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The Master of Environment and Sustainability

Create the future you want to live in.

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Your experience is just the beginning

You’re passionate about changing the world for the better. You want to make your mark in sustainability. And you know the pressing challenges we face locally and globally can’t be solved on your own. You’ve come to the right place.
We’ve developed a Master degree that will build on your passion and teach you how to cross boundaries and develop interdisciplinary solutions. So that you can help us create a more sustainable and equitable world.



The experience you bring to this is just the beginning. In the first part of the course, you’ll gain an interdisciplinary foundation that allows you to analyse the interdependence of nature, society and the economy. You’ll then specialise in an emerging field by choosing one of five different specialisations. Then you’ll apply your specialist and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills in the field through internships, industry-linked interdisciplinary or sustainability projects, or a pure research thesis.

Read more about this forward-thinking course in the Monash Handbook.

Course structure

This 96 credit point (2 years FT, 4 years PT) course is structured in four parts.

Part A provides a broad and interdisciplinary foundation, so you can communicate and collaborate across disciplines. Part B prepares you for your specialisation. Part C allows you to develop knowledge and skills in a specialisation of your choice.

In Part D, you’ll gain experience and apply both your specialist and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills with internships in the field, industry-linked interdisciplinary or sustainability projects, or a pure research thesis.

Start in semester 1 or 2 and study full or part-time. Depending upon prior qualifications, you may choose to apply for and receive credit for Part B or D (1.5 or 1 year FT).

For entry requirements, or to apply now, see Study.Monash.

  • Part A

    Environment and sustainability core studies (24 points)

    In these studies you will develop an understanding of the interactions and interdependence between nature, society and the economy, and the basic principles of sustainability (social, economic and environmental).

    Students complete:

    • ENS5010 Global challenges and sustainability (12 points)
    • ENS5020 Perspectives on sustainability (12 points)

  • Part B and Part C

    Specialisation preparatory studies (24 points) and Specialist studies (24 points)

    Preparatory studies will introduce you to advanced graduate studies in your specialisation. They are intended for students whose previous qualification (or experience) is not in a academically acknowledged field to the chosen specialisation. Part C studies enable you to develop expertise in one specialist area of environment and sustainability. Students complete preparatory studies and specialist studies for one of the following specialisations:

    • Corporate environmental and sustainability management
    • Environment and governance
    • Environmental security
    • International development and environment
    • Leadership for sustainable development

  • Part D

    Advanced practice (24 points)

    In this part you will undertake professional or scholarly work that will contribute to a portfolio of professional development in your area of specialisation.

    Students complete either a. OR b. and c. below:

    Research pathway

    a. One research project unit from the following (24 points):

    • ENS5900 Research project in environment and sustainability (24 points)
    • ENS5901 Research project in environment and sustainability Part A (12 points) and ENS5902 Part B (12 points) Note: This option allows you to undertake your  project  over two semesters.

    Coursework and project/internship

    b. One unit from (12 points):

    • ENS5910 Interdisciplinary project for sustainable development solutions (12 points)
    • ENS5920 Environment and sustainability project (12 points)
    • ENS5930 Sustainability internship (12 points)

    And c. 12 points of units chosen from the list of electives listed for the relevant specialisation

Specialisations

  • Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Management

    In this specialisation you will examine corporate sustainability challenges and opportunities in social, economic and environmental domains. You will develop the core competency of corporate management for sustainable and accountable development from the perspectives of governance, ethics, marketing  and  management.  This  specialisation  is  designed to meet the growing need for skilled professionals who have competencies in both business and environmental/sustainability management and who understand the nexus between the two.

    Students complete:

    • APG5433 Corporate sustainability management
    • APG5434 Sustainability measurement
    • BTF5910 Sustainability regulation

    For further details see the specialisation handbook entry or contact the specialisation coordinator Wendy Stubbs.

  • Environment and Governance

    In this specialisation you will examine the role, structure and processes of government, market and civil society in relation to the environment and sustainability agenda. You will examine social and institutional frameworks for environmental governance and the tools for environmental analysis and decision making within the context of different doctrines of development. The specialisation will equip you with the knowledge and skills needed to critically analyse problems of environmental governance and sustainability to enable societal and governmental change.

    Students complete:

    • APG5230 Ecosystems and environmental management
    • APG5426 Environmental analysis
    • APG5428 Environmental governance and citizenship

    For further details see the specialisation handbook entry or contact the specialisation coordinator Wendy Stubbs.

  • Environmental Security

    In this specialisation you will examine the threats posed to society by different forms of environmental change, such as climate change and resource depletion, and the responses needed to ensure sustainability for life support. You will draw on relevant global policy to understand the scientific evidence base required for effective environmental security policy and management across all levels of government and society. The specialisation is designed to equip you with professional skills and with the knowledge and skills to help society mitigate and adapt to global environmental change, so securing a sustainable future.

    Students complete:

    • ENS5310 Securing biodiversity & ecosystems
    • ENS5320 Climate change, energy & human security
    • ENS5330 Water security& environmental pollution

    For further details see the specialisation handbook entry or contact the specialisation coordinator Susie Ho.

  • International Development and Environment

    This specialisation will introduce you to comparative perspectives on the theory and practice of international development, and frameworks for understanding the environmental impacts of development and for working towards sustainability. You will gain rigorous theoretical and practical training in analysis of international development practices and programs. The specialisation recognises that international development is a dynamic and changing sector, and will equip you with knowledge and skills to work in the sustainability and community development sector in Australia and internationally.

    Students complete:

    • APG5627 Research in political ecology
    • APG5628 Doctrines of development (12 points)

    For further details see the specialisation handbook entry or contact the specialisation coordinator Wendy Stubbs.

  • Leadership for Sustainable Development

    This specialisation will enable you to develop your capacity to lead change and implement sustainability solutions in a range of contexts, reflecting different organisational settings (community, business, government and non-government), geographic scales (local to global) and problem domains (environmental, social and economic). The specialisation is designed to equip you with professional skills and with the capacity to analyse complex systems, identify effective intervention points and collaboratively design processes of influence to achieve more sustainable outcomes.

    Students complete:

    • ENS5510 Processes to influence change
    • ENS5520 Understanding human behaviour to influence change
    • ENS5530 Leading change for sustainable development

    For further details see the specialisation handbook entryor contact the specialisation coordinator Annette Bos.

Who you'll be working with

    • Who we are

      When you choose Monash, you aren't just choosing Monash.

      You'll also become part of a culture dedicated to working on the planet's biggest challenges. From biosecurity to global economic development, we're working on it. You'll also benefit from a truly multidisciplinary course that harnesses the expertise of Monash Arts, Science, School of Business and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute (MSDI).

      MSDI hosts the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the Australia/Pacific region, and our chair, Professor John Thwaites, is one of the network's regional leaders.The network's job is to support the implementation of the UN's global Sustainable Development Goals.

    • Annette Bos

      “Achieving the global commitments of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement requires leadership. We need people who are prepared to lead the way, who want to innovate, and are able to shape the conditions needed for positive change. We bring together individuals from diverse disciplines to generate new solutions and develop their leadership abilities for exerting influence and effecting change for sustainable development. This Masters prepares you for a job in a changing, complex world and creates a new generation of interdisciplinary professionals who are able to drive pathways for securing equitable outcomes for people and planet”.

      - Dr Annette Bos
      Senior Lecturer, Manager of Sustainable Development Education (MSDI) and specialisation coordinator for Leadership for Sustainable Development

    • Melodie McGeoch

      “Environmental management is as much about politics as it is about science. And it is as much about human wellbeing as it is about science and politics. People all over the world are suffering severely as a direct consequence of environmental degradation.

      But you can cure pessimism. Get involved.

      Get your feet dirty.

      Get your hands dirty.

      Because when you do, you realise that there is an enormous lobby of passionate people out there making a difference in a lot of ways.”

      - Associate Professor Melodie A McGeoch
      School of Biological Sciences and Course Director

    • Susie Ho

      “In this course, you’ll become part of a community of like-minded people, passionate about creating sustainable solutions. Our students and researchers bring different disciplinary and professional backgrounds to the table. We see this as a strength. Complex global problems require interdisciplinary  collaboration. In order to turn your passion into action, you’ll need to understand the different ‘languages’ of scientists, policy-makers, economists, and more. This course will develop your capacity to effectively translate and integrate your niche expertise across disciplines, sectors  and national borders. Get involved.”

      - Dr Susie Ho
      Lecturer, Course Coordinator, and specialisation coordinator for Environmental Security

    • Wendy Stubbs

      "I was a corporate executive in IT and telecommunications when I started to question the ‘business-as-usual’ approach. I wanted to work out how business could better address its environmental, social and economic responsibilities. That's why I became an academic I used my PhD to develop  a model that integrates sustainability into an organisation's core business model.

      Sustainable business models envisage organisations as part of a circular economy that mimics nature's processes. Waste streams become inputs to other processes or other organisations. And businesses that pursue a social purpose, such as B Corps. It's the future."

      - Associate Professor Wendy Stubbs
      Associate Professor and specialisation coordinator for Corporate Environmental and Sustainability Management, Environment and Governance, and International Development and Environment

    More reasons to choose this course

      • Career pathways 

        Feel free to dream big. In the last decade or two, the sustainability job market has been rising rapidly.

        This master’s degree will set you up for many meaningful roles. Graduates of this course’s precursor have found jobs in business, in all sectors of government (including quasi-governmental agencies like the Environment Protection Authority), in national and international NGOs, at universities, research centres and think  tanks,  and in consulting.

        Obviously, your specific options depend on your specialisation. Choose ‘environment and governance’, and you could implement sustainability strategies, programs or initiatives, analyse environments and develop policy, or advance public  education  and advocacy projects.

        If you’re considering the ‘corporate environmental and sustainability management’ specialisation, note that there is a growing demand for sustainability leaders in business. In the US, corporations from General Motors to Google  have  created chief sustainability officer positions in the last couple of years. In Australia, the big four banks are now ranked in the 2016 Global 100 index – the top 100 most sustainable businesses in the world.

        ‘Environmental security’ directly addresses  the  challenges of global environmental security – energy shortages, loss of biodiversity, extreme temperatures, emerging infectious diseases and food and water insecurity. You’ll graduate with science literacy skills to manage and create policy around using sustainable resources and protecting  the  environment. The specialisation is ideal if you want to work either nationally or internationally with those organisations who are working to ensure life on earth has a future.

        Developing nations need a new generation of experts. Our ‘international development and environment’ specialisation will allow you to unpack issues of poverty, disadvantage and environmental change, and equip you to take on leadership roles in organisations that are building human rights, social equity and sustainable development.

        The 'Leadership for sustainable development' specialisation, unique in Australia, gives you the skills to influence, persuade, plan and lead transformative change. You'll work more effectively across teams, disciplines and sectors. You'll identify new opportunities and map strategic pathways toward ambitious, innovative projects. Whether you're embedded in a large organisation, small business or creating entrepreneurial projects yourself, this specialisation helps you to create a bigger impact.

      • Design your degree

        Change careers, or move forward in your field.

        You won’t waste your previous experience – instead, you’ll build on what you already know and develop a strong platform for the next stage in your career. We’ll also give you credit for relevant qualifications. Credit shortens your course – and, consequently, lowers your  fees.

        Our course guide explains all this in detail.

      • Flexible study

        We’re looking for passionate people.

        You may be straight out of your undergraduate degree, or you may already be working. Whatever your situation, we want to make graduate study easy.

        There are two entry points during the year, so you can choose which will work best for you. You can study full or part-time (full-time only for international students), with many resources available online or after work hours. When you do come to our Clayton campus, you can take advantage  of  our  Graduate Student Hub, with access from 7am to midnight, where you can study solo or as a team. There are many ways we support our graduate students - see the FAQ for more details.

      Next steps

      View the entry requirements

      Learn about the course requirements and units (Handbook)

      Apply now (online application)

      “We are the first generation that can end global poverty. We are the last generation that can address climate change before it is too late.”

      - Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations

      FAQs

      We know you’ve got questions. That’s good. The people we’re looking for ask lots of questions.

      You can find out more about this course by exploring its entry on study.monash.

      Q1. I don’t know a lot about science. Is that going to be a problem?

      A. Absolutely not. The point of this course is to attract a mix of expertise. Through your compulsory units, you’ll gain a deep understanding of the trends, issues and, yes, the science underlying sustainable  development.
      Read more