How Monash University Is Driving A Sustainable Approach To Chemistry


Chemicals and chemical engineering are central to almost every industry in the modern world, sourcing all the manufactured goods that afford us the lifestyle we enjoy today. This includes everything from food, pharmaceuticals, polymers and cosmetics, to cleaning agents, fertilisers, packaging and more. 

However, as we have become more aware of the health impacts of chemicals, as well as the effects on environmental systems, identifying areas of improvement—i.e., devising new methodologies and reducing the potential for harm in practical and meaningful ways—is imperative. To this end, Monash University’s new Master of Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technologies course is at the forefront of this paradigm shift to better chemical processes.

What is Green Chemistry?

Green and sustainable chemistry is a collective movement aiming to critically review how and why different chemicals and processes are made and used. As we learn more about the life-long effects of chemicals on people and the environment, we are finding the need to devise safe, sustainable, and efficient alternatives to traditional methods.

The green chemistry approach is governed by twelve key principles, which are as follows: 

  1. Prevention of waste
  2. Maximising atom economy
  3. Less hazardous chemical syntheses
  4. Designing safer chemicals
  5. Safer solvents and auxiliaries
  6. Designing for energy efficiency
  7. Use of renewable feedstocks
  8. Reducing unnecessary derivatives
  9. Catalysis over stoichiometry 
  10. Designing for degradation
  11. Real-time analysis for pollution prevention
  12. Inherently safer chemistry for accident prevention

The future of the chemicals industry needs to find a balance between these driving principles, as well as having to take into account variables such as the impact on human health, environmental safety, synthesis quality, industrial constraints, and cost. This is where Monash University is leading the charge.

What does the course explore?

The Masters course is of great relevance for anyone wanting to work in the chemicals industry in the broadest sense. It enables future graduates to lead industry transformation of manufacturing to be more sustainable, profitable, and environmentally benign. With a focus on learning how to design and implement new sustainable products and processes, the course is the first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Coursework, internships, and research projects equip graduates with knowledge and skills to spearhead future industry transformation. Core studies make up essential learning, with room for many electives taken from other programs to add interdisciplinary skills. The course duration may be one to two years depending on your study background. Alternatively, a one-semester Graduate Certificate in Green Chemistry and Sustainable Technologies offers some of the key subjects in this program.

What opportunities are there for graduates?

As industries seek to become more sustainable and identify with greener approaches to manufacturing, there are jobs emerging in aspects of hazard mitigation, waste management, synthesising safer chemicals, and revitalising processes and products to align with the principles of green chemistry. There is room to make a difference in private industry, government, education, research, and consultancy.

Monash’s course equips graduates with the skills and knowledge to help make a difference in chemical safety, as well as examine the environmental, economic and social benefits arising from the transformation of chemical industries in the future. We can avoid the problems of the past by adopting green chemistry principles—renewable and safe chemical feedstocks, energy efficiency, avoiding hazardous waste, safer processes, circular economy thinking, and associated economic benefits. 

To find out more visit the Monash course guide, or you can reach out to course director Tony Patti at

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