Master of Sustainability (Professional)

Postgraduate coursework

Explore how humanity can meet its growing needs. Gain advanced knowledge and contemporary skills to develop successful sustainability strategies.

Domestic International

International student information

Key facts


2 years full-time

Current Deakin Students

To access your official course details for the year you started your degree, please visit the handbook

Course overview

Explore how humanity can meet its growing needs without limiting the ability of future generations to meet theirs in the Master of Sustainability (Professional). You’ll develop advanced knowledge and contemporary skills to develop successful sustainability strategies by applying multidisciplinary and ‘triple bottom line’ approaches to policy and management solutions, balancing environmental, social and economic considerations.

You’ll build a solid foundation in sustainability, environmental science and global change before undertaking specialised study in an area of your choosing. This flexible course allows you to further tailor your degree to suit your career aspirations by providing a choice of options towards the latter part of your studies – advanced research, elective study, or a combination of elective study and industry practice. Whatever you choose, you will be equipped for a rewarding career affecting positive change.

Ready to tackle complex sustainability issues head on?

Issues of sustainability are complex and the need for skilled professionals capable of developing appropriate cost-effective and targeted solutions to these challenges are crucial for our future. That’s why a key focus of the Master of Sustainability (Professional) is developing an in depth understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals, which every member country of the United Nations is committed to achieving by 2030.

The flexible structure of the course provides you with the opportunity to build the degree for the career you want. You’ll first acquire a solid foundation in sustainability before broadening your studies through pursuit of a specialisation that interests you most. Towards the latter part of your studies, you will have the option to either undertake a focused research project, industry practice or further broaden your skills through your choice of elective units spanning climate change adaptation and mitigation, regional development, environmental management, risk assessment and control, health promotion, community consultation and more.

Connections to industry are an integral part of this course and ensures you have the opportunity 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 you with an understanding of sustainability issues in a real-world context.

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Course information

Award granted
Master of Sustainability (Professional)

2024 course information

Deakin code
CRICOS code?
108874H Burwood (Melbourne)
Higher Degree Coursework (Masters and Doctorates)
Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) recognition

The award conferred upon completion is recognised in the Australian Qualifications Framework at Level 9

Course structure

To complete the Master of Sustainability (Professional), students must attain 16 credit points, which must include the following:

  • Completion of DAI001 Academic Integrity Module (0-credit point compulsory unit)
  • Completion of STP710 Career Tools for Employability (0-credit point compulsory unit)
  • Three (3) core units (3 credit points)
  • 1 specialisation (4 credit points)
  • A nine (9) credit point pathway in:
    • Research pathway (subject to meeting unit requirements)* OR
    • Industry practice pathway (subject to meeting unit requirements)^ OR
    • Advanced discipline coursework pathway

* Students must have passed 7 level 7 units (6 units must be SLE coded units) and a WAM of 70 to be eligible for the Research Pathway.

^ Students must have passed STP710 Career Tools for Employability (0-credit point compulsory unit), and must have successfully completed 8 credit points of study in level 7 units and have a minimum WAM of 70 to be eligible for the Industry Practice Pathway.

Students are required to meet the University's academic progress and conduct requirements.


Core units


Specialisation units


Pathway units


Total units


  • Academic Integrity Module (0 credit points)
  • Career Tools for Employability (0 credit points)
  • Professional Research Practice
  • Sustainability in the Anthropocene
  • Environmental Science and Global Change
  • Pathway options

    Research pathway

  • Research Project Planning
  • Research Project (4 credit points)
  • Research Project (Advanced) (4 credit points)
  • OR

    Industry practice pathway

  • Industry Practice Planning
  • Industry Practice (4 credit points)
  • plus four (4) course elective units (4 credit points) from the course elective list.


    Advanced discipline coursework pathway

    nine (9) course elective units (9 credit points) from the course elective list.

    Course elective units

    S728 Master of Sustainability (Professional) and S727 Master of Sustainability students can choose any units from the list below to fill the course elective unit options (subject to meeting unit requirements).

    Course elective units may also be chosen from the remaining specialisations (ie students enrolled in the Environmental Management specialisation may choose electives from within the Health and Environment specialisation).

    Strategic futures thinking

  • Critical Futures
  • Food and land system

  • Food and Water Security
  • Agricultural Health and Medicine
  • Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities
  • Policy and Practice for Healthy and Sustainable Food Systems
  • International development

  • Climate Change and Sustainability
  • Introduction to International and Community Development
  • Participatory and Community Development Practice
  • Disaster Risk Reduction and Community Led Recovery
  • Cultural heritage

  • World Heritage
  • Sustainability and Human Rights in Heritage and Museums
  • Heritage Practice: Conservation and Managing Change
  • Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Cities

  • Building Systems and Environment
  • Engineering Sustainability
  • Data science for sustainability

  • Foundation Skills in Data Analysis
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Real World Analytics
  • DMC713-OD Life Cycle Assessment: A Practical Introduction (0.5 credit points) ^

    Environmental crime

  • Environmental Crime and Regulation
  • Working with communities

  • Community Consultation and Participation
  • Participatory and Community Development Practice
  • Introduction to International and Community Development
  • Global geopolitics and sustainability

  • China and the World
  • The United Nations and International Organisation
  • International Conflict Analysis
  • Transnational Activism and Policy
  • Human Rights in World Politics
  • Policy and governance

  • Making Policy
  • Policy Lessons From Overseas
  • Intergovernmental Relations: Federalism, Power and Multi-Level Governance
  • Governance and Accountability in Turbulent Times
  • Governing the Economy: Wealth and Inequality in Australia
  • Private Sector Development: Corporations, Social-Enterprise and Microfinance
  • Humanitarian development

  • The Humanitarian World
  • Gender, Race and Culture
  • Communicating and influencing

  • Public Relations, Activism and Social Change
  • Public Affairs and Opinion Formation
  • Cross Cultural Communication and Practice
  • Professional studies

  • Research Project Planning
  • Industry Practice Planning
  • ^ This unit is 0.5cp. Students choosing this elective must also undertake a microcredential unit from the Health and Environment specialisation to make up to 1 credit point.


    Refer to the details of each specialisation for availability.

    Intakes by location

    The availability of a course varies across locations and intakes. This means that a course offered in Trimester 1 may not be offered in the same location for Trimester 2 or 3. Check each intake for up-to-date information on when and where you can commence your studies.

    Trimester 1 - March

    • Start date: March
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)
      • Online

    Trimester 2 - July

    • Start date: July
    • Available at:
      • Burwood (Melbourne)
      • Online

    Additional course information

    Course duration

    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 an industry practice placement or undertake course electives that will allow them to complement their studies with a range of relevant options.

    Participation requirements

    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. More information available at Disability support services.

    Work experience

    Students will have an opportunity to complete work experience as part of the industry practice pathway.

    Entry requirements

    Selection is based on a holistic consideration of your academic merit, work experience, likelihood of success, availability of places, participation requirements, regulatory requirements, and individual circumstances. You will need to meet the minimum academic and English language proficiency requirements to be considered for selection, but this does not guarantee admission.

    Academic requirements

    To be considered for admission to this degree you will need to meet the following criteria:

    • completion of a bachelor degree or higher in any discipline

    English language proficiency requirements

    To meet the English language proficiency requirements of this course, you will need to demonstrate at least one of the following:

    Admissions information

    Learn more about Deakin courses and how we compare to other universities when it comes to the quality of our teaching and learning.

    Not sure if you can get into Deakin postgraduate study? Postgraduate study doesn't have to be a balancing act; we provide flexible course entry and exit options based on your desired career outcomes and the time you're able to commit to your study.

    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

    Fee information

    Estimated tuition fee - full-fee paying place

    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.

    Scholarship options

    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.

    Search or browse through our scholarships

    Postgraduate bursary

    If you’re a Deakin alumnus commencing a postgraduate award course, you may be eligible to receive a 10% reduction per unit on your enrolment fees.

    Learn more about the 10% Deakin alumni discount

    Apply now

    Apply through Deakin

    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.

    Deakin International office or Deakin representative

    Fill out the application form and submit to a Deakin International office or take your application form to a Deakin representative for assistance

    Need more information on how to apply?

    For information on the application process and closing dates, see the How to apply webpage
    If you’re still having problems, please contact Deakin International for assistance.

    Entry pathways


    Career outcomes

    As a graduate of this course you will be equipped with the skills to build a rewarding career affecting positive change. You will be well positioned to engage in the development and implementation of practical solutions to the complex sustainability challenges and may choose to seek employment in government roles, non-government organisations or in the private sector.

    Depending on your elected area of expertise, you may choose to pursue employment as an officer, manager or consultant in areas including environmental protection, cultural and natural heritage management, environmental conservation, land and water management, natural resource management, agriculture, communication and planning.

    Those choosing to undertake the advanced research study option in the final year of this degree will also be well positioned to pursue further research studies, including a master by research or PhD.

    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, health and environment and sustainable 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.

    Digital literacy

    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.

    Critical thinking

    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.

    Problem solving

    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.

    Global citizenship

    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 26 July 2023