Climate Action – Master of Sustainable Development Goals

Equips you with the skills and knowledge required to work within the field of climate change mitigation and adaptation.

Where you can study

Distance and online
Manawatū campus (Palmerston North)

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 online outside New Zealand

Specialise in Climate Action for your Master of Sustainable Development Goals at Massey

It is widely recognised that climate change is the most pressing environmental issue facing humanity. There is an urgent need for graduates who can lead future climate change solutions in all sectors of society. In this qualification you'll study indigenous, natural and social science approaches to climate action and their interaction with policy, governance and both international and local responses. The specialisation will equip you to critically understand and apply tools and approaches associated with climate finance, reporting, mitigation, and adaptation..

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Climate Action) focuses on the theory and practice of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with specific focus on Climate Action. It is widely recognised that climate change is the most pressing environmental issue facing humanity. There is an urgent need for graduates who can lead future climate change solutions in all sectors of society, calling for multidisciplinary solutions that transcend usual silos and boundaries associated with academic study and of science and decision making. There is an urgent need, both nationally and internationally, to understand the nature and consequences of climate change and to provide education and training accordingly.

What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (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. While SDG 13 focuses specifically on Climate Action, all of the 17 SDGs are interconnected with the challenges of climate change.

Follow your interests

You will take two core courses in sustainable development. The first will introduce you to the theories of sustainable development and the SDGs. The second course focuses on multi-disciplinary frameworks. The courses will also focus on how to measure progress against the SDGs, as well as alternative and indigenous paradigms, knowledge and practice in the field of sustainability.

Worldwide, universities are increasingly recognising their responsibility to prepare students and society to actively contribute to the mitigation of and adaptation to climate change. This is an interdisciplinary subject that welcomes all students, irrespective of background.

Real-world experience

The final 60-credit component of your degree is a student practicum. Students complete 320 hours in a relevant organisation or agency which works towards policies or practices guided by the SDG framework for Climate Action. During your practicum, you will critically analyse how this work can be understood in relation to current literature on the SDGs and sustainable development.

A Master of Sustainable Development Goals in Climate Action is a good fit if you:

  • Want to understand indigenous, natural, and social science approaches to climate change
  • Are looking to up-skill in the field of climate finance, reporting, mitigation and adaptation
  • Are interested in exploring climate change issues, strategies and responses.

Planning information

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Climate Action) 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 student practicum.

For progression from Part One to Part Two, you must achieve a Grade Average of at least a B over the 120 credits of the Part One courses.

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

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.

Courses you can enrol in

Course planning key

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.
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
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.

Core courses for the Master of Sustainable Development Goals

As well as the specialisation courses listed below, this qualification has core courses that you will need to complete.

Master of Sustainable Development Goals core courses

Climate Action courses

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 131720 Climate Change and Sustainability 30 credits

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an advanced understanding of the climate change crisis based on the idea of critical hope, drawing from indigenous, natural, and social science theories, knowledges and frameworks. Students will critically engage and reflect on the ways in which the Sustainable Development Goals represent and attempt to mitigate Climate Change. In particular, this course explores the effects of climate change on Māori and Pacific peoples, and using real-world examples examines how indigenous knowledges, approaches and practices are shaping responses in these communities.

View full course details
Course code: 131721 Global and Local Responses to Climate Change 30 credits

The purpose of this course is to engage students in critical explorations of climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience. In particular, we will examine the complex relationship between global worldviews, state-led or professional practices and, on the other hand, local or Indigenous worldviews and community-based or alternative livelihood practices responding to climate change. Drawing from a critical hope perspective, students will determine effective policy and practice responses to climate change in specific contexts. The course also investigates global and local climate change funding mechanisms, with specific focus on Aotearoa and the Pacific.

View full course details
Course code: 178719 Climate Change Economics and Policy 30 credits

An analysis of the economics of climate change and evaluation of the mitigation options used by policy makers globally.

View full course details

Part Two

Choose 60 credits from
Course code: 131810 Sustainable Development Goals Practicum 60 credits

Advanced study in the application of the Sustainable Development Goals, involving 320 hours of professional work in an approved agency. As an integral part of the course, students will critically analyse how this work can be understood in relation to current literature on the SDGs and sustainable development.

Prerequisites: 131704, 131709

View full course details

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 (Climate Action) 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 copies of all official 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.

English language skills

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

Scholarship and award opportunities

Search our scholarships and awards

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.

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