ENS5910 - Interdisciplinary project for sustainable development solutions - 2017

12 points, SCA Band 2, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.




Dr Annette Bos

Unit guides



  • First semester 2017 (Day)
  • Second semester 2017 (Day)


ENS5910 (12 points) is the unit for students who wish to develop their professional competencies for working effectively in an applied interdisciplinary context. In this unit, teams composed of 3-5 students from different disciplines will work in association with a partner organisation from government, private industry or not-for-profit to identify, analyse and address 'real-world' complex, sustainability challenges.

In their mixed-disciplinary teams, students will focus on a sustainability governance, policy or management topic that has been identified as a 'wicked problem' by a partner organisation associated with Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI).

With guidance from an MSDI supervisor and the partner organisation, the team will diagnose and analyse different perspectives, values at stake and politics of the project and will present a well-argued, plainly communicated and easily accessible analysis of the wicked problem. Within the team the students will negotiate and integrate their knowledge to develop a context specific and relevant solution to the identified sustainability challenge. The team will deliver a proposed solution implementation strategy to the partner organisation that includes mechanisms to create and enable the desired change.

Students will communicate the project findings in the format specified by the academic supervisor and/or partner organisation. Part of the teams' interdisciplinary project outcomes will be a project report that is to be shared with the partner organisation. The unit includes some scheduled activities alongside the project work to enhance and develop professional skills. Students from any specialisation can undertake this unit if they fulfil the academic requirements and gain approval from their specialisation and unit coordinator.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Plan and execute a collaborative team project in cooperation with a partner organisation.
  2. Negotiate complexity, uncertainty and risk while practicing multi-disciplinary decision making.
  3. Translate, evaluate and integrate varied disciplinary knowledge to find solutions to complex sustainability challenges.
  4. Identify and critically appraise social, environmental and economic considerations when designing solutions for sustainable development.
  5. Propose and justify a solution-based approach to a sustainable development challenge, alongside an implementation - change strategy.
  6. Demonstrate critical understanding of the real-world challenges associated with addressing sustainable development.
  7. Communicate in a clear and coherent way that is effective for the purpose and the intended audience.


Within semester assessment: 100%

Workload requirements

The minimum expected workload for project work combined with any scheduled activities is 288 hours over the course of one semester.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

To be advised


Credit average (60%) across Master core units, along with permission from the unit coordinator


The unit cannot be undertaken with other advanced practice units including ENS5900, ENS5901, ENS5902, ENS5920, and ENS5930 except by special approval from the specialisation coordinator. Preparatory students should complete Part B before taking the unit.