Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit explores the role of research and development in productivity increases of selected agricultural systems of international interest. Agricultural science, and related disciplines, plays an important role in our understanding of the constraints and challenges associated with food and fibre production, and the development of innovative solutions for improved productivity of sustainable agricultural systems. The unit provides an introduction to the analysis of agricultural systems. You will learn how to evaluate the role and impact of new farming practices within an existing system, including consideration of technical, social and economic factors. The fundamentals of soils and land capability, selected crops and livestock species and systems, of world interest, are introduced and students evaluate case studies integrating the physical, biological and socioeconomic characteristics of selected farming systems. The important contribution of agricultural science to how selected commodities are produced, the benefits to livelihoods of communities, and to meeting the increasing world demand for food and fibre, are emphasised in the series of lectures, discussions, student presentations, a written reports, and a half-day field excursion

6 points

Students are able to (1) demonstrate sound knowledge of selected agricultural systems of international interest; (2) understand the application of some principals of economics and decision-theory for prioritisation of agricultural research and development projects within an international setting; (3) identify constraints and challenges associated with food and/or fibre production systems, as well as propose research needs and/or solutions for improved productivity and sustainable systems; (4) demonstrate a capacity for broad and critical thinking in relation to how agricultural systems function and how agricultural research is conducted; (5) communicate about key factors related to international agricultural research and agricultural systems; and (6) interpret research and development pertaining to international agricultural systems.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) preparation of written summary reports; (2) written final report; and (3) oral presentation (group work) and participation as audience for all student presentations. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Louise Barton
Unit rules
Enrolment in
72510 Master of Agricultural Science
or 73530 Master of Agricultural Economics
or HON-AGSCI Agricultural Science
Advisable prior study
SCIE4409 Fundamentals of Agricultural Science
Contact hours
lectures: 2 hours per week
workshops: up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.