Master of Agribusiness

Course 704CC (2015)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2015.

Year and Campus: 2015 - Parkville
Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Level: Graduate/Postgraduate
Duration & Credit Points: 150 credit points taken over 18 months full time. This course is available as full or part time.


Mr Peter McSweeney



Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences

The University of Melbourne

Victoria 3010 Australia

Course Overview:

The study of agribusiness is the study of decision-making within the context of the food and fibre business, from input suppliers to primary producers to wholesalers, processors, retailers and consumers in a competitive, consumer-directed market under the influence of government.

The Master of Agribusiness is a multi-modal coursework degree that is primarily delivered online suiting both the busy lives of agribusiness professionals as well as those located in remote areas. The course is accessible to all, with the technology allowing not only information but the opportunity to participate in lively discussions. Students are also able to interact with each other at residentials held in Melbourne at the start of the first two years of the course.

The course focuses on enhancing the specific skills required to make effective business decisions within the context of this unique and complex system.

Although the course is designed to normally run part time, students do have the option of studying this course on a full time basis.

Students wishing to study agribusiness in a full time in an on-campus mode should consider an agribusiness specialisation within the Master of Agricultural Sciences (MC-AGSC).

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course students will have:

  • a broad knowledge of the trends and underlying influences impacting the agribusiness value chain and the global environment
  • a knowledge of methods relevant to business decision making across the core areas of economics, finance and management in the agrifood and fibre context, and an ability to analyse at intermediate to advanced levels both quantitative and qualitative data with appropriate discipline-based techniques
  • an ability to critically reflect on business analytical methods, models and tools as they have developed over time for a range of decision contexts
  • an understanding of the pervasive elements of risk and uncertainty impacting agribusiness enterprises and industry segments, and the ability to define the risks likely to impact specific agribusiness enterprise types
  • an ability to apply analytical methods, models and tools to organisational and industry-related problems and case studies in the agribusiness value chain, and to synthesise background and contextual information leading on to problem definition for analysis
  • the ability to articulate and present discussion, analysis and investigative findings using appropriate written communication styles, face-to-face and digital media
  • the ability to analyse and discuss within different forums, the application of theory to a range of problems and decision making situations

Graduates will demonstrate the application of knowledge and skills:

  • in applying their heightened understanding of agribusiness issues, problems and challenges to more effective enterprise decision-making and industry resilience and capacity building
  • in undertaking an analysis of a complex problem with high levels of personal autonomy as part of capstone project subject or prescribed subject combinations
Course Structure & Available Subjects:

The Masters program consists of 150 credit points of study. The core comprises 6 subjects (75 credit points).

The course includes 5-day intensive residential programs at the beginning of the first (Leadership), second (Business Strategy) and third years (Managing Risk). While the Leadership subject is the preferred starting point, given its cohort development role, it is also possible to start mid-year.

The program will be delivered to students as they work in their home or office primarily using online, web-based delivery. An emphasis on a team-based approach to problem solving will be fostered in selected subjects. The online methodology incorporates the following components; subject materials and readings; individualised learning tasks; collaborative learning tasks where relevant; online forum discussions and messaging openly shared by all members; and access to remote web sites and databases such as library support.

Students who wish to study this course on-campus should attend weekly workshops for all of the subjects that are delivered online. As there is no CRICOS code for course 704CC international students should consider enrolling into Agribusiness stream within the Master of Agricultural Sciences (MC-AGSC) as an alternative option.

Subject Options:

Please note that ‘intensive’ subjects (Leadership, Business Strategy and Managing Risk) are offered in February, prior to the commencement of Semester 1. Climate Change: Agric Impacts is offered as an intensive in July, or online in June. All other subjects in the Master of Agribusiness are offered during the standard semester period.

Year 1 (Part time) CORE

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 2

Year 2 (Part Time) CORE

Students in second year should study the following core subject at the February intensive.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:

Year 3 (Part Time) Core

Students in third year (part time) should study the following core subject at the February intensive.

Note that Business Strategy and Managing Risk can be taken consecutively for students studying full time.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:


Students must take 75 points of electives from the list below. Other elective subjects may be taken as approved by the course coordinator.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Summer Term, Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 2

Research Option:

Should students decide to choose a research option, you have the option of choosing semester long version of the Research Project (AGRI90070 - 25 points) or enrolling in the AGRI90064 - 12.5 version of the subject in both Semester 1 and Semester 2. Students must complete 25 points in total. Research projects also require the approval of a project supervisor. Please see your student centre for assistance with enrolling if needed.

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1, Semester 2
Semester 1, Semester 2
Entry Requirements:

1. In order to be considered for entry, applicants must have completed:

  • an undergraduate degree in any discipline with at least an H3 (65%) weighted average, or equivalent; or
  • a graduate or postgraduate certificate in any discipline with at least an H3 (65%) weighted average, or equivalent; or
  • a graduate or postgraduate diploma in any discipline with at least an H3 (65%) weighted average, or equivalent;


  • two years of documented relevant professional or management experience; or
  • an honours degree in any discipline, or equivalent;


  • a curriculum vitae or resume outlining professional experience; and
  • two academic referee reports; and
  • a personal statement outlining why they wish to be considered for the course.

Meeting these requirements does not guarantee selection.

2. In ranking applications, the Selection Committee will consider:

  • prior academic performance; and
  • if relevant, the professional or management experience; and
  • the curriculum vitae or resume; and
  • the referee reports; and
  • the personal statement.

3. The Selection Committee may seek further information to clarify any aspect of an application in accordance with the Academic Board Rules on the use of selection instruments.

4. The minimum English language requirements for this course are Band 6.5 English language requirements.


50 points of advanced standing in the Master of Agribusiness may be awarded for the completion of the Graduate Certificate in Agribusiness.

Core Participation Requirements:

The Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences (FVAS) welcomes applications from students with disabilities. It is University and Faculty policy to take reasonable steps to make reasonable adjustments so as to enable the student’s participation in the Faculty's programs. FVAS contributes to the New Generation degrees and offers a broad range of programs across undergraduate and post-graduate levels many of which adopt a multi-disciplinary approach.

Students of the Faculty's courses must possess intellectual, ethical, and emotional capabilities required to participate in the full curriculum and to achieve the levels of competence required by the Faculty. Candidates must have abilities and skills in observation; motor in relevant areas; communication; in conceptual, integrative, and quantitative dimensions; and in behavioural and social dimensions.

Adjustments can be provided to minimise the impact of a disability, however students need to be able to participate in the program in an independent manner and with regard to their safety and the safety of others.

I. Observation: In some contexts, the student must be able to observe demonstrations and experiments in the basic and applied sciences. More broadly, observation requires reading text, diagrams, maps, drawings and numerical data. The candidate should be able to observe details at a number of scales and record useful observations in discipline dependant contexts.

II. Communication: A candidate should be able to communicate with fellow students, professional and academic staff, members of relevant professions and the public. A candidate must be able to communicate effectively and sensitively. Communication includes not only speech but also reading and writing.

III. Motor: Candidates should have sufficient motor function necessary for participation in the inherent discipline-related activities. The practical work, design work, field work, diagnostic procedures, laboratory tests, require varying motor movement abilities. Off campus investigations may include visits to construction sites, urban, rural and/or remote environments.

IV. Intellectual-Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: These abilities include measurement, calculation, reasoning, analysis, and synthesis. Problem solving, the critical skill demanded of professionals in land and environment industries, requires all of these intellectual abilities. In addition, the candidate should be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and to understand the spatial relationships of structures.

V. Behavioural and Social Attributes: A candidate must possess behavioural and social attributes that enable them to participate in a complex learning environment. Students are required to take responsibility for their own participation and learning. They also contribute to the learning of other students in collaborative learning environments, demonstrating interpersonal skills and an understanding of the needs of other students. Assessment may include the outcomes of tasks completed in collaboration with other students.

Students who feel their disability will prevent them from meeting the above academic requirements are encouraged to contact the Disability Liaison Unit.

Further Study:
  • Completion of the Graduate Certificate in Agribusiness articulates into the Master of Agribusiness.
  • Students with an honours degree (or equivalent) from a cognate discipline may apply for credit for up to 50 credit points.
Graduate Attributes:

The Melbourne Experience enables our Graduates to become:

Academically excellent
Our Graduates will be expected to:

  • Have strong sense of intellectual integrity and the ethics of scholarship
  • Have in-depth knowledge of their specialist discipline(s)
  • Reach a high level of achievement in writing, generic research activities,
    problem-solving and communication
  • Be critical and creative thinkers, with an aptitude for continued self directed
  • Be adept at learning in a range of ways, including through information and
    communication technologies

Knowledgeable across disciplines

Our graduates will be expected to:

  • Examine critically, synthesise and evaluate knowledge across a broad range of
  • Expand their analytical and cognitive skills through learning experiences in diverse
  • Have the capacity to participate fully in collaborative learning and to confront
    unfamiliar problems
  • Have a set of flexible and transferable skills for different types of employment.

Leaders in communities
Our graduates will be expected to:

  • Initiate and implement constructive change in their communities, including
    professions and workplaces
  • Have excellent interpersonal and decision-making skills, including an awareness of
    personal strengths and limitations
  • mentor future generations of learners
  • engage in meaningful public discourse, with a profound awareness of community needs

Attuned to cultural diversity
Our graduates will be expected to :

  • Value different cultures
  • Be well-informed citizens able to contribute to their communities wherever they
    choose to live and work
  • Have an understanding of the social and cultural diversity in our community
  • Respect Indigenous knowledge, cultures and values

Active global citizens
Our graduates will be expected to:

  • Accept social and civic responsibilities
  • Be advocates for improving the sustainability of the environment
  • Have a broad global understanding, with a high regard for human rights, equality
    and ethics.
Generic Skills:
  • A profound respect for truth, intellectual and professional integrity, and the
    ethics of scholarship
  • Capacity for independent critical thought, rational inquiry and self-directed
    learning and research
  • An ability to derive, interpret and analyse social, technical or economic
    information from primary and other sources
  • Awareness of and ability to utilise appropriate communication technology and methods
    for the storage, management and analysis of data
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation, through the application of skills and knowledge
  • Ability to integrate information across a relevant discipline to solve problems in
    applied situations
  • Highly developed computer - based skills to allow for effective on-line learning and
  • Highly developed written communication skills to allow informed dialogue with
    individuals and groups from industry, government and the community
  • Highly developed oral communication skills to allow informed dialogue and liaison
    with individuals and groups from industry, government and the community.
  • Appreciation of social and cultural diversity from a regional to a global context
  • Ability to participate effectively as a member of a team
  • Ability to plan work, use time effectively and manage small projects
Links to further information:

International students

The course is delivered mostly online so students can study part-time from anywhere in the world while continuing to work full-time in the industry. Students who are studying the online version of this course are only required on campus for residential teaching blocks each year. The Department of Immigration and Citizenship will allow students from most countries to attend the residential school with a Visitor's Visa. International students who wish to study in Australia on-campus may prefer to consider the agribusiness stream within the Master of Agricultural Sciences ( MC-AGSC )

Computer equipment requirements

Students undertaking online subjects will use the University's Learning Management System:


Specialist software requirements will be indicated within relevant subjects. A basic / intermediate skill level will be assumed with word processing and spreadsheet use. Use of Endnote is strongly encouraged in all subjects.


In accordance with the University’s Assessment Procedure (MPF1026), Examiners may offer reassessment (as a second attempt at passing a subject for a borderline failure in a single subject) to a student enrolled in this course. A borderline failure is defined as a mark of 45% or more.

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