Master of Environmental Management (MEM)

Handbook Link to  Program code 8623

Entry requires a recognised three-year Bachelor degree in any discipline, not restricted to the sciences.
see details below

Program Duration

The Master of Environmental Management is 1-2 year full-time program depending upon the grant of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
It is normally taken as a 96 unit of credit program, over a minimum of 4 full-time sessions, or 8 part-time sessions.
However, it can be taken as a 72 UOC (1.5 years full-time equivalent) or 48 UOC program (1 year full-time equivalent), subject to RPL.

Lectures and seminars are usually scheduled in the evening, allowing flexibility for those who work during the day.The program is available on campus or online . The IES aims to provide as much flexibility as possible in the delivery of the MEM program. The mandatory courses are available online and a number of disciplinary knowledge and potential electives are available online or by short-course mode.

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NB: PLEASE ENSURE YOU √  (tick) the box indicating  'Recognition of Prior Learning'. This will help with processing your application.

Program Requirements

Students enrolled in the Master of Environmental Management are required to complete a program totalling 96 units of credit (UOC). Ordinarily, students must complete:

  1. Three compulsory 6UOC Core Courses (totalling 18 UOC)
  2. Four 6UOC Disciplinary Knowledge courses (totalling 24 UOC)
  3. Elective courses, to make up the total of 96 UOC overall. At least 2 IEST electives (totalling 12 UOC or more) must be taken.

Students who achieve a Distinction level (75%) average after their first four courses may seek approval from the Program Coordinator to replace some electives with an approved Internship Research Project (6 UOC), and/or a research project for those who are interested: Research project (24 UOC).

Compulsory Advanced Disciplinary/Interdisciplinary Courses

IEST5001: Frameworks for Environmental Management: (6 UOC)
IEST5002: Tools for Environmental Management: (6 UOC)
IEST5003: Addressing Environmental Issues: (6 UOC)

Note: IEST5001 is normally to be taken at the start of the program, while IEST5003, a capstone course, should be taken later in the program, preferably the final semester.

Each of the core courses takes 3 hours per week in class plus 7 hours per week self directed (if studying online please allow 10 hours per week) and is worth 6 units of credit.

Disciplinary  Knowledge Courses

Students will bring very different knowledge bases to the program, and will need to fill different knowledge gaps to achieve the 'disciplinary knowledge' (DK) courses for which they cannot demonstrate sufficient background.
For example, a student with a background in engineering will probably take DK courses in Ecology, Economics, Law and Social Science, while a student with a Social Science/Law background will probably take DK courses in Ecology, Economics, Engineering and Physical Science.
The courses to be taken will be determined following discussion of academic qualifications and experience with the program coordinator. Ordinarily, students will take four out of the six Disciplinary Knowledge courses:

IEST5008: Ecosystem Management: (6 UOC) Course Outline PDF
IEST7100: Environmental Management: Economics Fundamentals: (6 UOC) Course Outline PDF
IEST7200: Environmental Law Fundamentals: (6 UOC) Course Outline PDF
IEST7300: Environmental Management: Physical Science Fundamentals: (6 UOC) Course Outline PDF
IEST7400: Environmental Management: Social Science Fundamentals (6 UOC)
IEST7500: Environmental Management: Engineering Fundamentals: (6 UOC) Course Outline PDF
Note: Where students can demonstrate sufficient disciplinary background or experience they may, with the permission of the Program Coordinator, take fewer than four DK courses, and replace them with electives. Where students are completing the full 96 UOC program at UNSW, students may also opt to take more than 4 DK courses, if they lack sufficient disciplinary experience in the 6 areas. 

To ensure the achievement of basic environmental literacy students are required to choose Fundamental Knowledge courses for which they cannot demonstrate sufficient experience. This  will help the student with no background in the field to participate in addressing environmental issues as part of a multidisciplinary team.

The following three electives are also recommended introductory courses for students from non-cognate backgrounds:


A minimum of 30 UOC of Advanced Disciplinary electives must be taken. Students are eligible to take up to 54UOC of elective courses (including research electives where eligible). 12 UOC or more must be chosen from the list of advanced disciplinary electives offered by the Institute of Environmental Studies (with IEST code):

Students may choose other electives offered outside the IES, from a pre-approved MEM elective list (some electives may need School approval) or as approved by the MEM Postgraduate Coordinator. For students who have not received advanced standing for their program and are completing the full 96 UOC at UNSW, electives may also include choosing from foundational recommended electives, depending upon your disciplinary background. For more details on the content of these courses, please see the Electives information page.

Admission Requirements

  • A Bachelor’s degree with a weighted average mark (WAM) of 65. The Bachelor’s degree can be in any discipline;
  • A Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma in Environmental Management with a WAM greater than 65;
  • An Honour’s degree at a recognised or reputable university;
  • A Bachelor’s degree with a WAM of 50-65 plus approximately five years professional experience in a relevant field which includes:-environmental officer, planner and similar in local government; environmental consulting, contamination assessment, geotechnical consulting, environmental health assessment and EIA; environmental operations management (e.g. maintaining or auditing an environmental management system); environmental project officer/manager, natural resource management officer/manager or similar for state or federal government or for catchment authorities; corporate environmental and/or energy monitoring, reporting and evaluation/auditing; corporate sustainability reporting; project management with an environmental focus; building sustainability or energy efficiency assessment; environmental outreach, extension or education (usually government or catchment management); research assistant or associate on environmental themes; or, NGO or international organisation environmental campaign managers.

Applicants with other relevant qualifications and experience not listed may apply for admission to this program and  will need to demonstrate that they have achieved the same knowledge and skills (learning outcomes) through their formal or informal learning as the qualifications listed for entry for this program. This may be evidenced by:

  • qualification certificates
  • records of assessment activities relating to course or program learning outcomes
  • examples of experience from the workplace
  • community, or other context which demonstrate relevant skills, knowledge or competencies
  • membership (or eligibility for membership) of professional organisations which require attainment of certain qualificationstestimonials of skills, knowledge or competencies from workplace supervisors.

 Any relevant documentation should be attached to the application and will be considered by the Academic Coordinator for the Program.
Those that apply for the MEM from a cognate field and/or apply with an Honours degree may be able to apply for credit based on ROPL as outlined below. Those that enter the MEM program from a non-cognate Bachelor or other degree will only be eligible for credit where it is directly relevant to environmental management.

Articulation Rules

Students who have completed the requirements for the Graduate Certificate or Diploma in Environmental Management (programs 5499 and 7339) with a credit average are eligible for admission to the Masters of Environmental Management with full credit for courses already completed.
Students who wish to exit the Masters program early may nominate to transfer to and graduate from the Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma provided the requirements for the program have been met.


MEM alumni are working in prominent environmental positions in government, NGOs, the private sector, and consultancies. Students completing 42 UOC of project work in the program may also consider applying for Masters by Research or PhD programs.