The Center for Global Sustainable Studies (CGSS) offers three postgraduate degrees by research, the Master of Science (Sustainability), the Master of Arts (Sustainability) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Sustainability) and also one postgraduate degree by coursework, Master In Sustainable Development Practice. These are offered on a full-time and part-time basis.

1. Master’s in Sustainable Development Practice (Course Work)

The Masters in Sustainable Development Practice (MSDP), is a new master's programme being offered at the Insitute of Postgraduate Studies, Kuala Lumpur, USM. It was developed in collaboration with the Global Masterd in Development Practice (MDP) Program secretariat lcoated at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York. This unique programme is planned to be offered in Wisma Sejarah, Kuala Lumpur in September, 2014. At present, there are 28 partner universities in 6 continents offering this programme globally and USM is currently the only partner university in South East Asia offering this programme.

The MDP programme came into being in 2009 as a result  of the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice 2008 Report. The commission memmber included 20 eminent scholars and practitioners from a variety of disciplines and was co-chaired by Professor Jeffrey Sachs who is the director of the Earth Institute and Special Advisor to the current United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on the Millennium Development Goals. He also held the same position under fomer UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The commission was tasked to identify practical initiatives to support and emerging field of cross-disciplinary "sustainable development practice". The commission's report proposed a set of recommendations for a new and unique educational system focused on sustainable development practice which would be offered through the Master's in Sustainable Development Practice programme.

This programme is different from other master's programme since it is multi and interdisciplinary in nature. The MSDP programme offered in USM consist of two (2) years of coursework in four intersecting disciplines which are health science, social science and management science. In addition, there is also a cross sectorial field training or internship which will require the students to work with communities, industries and government agencies and to provide workable solutions and recommendations for addressing the complex development challenges encountered in the filed training or internship.

Another unique characteristic of this programme is that one of the courses (Global Classroom: Foundations of Sustainable Development Practice) is a course that fosters cross-disciplinary collaboration and allows students and teachers from around the world to participate in collective assignments and learning experiences through live video conference. Students from around the world are assigned the same readings and  then join their classmates for live weekly on-camera sessions with global experts.

In general, the MSDP programme is designed for:

  • Generalist development practitioners, to deepen their knowledge in diverse but related disciplines, enabling them to better coordinate and implement the insights of specialists;
  • Specialist development practitioners, to round out their knowledge base, enabling them to contribute more effectively to interdisciplinary policy teams;
  • Policy administrators and policy professionals, to equip them to pursue effective strategies for sustainable development practice; Private-sector professionals, to prepare them for decision-making and problem-solving roles in matters relating to sustainable development practice;
  • Educators, to help them better address in their curricula the wide range of issues in sustainable development practice.

 Core Courses (38 units)

  • General Cluster
    • Global Classroom: Integrated Approaches To Sustainable Development
    • Research Methods for Sustainable Development
    • Project Design Evaluation and Management
    • Master in Sustainable Development Practice Project
  • Global Health Cluster
    • Health Policy and Management
  • Science & Engineering Cluster
    • Energy Infrastructure Planning
    • Human Ecology and Sustainable Development
  • Management Cluster
    • Budget Planning and Financial Management
    • Information Technology for Development
  • Social Science Cluster
    • Economic Analysis for Sustainable Development
    • Law and Governance in Development
    • Social Services Management

Electives (6 units)

  • General Cluster
    • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Global Health Cluster
    • Global Health, Nutrition and Food Insecurity
  • Science & Engineering Cluster
    • Application of Environmental Science
  • Management Cluster
    • Human Resource Management
    • Green Business and Performance Assessment
    • Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Enterprise

Admission Requirements

  Applicants should possess the following:

  • A Bachelor's degree with a minimum CGPA of 2.75 (or equivalent [CGPA]) from a university recognised by the USM's Senate or an equivalent qualification OR
  • A minimum of one year of relevant working experience.
  • Candidates may be called for an interview.

Language Requirement

  (Applicable for International Applicants Only)

  • A minimum score of 550 in Paper- Based TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) OR
  • A minimum score of Band 6.0 in IELTS (International English Language Testing System) OR
  • Passed USM's Intensive English Course Level IV minimum Gred B


  • Full-time: Min 2 years/ Max 4 years
  • Part-time: Min 3 years/ Max 5 years

Fee Structure

International Student:
 Registration Fees  RM910 
 Personal Bond RM1,900 

 Tuition Fees

 RM875 per unit x 44 units

 Total fees RM41, 310 
 Local Student:
 Registration Fees  RM340 

 Tuition Fees

 RM583 per unit x 44 units

 Total fees RM25,992 

 If you are interested to enrol in the programme, please click here

Please direct all enquiries regarding postgraduate programmes to either the Director or the Deputy Director (Research and Postgraduate Studies). Their contact details are as follow:

 Director / Deputy Director

Centre for Global Sustainability Studies
5th Floor, Hamzah Sendut Libary
Universiti Sains Malaysia
11800 Penang, Malaysia
Tel : +604-6534165/ +604-6532461
Fax : +604-6535273

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

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