English language requirements
Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with no band less than 6 (or equivalent). More information is available at www.ielts.org
2 years full-time or part-time equivalent
Current Deakin Students
To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook
With globalisation, population growth, and climate change dramatically affecting the natural environment, economies, and societies around the world, issues of sustainability have become critical to our future. Humanity is placing evermore pressure on the environment through increased consumption and resource use, and increased degradation of natural capital such as land, water, air, and biodiversity.
The Master of Sustainability prepares you to address the complex and interacting social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainability issues and challenges faced globally.
Throughout this course, you will acquire advanced knowledge and contemporary skills in the multidisciplinary approaches to examining why environmental impacts occur and developing appropriate cost-effective and targeted solutions to managing these impacts.
Want the skills to develop and implement sustainability strategies across a range of sectors?
Central to the Master of Sustainability is a focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 to which every member country of the United Nations has committed.
You will explore options for how humanity can meet the growing needs of the present without limiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs. You will graduate with the skills to develop successful sustainability strategies by applying multi-disciplinary approaches and taking a “triple bottom line” approach to policy and management solutions—balancing environmental, social, and economic considerations.
The flexible nature of the course provides students with the opportunity to specialise in either Environmental Management or Sustainable Regional Development, but also provides options to study a range of sustainability issues via electives spanning cities, health, indigenous management, data science, and more.
The course provides students with the foundations of sustainability science and in second year enables students to pursue an industry placement or research pathway involving industry-linked research projects that align to their personal interests and career aspirations.
Industry connectedness is an integral part of this course and ensures students have opportunities to gain an industry perspective and establish professional networks prior to graduation. Guest lectures from key industry partners are embedded into the course to provide students with an understanding of sustainability issues in a real-world context.
To complete the Master of Sustainability, students must attain 16 credit points. Most units (think of units as ‘subjects’) are equal to 1 credit point. So that means in order to gain 16 credit points, you’ll need to study 16 units (AKA ‘subjects’) over your entire degree. Most students choose to study 4 units per trimester, and usually undertake two trimesters each year.
The course comprises a total of 16 credit points, which must include the following:
Year 1 (8 credit points):
- Completion of STP050 Academic Integrity (0-credit point compulsory unit)
- 2 core units (2 credit points)
- 1 specialisation (advanced disciplinary study area) (4 credit points)
- 2 elective units (2 credit points)
Year 2 (8 credit points):
- Research pathway or Industry Practice pathway (8 credit points)
Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements. Click here for more information.
Plus 4 credit points from a specialisation (Advanced Disciplinary studies)
Plus two level 7 elective units (two credit points)
Chosen from the following pathways:
Industry Practice Pathway
plus four credit points of level 7 units
^ Students undertaking this unit must have successfully completed STP710 Career Tools for Employability (0 credit point)
Any level 7 units chosen from existing units offered across many courses. In some cases you may even be able to choose elective units from a completely different discipline area (subject to meeting unit requirements).
Students are encouraged to discuss their elective selections with their course director.
Refer to the details of each specialisation for availability.
2021 course information
This course is approved by the University under the Higher Education Standards Framework.
The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9.
Campuses by intake
Campus availability varies per trimester. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Read more to learn where this course will be offered throughout the year.
Trimester 1 - March
- Start date: March
- Available at:
- Burwood (Melbourne)
- Cloud Campus
Trimester 2 - July
- Start date: July
- Available at:
- Burwood (Melbourne)
- Cloud Campus
Additional course information
Graduate Diploma of Sustainability (S621) (Exit option only)
Graduate Certificate of Research Management (S521)
Course duration - additional information
Course duration may be affected by delays in completing course requirements, such as accessing or completing work placements.
Mandatory student checks
Any unit which contains work integrated learning, a community placement or interaction with the community may require a police check, Working with Children Check or other check.
Approximately 150 hours of learning and assessment activities per Deakin credit point.
Students will have access to a range of elective units from a variety of relevant discipline areas across the Faculty and University. This will allow them to tailor a program relevant to their specific interests, subject to academic approval. As a pathway to PhD, the proposed courses have a key component in the form of a research project. The thesis should offer a significant contribution to knowledge in the discipline concerned and demonstrate the student’s capacity to carry out independent research.
Students not wishing to pursue further studies in research will have the opportunity to undertake a 4-credit point industry practice placement during their second year of studies, along with 4 course electives that will allow them to complement their studies with a range of relevant options.
Elective units may be selected that include compulsory placements, work-based training, community-based learning or collaborative research training arrangements.
Reasonable adjustments to participation and other course requirements will be made for students with a disability. Click here for more information.
Students will have an opportunity to complete an industry practice pathway, equivalent to 4 credit points, in place of a research pathway.
Deakin University offers admission to postgraduate courses through a number of Admission categories. To be eligible for admission to this program, applicants must meet the course requirements.
All applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements.
Please note that meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee selection, which is based on merit, likelihood of success and availability of places in the course.
For more information on the Admission Criteria and Selection (Higher Education Courses) Policy visit the Deakin Policy Library
Entry will be based on performance in:
- a Bachelor degree in same discipline with a minimum WAM (Weighted Average Mark) of 60% OR,
- a Graduate Certificate in same discipline, OR
- a Bachelor degree in any discipline PLUS 3 years relevant work experience.
Recognition of prior learning
If you have completed previous studies which you believe may reduce the number of units you have to complete at Deakin, indicate in the appropriate section on your application that you wish to be considered for Recognition of Prior Learning. You will need to provide a certified copy of your previous course details so your credit can be determined. If you are eligible, your offer letter will then contain information about your Recognition of Prior Learning.
Your Recognition of Prior Learning is formally approved prior to your enrolment at Deakin during the Enrolment and Orientation Program. You must bring original documents relating to your previous study so that this approval can occur.
You can also refer to the Recognition of Prior Learning System which outlines the credit that may be granted towards a Deakin University degree.
Fees and scholarships
Learn more about fees and your options for paying.
The 'Estimated tuition fee' is provided as a guide only based on a typical enrolment of students completing the first year of this course. The cost will vary depending on the units you choose, your study load, the length of your course and any approved Recognition of Prior Learning.
One year full-time study load is typically represented by eight credit points of study. Each unit you enrol in has a credit point value. The 'Estimated tuition fee' is calculated by adding together eight credit points of a typical combination of units for your course.
You can find the credit point value of each unit under the Unit Description by searching for the unit in the Handbook.
Learn more about tuition fees.
A Deakin scholarship might change your life. If you've got something special to offer Deakin – or you just need the financial help to get you here – we may have a scholarship opportunity for you.
If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 15% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees. Your Immediate Family Members may also be eligible to apply for this bursary.
How to apply
Applications can be made directly to the University through StudyLink Connect - Deakin University's International Student Application Service. For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply web page. Please note that closing dates may vary for individual courses.
Graduates will be uniquely positioned to commence a PhD.
Why choose Deakin
As a graduate of this course, you will be uniquely positioned to commence a PhD or actively pursue research roles in industry, education, government, NGOs, policy developments and teaching. Depending on your chosen area of expertise, you may choose to seek employment as an ecologist, environment consultant, communications specialist, researcher or science journalist. Potential employers include CSIRO, planning and research officers for state/federal government, government planning and environment departments, environmental protection agencies, cultural and natural heritage management, environmental conservation, land and water management, natural resource management, , private research institutes, private commercial companies, industrial research companies, universities, NGOs, schools, agriculture and food sector, local councils and public service.
Course learning outcomes
Deakin's graduate learning outcomes describe the knowledge and capabilities graduates can demonstrate at the completion of their course. These outcomes mean that regardless of the Deakin course you undertake, you can rest assured your degree will teach you the skills and professional attributes that employers value. They'll set you up to learn and work effectively in the future.
Deakin Graduate Learning Outcomes
Course Learning Outcomes
Discipline-specific knowledge and capabilities
Demonstrate mastery and specialist knowledge of natural and social sciences related to sustainability, environmental management and sustainability regional development.
Plan and execute a substantial research or industry based project to demonstrate a deep understanding and mastery within the sustainability, environmental management and sustainable regional development disciplines.
Demonstrate well-developed judgement and responsibility to review, analyse and develop sustainability strategies based on holistic principles.
Present a reasoned argument that highlights essential details of sustainability, environmental management and sustainable regional development, theory and application, key observations, results and conclusions of scientific research in a professional manner using appropriate style, language and references including local, national, and international contributions or contexts.
Apply listening skills and effective communication skills to accommodate, encourage and answer questions from a range of audience and to defend research/project findings and sustainability implementation propositions.
Interpret the boundaries or limits of social and scientific information, data, discuss error, probability, uncertainty, conclusions and arguments to justify theoretical propositions, methodologies, methods, techniques, conclusions and professional decisions.
Use well-developed technical skills, judgement and responsibility to independently locate, analyse, evaluate the merits of, synthesise and disseminate sustainability data, information and literature in the planning and implementation of projects to a range of stakeholders in sustainability, environmental management and sustainable regional development.
Reflect on information, data and results and develop strategies for disseminating research outcomes in a digital world.
Appraise complex social, economic and scientific methodologies and information from a broad range of interdisciplinary sources using critical, analytical and logical reasoning from multiple perspectives for evaluating and providing solutions to sustainability issues that incorporate the holistic principles.
Formulate research questions to test and/ or contest ideas, concepts and theoretical propositions through an evidence-based well-structured project.
Plan and implement sustainability research investigation by using traditional and emerging techniques and technologies to identify problems and by applying analysis and synthesis skills, and triple-bottom line principles to solve research and/or practical problems.
Demonstrate complex problem-solving skills by identifying and creating solutions to real world sustainability through social, economic and/or scientific inquiry.
Contribute to advancements in scientific knowledge through mastery in the use of traditional and emerging instruments and techniques to device an investigation, and in the collection, interpretation, analysis, synthesis and dissemination of issues pertaining to the identification of issues and solutions to improve sustainability in general and/or environmental management and/or sustainable regional development.
Take personal, professional and social responsibility within changing national and international professional contexts to develop autonomy as researchers and evaluate own performances.
Work autonomously, responsibly and safely to solve unstructured problems and actively apply knowledge of social frameworks and scientific methodologies to make informed choices based on the triple-bottom line principles.
Work independently and collaboratively with advice from the supervisor towards achieving the outcomes of a project and thereby demonstrate interpersonal skills including the ability to brainstorm, negotiate, resolve conflicts, managing difficult and awkward conversations, provide constructive feedback and work in diverse professional, social and cultural contexts.
Apply principles of sustainability and environmental management knowledge and skills with a high level of autonomy, judgement, responsibility and accountability in collaboration with the supervisor to articulate the place and importance of social and scientific inquiry in the local and global context.
Approved by Faculty Board 27 June 2019