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Duration (approx) 2500 hours
Qualification Advanced Diploma

Home Study Alternative Agricultural Diploma

The looming food crisis has been created by energy-consuming, broad-acre systems that rely heavily on chemical inputs. These systems need to be urgently dismantled and replaced by healthy, environmentally sustainable, alternative farming systems.

  • Learn about permaculture and sustainable farming systems.
  • Study soils, plant culture, animal physiology and health.
  • Learn about environmentally friendly approaches to protecting plants and maintaining their health.
  • Study organic plant culture.
  • An extensive course covering a wide range of subject areas from production and management to marketing. Choose from a selection of Elective Modules to tailor the course to refine and develop your knowledge and skills to meet your needs and career goals.

Study this course - Make changes in your farming practices now!

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Study Alternative Agriculture - be an expert in sustainable farming practices

Alternative agricultural enterprises look outside the corporate-controlled agricultural environment toward creating new markets and new ways of "doing things" - by value adding or by designing market niches not able to be readily filled by mass market competition.

  • Develop your skills and knowledge to explore and apply yourself to creating sustainable farming systems. Be adaptable to meet environmental and consumer needs.

Why you should study this course!

A looming food crisis has been created by energy-consuming, broad-acre systems that rely heavily on chemical inputs. These systems need to be urgently dismantled and replaced by healthy, environmentally sustainable, alternative farming systems. Innovative leaders - who are prepared to meet the challenges of repairing the damage caused by broad-acre, chemical based monocultures - are urgently required.

Agriculture is part of a competitive, global market. Forms of agriculture that rely on the chemical inputs promoted by the global chemical companies, have degraded the environment to unsustainable levels. Environmental concerns and the looming food crisis are confronting all agricultural enterprises. There is an immediate need for agricultural leaders who can respond in an intelligent and environmentally aware manner.

This course is suitable for anyone already working in agriculture and wants to improve their job and career prospects.

You study the Advanced Diploma In Agriculture - Alternative Agriculture by distance learning. You can start at any time to suit you.

The course is made up of a total 25 modules.  The duration is approximately 2,500 hours of study.


The study modules (25) are made up of: Core Modules (8), Stream Modules (8) and Elective Modules (9). These are listed below; follow the links in the module titles to find out further details on each one:

The Core Modules (8)

Permaculture Systems
Sustainable Agriculture
Organic Farming
Farm Management
Workplace Health and Safety
Research Project I
Research Project II
Workshop I

The Stream Modules (8)

Animal Husbandry I (Anatomy and Physiology)
Animal Husbandry II (Animal Health)
Botany I (Plant Physiology and Taxonomy)
Engineering I (Machinery and Equipment)
Soil Management (Agriculture)
Agricultural Marketing
Plant Protection
Organic Plant Culture

The Elective Modules (9)

Nine additional modules are to be selected from the modules listed below:

Animal Husbandry III
Animal Breeding
Horse Care I
Horse Care II
Horse Care III
Poultry Husbandry
Pigs Husbandry
Permaculture Systems
Advanced Permaculture
Sheep Management
Dairy Cattle Management
Beef Cattle Management
Pasture Management
Fruit Production (Temperate) or Fruit Production (Warm climate)
Cut Flower Production
Natural Animal Health Care
Calf Rearing
Alternative Energy
Biochemistry I (Animals)
Biochemistry I (Plants)
Refrigerating Farm Produce

Forage Management BAG226

Soil Microbiome BSC310

Fibre Crops BAG313

Oil Crops BAG312



Core modules must be completed before stream and elective modules. Electives can be chosen from other subjects not already listed. If there are subjects that you would like to study that are not listed please contact the school for approval.

Note: Fees cover all tuition and any essential texts. This does not include fees for exams or any industry conferences/seminars or workshops which are attended.

The looming food crisis has been created by energy-consuming, broad-acre systems that rely heavily on chemical inputs. These systems need to be urgently dismantled and replaced by healthy, environmentally sustainable, alternative farming systems.

What is organic farming?

There are many definitions of organic farming. A commonly accepted definition is “farming without the addition of artificial chemicals”. An artificial chemical is one that has been manufactured or processed chemically; e.g. super phosphate (one of the world’s most important fertilisers).

Organic farmers cannot use any chemical herbicides at all. Some fertilisers and soil treatments are acceptable if they are from natural sources, for example, rock phosphate, lime and gypsum. Most artificial pesticides are prohibited; the exceptions being substances which have mild effects on the environment, such as soap and winter oil. The routine use of animal vaccines is not permitted, although some certifiers allow the use of vaccines under certain conditions. Homeopathic veterinary remedies are accepted options.

All kinds of agricultural products are produced organically – vegetables, fruit, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, and fibres such as cotton and wool. Many processed foods are also produced organically (e.g. bread).

Do not underestimate the significance of the need for alternative agricultural practices

Alternative methods of farming are increasingly important.

  • Knowing more about organics, sustainability, being ecologically friendly is essential for anyone in the agriculture industry.
  • This course will provide you with detailed knowledge of alternative agriculture.
  • The elective modules enable you to choose modules that fit specifically with you and your requirements.
  • Learn about alternative approaches to agriculture - develop your understanding of agriculture, gain knowledge and new skills under the expert guidance of our specialist Agriculture and Environmental tutors.

Improve your job and career prospects. Move into management.

Taking this course shows the discipline and determination you need to gain essential knowledge to improve your knowledge and skills.

If this is the course for you, why delay? You can Enrol today.

Any Questions?

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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

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Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Dr. Gareth PearceGraduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 with a B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Between 82 and 85 worked as Research Assistant and Demonstator in Animal Science at the University of Leeds. Over more than 30 years he has furthered his studies, obtaining eight significant university qualifications including degrees in Veterinary Science, Wildlife Conservation and Animal Behaviour. Gareth has significant teaching experience around the world as a faculty member at eight different universities including Associate Professor at Murdoch University and Director of Studies in Veterinary Science at Cambridge University. He has over 100 prestigious research papers published, and enjoys an outstanding international reputation in the fields of animal and veterinary science.
Marius Erasmus Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Check out our eBooks

Animal HealthUnderstand animal health issues, diseases and how identify and manage illnesses and injuries. Animals can become sick for many different reasons -diseases caused by infections, injuries, poisoning, genetic disorders, poor nutrition and other things.
Farm ManagementThe Farm Management ebook is a valuable piece of equipment for any farming student or current farmer. Improve your farm management skills or learn new skills and techniques. The topics covered within this Farm Management ebook include 1/ Scope and nature of the farm industry, 2/ The farm site, 3/ Production systems, 4/ Managing livestock, 5/ Managing pasture, 6/ Managing crops, 7/ Managing equipment and materials, 8/ Computer applications, 9/ Farm structures and buildings, 10/ Financial management, 11/ Marketing, 12/ Farm planning, 13/ Staff management, 14/ Water management and 15/ Diversification.
Modern MarketingThis book explores new approaches to marketing, how to adapt to a continually changing world both through online marketing, and more. Some aspects of marketing never change; but many of the well established approaches used in the past simply do not work any more. This book lays a foundation for thinking about marketing in a different way
Profitable FarmingDiscover new ways to make money from your farm and broaden your perspective on the farming industry. A few things in life are certain; change is inevitable and people need to eat. Learn to embrace change as an opportunity and improve your ability to forge a sustainable career in farming.