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Unit of study_

SUST5007: Research Project A

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Remote

Students either alone or in teams of 2-4 members propose a research enquiry (possibly based on their employment). If students are working as a team then each student must present and report on a discrete aspect of the project, while also showing how each part builds towards the whole. The project is multidisciplinary and should cover at least 2 sustainability theme areas (energy and resources, food and water, health and populations, policy, society and change, business, and sustainability analysis) and be approved by the Unit Coordinator. Students must also demonstrate an understanding of sustainable systems by considering the social, environmental, and economic consequences of their project. The Unit Coordinator will appoint an academic advisor for each student or group. Students will keep a diary/log of their activities, to be submitted for assessment at the end of semester.

Unit details and rules

Unit code SUST5007
Academic unit Science Faculty
Credit points 24
SUST5008 or SUST5009
Any 36 credit points of the following: SUST5001 or SUST5002 or SUST5003 or SUST5004 or SUST5005 or SUST5006 or PHYS5031
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Margaret Murray,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Capstone proposal
Written proposal
0% Week 01
Due date: 13 Aug 2021 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4 LO7
Presentation Research topic and plan of enquiry
Oral presentation 1 - Thursday 5 pm and Friday 12 pm
15% Week 03
Due date: 26 Aug 2021 at 23:59
15 minutes + 5 minutes questions
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Assignment Research topic and plan of enquiry
Written report 1
15% Week 03
Due date: 27 Aug 2021 at 23:59
1000 words max
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Presentation Progress report
Oral presentation 2 - Monday 5 pm and Tuesday 12 pm
15% Week 08
Due date: 07 Oct 2021 at 23:59
20 minutes + 5 minutes questions
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO6 LO3
Presentation Outcome of enquiry
Oral presentation 3 - Thursday 5 pm and Friday 12:30 pm
20% Week 12
Due date: 04 Nov 2021 at 23:59
20 minutes + 5 minutes questions
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO3 LO2
Assignment Outcome of enquiry
Written report 2
20% Week 13
Due date: 12 Nov 2021 at 23:59
1500 words max
Outcomes assessed: LO7
Assignment Reflection of process and impact of project
Written report 3
10% Week 13
Due date: 12 Nov 2021 at 23:59
1000 words max
Outcomes assessed: LO5
Assignment Log of activities
Student diary
5% Week 13
Due date: 12 Nov 2021 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1

Assessment summary

Below are brief assessment details. Further information can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

  • First oral presentation: this is your research plan
  • First written report: will describe the research enquiry topic and the plan of enquiry. This report will be based on your approved proposal
  • Second oral presentation: is a progress report
  • Third oral presentation: tells about your outcomes and deliverables
  • Second written report: tells of the outcome of the enquiry including a description of the deliverable during week 13 of the semester
  • Third written report: will be a report reflecting on the process, the involvement of the student and the impact of the project. The content of the second and third written reports are combined into one document with headings to indicate which is the ‘report on outcomes’ and which is the ‘reflection’ (word counts as above; note that the word count does not include the reference list).
  • Student diary: is in hard copy or electronic form, it should be used to make a record of readings, discussions, ideas and taken with you to all meetings to record discussions and any decisions made with your workplace mentor and academic advisor.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Displays professionalism (LO7) & inspires confidence through depth and breadth of knowledge (LO1,2); Clearly describes the output (deliverable) (LO6,1,3,4); shows comprehensive and critical understanding of the environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project for the workplace and society (LO1,2,7); situates the study within the literature and points to possibility for further research (LO5,1); critically reflects on the project in the workplace and academic context (LO5); demonstrates deep understanding of sustainability and learning and the implications for their own future development and the workplace (LO5,2). See assessment criteria on canvas website, particularly “What makes the difference between a Pass and a Credit, a Distinction and a Higher Distinction”


75 - 84

Displays professionalism & inspires confidence through knowledge (LO1,2); clearly describes the output (deliverable) (LO6,1,3,4); shows comprehensive understanding of the environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project for the workplace (LO1,2,7); shows how the project contributes to the body of knowledge (LO5,1); critically reflects on the project LO5); demonstrates broad understanding of sustainability and learning (LO5,2)


65 - 74

Displays most elements of professionalism; describes the output (deliverable); has an understanding of the environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project for the workplace; shows how the project contributes to the body of knowledge; reflects on the project and demonstrates a good understanding of sustainability and learning


50 - 64

Displays some elements of professionalism; description of output (deliverable) not fully clear; can identify some environmental, social and economic outcomes; can identify some related literature but contribution unclear; reflects on the project and shows some growth in understanding sustainability and learning


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to the Capstone Seminar (2 hr) LO1 LO4
Week 03 Research topic and plan of enquiry. Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6
Week 08 Progress report Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7
Week 12 Outcome of enquiry Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

Learning commitment: The student is expected to meet with the academic advisor at least once before commencing the project (up to one hour). The student is also expected to keep in touch with the academic advisor throughout the semester by email, telephone and face-to-face meetings (approximately seven hours). Contact must be made at least once before each presentation.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 24 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 480-600 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

There are no set texts for the capstone research project

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Discuss the integrated and holistic nature of environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • LO2. Apply your knowledge and skills to a real-life sustainability issue to solve a problem to your own and the workplace’s satisfaction
  • LO3. Work independently and with others
  • LO4. Recognise when you need help and know how to ask for and find it
  • LO5. Reflect on your learning and use your reflection for intellectual and creative growth
  • LO6. Present your work to diverse audiences
  • LO7. Demonstrate professionalism in a workplace (e.g. respect, listen to and support others in the workplace; be reliable; seek help when needed; deliver polished work; deliver on time)

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

Please check the Canvas site for this unit for information about the ‘deliverable’ for the workplace. In particular look at the Letter to Capstone Students in the Forms section

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • A laboratory coat and closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual and posted in laboratories 
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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