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Units in second semester 2020 may be delivered online and in alternative formats whilst restrictions in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.

Dryland Agricultural Systems

Dryland Agricultural Systems

Postgraduate Major


Dryland Agricultural Systems Major (MSc Science)


Gain comprehensive understanding of dryland agricultural systems, and examine farming systems in Australia’s Great Southern and South West regions.

Dryland Agricultural Systems

Top 1%

Curtin is ranked in the top one per cent of universities worldwide (Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019)


Learn to apply your studies to real industry challenges and situations.

Broad career options

Learn about emerging technologies to manage soils, crops and livestock.

Global agriculture and food security is fundamental to the survival of the human race. Dryland (rain-fed) farming systems are incredibly important to maintaining sustainable and profitable food production throughout the world, particularly in southern Australia.

Experts and innovators in dryland agricultural systems are critical to ensuring food security in ecosystems challenged by water scarcity and biophysical constraints. 

They may split their time in offices, laboratories, glasshouses or on farms. Their work includes collecting samples, running experiments and designing solutions to increase sustainability and productivity. 

They may also find work as consultants and advisers to the livestock and cropping industries, and as research scientists or consultants for product and process development in the private or public sectors.

This course provides a comprehensive understanding of dryland agricultural systems.

Your examination of farming systems in southern and south-western Australia will equip you with knowledge applicable to similar environments around the world. You will also learn about emerging technologies for precise management of soils, crops and livestock, and the role of these technologies in ensuring sustainable and environmentally sound production systems into the future.

The program covers science and technology for crop, pasture and livestock production. This includes the roles of genetics and management in achieving optimum production against environmental constraints, and their integration into viable farming systems. 

A research project in an area relevant to dryland systems is a significant component of the program.

This major sits within the Master of Science (Science) degree. To apply for this major, you will apply for the Master of Science (Science).

Please refer to the handbook for additional course overview information.

Why study

  • Curtin’s Dryland Agricultural Systems courses blend scientific training in agriculturally focused teaching units, with students undertaking an applied project of relevance to their background and the future challenges they may face
  • Curtin is uniquely placed to provide this training through location in a Mediterranean environment, and has a strong tradition of applied agricultural teaching in regional and metropolitan locations.

How this course will make you industry ready

The technical and scientific skills acquired through study in this course will enable you to tackle the wide range of problems facing modern agricultural industries, particularly in relation to global food security and climate change.

Career information

This qualification will provide you with the skills to pursue a career in agricultural research and development, and as consultants/advisors to the livestock and cropping industries in Mediterranean environments around the world. Employers are likely to include Government and private research organisations, agricultural consultancy groups, and individual growers and grower groups.

What you'll learn

  • acquire professional skills in management of soil, crop, pasture and livestock, allowing the application of this knowledge to a wide variety of rainfed farming situations
  • use logical scientific methods to analyse problems and apply this knowledge to a wide variety of rainfed farming situations especially in a Mediterranean context
  • students will be fluent in current literature, theories and practices of production technology and their integration into farming systems
  • use a broad range of communication skills appropriate to the audience
  • select and use new and established technologies appropriate to dryland farming systems
  • acquire and contribute to new agricultural and scientific knowledge and expertise relating to a broad variety of professional situations and recognise the importance of continuous training and education
  • understand the global and cultural issues in agriculture and how these impact on the practice and management of farming systems
  • appreciate the importance of cultural and individual human rights and how these impact on the study of agriculture; embrace the diversity and opportunities presented by different cultures; value environmental, indigenous and other community perspectives
  • work both as an independent scientist and within teams, either as a professional leader or a collaborator, using effective problem solving and decision making skills in an ethical manner

Entry requirements

Curtin requires all applicants to demonstrate proficiency in English. Specific English requirements for this course are outlined in the IELTS table below.

IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System)
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0
Reading 6.0
Listening 6.0
Overall band score 6.5
  • Pearson Test of English Academic: 60
  • Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): 176

You may demonstrate English proficiency using the following tests and qualifications.

Essential course prerequisites

You must have a bachelor degree in science and have achieved competency in agricultural systems or a related discipline to the level of second year tertiary study. Credits for recognised learning may be granted if you have successfully completed an honours or graduate diploma in this field of study.

Advanced standing

At Curtin, we understand that everyone’s study journey has been different.

You may have already studied some of the units (subjects) listed in your Curtin course at another educational institution, or you may have work experience that matches the degree requirements.

A successful CRL application exempts you from having to complete certain units within your course and means you could finish your degree in a shorter amount of time.

CRL is also known as recognition of prior learning, advanced standing and credit transfer.

Use the CRL search to find out how much CRL you qualify for, or contact us at:

Tel: +61 8 9266 5888

CRL search

Fees & charges

Please view the degree for indicative fees.

How to apply

Please review information on how to apply for the campus of your choice

Apply now

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  • The offering information on this website applies only to future students. Current students should refer to faculty handbooks for current or past course information. View courses information disclaimer.

  • Curtin course code: MJRP-DRAGM
  • Last updated on: April 23, 2020