Master of Sustainable Development Goals – MSDG

Massey’s Master of Sustainable Development Goals will give you an advanced grounding in the theory, practice, and application of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Type of qualification

Master's degree

Level of study

Postgraduate study

Once you’ve graduated with a bachelor’s degree – or have equal experience – you can study at the postgraduate level. Doctoral qualifications require additional entry requirements.

NZQF level 9

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

2 year(s) full-time (180 credits)
Up to 5 years part-time
Part-time available

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand, or studying on-line out

Study a Master of Sustainable Development Goals – MSDG

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals focuses on the theory and practice of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme addresses the most pressing imperative facing humanity and the planet: sustainability. This degree is unique in Australasia.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The SDGs are the UN’s ambitious macro-level plan for humankind’s development and sustainability. The goals address global challenges including those related to poverty and inequality, climate and environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.

Follow your interests

You’ll take two core courses in sustainable development. The first will introduce you to theories of sustainable development and the SDGs. The second will focus on multi-disciplinary frameworks. You’ll learn how to measure progress against the SDGs and the paradigms of indigenous knowledge and practice.

Specialisations

Each specialisation has contemporary relevance to local, national, regional and global wellbeing. These practical taught courses focus on you as a practitioner, working in an area related to sustainable development.

Real-world research

The final component of your degree is a research practicum. You’ll identify an organisation with which to work towards policies or practices guided by the SDG framework in your subject area. You’ll then conduct research on, and analyse the sustainable development work, undertaken by that organisation.

A MSDG is a good fit if you:

  • want to address contemporary problems facing both people and the planet
  • seek skills in applying sustainable development within an organisation
  • are interested in alternatives to the dominant Western paradigm.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

To enter the Master of Sustainable Development Goals you will have been awarded or qualified for a bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) with a grade average of at least B in the highest level courses.

You will need to provide verified copies of all academic transcripts for studies taken at all universities other than Massey University.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Maximum time limits for completion

There are maximum time limits to complete postgraduate qualifications.  If you do not complete within the maximum time, you may be required to re-apply for the qualification if you wish to continue your studies.

Time limits for Honours, Distinction and Merit

Where your qualification is completed within the stated time limit and to a high standard, you may be able to graduate with a class of Honours, Distinction or Merit. 

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Master of Sustainable Development Goals

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals is a parts-based qualification. That means you must complete the first part, before moving to the second.

Part One is coursework and Part Two is a research practicum.

At least a B grade average is required in the first 60 credits of courses completed in Part One for progression to Part Two.

If you study full-time, you’ll take 120 credits per year or 60 credits per semester.

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Courses
Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Credits
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Specialisations
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

180 credits

  • Schedule A Part One compulsory courses – 60 credits
  • Schedule B Part One subject courses – 60 credits
  • Schedule B Part Two practicum inquiry – 60 credits

This is a parts-based qualification. This means there are regulations around your completion of Part One before progressing to Part Two, etc.

Course planning key

Prerequisites
Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Schedule A: Part One Core courses (Choose 60 credits from)

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 131704 Sustainable Development 30 credits

A course concerned with the concept of sustainable development in all its dimensions (economic, social and environmental), focused on the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Conceptual lenses, including Indigenous understandings of sustainability and the sustainable livelihoods framework, are also discussed.

View full course details
Course code: 131709 Sustainable Development Goals in Practice 30 credits

This course provides advanced study in the practice of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on the application of the SDGs to real-world circumstances. Students will be exposed to diverse approaches, frameworks, and tools for measuring and integrating sustainability in policy making and practice.

View full course details

Schedule B: Subjects

Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Completing a subject is compulsory. A subject in the Master of Sustainable Development Goals requires 120 credits including an 800-level practicum inquiry course of 60 credits and any compulsory courses.

Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

There is strong demand in the global marketplace for workers with the skills to translate, implement, monitor and report on the SDGs.

The SDGs are already facing challenges. How are the goals’ macro-level aspirations, collected through multiple rounds of global consultation, translated into everyday community settings such as:

  • the health sector
  • education
  • the workplace.

Employees with these skills are in demand in both public and private organisations.

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Business and Management

Massey University is ranked by QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) as one of the top 300 universities for business and management.

Learn more