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Why study this program?

More than ever, the Pacific is of vital strategic importance to Australia. It is critical that Australians working on and in the Pacific understand the challenges faced by Pacific Island nations. Expand and deepen your knowledge with this specialist Master degree.

This program takes a research-led deep dive into issues around economic development, social challenges, and politics and governance. It also considers Pacific Island nations' approaches to diplomacy, including how they cooperate among themselves and how they relate with countries like Australia.

You can choose to specialise further in one of the multidisciplinary areas of development in the Pacific or take a broad approach and choose courses from a number of other areas.

The Master of Pacific Development looks at the societies, institutions and governance systems in the Pacific region, and provides a foundation for engaging with its current social and political trends and the development challenges it will face into the future.

This program will foster critical awareness through an emphasis on building an evidence base for policy work. It will encourage you to develop long-term networks with leading experts in Pacific research, policymaking and diplomacy.

Taught out of the world-leading Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA) at the Australian National University (ANU), this degree draws on expertise from a broad range of disciplinary backgrounds to tackle complex problems facing the region.

Government, not-for-profit, multilateral agencies and business are increasingly recruiting graduates who demonstrate knowledge and experience in the Asia-Pacific region. Completing this Master program will equip you with the skills to further your professional career in:

  • Private sector
  • Diplomacy and foreign affairs
  • Non-government organisations
  • Research
  • Consultancies
  • Government and public service
  • Intergovernmental agencies
  • International relations and trade
  • Development and aid
  • Multinational corporations

The Master of Pacific Development is a condensed, 48-unit program (one year full-time, or part-time equivalent), designed to cater to working professionals with ambitions to make a difference in the Pacific.

Study load is compatible with professionals looking for a degree they can complete alongside full-time work. The program includes 6-unit and 3-unit courses. Up to 18 credits can be obtained through 3-unit ‘masterclass’ courses, taught intensively over 2 days. These masterclasses offer deep dives into a specific subject area, informed by the latest research from DPA and ANU.

Students can design their own tailored program to include a blend of critical conceptual foundations in development and deep dives into real-world issues for the Pacific region, with up to 30 different courses available. Students can choose from courses with traditional and intensive delivery methods, featuring assessment methods which foster critical awareness through an emphasis on building an evidence-base for policy work.

In this program, you can develop long-term networks with leading experts in Pacific research, policymaking and diplomacy.

World-class academics are your teachers

The Department is home to over 65 research active scholars and its strengths like in its critical mass of expertise and knowledge, its demonstrated commitment to research training and capacity building, and its extensive engagement with policy communities in the region. 

Graduate Certificate of Pacific Development

For those who do not meet the admission requirements or unable commit to the Master program, the Graduate Certificate of Pacific Development is a pathway option for this degree. This 24-unit (6 months, full-time) certificate provides an introduction to the immersive Masters experience and an option for an early exit. Upon completion, students will receive credits towards the Master degree.


If you are interested in a stand-alone masterclass in Pacific politics, security and development, enrol in one of our 25 microcredentials (1-2 day intensive course) and build up credits for a future ANU postgraduate degree.