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Master of Sustainability alumnus discusses his career path – James Endean.

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    We're ranked 19th globally for life sciences by the 2022 QS University Rankings by Subject.

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    Our graduates are ranked 1st in Australia and 4th globally for employability by the 2022 QS Graduate Employability Rankings.


In response to COVID-19, the University of Sydney has reviewed the availability of courses to be delivered remotely. 

This course will be available for students to study remotely during 2022 if they are unable to undertake face-to-face study. Please note that some units of study that are not essential to completing the degree may not be available to be studied remotely. For the latest updates on course availability, visit the COVID-19 information page.

About this course

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.

Commonwealth Supported Places

Commonwealth Supported Places (CSP) are available for this course for eligible domestic students.  This means that your course fees are subsidised by the Australian Government and you pay a student contribution amount (SCA). CSP places are limited in number and are allocated based on academic merit.

Subject areas
Shared pool

Entry, fees, funding & how to apply

Depends on your qualification, citizenship status
The details on this page based on your selections are a guide only, and are subject to change.

Your entry requirements

English language proficiency

Find out if you need to prove English language proficiency (depends on your country of origin and educational background).

For academic requirements check the ‘Admission requirements’ section on this page.

Your fee

How to apply

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Applying for a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)

There is no separate application required to apply for a CSP. Once you apply for admission, if you are successful in securing a CSP, you will receive notification via an offer of admission.

A Commonwealth supported place (CSP) is not guaranteed as there are a limited number of CSPs available for postgraduate courses. The number of available CSPs for a course can change each semester/year.  CSPs are also not automatically awarded for course transfers and upgrades.

CSPs are awarded for the duration of a course based on academic merit determined by the University and eligibility criteria specified by the Australian Government. Learn more about CSPs. If you do not qualify for a CSP you may be offered a domestic fee-paying place.

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 31 January of the commencing year
Semester 2 - 15 July of the commencing year

Late applications may be considered subject to availability of places. We strongly encourage applicants to apply as early as possible, offers are made on a rolling basis and places are limited. Separate scholarship deadlines apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

You can apply online via the application portal. When you are ready to apply, select the ‘Apply’ button on this course page. Visit the How to apply page for other important information. 

Standard closing dates:

Semester 1 - 15 January of the commencing year
Semester 2 - 25 June of the commencing year

We strongly encourage international applicants to apply as early as possible to allow time for visa and travel arrangements. Separate scholarship deadlines may apply - check the scholarships website for details.

Starting date

Semester 1 (February) and Semester 2 (August)

What you'll study

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.

Semester 1 Semester 2
Year 1
Introduction to Sustainability Food and Water Security
Energy and Resources Sustainability Development and Population Health
Sustainability: Business and Leadership Law, Policy and Sustainability
Elective Elective
Year 2
Research project  


Example study plans and example units

The list of possible elective units is broad, allowing you to choose from a range of disciplines. Check the Faculty of Science Handbook for a list of current electives.

To provide some guidance, example study plans have been developed. These are intended to illustrate how some students may structure their degree around a particular area of interest, however this is not associated with a specific major or stream. for those students interested in more disparate subjects, it is just as acceptable to choose electives from completely different disciplines or focus areas.

Example study plans include:

Note that the example study plans are not exhaustive; they are intended to be a guide only.

Units of Study

Capstone (compulsory project)

The capstone research project provides an opportunity for you 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.

It is intended that students propose a research enquiry (possibly based on their employment). Candidates work in a team to research current sustainability problems in collaboration with workplaces (including the candidate's current employer, if applicable), aiming to deliver sustainable solutions to real problems.

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.

The project should be multidisciplinary–covering at least 2 aspects of sustainability (Energy, Health, Development, Environment etc.) 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 capstone research project will involve an amount of time and effort consistent with the commitment of credit points allocated (12 or 24 credit points).

Admission requirement

For admission to this course, you should have a Bachelor degree from any discipline with a credit average. A credit average means a minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) 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. 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.

Hear from graduate Matthew Kolisnyk

Hear from graduate Rodrigo Martinez Ramirez

For academic enquiries regarding the Sydney Sustainability Program, please contact the Program Coordinators.

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Career Pathways

Graduates will be equipped to engage in developing  and implementing solutions to the complex question  of how to deliver acceptable lifestyles for all without  compromising the fate of future generations. The  capstone project provides you with experience  working on a real sustainability issue, and the generalist nature of the program allows you to plan study that aligns with your professional aspirations  and career goals.

Domestic students

International students

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.