Master of Sustainability

  • Introduction to the Master of Sustainability

    Managing faculty: Arts
    Abbreviated title: MSust
    CRICOS code: 075340D
    Total credit points required: 72
    Standard duration of study (years): 1.5 years FT, 3 years PT
    Study mode and location: On-campus (Clayton)
    Admission, fee and application details: 

    Course coordinator: Bruce Missingham
    Notes: 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 governance, corporate sustainability management, or international development, encompassing policy and analysis, planning, consulting, education, advocacy and targeting areas such as water management, natural resource management and climate change. It is also designed for those who wish to broaden and deepen their understanding and experience to enable societal, organisational and individual change and foster responsible action to support sustainability both domestically and internationally. The course comprises three distinct streams, focussing on environment and governance, corporate sustainability management, and international development and natural resource management. All three streams offer potential for a research or internship project component, providing students the opportunity to work in interdisciplinary real-world contexts to combine theory and practice in responding to local and global issues at community, corporate and government levels.

    Environment and governance

    This stream is for students who wish to broaden and deepen theirunderstanding and experience to enable societal and governmental 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 environmental governance and sustainability and to propose realistic solutions, while a wide range of electives cater for specialised needs and interests.

    Corporate environmental and sustainability management

    This stream is designed to meet the growing need for skilled professionalsthat 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 natural resource management 

    This stream is for students who wish to pursue careers or enhance their professional skills in the fields of international development and natural resource management. Core units introduce students to comparative perspectives on development and environment, and integrative approaches to management of natural resources and landscapes. The stream provides rigorous theoretical and practical training in analysis of international development policies and programs targeting urban environments, climate change, biodiversity conservation, food security, management of rural livelihoods and commons resources, and privatisation of ecosystem services.


    These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 9, the Bologna Cycle 2 and Monash Graduate Attributes. For more information please see the following link. Upon successful completion of this course it is expected that graduates will be able to:

    • demonstrate a sound knowledge of diverse aspects of the academic discipline 
    • articulate and apply an understanding of the world view of the field of study
    • demonstrate a critical appreciation of the secondary literature in the field of study
    • apply a critical familiarity with many of the key texts and cultural products pertaining to the field of study
    • apply advanced reading and communication skills, both written and verbal
    • demonstrate advanced analytical skills
    • demonstrate a thorough understanding 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 a core unit, and additional core units in one of the streams, plus electives and the option for students who meet the criteria a research and/or internship project units comprising 12 or 24 points of their degree. This must include a minimum of 24 points taken at level five.

    All units are six points unless otherwise indicated.


    Students in all streams complete:
    APG4425 Perspectives on environment and sustainability
    Students select one of the streams below and complete the required units for that stream, as well as choose electives from the list below.

    Stream A – Environment and governance

    Stream Coordinator: Dr. Ruth Lane
    Students must complete:
    APG4427 Frontiers in sustainability and environment
    APG5426 Environmental analysis
    APG5428 Environmental governance and citizenship

    Stream B – Corporate environmental and sustainability management

    Stream Coordinator: Dr. Wendy Stubbs
    Students must complete:
    BTX9100/BTF5910 Sustainability regulation
    APG5433 Corporate sustainability management
    APG5434 Sustainability measurement

    Stream C – International development and natural resource management

    Stream Coordinator: Dr. Craig Thorburn
    Students must complete:
    APG4627 Research in political ecology
    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 must complete electives sufficient to bring the total number of points for the degree to 72 credit points, which for eligible students can include a final project. 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 the other streams not completed by the student in this course may also be taken as electives. 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 achieve an average grade of 75 per cent or above in the core and elective units, and permission of the
    research unit coordinator via submission of a satisfactory one-page proposal of the research project.
    The course offers two final project options:

    • a supervised research thesis that enables students to consolidate the theoretical knowledge and analytical skills acquired in the coursework components in a research context
    • an industry internship placement that provides students the opportunity to apply and consolidate the knowledge and professional skills they haveacquired through the coursework components within the practical context of a business, government, nongovernmental or community organisation.

    Students electing to undertake a final project may only enrol in these units after consultation with the stream coordinator, and after successful completion of the final project entry requirements. Students intending to enrol in either of the research project options below are strongly recommended to have completed ATS4587 (Reseach methods in geography, environment and sustainability) – the units supporting the final research project assume that students have undertaken ATS4587 and therefore have a grounding in
    research design.

    Eligible students can choose to replace 12-24 points of elective units with one or two of the following:

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

    Alternative exit(s)

    Students may apply to exit after successful completion of:
    24 points with 3088 Graduate Certificate in Arts
    48 points with 0095 Graduate Diploma in Sustainability 


    Graduate Certificate in Arts
    Master of Sustainability