University of Sydney Handbooks - 2019 Archive

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About the program

The knowledge needed to work in the agriculture industry takes on many forms and can come from a range of disciplines. Advances in agricultural practice are often made by combining concepts, philosophies and designs from different areas to develop new techniques, evaluate production systems, identify innovations and risks or discover principles on which future farming systems can be based. To continually develop and improve agriculture in Australia and across the world, graduates are needed with expertise to bring new ideas and innovations together to come up with novel solutions and radical innovations.

Students in this program will be provided with an overview of agroecosystems and the opportunity to develop expertise on one of the three majors:

  • plant production
  • animal production
  • soil science and hydrology

Students will develop knowledge and skills to explain the major science behind the drivers of change in agricultural. Students will also develop strong multi-disciplinary understanding of agricultural practices and innovations. The flexibility of unit choice throughout this program, while continuing to focus on agricultural production systems, will allow students the unique opportunity to combine knowledge from a number of other disciplines.

Requirements for completion

A program in Agroecosystems requires 60 credit points, consisting of:

(i) 12 credit points of 2000-level selective units
(ii) A 48 credit point major in Animal Production, Plant Production or Soil Science and Hydrology.

First year

Students complete units that will contribute to one of the majors aligned with this program – animal production, plant production or soil science and hydrology.

Second year

The second year provides the breadth of knowledge in the science of agriculture with units related to plant and animal production as well as focusing on the essential resources of soil and water.

Students complete units that will contribute to their chosen majors:

  • AGRI2001 Plant Management in Agroecosystems if completing Plant Production major
  • GEGE2001 Genetics and Genomics if completing Animal Production major
  • SOIL2005 Soil and Water: Earth's Life Support Systems if completing Soil Science and Hydrology major.

Additionally, students complete 12 credit points of program units as outlined below:

  • AGRI2001 and GEGE2001 if completing Soil Science and Hydrology major
  • AGRI2001 and SOIL2005 if completing Animal Production major
  • GEGE2001 and SOIL2005 if completing Plant Production major.

Third year

Students complete units that will contribute to their chosen major.

The third year provides further depth in at least one of the three majors in this stream, a choice from Plant Production, Animal Production, and Soil Science and Hydrology.

In your third year you must take at least one designated project unit.

Fourth year

The fourth year is only offered within the combined Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Advanced Studies course.

Advanced coursework
The Bachelor of Advanced Studies advanced coursework option consists of 48 credit points, with a minimum of 24 credit points at 4000-level or above. Of these 24 credit points, you must complete a project unit of study worth at least 12 credit points. Advanced coursework will be included in the table for 2020.

Contact and further information


T +61 2 9351 5819

School of Life and Environmental Sciences
Level 5, Carslaw Building (F07)
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney NSW 2006

Associate Professor Tina Bell
Phone: +61 2 8627 1015

Example pathways

Students must take a major in either Animal Production, Plant Production, or Soil Science and Hydrology.

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Agroecosystems will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a deep and integrated understanding of agriculture and its related sciences and explain the role and relevance of agriculture in society.
  2. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge in the ecology of both natural and unmanaged environments and integrate concepts across sub-disciplines.
  3. Examine relevant agricultural production systems and their value chains, with specialist knowledge in at least one area.
  4. Assess the contexts within which producers, processors and consumers make decisions and how current agricultural knowledge contributes to these decisions.
  5. Communicate concepts and findings in agroecosystems through a range of modes for a variety of audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  6. Integrate knowledge from ecology, environmental science and agricultural subdisciplines and apply to both natural and agricultural systems.
  7. Evaluate how biophysical, economic, social and policy drivers underpin agricultural practice across cultural perspectives and can contribute to changes in practice.
  8. Address authentic problems in agroecosystems, working professionally and ethically within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.
  9. Assess the applications of economics, business and social sciences to agriculture and agricultural operations, working responsibly and ethically across diverse social and cultural settings.