Master of Education, majoring in Sustainability

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

James Cook University (JCU) is committed to meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and our postgraduate Education program is reflective of this commitment. With sustainability being at the front of mind of educators, governments, businesses and the public worldwide, JCU's Master of Education majoring in Sustainability offers you the opportunity to gain qualifications that can place you at the forefront of sustainability education, communication, leadership and change.

This program major applies a transformative adult pedagogy to enable you to develop your capacity to communicate, educate and innovate sustainability across education systems, and in community government, corporate and not-for-profit settings worldwide.

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

Career opportunities

JCU's Master of Education majoring in Sustainability will give you expertise in local, regional, national and international issues of sustainability education and communication, and enhance your capacity to be a knowledge leader for the third decade of the 21st century.

Graduates may be interested in enhancing their employment in the national and international formal education sectors working in relation to the futures-focussed curriculum and pedagogy. Graduates will be able to apply their knowledge and skills to any sector of the economy where there is a demand for sustainability educators and communicators, such as in community and informal education, higher education and training, national resource management, museums and heritage, environmental interpretation, and business enterprises.

Note: This Masters qualification can lead to teacher registration.

Course highlights

By choosing to study your Master of Education majoring in Sustainability at JCU, you'll gain the benefits of JCU's international recognition and the university’s commitment to aligning its operations with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Working with JCU's internationally-recognised experts in the field, you'll study advanced curriculum that's based on well developed principles and practices. Your 1.5 year full time (or part time) Masters degree offers flexible learning options which allow you to stay in your workplace while you study. You'll be able to choose from a variety of study modes, from on campus studies at JCU's Townsville campus, to external/online studies for all core subjects for Australian students. Importantly, if you already have professional experience or relevant previous study, you may receive advanced standing, with up to 18 credit points towards this course.

Course overview

This highly-relevant innovative JCU Master’s degree explores the challenges of learning in the Anthropocene - the current geological age which can be seen as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. You'll build capacity and gain high-level knowledge of:

  • Sustainability education as it relates to the current Australian curriculum and national and international framing documents
  • Advanced communication, problem solving and solution focused skills, with the capacity to convey information to diverse audiences in educational, government and not-for-profit settings
  • The latest developments in education for sustainability research and practice.

Core subjects and options, you'll study include:

  • Educational Leadership
  • Social Learning Perspectives for a Sustainable Future
  • Communicating Sustainability and Climate Change
  • Education for Sustainability
  • Introduction to Educational Research
  • Individual Researched Action Project

You'll also have the opportunity to design, plan and ethically execute a substantial research and/or inquiry-based project applying creativity and initiative and a high level of autonomy and accountability.

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

EV5009:03 Foundations of Natural Resource Management

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

EV5015:03 Sustainability in Practice

EV5020:03 Human Dimensions of Nature, Environment and Conservation

EV5110:03 Environmental and Social Impact Assessment

EV5252:03 Indigenous Environmental Management

EV5606:03 Disasters, Communities and Planning

EV5701:03 Managing Coastal and Marine Environments

LB5203:03 Sustainable Enterprise

Pathway into course

For prerequisites and pathways into this course visit the admission requirements section in the Handbook.


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


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



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




Leadership and Management







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


Not all majors are available




Not all majors are available


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.