Economics for Sustainability – Master of Sustainable Development Goals

Gain the knowledge, skills, and tools to enable a shift towards sustainable development from the perspective of environmental sustainability, good governance, and institutions.

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 on-line outside New Zealand

Specialise in Economics for Sustainability for your Master of Sustainable Development Goals at Massey

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Economics for Sustainability) focuses on the theory and practice of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This programme addresses the most pressing imperative facing humanity and the planet: sustainability.

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

All students 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.

Economics plays an essential role in the understanding and analysis of the allocation of scarce resources and provides a framework for thinking about how economic activity and technology are inextricably linked with social and environmental development. From a practical perspective, economic analysis today dominates policy discourse in both government and private sectors. This is an interdisciplinary subject that welcomes students with both economic and non-economic backgrounds.

Real-world research

The final 60-credit component of your degree is a research practicum. You’ll identify an organisation or agency with which to work towards policies or practices guided by the SDG framework for peace and security. You’ll then conduct research on, and analyse the peace and security work undertaken by that organisation.

A Master of Sustainable Development Goals in Economics for Sustainability is a good fit if you:

  • Want to understand alternative economics within the context of sustainability and wellbeing
  • Are looking to improve your skills in applying sustainability principles and practices
  • Are interested in working within sustainable, inclusive economics


Planning information

The Master of Sustainable Development Goals (Economics for Sustainability) 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.

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.

Part One Subject courses

Choose 60 credits from
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
Course code: 178740 Global Food Markets and Trade 15 credits

An economic analysis of the global food markets with emphasis on international trade, agri-food policies, and on the industrial organisation of the contemporary food sector.

Restrictions: 178757

View full course details
Course code: 178742 Environmental Economics for Non-Economists 15 credits

Economic analysis of policy management issues in the use of natural resources and the environment. Concepts and principles will be discussed and applied to issues such as fisheries, land, water and climate change.

Restrictions: 178360 and 178762

View full course details
Course code: 178755 Economic Growth, International and Development Economics 30 credits

A critical assessment of topics from economic growth, international economics and the nature and measurement of development. There is an emphasis on the empirical and policy implications of development strategies including the relationship between managing development, role of the State, international economy, globalisation, trade theory and policy, global crises, and macroeconomic policy.

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 research 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 (Economics for Sustainability) 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.


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.

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 a strong demand in the global marketplace for workers with the skills to translate, implement, monitor and report on the SDGs. Specifically, the increasing recognition of the challenges faced by current economics has created a vast need for graduates with the skills and knowledge associated with sustainability or ecologically oriented economics.

Employers are increasingly recognising the importance of employees who possess analytical skills and the ability to translate conceptual and normative underpinnings on SDG into concrete and empirically-supported policy recommendations within fields such as:

  • Climate finance
  • Wellbeing economics
  • Ecological economics
  • Treasury and the public sector
  • Private economic institutions

Accreditations and rankings

QS Ranking - Development Studies

Massey is ranked in the world's top 50 universities for development studies in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University 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

Related study options