Master of Sustainability

The information on this page applies to future students. Current students should refer to their faculty handbooks for course information.

By tackling key global issues, the Master of Sustainability will equip you to further your career in diverse areas from environmental science to finance, from law to urban planning, and from sustainable building design to public health. You’ll learn about energy conservation, population health, food security, sustainability policy, and sustainability analysis tools.

In this one-and-a-half-year postgraduate course you will boost your education with an understanding of complex sustainability challenges and discover tools to measure, report on and identify solutions to these challenges.

The Master of Sustainability builds on the Graduate Diploma with a capstone experience that will put you to work in teams to research current sustainability problems in collaboration with industry (including your own job, if appropriate), aiming to deliver sustainable solutions to the industry partners.

Offering excellent flexibility, the sustainability program lets you tailor your subjects to suit your background and career interests. First, you will build a foundation in sustainability, with core units including health and population, energy and resources, food and water security, policy and governance, social change, and sustainability analysis tools. Then, you will broaden your study of sustainability by choosing your electives across a range of areas or focus on one aspect by choosing related electives and designing your Masters course capstone project in that area.

By joining the sustainability program at the University of Sydney, you will be part of a truly multidisciplinary experience. Six faculties across the University deliver core content, and nine faculties teaching into the program’s electives. You will be guided by the University’s experts, who are leaders in their fields internationally, and also from industry professionals, who partner with the program as guest speakers and mentors to provide insight into a range of workplaces.

You will gain both a theoretical understanding and applied skills to connect sustainability processes to specific areas of business, development, health and policy, among others. With this new understanding of sustainability, you’ll have the tools to change your approach to your current work or embark on an entirely new career.

Course outline

View a sample study plan/course structure table.

Study plan

You may undertake the course on a full time or part time basis. Full time study is normally undertaken over three semesters.

To qualify for the Master of Sustainability a candidate must complete 72 credit points, including:

  • 36 credit points of core units of study; and
  • 12 credit points of elective units of study from the remaining core or elective units of study; and
  • 24 credit points of Capstone experience units of study

A sample study plan for a full time student might involve four units of study in the first semester, comprising: three core units plus one elective unit; then three more core units plus one elective in second semester; and four capstone experience units of study in the third semester. Your individual study plan will of course depend on the availability of units in a given semester. Example study plans themed by discipline area are available for guidance.

Embedded courses

Further course information

Progression rules

Under normal progression, a student shall undertake and successfully complete all units of study to the value of 24 credit points per semester as prescribed for the course. Students are required to attend all lectures, tutorials and other activities prescribed for their units of study.

Capstone experience

A capstone experience comprises one or more units of study designed to provide an opportunity to draw together the learning that has taken place during the course, synthesise this with prior learning and experience, and draw conclusions that will form the basis for further investigation, and intellectual and/or professional growth.

The capstone experience is the compulsory activity which completes the Master of Sustainability degree. In the capstone experience, it is intended that students propose a research enquiry (possibly based on their employment). Ideally students work in teams of 2-4 members (although this may depend on any constraints imposed by relevant participating organisations). In some cases, students will work individually on a project.

The capstone experience in the award comprises time and effort consistent with the number of credit points:

• SUST5007 (24 credit points) for one large project, or
• SUST5008 (12 credit points) and SUST5009 (12 credit points) for two smaller projects.

Candidates research current sustainability problems in collaboration with industry (including the candidate's current employer, if applicable), aiming to deliver sustainable solutions to industry partners.

The project should cover at least 2 of the degree theme areas (Energy, Health, Development, Environment) and be approved by the Capstone Coordinator. The Capstone Coordinator will appoint a relevant academic mentor for each group from among the University’s sustainability researchers. In keeping with the generalist nature of the program, students may undertake projects unrelated to their background. The University will not seek, nor provide any financial support for students involved in the capstone experience.

The project is worth 24 credit points and will involve an amount of time and effort consistent with that commitment.

Course outcomes and further study

Graduate opportunities

Upon completion of the course, graduates will be equipped to engage in developing and implementing solutions to the complex question of how to deliver acceptable life styles for all without compromising the fate of future generations. The capstone project provides students with experience working on a real sustainability issue, and the generalist nature of the progam allows graduates to plan their study to align with their professional aspirations and career goals.

Admission

Admission requirements

For admission to this course, you should have a Bachelor degree from any discipline with a credit average. A credit average means a minimum Weighted Average Mark (WAM) of 65.

Applicants who do not meet the requirements for admission into the Master of Sustainability may wish to consider applying for entry into the Graduate Diploma in Sustainability or the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability.

As part of the embedded program, upon successful completion of the Graduate Certificate in Sustainability, students may gain entry to the Graduate Diploma in Sustainability through an internal “upgrade”. In turn, upon successful completion of the Graduate Diploma in Sustainability, students may gain entry to the Master of Sustainability through an internal “upgrade”.

A very limited number of Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) may be available to domestic applicants for this course from year to year. All domestic applicants who are successful for admission into this course are automatically ranked and assessed for CSP by the Faculty of Science on the basis of academic merit. No additional application to the Faculty is required. Only top-ranked applicants will be granted CSP, subject to yearly availability. Late applicants will not be considered for CSP.

The academic requirements that are displayed are applicable to currently available courses only, and are updated annually in October and may be changed without notice. The Faculty Handbook and the University of Sydney Calendar are the official legal source of information relating to study at the University of Sydney, and you are referred to those documents.

How to apply

Domestic students

How to apply

Apply online by clicking 'Apply Now' on the right hand side of this page. Keep in mind that you may need to supply supporting documentation and this will be outlined in the online application form. You may need to scan, upload and attach supporting documentation to your application. You can also save your application and finish completing it at a later date. You may wish to find out more about how to apply by reading the information about applying for a postgraduate coursework program (domestic students) on the Faculty of Science website. Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty of Science.

Commencing semesters and application closing dates are shown in the Essentials pane on the right hand side of this page.

International students

How to apply

Overseas applicants may apply (i) directly to the University by using the online application form, or (ii) through a University overseas representative (education agent). Apply online by clicking 'Apply Now' on the right hand side of this page. Keep in mind that you may need to supply supporting documentation and this will be outlined in the online application form. You may need to scan, upload and attach supporting documentation to your application. You can also save your application and finish completing it at a later date. You may wish to find out more about how to apply by reading the information about applying for a postgraduate coursework program (international students) on the Faculty of Science website. Applications are made directly to the University and assessed by the Faculty of Science.

Commencing semesters and application closing dates are shown in the Essentials pane on the right hand side of this page.

Important Fee Information

Domestic students

Indicative Postgraduate Student Contribution Amount

The student contribution amount for a Commonwealth Supported Place is an indication only of the 2017 amount payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). The exact student contribution that you pay will depend on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and the specific units of study in which you ultimately enrol.

For further information about how to calculate your specific total student contribution, please refer to the University's Tuition Fees website.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, student contribution amounts are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study (subject to a Commonwealth specified cap), effective at the start of each calendar year.

Indicative Postgraduate Domestic Tuition Fee

The tuition fee for a domestic postgraduate student is an indication only of the 2017 fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review by the University, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental costs

For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the student contribution and/or course fee. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from your faculty.

Credit card surcharge

Please note that a surcharge of 0.8% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

International students

Indicative International Tuition Fees for Postgraduate Students

The tuition fee for international postgraduate students is an indication only of the 2017 fees payable in Year 1 for a standard full time load of 48 credit points (1.0 EFTSL). Depending on the calendar year in which you undertake your study, and if your study load is more or less than the 1.0 EFTSL, your tuition fee will differ from the indicative amount.

Annual review and fee increases

Importantly, tuition fees are subject to annual review, and will increase each year of your period of study, effective at the start of each calendar year.

Additional incidental fees and health insurance

For some courses there are incidental costs additional to the tuition fees. Some of these incidental costs are significant, for example, faculty-specific materials, tools, protected clothing, and equipment. Further information about these costs is available from your faculty.

In addition to the fees indicated here for the course of study, International Students studying on an Australian Student Visa must have appropriate health insurance for the duration of their studies on a Student Visa through an approved provider of the Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) scheme. This is a requirement of the Australian Government, unless otherwise exempted by the Government.

Credit card surcharge

Please note that a surcharge of 0.8% will apply for payments made by Visa or MasterCard. The surcharge is subject to review and may change. Information about payment methods and the surcharge is set out at: http://sydney.edu.au/study/finances-fees-costs/fees-and-loans/paying-your-fees.html.

Potential for inaccuracy

Whilst every reasonable effort has been made to include correct and up to date information here, you are also advised to consult directly with the Student Centre so that they can provide you with specific and up to date information about fees.

Student profiles