Melbourne MicroCert

People and Change in Agriculture

Contribute to agricultural innovation by understanding how people manage change.

Study mode
12 weeks (27 hours) + 13 hours for assessment
Skills area
Agricultural Extension

Upcoming sessions

Upcoming dates for this course are yet to be announced.


An understanding of how people and organisations approach change is essential for those wanting to drive innovation in agriculture.

This Melbourne MicroCert will demystify relevant theories of change and how they apply to the agricultural context. You will be guided through topics such as adoption/diffusion, consultancy, and collaborative inquiry and learning, and then apply these via a practice challenge.

You will learn from leading practitioners who understand the educational needs of agricultural extensionists and those looking to further their path within the sector. Fully online delivery presents a convenient way to develop your skillset, in your own time and from a location that suits you.

This Melbourne MicroCert presents a rare opportunity for agricultural practitioners to undertake professional development that could contribute to further postgraduate study. You can choose to complete People and Change in Agriculture as stand-alone study, or, stack it with other Melbourne MicroCerts to work towards a further University of Melbourne course, such as the Master of Agricultural Sciences.

Who is it for?

This Melbourne MicroCert is suitable for a wide range of agricultural practitioners and extensionists. You may be working within an industry such as livestock, grains, horticulture or viticulture. Or, you may work for a relevant government body, environmental group or land management organisation that interacts with farmers. You will be looking to develop or refresh your professional skillset and increase your ability to influence sustainable agricultural innovation and change.

As this Melbourne MicroCert is undertaken online, it is open to both domestic and international participants.

Key topics

This Melbourne MicroCert will help boost your ability to facilitate learning and change amongst farmers, scientists, value chain actors or communities – ultimately leading to improvements in agricultural productivity and sustainability. You will explore:

  • Relevant frameworks and theories of change
  • Contexts for agricultural change
  • Different roles played by individuals and groups.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of this Melbourne MicroCert, you will have developed a strong grounding in theories of change within an agricultural context. You will be able to:

  • Analyse the context of change in agriculture, drawing on theories such as adoption/diffusion, consultancy and collaborative inquiry and learning
  • Evaluate the role of a chosen practitioner in the field in supporting change
  • Formulate and justify a change plan that is relevant to a practice change challenge with reference to change theory.

Learning experience

In an engaging online environment, alongside other industry professionals, you will be guided through relevant case studies, theories and frameworks. You will also be encouraged to contribute to exploratory discussions with your peers in the online forum.

Who will you learn from?

People and Change in Agriculture is led by Professor Ruth Nettle, head of the Rural Innovation Research Group (RIRG) at the University of Melbourne. Professor Nettle's personal research interests include rural workforce development, the role of extension in rural change, multidisciplinary research, development and extension, and farming systems change.


This Melbourne MicroCert will take an estimated 40 hours of study, over a period of 12 weeks. You will undertake about 7 hours of guided learning, 13 hours dedicated to assessment tasks, plus a recommended 20 hours of additional private study.

Assessment includes:

  • Part one: A video presentation, annotated flow chart or written report that outlines and analyses an agricultural change challenge (30%)
  • Part 2: A written report or annotated presentation that responds to the change challenge, drawing upon relevant theories of change and describing how you may apply these (70%)

Digital certificate

Upon completion, you will be awarded your People and Change in Agriculture Melbourne MicroCert. This digital certificate will include information and evidence of your developed and actionable skills, knowledge and capabilities (as outlined in the learning outcomes). It may also include artefacts (such as videos and written material) related to both experiential and work-integrated learning, including translatable assessment that is practical to your professional life.

Pathways to further study

People and Change in Agriculture can be undertaken as a stand-alone Melbourne MicroCert, or you can complement it with any other Melbourne MicroCert in the Agricultural Extension suite, taken sequentially.

Other Melbourne MicroCerts available in this suite include:

*These courses will be available from 2021

This MicroCert is also designed to provide a pathway – otherwise known as advanced standing – into the University of Melbourne’s Master of Agricultural Sciences. To use People and Change in Agriculture in this way, you will need to complete four Melbourne MicroCerts in the Agricultural Extension suite, as each one is equivalent to one quarter of a standard subject, and then apply for credit towards the Master of Agricultural Sciences.

Expiry of Melbourne MicroCert

This Melbourne MicroCert does not have any set expiry date.

Eligibility requirements

  • An undergraduate degree in agricultural or a related field, eg natural resource management, science
  • OR

  • 2 years of work experience in agricultural science, natural resource management or associated fields.


If you’re aged between 45–70, employed or recently unemployed (less than 9 months) and not receiving Australian Government employment assistance, you could be eligible for Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers. Skills Checkpoint is an Australian Government funded service that allows eligible individuals to access personalised support programs including one-on-one support with a career advisor.

Find out more

Upcoming sessions

Upcoming dates for this course are yet to be announced.

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