Agricultural courses revamped to meet future industry needs

16 SEPTEMBER 2019

Agricultural courses revamped to meet future industry needs

Charles Sturt changes course options for two agricultural science degrees, and introduces an Associate Degree, to meet developing industry needs.

  • Charles Sturt has changed the course options for two agricultural science degrees and introduced an Associate Degree in Farm Production
  • Two-, three- or four-year degrees now delivered on campus and online
  • Five new majors, including Digital Agriculture, have been introduced to the Bachelor of Agricultural Science

Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) has adapted the University’s agricultural degrees to better meet students’ needs for more flexible study options and industry needs for greater relevance to the changing agricultural profession.

Industry professionals and students were consulted extensively about course structure and future graduate requirements and Charles Sturt has adapted the University’s undergraduate agriculture courses accordingly.

Flexibility, student needs and connection to industry were the main reasons behind the changes to the degrees, which now include the option of studying all undergraduate agriculture courses online, on campus, or a combination of both.

Students can now also choose their length of study by enrolling in the new two-year Associate Degree in Farming Production, the three-year Bachelor of Agriculture or four-year Bachelor of Agricultural Science, or transfer between these courses with full credit should their circumstances change.

“With the rapidly changing agricultural landscape, industry progression and student expectations, it was time for a change,” discipline lead for Agricultural Science in the Charles Sturt School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences Dr Alison Southwell said.

“These degrees will take students as close to being job-ready as possible in their time at University.”

One of the biggest changes includes the introduction of five majors – agronomy, livestock production, mixed farm business, horticulture and digital agriculture – to the Bachelor of Agricultural Science.

“This allows students to build knowledge and skills in the part of agriculture where they have a career interest while ensuring a solid generalist core,” Dr Southwell said.

“The majors enable us to tailor to students’ needs and improve the courses agility to respond to emerging industry needs.

“Horticulture is one of the most rapidly-growing sectors of agriculture and graduates specialising in this area are few and far between.”

New subjects covering topics on climate change, consultancy skills, digital agriculture in practice and summer cropping systems have also been introduced.

“The industry has been crying out for this summer cropping subject for years and we’re working beside the best in the cotton and summer crops industries to deliver it,” Dr Southwell said.

Workplace learning throughout the course, including work placement on Charles Sturt’s farm from first year and an internship in fourth year, are also among the changes.

The changes will be launched at the University’s Innovation Hub at the Henty Machinery Field Days from Tuesday 17 to Thursday 19 September.

The UAC guide and course brochures have been updated and students can enrol to study through the new format from 2020.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Dr Alison Southwell, contact Nicole Barlow at Charles Sturt Media on 0429 217 026 or news@csu.edu.au.

Photo caption: Discipline lead for Agricultural Science Dr Alison Southwell Charles Sturt farm manager James Stephens. 

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