The School of Agriculture and Food Sciences has a diverse range of teaching and research areas. In this section you will find information on these areas and links to study options, current research and School academics.


Agribusiness focuses on the business aspects of producing, processing, distributing and marketing food and fibre products, both domestically and internationally.

Agribusiness producers, processors, distributors and retailers form chains
of businesses that deliver a wide range of products and services in the food
and fibre sectors. These chains engage in activities such as:

  • Primary production 
  • Value adding through processing 
  • Supplying of inputs 
  • Transport, storage and logistics
  • Retailing and wholesaling
  • Provision of services such as banking, finance, investment, insurance and technical advice

Agribusiness graduates find rewarding jobs in all these areas.

If you study Agribusiness you will learn about marketing, finance, business strategy and managing the people and businesses in the chain that links production with consumption. Through our hands-on approach to learning, you will regularly be exposed to practising managers, their businesses and contemporary agribusiness issues such as sustainability, globalisation, food security and international trade. 

Why study Agribusiness?

Agribusiness graduates move into management positions. We aim to produce graduates who are market focused, commercially aware, innovative, internationally oriented and technically competent. For undergraduates, your studies may include an on-course overseas research project. In recent years we have had small groups of undergraduates doing research in China, Malaysia, Japan, Dubai, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.

Agribusiness graduates can find employment in the following areas:

  • Banking, finance, investment and insurance
  • Commodity trading, sales and marketing
  • Export marketing and management
  • Supply chain management
  • Government departments in Australia and abroad
  • Policy development and analysis in agricultural and regional agencies

The School offers the following study options:

Agribusiness research being undertaken within the School includes:

The Agribusiness group is actively engaged in research that deals with the producer-to-consumer value chain, both in Australia and in developing countries.

  • Food and fibre value chains: their competitiveness, sustainability, innovation potential and policy implications
  • Improving agribusiness performance in developing countries (current examples include Pakistan, Philippines, Vietnam, Pacific Islands, Nepal, Kenya and Sri Lanka)
  • e-technologies in agribusiness
  • Agribusiness research methodologies

School academics in this field:

Agribusiness staff have specialist research interests and expertise in marketing, consumer behaviour, e-business, finance, management, value chain management, international agribusiness and applications in developing countries. 

Key research collaborators with the School include:


Agricultural economics

Agricultural and resource economics addresses the economic and policy issues associated with agricultural production, marketing, and trade, and the management of natural resources, including land, water, fisheries, and forests.

Members of this professional group are trained to have a thorough
understanding of microeconomic and macroeconomic principles, detailed
applied knowledge of agriculture, agribusiness, the natural environment, and rural development, and a wide range of analytical tools.

Agricultural and resource economists are concerned about global issues such as food security, rural poverty, international trade in agricultural and resource commodities, the impact of economic activity on the environment, the utilisation and conservation of natural resources, and the impact of research and technological change on agricultural production and natural resources. 

Agricultural Economics graduates can find employment as:

  • Research and policy officers in state and national government departments and international organisations
  • Research and management roles in bilateral and multilateral development agencies, consultancies and NGOs
  • Extension and advisory staff in state government departments and private businesses
  • Research officers with universities, government departments, ABARES, and CSIRO
  • Managers and analytical staff in financial institutions
  • Analysts in agribusiness companies
  • University-based teachers and researchers

The University offers the following study options:

School academics in this field:

Agricultural and resource economics research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • Examination of alternative models for involving smallholders in oil palm production in Malaysia and Indonesia
  • Analysis of smallholder teak production in Laos and the implications for agrarian change
  • Comparative research of pressures on shifting cultivation systems in the Philippines, Malaysia, and Laos
  • Developing agricultural policies for rice-based farming systems in Laos and Cambodia
  • Economics of smallholder cattle production, marketing, and policy in Indonesia
  • Analysis of agricultural policies and markets, grassland degradation and smallholder livelihoods in China
  • Economic analysis of forage-livestock systems in western China
  • Analysis of grassland degradation and policies
  • Analysis of specialty product markets in China
  • Policy and market analysis of ruminant livestock industries in China and Sino-Australian trade in ruminant livestock products


agronomy and horticulture

Agronomy covers the science and technologies involved in cultivation of plants for sustainable agricultural systems; crop production and pastures. Horticulture covers the production of fruit, vegetable, nursery and floriculture crops in extensive (field) and intensive production systems (greenhouses). Studies in this field underpin not only rural industries but also enhanced food security, human health and general economic development while conserving the natural environment.

Why study agronomy and horticulture?

Want to understand how plant growth and production systems can be managed; gain excellent technical, diagnostic and problem solving skills; work with plants outdoors, in the office or perhaps a research centre? Then this program is for you.

Eastern Downs crop trials

Plant major graduates will find employment in:

  • Technical or policy roles in government and industry
  • Management of a rural enterprise; cropping, fruit or vegetable production
  • Plant nursery, turf and floriculture production
  • Business management, banking, finance and insurance
  • Research and development
  • Teaching (on completion of a Graduate Diploma in Education)

The School offers students the following study options:

Agronomy and Horticultural research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • Control of woody weeds with fungal pathogens
  • Flowering physiology of Australian native species
  • Application of biotechnology to crop improvement
  • Plant propagation and tissue culture
  • Development of crop disease forecasting systems
  • Use of botanical pesticides in cropping systems
  • Application of Biochar to improve soil quality
  • Management of soil biocrusts in pastoral systems and for land reclamation

Research Outcomes and Resources:

Project title:
Breeding drought tolerance for rainfed lowland rice in the Mekong region
Asia; Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Australia
The project was Generation Challenge Programme(GCP) project number: G3008.09

School academics in this field:

Key research collaborators with the School include:

animal production

Animal production is concerned with the scientific and business aspects of
the production of beef and dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats and pigs.

The sciences that underpin animal production include animal
behaviour, microbiology, anatomy and physiology, biochemistry,
health, genetics, nutrition and reproduction.

Animal scientists research and distribute newly discovered information about the biology and management of production animals. They look at improving the efficiency of humane and environmentally responsible use of animals for food.

The latest  technologies and business principles and how to apply to animal husbandry programs to ensure profitable and sustainable animal production

Located jointly between two campuses the School has access to the $30million Centre for Advanced Animal Science and the $85million veterinary science facilities located at the UQ Gatton campus, giving it some of the best animal teaching and research amenities in the Southern Hemisphere.

Animal science graduates can find employment as:

  • Managers of animal production enterprises
  • Extension and animal welfare officers with government departments
  • Research scientists with universities, government departments and CSIRO 
  • Officers with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service or Customs
  • Biosecurity officers
  • Managers and technical officers with allied industries, such as feed milling and stock equipment manufacturers and animal health companies 

The School offers the following study options:

School academics in this field:

In the News:

Gut Feeling - featuring on ABC's Landline - Wayne Bryden, Peter Dart and Xiuhua Li


environmental science

Environmental Scientists have a leadership role in modern society to advance the sustainable use of earth and water resources, conservation of biodiversity, human and ecosystem health. Graduates of the Bachelor of Environmental Science Program are equipped for environmental decision making, auditing
and legislating with foundations in science and at the interface of law, social sciences and management. A partnership program with employers facilitates networking and professional development. The four specialisations (Majors) encourage students to pursue specific interests within the Program: Earth Science; Ecology and Conservation; Natural Resource Science and Environmental Toxicology.

Environmental Science graduates find employment in:
  • Botanist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental engineer 
  • Land use advisor/consultant
  • Soil physicist
  • Water quality analyst

The School offers students the following study options:

Environmental Science research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • SaveN Cane - Nitrogen use efficient sugarcane
  • Tropical forests and tree plantations
  • Organics as nutrient sources for plants and for sustainable crop production
  • Spinifex (Triodia) grasses of the Australian arid zone

Further information on these research projects.

School academics in this field:


equine science

Equine science is an animal science field that specialises in areas such as nutrition, reproduction, exercise physiology, health and rehabilitation, as well as welfare and behaviour in horses.

The knowledge acquired through Equine science studies is used to improve

  • the management, performance and welfare of both leisure horses and
  • equine athletes. Equine science also explores the interactions between horse and rider.

The School has access to UQ Gatton campus' $1.5million Equine Precinct, the most comprehensive set of horse related facilities at any Australian university.

The Equine Precinct includes:

  • eight new crushes for reproductive dental and performance horse testing
  • holding yards
  • teasing lanes
  • a mechanical horse walker
  • dressage and show-jumping arenas
  • reproductive laboratories allows for semen evaluation, embryo transfer and a clean dust-free serving area for semen collection.
  • agistment for your horse while studying here. Contact Mitch Coyle at the Equine Unit.

Equine Science student Nathan Mura

Why study Equine Science?

Studying Equine Science within the School of Agriculture and
Food Sciences will give you access to these world-class facilities and the
close linkages to other UQ areas such as
Australian Equine Genetics Research Centre.

Equine Science graduates can find employment in:

  • Animal nutrition and animal health companies and other agribusiness firms that service the equine industry
  • Equine journalism
  • Equine industry organisations and educational institutions
  • Horse studs and racing and competition stables
  • Statutory bodies administering racing and trotting
  • Breed societies, equestrian centres and riding schools

The School offers students the following study options:

School academics in this field:


food science

Food Science and Nutrition covers all aspects of the food system from ‘farm to fork’ such as on-farm production, off-farm processing, distribution and consumers’ food selection and consumption, including the effect of different food on their health

Food scientists examine the physical nature and chemical composition of food, how and why food behaves under different conditions of processing and storage to improve the safety and quality of food and extend the range of products available. Food technologists also develop new food products and technologies in the processing of foods.

Studies investigate the psychological, sociological and cultural factors that influence food and choice and the associated health consequences. Those involved in nutrition science also look at the effects of dietary nutrients on growth, development, health and wellbeing in the population.

Why study Food Science and Nutrition?

Feeding the ever increasing global population is going to continue to be a high priority in the coming years. A career in this field will mean you will be doing something worthwhile in the years to come.

Associate Professor Mark Turner - Food Science and Technology from The University of Queensland on Vimeo.

 Our international students have their say

  1. Elsie Cheong ( )
  2. Kamornrath Sungkaprom ( )
  3. Thi Le Thoa Nguyen ( )
  4. Samantha Wong ( )
  5. Vedaste Ndungutse ( )
  6. Carol Grace Fernandez ( )
  7. Jia Li Xue ( )

Food Technology student

Graduates can find employment in the following roles

  • Food technologists
  • Food product research and development officers
  • Food microbiologists
  • Food quality and safety assurance officers/managers
  • Community nutritionists and educators
  • Food policy officers

The School offers the following study options

Food Science and Nutrition research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • Microencapsulation of food ingredients
  • Stability of dairy powders
  • Spray drying, UHT, High Pressure Processing of food products
  • Lactic acid bacteria genetics and manipulation
  • Cheese flavour and adjunct cultures
  • Phenolics in honey, wine and tea
  • Sensory-Texture-Rheology - research and capabilities building for the dairy industry
  • Influence of nutrient asynchrony on finisher growth performance and feed efficiency
  • In vitro fermentation of bacterial cellulose composites as model dietary fibres

The Story of Wheat - The story of wheat describes a case study of food science. Food science is not just one discipline but in order to transform a harvested crop into a high quality, tasty, desirable and safe food such as our daily bread, a multitude of sciences are required. View video

Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences (CNAFS) under QAAFI is located along with the School. CNAFS also has a wide range of research activities in the field.

School academics in this field

Key research collaborators with the School include


natural resources

Natural resource management addresses technical, economic, political and social issues related to land, water, forests, grasslands, and other resources. Sustainable use of natural resources underpins all of our livelihoods, and community well-being. It is an important area of community concern, both domestically and internationally. Successful management of natural resources involves sound technical practices, good policy, and often most importantly, collaboration between individuals and groups with different interests within a landscape. It combines environmental, social, economic and policy considerations, considered from local to global scales.

Since many of the issues are interdisciplinary in nature, teaching is shared with other schools within the university (such as Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, Economics, and Social Sciences) and integration courses are taught within the programs to equip students with the skills needed to combined biophysical, economic and social aspects of natural resource management.

Natural Resource Management graduates can find employment as:

  • Research and policy officers in state and national government departments and in international organisations
  • Extension and advisory staff in community-based NRM organisations, state government departments and private businesses
  • Consultants to Australian producers and in developing countries to increase food security, improve farm outcomes, and facilitate compromise in land use conflicts
  • Managers and field staff responsible for the care of national parks, forests and other natural areas
  • Advisors in banks and other financial institutions
  • Academics in tertiary teaching

 The University offers students the following study options:

Natural Resource Management research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • Improving livelihoods and rural industries in developing countries
  • Agroforestry, smallholder and community forestry and agricultural systems
  • Tropical forest restoration and management
  • Integrated water resource management
  • Indigenous natural resource management
  • Effective governance of natural resources
  • Resolving resource conflicts
  • Renewable energy and the carbon economy
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Managing social-ecological systems for resilience

School academics in this field:

The quality of life now enjoyed in advanced countries is based on cheap energy and materials from fossil hydrocarbons. As the world population surpasses 7 billion people, the pressure on a finite land area for food and fibre productivity is becoming immense.

Developing nations are determined to escape energy poverty and share this quality of life. Demand is growing exponentially, but supply is finite. Present consumption rates are severely damaging our global environment. This creates the most dangerous environmental and political scenario in human history.

From it grows the greatest scientific challenge ever faced by humanity: the transition to sustainability within a single generation. The urgency of this challenge has swept the consciousness of people around the world within a few years. The transition requires dramatic change in both supply and consumption of energy and materials. The magnitude of the challenge is still being understood and it is redefining the expectation from great research institutions.

Plants are the renewable source of energy and materials on earth. Biotechnology can increase the yield and reliability of supply and the diversity of materials harvested from plants. Sustainability involves the entire production system including inputs (water, fuel, fertiliser) and competing demands (food, fibre, timber and conservation). Economic viability depends on government policy and market factors that determine when and how the real costs of sustainability are paid. Only by combining the best across these areas of expertise can we meet the defining challenge in the available time.

Plant biology

Graduates can find employment in:

  • Australian and overseas universities
  • Research Institutes (both agricultural and medical)
  • Local, national and foreign government agencies such as:
    • State Departments of Agriculture and Environment
    • CSIRO (Australia)
    • US Department of Agriculture
  • Agricultural companies
  • Pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing companies
  • Life science and biotech companies

The University offers students the following study options:

Plant Biology research within the School:

UQ is unequivocally one of the premier plant science education, training and research universities in Australia. UQ obtained the maximum 5 classification in plant biology in the last ranking of the ‘Excellence for Research in Australia Initiative’ (ERA). Plant Science research at UQ is continuously delivering important advances in discovery science and frontier technologies and plant researchers at UQ are collaborating with many of the world’s leading universities. Plant Biology research at UQ is a significant institutional asset and has attracted outstanding levels of extramural cash funding, with $9.2 million dollars in 2010 and a total of $108 million dollars in the last 15 years. The recently created Queensland Alliance for Agricultural and Food Innovation (QAAFI) will provide a new and outstanding capability in Translational Research that will bridge the gap between fundamental research and applied outcomes.

School academics in this field:

Key research collaborators with the School include:


Throughout the world, vibrant rural communities are crucial to economic opportunities, social vitality and the environmental sustainability of rural areas. Prosperous, sustainable agricultural systems and functional rural communities often rely on each other.

In community development, we work with community members to foster the strength and resilience of their community, underpinning the improvement of people’s quality of life and the management of the landscapes they depend on. In agricultural extension, we help rural people and scientists to work together to better manage agricultural enterprises and natural resources.

Rural community development involves working with people and community organisations to identify and mobilise local assets, help sustain communities in the face of change, ensure appropriate engagement of people and help manage conflict. It offers many opportunities for interdisciplinary studies, in collaboration with a variety of other sciences and professions.

Why study rural communities:

Want to understand how your agricultural practice or animal studies can help communities throughout the world? Do you want to help communities and regions to achieve sustainable development? Or do you want to learn how to work well in teams? If so, study and research in rural communities is for you.

Working with rural communities in the Solomon Islands

Rural communities graduates will find employment in:

  • Community engagement and policy roles in government and industry
  • Regional bodies for natural resource management
  • Rural development and agricultural industries
  • Agricultural extension
  • Research and development
  • International development agencies and NGOs

The School offers students the following study options:

Community and regional research being undertaken within the School includes:

  • Community engagement, in a variety of industry and government settings
  • Community-based planning
  • Rural community development
  • Social aspects of sustainability and resilience
  • Community partnerships in integrated water resources management
  • Understanding and managing social-ecological systems
  • Collaboration between government and communities
  • Indigenous co-management of natural resources

School academics in this field:

Key research collaborators with the School include:

 The image used on this page has been supplied courtesy of the International WaterCentre


Soil is a renewable energy source and is one of the ‘life-bloods’ that nurtures, nourishes and sustains life. Of the total food consumed by humans, 99.7% comes from soil.

It is estimated that the world wastes between 80-90% of its applied nutrients and yet soil health, its ability to operate as a carbon sink, and its role in revitalising waterways are vital priorities for industry and shaping agrifood practices.

A soil scientist studies the chemical, physical, and biological properties of the top few meters of the Earth’s surface. Soil science is divided into two main areas of study – soil pedology and soil edaphology.

Soil pedology studies the formation and development, composition, morphology and identification and the classification of soils.

Edaphology focuses on human’s use of soil and its influence on living things, particularly plants. This includes soil fertility, managing sewers and landfills, anticipating flood runoff, and examining the process by which plants obtain nutrients and water from soil.

Scientists also look at the inter-relationships between soil and factors that affect plant growth such as soil acidity, salinity and toxic contaminations.

In the field

Soil Science graduates can find employment in:

  • Ground contamination remediation from landfills and other ecological accidents
  • Environmental management in the mining industry
  • Soil scientists in government and industry for agricultural production
  • Soil conservation
  • Water catchment management
  • Assisting palaeontologists and archaeologists to give an environmental and human history of sites
  • Research scientist

The University offers students the following study options:

Soil Science research at the School:

The University of Queensland was one of only six institutions to have the sub-discipline of Soil Science rated in the 2010 Australia-wide government assessment, with the group performing “above international standard”. Major research activities of the Group cover the science and sustainable management of agricultural systems, the management of physically, chemically and nutritionally degraded lands including mine land rehabilitation, the land application of solid and liquid waste, and natural resource assessment.

School academics in this field

Key research collaborators with the School include:

Other links

Urban horticulture is the science enabling people/plant interactions that improve and enhance daily life by providing green spaces, such as parks, trees, green walls and roofs that reduce stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect. Health benefits arise from active recreation spaces such as sports fields, pleasant tranquil spaces as well as small scale vegetable and fruit production. This is a rapidly developing area of horticulture as people are now aware of the value of growing horticultural crops in cities, developing attractive green spaces for improving the liveability of cities and their tourism potential. In Singapore $1.2 B is being spent on the ‘Gardens by the Bay’ development and the new roof garden on the integrated resort has dramatically increased the number of tourists visiting Singapore. An example of such a development in Australia is the Perth waterfront.

Why study Urban Horticulture?

Want to understand how plants enhance the urban landscape and improve our quality of life; gain excellent technical, diagnostic and problem solving skills; work with plants outdoors, in the office or perhaps a research centre? Then this program is for you.

Urban Horticulture graduates will find employment in:

  • Horticulturist - with specialisations in urban soils and growing media, plant selection to assist landscape architects, landscape management.
  • Urban Park Manager
  • Turf consultant  
  • Education and training
  • Marketing role (Allied Industries)

Green wall trials by Centre for Urban Greenery and Ecology (CUGE), Singapore

The School offers students the following study options:

The School has an articulation arrangement with Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Diploma graduates from Ngee Ann can articulate into the third year of Bachelor of Applied Science in Plants or Urban Horticulture.

School academics in this field:

Key research collaborators with the School include:

A veterinary technologist is an integral member of an animal healthcare team who has been educated in care and handling of companion and production animals, and in routine laboratory and clinical support procedures for veterinary radiography, anaesthesia, surgery, pathology, clinical pathology, nutrition, veterinary therapeutics, and professional communications and animal reproduction.

Veterinary technologists study animal handling, welfare and behaviour, clinical aspects of small and large animal health, applied and clinical nutrition, veterinary pharmacology, veterinary pathology, veterinary therapeutics, diagnostic practices, veterinary surgical nursing principles and veterinary practice management.

Monitoring a patient's heartrate

Veterinary Technology graduates can find employment in:

  • Support staff in veterinary practices including general, specialist and management roles
  • Biosecurity inspectors and project support staff with government agencies
  • Animal behaviour and training instructors
  • Animal research technicians and supervisors
  • Veterinary laboratory scientists and veterinary pharmaceutical representatives
  • Clinical academics in higher education

The School offers students the following study options:

Studies in this area give the ability to implement and evaluate policy aspects of wildlife conservation management programs and utilisation. Scientists in this field study the biology, management, ecology, conservation management and human-wildlife interactions associated with ‘wild animals’ such as mammals, reptiles, amphibians, native and exotic birds in natural or created environments. Graduates in this field will make major contributions to wildlife, game and vertebrate pest management industries in Australia.

Students learn wildlife trapping, identification and handling skills and will develop strong scientific knowledge of wildlife anatomy and physiology, breeding, reproduction, nutrition, health, husbandry, ecology, welfare and behaviour. Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to undertake a three-week International Experience elective in Australia and Southern Africa. Students also have the opportunity to complete a Certificate IV in Captive Animals as part of their studies.

UQ recently opened the purpose built Native Wildlife Teaching and Research Facility for endangered native animals to support breeding and research programs to save endangered animals and provides a teaching resource for students. This facility currently houses Julia Creek dunnarts, Mahogany gliders and Bridled Nailtail wallabies.

Flood the wallaby

Wildlife Science graduates find employment in:

  • Wildlife sanctuaries and zoos
  • Vertebrate pest and game management
  • Government agencies
  • Ecotourism
  • Marine resource organisations
  • Conservation organisations

The School offers students the following study options:

Animal Wildlife research being undertaken within the School includes:


  • Koala Study Program - Ecology
  • Koala Reproductive Biology
  • Koala Disease
  • Koala Structure and Function – comparison to wombats


  • Wildlife Reproductive Physiology
  • Wildlife Stress Physiology and Welfare

Sperm DNA damage

  • International Collaboration – Spain
  • Evolution of sperm DNA / chromatin packaging and SCD assays
  • Reproductive Toxicology

Agriculture / Wildlife Interactions

  • Farming Wildlife
    • Saltwater crocodile farming
    • Aquaculture – Prawns and other Crustacean (DAFFI and CSIRO)
  • What we learn from wildlife
    • Heat stress physiology
    • Sperm survival

3D and Classical Anatomy

  • Production of 3d Computer Models for anatomical studies
    • Wombats (wombat foundation)
    • Koalas
    • Crocodiles
    • Bilby (save the bilby fund)
  • Classical anatomy (collaborations with the Nippon Veterinary and Life Science Uni, Japan)

School academics in this field:


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