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Climate Change for Primary Industries

Area of Study Type of Course Level of Study
Environmental Award Graduate Certificate


Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries

Course Code


Course Abbreviation


Partner Faculty

Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences and the Primary Industries Climate Challenge Centre (PICCC)


This course was initially developed for staff of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Victoria, specifically to fast-track the development of climate change capabilities for professionals in the agriculture sector who provide services to farmers.

This course is now open to enrolments from people employed in the rural sector who wish to better understand and develop strategies to respond to the impacts of climate change to the future of primary industries.

Course Description

This course develops the understanding and skills required by professionals with connections to food production, agribusiness, and forest and resource management to enable a response to the challenges posed by climate change. It explores the many factors underpinning climate change risk for agricultural production and methods for sustainable food and fibre production and their markets, in the face of changing climate.

At the same time as developing individual capability, application of the knowledge gained during study to participants' work and projects provides immediate and relevant application of course learning and invaluable insights into the impacts of climate change to the future of primary industries.

Delivery Mode

This course takes approximately 12 months to complete. Each subject comprises five days intensive coursework delivery, precourse study and assessment components, totalling approximately 120 hours study commitment per subject.

Who Should Apply

Current and past students in the Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries have included extension and policy officers, project managers and NRM professionals, all with connections to food production, agribusiness, forest, and resource management.

The course is relevant to researchers, farm consultants, land managers and natural resource managers working with farmers, land managers and natural resource managers. It is also suitable for those working in agribusiness and food production.

Students will be provided with an applied understanding of the many factors underpinning climate change risk for agricultural production and land management. You will also gain an awareness of methods for carbon farming, and sustainable food and fibre production in the face of a changing climate.


To achieve the Graduate Certificate in Climate Changes for Primary Industries, you are required to successfully complete all four 12.5 credit point subjects. A total of 50 points for the completion of the course.

Climate Variability and Climate Change - This subject introduces the fundamental processes and dynamics important for climate variability and climate change in the Australian region using both observations and climate models. There are discussions on the development of regional climate change scenarios using climate model outputs and their application for a range of climate change impact studies.

Greenhouse Gases from Agriculture - This subject instructs the participants to the processes by which greenhouse gases are evolved from agricultural systems, and the basis of that understanding, including options for mitigation. The principle focus will be on enteric methane and nitrous oxide emissions from soils, fertilisers and animal waste. Accounting frameworks will be introduced which will enable participants to evaluate mitigation options and consider potential for carbon trading.

Climate Changes and Agricultural Adaption - This subject will examine the potential impacts of current and projected climate changes on food production in the world's major agricultural areas. It has used Victoria and Australian agriculture, with its broad ranges of industries and climatic zones, as an exemplar of the potential adaption strategies that may be implemented to ensure the sustainability of food production.

Climate and Economic Strategy - This subject aims to introduce economic ways of thinking about appropriate responses of businesses to changes in their operating environment as a result of concerns about climate change. The expected costs and benefits of changing climatic conditions for agricultural production in Australia and internationally will be assessed. Policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon taxes or an emissions trading scheme are explained and analysed.


Each subject is formally assessed to meet the requirements of University accreditation.

Pathways to Further Study

Students who successfully complete the Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries may be eligible for credit into Masters courses offered by the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences

Additional Information

Course content can be developed for delivery to organisational clients. Contact us for more information.

View testimonials from past students.
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Academic and Teaching Team

Academic and Teaching Team

The academic coordinator for the Graduate Certificate in Climate Change for Primary Industries is Associate Professor Richard Eckard.

Associate Professor Dr Richard Eckard - is Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre. He is a science advisor to the Australian, New Zealand and UK governments, and the UN FAO, on climate change research in agriculture. Richard has published over 90 scientific publications, holds a number of national and international science leadership roles, being a keynote speaker at numerous industry and international science conferences over the past few years. Richard is the subject coordinator for Greenhouse Gases from Agriculture.

Other subject leaders include:

Professor David Karoly - David is a Professor of Climate Science in the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is an internationally recognised expert in climate change and climate variability, including greenhouse climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and interannual climate variations due to El Nino-Southern Oscillation. David is a member of the new Climate Change Authority in Australia. He is also a member of the Science Advisory Panel to the Australian Climate Commission, the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, and the Joint Scientific Committee, which provides oversight of the World Climate Research Programme.

Professor Snow Barlow - Snow is an internationally recognised researcher in the adaptation of agricultural industries to climate change. His group currently studies the adaptation of perennial crops, particularly grapevines, to climate change. As a Chief Scientist within the federal Bureau of Resources program. He is a member of government's NGO Roundtable on Climate Change and the Land Sector Working.

Associate Professor Bill Malcolm - Bill teaches agriculture and resource economics at both undergraduate and graduate level, and has researched and written extensively about agricultural economics and policy. Bill also has a part-time appointment within the Future Farming Research Division of DPI.

Entry Requirements

Entry into the course will be based on completion of:

  • An undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or demonstrated equivalent, or

  • An undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline and two years documented relevant work and/or professional experience, or equivalent, or

  • An undergraduate degree and five years documented relevant work and/or professional experience, or equivalent.

A Selection committee may conduct interviews and tests and may call for referee reports or employer references to elucidate any of the matters referred to above.

Course Fees

Fees for 2017 are $3,100 per subject. Total is $12,400.00

Fee Inclusions

Fees include tuition, course materials and access to on-line resources during intensive delivery of subjects.

As enrolled students of the University of Melbourne, students have access to a range of facilities and amenities provided by the University of Melbourne.


Fee-Help is a loan from the Australian Government to cover tuition fees and is available to Australian Citizens only.

Delivery Dates and Times


Delivery Dates

Applications Close

Climate Variability and Climate Change

20-24 February 2017

16 January 2017

Greenhouse Gases from Agriculture

15-19 May 2017

10th April 2017

Climate Change and Agricultural Adaptation

3-7 July 2017

30 May 2017

Climate and Economic Strategy

18-22 September 2017

1 September 2017

Delivery Venue

This course is delivered at the Burnley campus of the University of Melbourne.

Contact Us

Program Coordinator

Phone - (03) 8344 2601

Email -

UoM Commercial

Hawthorn Office

Postal Address: Locked Bag 12, Hawthorn, VIC 3122

Street Address: 442 Auburn Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122

Parkville Office

Postal Address: The University of Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia

Street Address: 205-211 Grattan Street, Carlton VIC 3053


Phone: +61 3 9810 3322

Fax: +61 3 9810 3315