Master of Education, majoring in Sustainability

Courses and Study Australian courses Master of Education, majoring in Sustainability

The Sustainability major in the Master of Education develops your skills and knowledge to a high level so that you can communicate and innovate sustainability education programs in formal and informal education.

Townsville, Cairns
Start dates
February, July
1.5 years full-time
Part time available
Study mode
On campus, Off campus

Career opportunities

The Master of Education offers flexible learning options. All students enrolled in the Master of Education study four core (common) subjects and then choose one or two majors.

The Master of Education is a post graduate qualification designed to boost your career prospects and specialise in particular areas of interest. It does not lead to teacher registration.

Studying the Sustainability major enhances your expertise in local, regional, national and international issues of sustainability and stewardship of national resources. You will:

  • Be exposed to issues associated with local ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and World Heritage Areas including the Wet and Dry Tropics
  • Understand the international, national, and relevant state frameworks, statements, policies, curriculum initiatives and resources regarding education for sustainability
  • Discover the roles of local communities in contributing to stewardship
  • Gain an appreciation of our outstanding natural assets within a global context.

Applicants may receive advanced standing (credit for relevant previous study and/or professional experience) of up to 12 credit points towards this course.

Other majors include: Leadership & Management and Global Contexts.

Course highlights

JCU is a signatory to the Talloires Declaration – an international commitment to sustainability in higher education, making us one of 350  universities across 40 countries to commit to a 10-point action plan for incorporating sustainability and environmental literacy in teaching, research, operations and outreach.

We offer courses and subjects that develop knowledge and skills for education for sustainability, based on principles and practice implemented through the United Nation’s Decade of Sustainable Development 2005-2014.

Education subjects cover the challenges of learning in the Anthropocene, the current Australian curriculum and national and international framing documents and ideas as well as communication skills, pedagogies and the latest developments in education for sustainability research and practice.

Course overview

This course is relevant to teachers, trainers, school leaders, administrators, and others seeking to upgrade their sustainability knowledge and expertise.

The sustainability major is a flexible offering, with face-to-face study on campus in Townsville or Cairns, and with one subject available externally (online). This major is not offered in Singapore.

How to apply

Complete an online application through our Online Application Portal.


Major Structure


ED5912:03 Social Learning Perspectives for a Sustainable Future

ED5913:03 Communicating Sustainability and Climate Change


Select 6 credit points of specified level 5 subjects from List 1

List 1

EV5002:03 Environmental Impact Assessment

EV5009:03 Foundations of Natural Resource Management

EV5013:03 Climate Change: The Science, Impacts and Solutions

EV5015:03 Sustainability in Practice

EV5252:03 Indigenous Environmental Management

EV5601:03 Social Impact Assessment: Environmental Management

LB5203:03 Sustainable Enterprise

Pathway into course

Please consult the admission requirements section in the Handbook for prerequisites and pathways into this course.


Master of Education

Course code


Course type

Masters Degree (Coursework) (AQF Level 9)


Tropical Environments and Societies

Award Requirements

Admission Requirements

Course pre-requisites

Completion of:

  • An AQF level 7 Bachelor Degree in a discipline other than education, with a minimum 2 years professional work experience in education; or

  • An AQF level 7 Bachelor Degree in education, or

  • An AQF level 8 Graduate Certificate in education from one of the following JCU courses: Graduate Certificate of Education for Sustainability; Graduate Certificate in Research Methods [Education]; Graduate Certificate in Career Development; Graduate Certificate in Catholic Education; Graduate Certificate in Education (Academic Practice); or

  • An AQF level 8 Graduate Diploma in education, or

  • An AQF level 8 Bachelor Honours Degree in a discipline other than education, with a minimum 2 years experience working as a professional educator in a management, leadership or supervisory position; or

  • An AQF level 8 Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in a discipline other than education, with a minimum 2 years experience working as a professional educator in a management, leadership or supervisory position;or

Other qualifications recognised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies as equivalent to the above.

Minimum English language proficiency requirements

Applicants of non-English speaking backgrounds must meet the English language proficiency requirements of Band 2– Schedule II of the JCU Admissions Policy.

Special admission requirements

Note: this course does not lead to teacher registration.  In exceptional cases applicants may be admitted to the course if they submit other evidence of academic and professional attainments and their candidature is approved by the Division.

Academic Requirements for Course Completion

Credit points

36 credit points as per course structure

Additional course rules

Students can complete the Master of Education by one of two options.

Option 1 – All coursework with a single or double major.

Option 2 – Coursework with single major and minor thesis.

Students wishing to select Option 2 must complete the core subjects and achieve a course GPA of at least 5.5.  Admission to Option 2 is subject to the approval of the College Dean on the recommendation of the Head of Academic Group following successful completion of the core subjects.

Course learning outcomes

On successful completion of the Master of Education, graduates will be able to:

  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge of recent developments, discourses and debates in the field, or a sub-field, of Education and/or area of professional practice

  • Demonstrate knowledge of research or inquiry principles applicable to the field, or a sub-field, of Education and/or area of professional practice

  • Investigate, analyse, synthesise and evaluate complex information, problems, concepts and theories, at an advanced level, and critically reflect on theory in relation to different bodies of knowledge or practice

  • Justify, interpret and present theoretical propositions, methodologies, conclusions and professional decisions to specialist and non-specialist audiences

  • Demonstrate advanced speaking, reading, writing, listening, collaborating and advocacy skills for Educational leadership in a field or sub field of Education

  • Design, plan and ethically execute a substantial research and/or inquiry-based project with creativity and initiative and a high level of autonomy and accountability in the field or a sub-field of Education.

Course Structure


ED5880:03 Educational Leadership

ED5911:03 Education for Sustainability

ED5914:03 Individual Researched Action Project

ED5190:03 Introduction to Educational Research 


Choose one of the following options:

Option 1 – All Coursework


Option 2 – Coursework and Research Project

Option 1

Select a major from Table A


Select a second major from Table A or select 12 credit points of specified ED level 5 subjects from List 1

Option 2


ED5097:03 Research Design and Proposal

ED5098:03 Ethics and Methodology

ED5095:06 Research Dissertation


Select a major from Table A


Type of major

Single or Double


Credit points in major

12 credit points

Special requirements





Global Contexts





Major is available internally across all three campuses.  Some subjects may be available externally

Leadership and Management





Major is available internally across all three campuses




Major is available in internal mode on both campuses

List 1

ED5853:03 Career and Leisure Guidance and Counselling

ED5855:03 Behaviour Management

ED5857:03 Assessment

ED5859:03 Atypical Development

ED5862:03 Foundations of Counselling Theory

ED5863:03 Foundations of Counselling Practice

ED5864:03 Advanced Counselling

ED5881:03 Leading for Change in Curriculum and Pedagogy

ED5882:03 Transformative Digital Learning

ED5883:03 Global Education

ED5912:03 Social Learning Perspectives for a Sustainable Future

ED5913:03 Communicating Sustainability and Climate Change







Not all majors are available in Singapore




Not all majors are available externally


Expected time to complete

1.5 years full-time or equivalent part-time

Maximum time to complete

5 years

Maximum leave of absence

2 years


Course progression requisites


Course includes mandatory professional placement(s)


Special assessment requirements


Accreditation requirements


Maximum allowed Pass Conceded (PC) grade


Supplementary exam for final subject

Not applicable

Advanced Standing


Students may apply for exemption for previous tertiary study where appropriate in accordance with the Advanced Standing and Articulation policy and associated procedures.

Maximum allowed

18 credit points


Advanced standing will be granted only for studies completed in the 10 years prior to the commencement of this course.


Advanced standing gained for any subject shall be cancelled 15 years after the date of the examination upon which the advanced standing is based if, by then, the student has not completed this course.

Other restrictions

The maximum advanced standing that will be granted for previous Education studies at AQF Level 8 and recognised prior learning combined is 12 credit points.

Applicants who have accrued two years of full-time (or equivalent) professional experience may be granted advanced standing up to 12 credit points for non-core subjects except for studies and/or professional experiences undertaken to fulfil the entry requirements for JCU awards.

Award Details

Award title


Approved abbreviation


Inclusion of majors on testamur

Any major will appear on the testamur

Exit with lesser award

Students who exit the course prior to completion, and have completed 12 credit points of study and appropriate subjects, may be eligible to receive the award of Graduate Certificate of Education.

Course articulation

Students who are enrolled in Option 2 and successfully complete the Master of Education and who obtain at least an average of Distinction for the subjects within the major and a minimum GPA of 5.5 overall, may be eligible to apply for entry to the Doctor of Philosophy [Education] or the Doctor of Education [Research].

This website is intended as general guide. Prospective students should contact the university to confirm admission requirements and the availability of courses. James Cook University reserves the right to alter any course or admission requirement without prior notice.