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5 places for Australians to study Agriculture

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Tertiary study and further education have always been pathways to more technical roles and a way for new graduates to develop business skills and become more well-rounded professionals. While it may be tempting to rely on “learn by doing” experience, this will not necessarily equip the next generation to deal with a fast-changing world. With technology advancing rapidly and more challenges to business than ever before, Australia needs as many skilled agriculture graduates as possible.

It’s increasingly important to keep up with rapidly changing technology to effectively communicate with suppliers, customers, regulators and more. It’s no longer enough to grow great fruit: Growers must be asset managers, finance gurus, marketing specialists, human resource managers, logistics experts, and contract negotiators, all on top of growing and packing premium quality fruit.

Tertiary education in agribusiness can provide those critical skills, and Australia has a number of universities and colleges offering leading-edge agriculture courses. By no means a complete list, here are five top places to study agriculture:

study agriculture marcus oldham

Thomas Griggs studied at Marcus Oldham in 2015

Marcus Oldham College
Location: Geelong
Mid-year intake: No

Agricultural course options:

Bachelor of Business – Agribusiness
Bachelor of Business – Agriculture
Master of Agribusiness

For many apple growers, the first name to come to mind is Marcus Oldham college in Geelong, Victoria. Established in 1962, Marcus Oldham is not a traditional university; instead, it is a private residential college focused entirely on specific agricultural qualifications. High performing graduates are highly sought after within the industry.

As a college with a very specific focus, you can be sure that the courses will be tailored to modern agricultural practice and theory. Marcus Oldham graduates are required to complete placements as part of their education and are regular features on orchard walks and industry gatherings.

However, given the laser focus of study options, there is less room for breadth options to supplement your studies with other areas of interest like you might find at one of the larger traditional universities.

For those who are certain that agriculture is their future, Marcus Oldham has a great record of graduates going on to jobs in the industry, with 98 per cent of recent graduates reporting employment in an agricultural-related job.

Read our profile on Thomas Griggs, who studied at Marcus Oldham in 2015.

 study agriculture unimelb dookie

The University of Melbourne
Location: Melbourne, Dookie
Mid-year intake: No

Agricultural course options:

Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Sciences
Graduate Certificate in Arboriculture
Graduate Diploma of Agricultural Sciences
Bachelor of Agriculture
Master of Agribusiness
Master of Agricultural Sciences

For broader and more theoretical studies, the University of Melbourne has a reputation for high academic achievement. It is one of the highest ranked universities in the world and has a wide variety of facilities and course options.

While University of Melbourne’s main campus is located in Parkville, most of the agricultural studies actually take place at the residential Dookie campus located between Shepparton and Benalla. In addition to receiving a much more practical experience, each of the lecturers is also a researcher who can give students insight into up-and-coming agricultural technology.

Like similar universities in major cities, a higher percentage of graduates end up in metropolitan jobs compared to other universities offering agriculture.

 

University of Tasmania
Location: Hobart
Mid-year intake: Yes

Agricultural course options:

Masterclass in Horticultural Business
Bachelor of Agricultural Science
Bachelor of Applied Science – Agriculture and Business
Master of Applied Science – Agriculture Science

study agriculture UTas

The biggest university in Tasmania, the University of Tasmania (UTAS) has a network of relationships in research, food supply chain, and education around the state and abroad. But UTAS has a number of prominent features that appeal specifically to an agriculture graduate.

Attached to the university is the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), an agricultural research arm focused on supporting “prosperous, innovative and sustainable agriculture and food sectors”. It maintains over 130 scientists and technical experts who teach and train both undergraduate and postgraduate students who in turn make contributions to TIA’s research.

A compelling reason to choose the University of Tasmania is that it offers apple and pear industry scholarships open to all apple and/or pear growers who pay an industry levy/are employed by a levy paying business. These scholarships will be awarded up to a total value of $20,000 annually, and graduates from QLD, NSW, and WA are particularly encouraged to apply.

For experienced growers and industry professionals, the University of Tasmania also offers a Masterclass in Horticultural Business. Offered through flexible online delivery, the masterclass will offer practical management and leadership skills that you can apply to your business from day one. What’s more, each year there are industry-supported scholarships worth $10,000.

Watch this video of Wayne Trengove from Hansen Orchards speaking about how the program benefitted him:

MEET WAYNE TRENGOVE

Wayne Trengove, of Hansen Orchards, is a true innovator. He's recently taken his plans to develop new techniques for apple growing to the Masterclass in Horticultural Business (proudly supported by the Hort Frontiers Leadership Fund). If you've got an idea you'd like to develop with industry experts, enrol in the 2019 class with University of Tasmania at http://www.utas.edu.au/tia/study/masterclass-in-horticultural-business

Posted by Hort Innovation on Thursday, 4 October 2018

 

 

study agriculture curtin

Curtin University
Location: Perth, Dubai, Malaysia, more
Mid-year intake: Yes

Agricultural course options:

Various agriculture majors as part of Bachelor of Science and Arts
Bachelor of Agribusiness
Associate Degree in Agribusiness
Dryland Agricultural Systems (Master)
Sustainable Aquaculture (Master)
Master of Research (Agriculture)

Curtin University, WA’s largest, can be traced back to the 1900s and boasts the third largest international student population in Australia. Curtin has a stated focus on research and innovation, and has a broad structure of degrees with specific majors in agricultural disciplines possible in both Science and Arts degrees.

 

study agriculture cornell

Cornell University
Location: Ithaca (New York state in the US)
Mid-year intake: As of this year

Agricultural course options:

Agricultural Studies (major)
Animal Science (major)
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (major)
Environment and Sustainability Sciences (major)
Environmental Engineering (major)
International Agriculture and Rural Development (major)
Viticulture and Enology (major)
Master of Professional Studies

For those leaning towards studying overseas, Cornell University in Ithaca, New York (state) is one of the most renowned institutions in the US. Founded it 1865, Cornell practices an “egalitarian and practical vision” dedicated to higher education in equal terms.

For new graduates, this means that agricultural studies are given as much weight as other areas of study. Its dedicated College of Agriculture and Life Sciences caters to agricultural programs

APAL’s Post-harvest Seminar hosted in January 2019 featured speaker Chris Watkins, who is Professor of Horticulture at Cornell and runs a post-harvest science and research program at Cornell University with a major focus on apple storage.

Cornell also provides a different kind of Masters experience, with the 1-year ‘Master of Professional Studies’ designed to emphasise “professional development and intellectual investigation in the areas of agriculture, life sciences, and global development”.

 

Those considering studying overseas may also consider applying for a Churchill Fellowship.

 

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