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Degrees & Other Programmes

Diploma in Agriculture (DipAgr)

Available at Palmerston North NZ Farm
Available extramurally
1 year of full-time study or can be taken part-time extramurally

The most important goal of the programme is to prepare students with the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitude to manage farms in a changing social, economic and technological environment.
Farmers in New Zealand face challenges in an environment of ever-changing markets and policies and cope with a mass of information and advice. The Diploma in Agriculture (Dip Ag) programme helps students develop ways to cope with this environment and it provides the basic technology and practices needed for successful agriculture, be it as a farmer or in the farm servicing sector.


Case studies are used frequently in the Dip Ag programme and University farms provide some of the early examples, while later, commercial farms provide the main study focus.
These field-based studies build on the information supplied in lectures and study guides. They take students through data collection and analysis so they can become confident about either operating a farm for themselves or being reliable responsible employees.

The Dip Ag programme begins with practical experience and pre-entry assignments. The first half of the academic programme has the basic information needed to understand agriculture. Subject areas cover soils; plants (pasture, crops, trees); farm structures and services; machinery; the health, breeding, feeding and production of livestock. The second half has more animal husbandry; the whole farm as a production system and the management of farms. This includes writing goals, objectives, strategies and action plans; controlling capital, employing labour, the analytical tools used in making decisions (e.g. stock numbers, forecast budgets) and identifying factors beyond the farm gate which are significant for farmers.

Students receive their first posting of study material on enrolment (from mid-January). Each paper runs through the year to mid-October and not all papers are available each year. There are compulsory contact courses at the Palmerston North campus in April and June. Details are in the Extramural Handbook usually available from the Enrolment Office in October.

In addition to preparing graduates to manage farms, the Dip Ag also provides suitable training for many farm servicing jobs such as field officers, technical representatives and livestock officers. Dip Ag graduates can be found working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Border Control service, as agricultural training providers and in companies providing services to farmers such as transport, fertiliser, stock food, livestock breeding services, real estate and stock and station agencies. Many Dip Ag graduates find university life so rewarding that they return to study for a degree, mostly in agriculture, agribusiness, accounting and finance.


Before enrolling in the programme, candidates will normally:
(a) be at least 18 years of age
(b) have an acceptable 6th form education OR an approved post-secondary-school qualification
(c) have completed 12 months working in primary industry.

For an indepth explanation of the Diploma in Agriculture Programme and the papers offered, click here


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