Surge in agriculture studies at University of Sydney

10 March 2014

This year, for the first time in a decade, the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Sydney will enrol more than 200 new students in its undergraduate degree programs.

More than 40 students have enrolled in a new Food and Agribusiness degree. This degree, mounted with the strong support of agribusiness industries, heralds a new era in tertiary agricultural education. Students in this program receive first-hand experience of agribusinesses through a specialist internship program. They also benefit from instruction from the University's Business School, in a tailored agribusiness program.

The architect of the new degree, Associate Professor Robyn McConchie said, "This degree is designed to equip students with the capacity for innovation in the development, supply and marketing of food products for the fast-growing national and international markets."

"The degree is unique in Australia in comprising a double major in both the science and business of post-farm gate food production. Graduates enjoy a wealth of career opportunities in the agri-food sector - in product research and development, food quality and safety, postharvest science and technology, business management, marketing and other disciplines."

1st year students in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment
1st year students in the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment

The strength of the Faculty of Agriculture and Environment in research is also paying dividends for its students. The University of Sydney was the only Go8 university in Australia to receive a 5/5 for agriculture in the recent Excellence in Research Australia assessment. The faculty has maintained a four-year program for its flagship Agricultural Science and Agricultural Economics degrees, with all students benefitting from a research project in their final year.

In addition to the core agriculture programs, degrees in environmental esystems and in resource economics now attract significant numbers of international students. The faculty is the only one in Australia to offer these niche degrees, which are increasingly well recognised worldwide.

The Acting Dean, Professor Alex McBratney said, "Our encouraging enrolment numbers reflect the fact that young people and their parents are now realising, because of the ever-increasing demand for sustainable agricultural products, careers in agriculture, the environment, food, and agribusiness will be rewarding financially, intellectually and societally."

The Vice Chancellor, Dr Michael Spence said, "It is crucial for Australia to have a highly educated agribusiness workforce. The improving trend in enrolments over the past few years is testament to the commitment of the university as a whole, and to the support we receive from industry".

Contact: Verity Leatherdale

Phone: (02) 9351 4312, 0403 067 342

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