UNSW Canberra is now offering a Master of Workforce Planning.

The Master of Workforce Planning at UNSW Canberra is designed to support workforce planning uplift by developing strategic workforce planners. To do this, we have created a curriculum to develop strategic thinkers who have an understanding of complex systems, how they are constituted and how to develop useful models.

The program enables the development of skills that will improve organisational productivity and outcomes through the process of systematically predicting the future demand and supply of the employees.

Graduating students will have the knowledge to enable the forecasting and deployment of capability in order to support the strategic development of the organisation. They will develop both statistical and modelling tools and technique, as well as research and critical analysis skills. 

The program integrates strategic theory with modelling applications.  Students will firstly learn about different aspects of developing a workforce plan, before then applying this knowledge to create new ideas and plans. For Defence students the program includes a research project course enabling students to apply their knowledge to a substantial piece of real-world research.

This fully online degree balances advanced theory with practical knowledge, offering you the opportunity to learn how to develop effective future workforce plans.

Degree type

Postgraduate coursework


1 year full-time

Commencing terms

Semester 1, Semester 2

Program code


Delivery mode

Intensive delivery mode

Program goals

By the conclusion of this program students should be able to:

  • Provide strategic workforce advice based on primary and secondary data.
  • Define and analyse complex systems to create innovative solutions.
  • Analyse complex qualitative and quantitative data sets to determine organisational contexts, skills surpluses and gaps and future needs.
  • Present complex data in ways that support effective decision-making.
  • Effectively forecast the right number and type of employees required to run an organisation into the future.
  • Determine and shape organisational capacity to deliver workforce resources required on-time and within budget.

Find out more

For more information on this degree, see the UNSW Handbook.

  • Your exact program structure will depend on your enrolment plan (i.e., 1, 2 or 4 courses per semester) – please see the document sent to you. If you don’t have an enrolment plan, please send an email to business@adfa.edu.au ASAP. As is noted below, correct sequencing of core courses is integral.

    The program comprises:

    Five core courses

    1.     ZBUS8317 Workforce Planning (S1)

    2.     ZBUS8314 People and Systems (S1)

    3.     ZPEM8311 Data Analysis and Applications (S1)

    4.     ZEIT8305 Systems Thinking and Modelling (S1)

    5.     ZEIT8307 System Dynamics Modelling (S2)

    Two prescribed electives from the following:

    ZBUS8101 Strategic Management (S1 and S2)

    ZBUS8103 Strategic Human Resources (S2)

    ZBUS8147 Business of Managing Projects (S1 and S2)

    ZBUS8148 Economic World View (S2)

    ZBUS8149 Finance for Decision-Making (not offered in 2023; will be offered in S2 2024)

    ZBUS8210 Critical Analysis in Business (S1 and S2)

    ZBUS8315 Driving Performance (S2)

    ZBUS8316 Developing Organisational Capability (S2)

    Defence-funded students:

    ZBUS8503 Workforce Planning Research (capstone course, final semester)

    All other students: Free Elective

    Any Masters-level (8000 level) course from UNSW Canberra.


    If you are seeking credit, please contact Dr Fiona Buick (f.buick@adfa.edu.au) to discuss options and determine what is appropriate and possible.

    Program Rules

    1. Students are strongly advised to complete ZBUS8317 Workforce Planning in their first semester. This course is offered in Semester 1 each year.
    2. It is recommended that students complete ZPEM8311 Data Analysis and Applications either at the same time or before ZEIT8305 Systems Thinking and Modelling.
    3. Students must complete ZEIT8305 Systems Thinking and Modelling before ZEIT8307 System Dynamics Modelling.
  • Core courses

    Code Course Semester 1 - 2024 Semester 2 - 2024
    ZBUS8314 People and Systems Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZBUS8317 Workforce Planning Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZEIT8305 Systems Thinking and Modelling Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZEIT8307 Systems Dynamics Modelling Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZPEM8311 Data Analysis and Applications Not Offered Distance Mode



    Code Course Semester 1 - 2024 Semester 2 - 2024
    ZBUS8101 Strategic Management Distance Mode Distance Mode
    ZBUS8103 Strategic Human Resources  Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZBUS8147 The Business of Managing Projects Distance Mode Distance Mode
    ZBUS8148 Economic World View Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZBUS8149 Finance for Decision-Making Distance Mode Not Offered
    ZBUS8210 Critical Analysis in Business Distance Mode Distance Mode
    ZBUS8315 Driving Performance Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZBUS8316 Developing Organisational Capability Not Offered Distance Mode
    ZBUS8501 Research Project – Business Distance Mode Distance Mode
    ZBUS8502 Research Project – Business Distance Mode Distance Mode
    ZBUS8503 Workforce Planning Research Not Offered Distance Mode
  • The course overview states that the Workforce Planning Research Course:

    will use workforce planning data to underpin a research project. In conjunction with supervisors, students will identify a specific Defence workforce planning issue that their data can help resolve. The research project will use skills developed throughout the Master of Workforce Planning (8561) to analyse and present the data in ways that will enable better decision making.

    The timeframes to undertake the course ZBUS8503 Workforce Planning Research are very tight, so students without a clearly defined project and access to data by the time the semester commences would not be able to proceed.

    Two things need to happen:

    1. Defence needs to have clear oversight of who is going to be on the course and when. They need this oversight to ensure that each student has a clearly defined and feasible Workforce Planning Research project and access the requisite data at least one month before the commencement of the actual research course (i.e., before Day 1 of the relevant semester).
    2. Students need to liaise with Defence at the outset of their studies to discuss potential topics and what data they will need. This may emerge through the course ZBUS8317 Workforce Planning but will need to be actively pursued from the outset of the program.

    We recommend students build their project over the duration of their program, rather than leaving it to ZBUS8503. Please note that full-time students will undertake ZBUS8503 and ZEIT8307 concurrently (in the same semester), with part-time students’ enrolment depending on their enrolment plan.

Key contacts

Dr Fiona Buick

School of Business

Student Enquiries

E: sas@adfa.edu.au
T: +61 2 5114 5000