream Coordinator: Dr. Craig Thorburn

Students must take:

  • APG4627 Research in political ecology
  • Either APG4556 Urbanisation and regional development in the Indo-Pacific rim or APG4628 Doctrines of development
  • APG5804 Environmental revolutions
  • APG5805 The art and business of international development

Elective units

Students complete electives sufficient to bring the total number of points for the degree to 72 credit points. Electives may be chosen from across the University with permission from the stream coordinator and, if no equivalent unit is available at Monash, from other universities. If required, electives may be chosen from level three offerings, but only to a maximum of 12 points. Students must ensure that they complete a total of at least 24 points at level five.

Core units from other streams may be taken as electives, with the exception of APG4427 Frontiers in sustainability and environment (available only to students in the environment and sustainability stream), BTX9100 Sustainability regulation (available only to students of the corporate and environmental sustainability management stream) and APG5805 The art and business of international development (only for students of the international development and environmental analysis stream).

Contact the School of Geography and Environmental Science for details of elective units available.

Final project

In order to undertake a final project students must gain a distinction average (70D) or above in the core and elective units, and/or permission of the course coordinator. For students who have not attained a distinction average, additional coursework electives may be substituted.

The course offers two final project options: either a supervised research essay that enables students to consolidate the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills acquired in the coursework components in a research context; or an industry internship placement that provides students the opportunity to apply and consolidate the knowledge and professional skills they have acquired through the coursework components within the practical context of a business, government, nongovernmental or community organisation. Final projects consist of either a single 12-point final project unit or a combination of two of these units.

Final project units

  • APG5780 Conceptualising environment and sustainability research project (12 points)
  • APG5781 Implementing environment and sustainability research project (12 points)
  • APG5763 Sustainability internship (12 points)

Eligible students can undertake a double (24 point) final project, consisting of either two 12-point research units:

  • APG5780 Conceptualising environment and sustainability research project
  • APG5781 Implementing environment and sustainability research project

or a combination of an internship and research unit:

  • APG5763 Sustainability internship, and
  • APG5781 Implementing environment and sustainability research project

These may be taken simultaneously in a single semester, or in series over two consecutive semesters.

Students electing to undertake a final project may only enrol in these units after consultation with the Stream Coordinator.

Progression to further studies

Students who undertake the 24-point research project option and achieve at least a distinction (70%) are eligible to apply for a higher degree by research.

Alternative exit(s)

Students may apply to exit after successful completion of:

  • 48 points with course 0095 Graduate Diploma in Sustainability
  • 24 points with course 3088 Graduate Certificate in Arts


Master of Sustainability