• Offered by Fenner School of Environment and Society
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Environmental Science
  • Areas of interest Geography, Human Ecology, Environmental Science, Sustainability Science, Resource and Environmental Management
  • Work Integrated Learning Projects
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Martin Amidy
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

The sustainability of agri-food systems is examined in this course from a complex systems and value-chain perspective, focusing on agricultural systems in Australia and internationally at local, national and global scales. Production systems are placed within the broader social, cultural and economic contexts in which they operate, with students using interdisciplinary approaches to explore topics including the role of family farming and corporate agri-business, consumer demand and marketing, R&D and technology, international trade and rural policy.

Students will gain an understanding of the interdependencies between rural livelihoods, sustainability, food security, adaptation, sustainable intensification and the incentives and barriers to change along the value chain and in the broader agri-food system. The course includes field visits to farm and food industry enterprises designed to provide first-hand

experience and application of your learning.

Graduate students attend joint classes with undergraduates but are assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain key agricultural systems concepts and perspectives at regional, national and global scales.
  2. Discuss complex agricultural systems using a range of frameworks and tools.
  3. Critically examine the sustainability of agri-food systems from production through to broader social, cultural and economic aspects
  4. Critically interpret and critique agricultural data reported to be sustainable and communicate key information about the agri systems to a range of audiences.
  5. Identify and argue constraints and opportunities for future sustainable agricultural systems.

Work Integrated Learning


Research project (assessments 5 & 6) involve weekly small group discussions with specialist industry stakeholders. This supplements the industry lead knowledge being presented in guest lectures.

Other Information

If you do not meet the requisites for this course, it may be possible to receive a permission code. If you are prompted for a permission code on ISIS, please request one online via the following form

Students should either complete this course prior or concurrently with ENVS6342.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Workshop task: Net Present Value (10) [LO 2,3,5]
  2. Quiz 1 (10) [LO 1,2]
  3. Workshop: Measuring Sustainability (10) [LO 2,3,5]
  4. Quiz 2 (10) [LO 1,2]
  5. Oral Presentation: Reflection - Interdisciplinary approaches to Sustainable Agriculture (15) [LO 3,4,5]
  6. Project report (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 2 x 1 hour lecture plus 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week.
  • Approximately 82 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Students are expected to actively participate and contribute towards discussions.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have successfully completed ENVS6012 or ENVS6302 or ENVS2023

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Students will be assigned published papers or reviews as background to core topics and expected to discuss these in the workshops.

Charman, PV and Murphy, BW (eds) (2000) Soils: Their Properties & Management (2nd edition), Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Jordan, CF (1998) Working with Nature, Harwood Academic Publishers

Dyball, R and Newell, B (2015) Understanding Human Ecology. Routledge

McKenzie, N et al. (2004) Australian Soils and Landscapes. CSIRO Publishing

Assumed Knowledge

Basic grounding in principles presented in ENVS6224.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $4560
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6343 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions