The Master in Sustainable Development Practice (MSDP) is a global multi and interdisciplinary graduate degree program that prepares students to better identify and address the challenges of sustainable development. This programme consists of two years of coursework in four intersecting disciplines-health, natural, social, and management sciences-combined with cross-sectoral field training. The multi and interdisciplinary nature of this MSDP programme equips development practitioners to speak the different “languages” of specialists in, for example, health, agronomy, and economics, enabling them to better understand the root causes of extreme poverty and to address the challenges of sustainable development.

One of the 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.

The programme is monitored by the Global Association Board of MDP and supported by the Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, USA. At the moment, there are 31 universities in 6 continents offering this programme globally. Currently, USM is the only university in South-East Asia that offers this programme. This programme is offered in Kuala Lumpur since September 2014.

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.


Programme Educational Objectives (PEO)

The MSDP Programme Educational Objectives are: 

PEO 1: To produce a new generation of holistic sustainable development practitioners who possess theoretical knowledge in diverse but related disciplines, enabling them to better coordinate and implement the insight of specialists in addressing multi, inter or transdisciplinary challenges

PEO 2: To produce sustainable development practitioners who possess high ethical standards and responsible with good communication skills through a dynamic curriculum and project work contributing towards good practices in sustainable development

PEO 3: To produce graduates who are knowledgeable and skilled as leaders and practitioners of sustainable development that contribute towards the nation’s aspirations in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Programme Learning Outcomes (PLO)

At the end of the MSDP programme, the students will be able to:

PLO 1: Apply comprehensive theoretical knowledge, concepts and practical to carry out, evaluate and provide suggestion in sustainable development practices.

PLO 2: Perform and carry out research project with good skills and minimum supervision in the field of sustainable development.

PLO 3: Utilisescientific skills,as wellas innovativeand creative thinking skills to generate progressive ideas and strategies, and suggestions for improvement to solve problems holistically and to make decision in issues and challenges related to sustainable development.

PLO 4: Utilise effective communication skills in verbal and written forms to deliver information, findings, and results within the area of sustainable development context to clients, peers, scientific communities, stakeholders and society

PLO 5: Demonstrate the skills and social responsibilities, teamwork and sensitivity to culture and religions in sustainable development practices.

PLO 6: Demonstrate high level of moral and values, possess ethics, as well as adhere to legislation principles and professional code of conduct in sustainable development practices.

PLO 7: Enhance personal capabilities and development through lifelong learning by utilising information and communication technology (ICT) and information management skills in academic and career development.

PLO 8: Apply managerial and entrepreneurial skills in everyday activities and planning of sustainable development practices.

PLO 9: Utilise knowledge and understanding of effective leadership in the effort to contribute for the advancement of sustainable development.

PLO 10: Apply management and entrepreneurial skills in daily activities and plan sustainable development practices.

PLO 11: Demonstrate a high level of morals and values, ethical, and adhere to principles legislation and professional code of conduct in the practice of sustainable development.


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

*Electives: Availability is based on the number of student enrolment.

Class Venue:

Universiti Sains Malaysia@Kuala Lumpur

Level 20, MoF Inc. Tower, Platinum Park,
No 9, Pesiaran KLCC,
50088 Kuala Lumpur,

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