VSC505 Critical Thinking in Agriculture (16)

The subject will be presented online and via three intensive 3-day residential schools over an 8 month period, with an additional single day presentation (available on campus and online), together with assessment tasks.This subject will enable the development and enhancement of critical thinking skills, with a specific emphasis on the use of these skills in agriculture. Participants will consider the appropriate value of information in various forms and from different sources, and analyse conclusions drawn from different information types.  Areas covered will include : application of statistical theory and interpretation of data for assessment and presentation; reviewing published information and other forms of information, including the value of evidence-based information; and development and enhancement of decision making skills.  Participants will also gain a sound understanding of a systems approach (whole farm) to decision making, with the whole system or at least the relevant parts, being considered. 


Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2018.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



Two sessions


School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences

Enrolment Restrictions

Applicants should have obtained an undergraduate Bachelor degree in an area of agriculture or extensive work experience and training. Each student applicant will be assessed for degree or work experience/training relevance by the Course Director and Subject Coordinator.

Assumed Knowledge

Students will have an undergraduate degree in a relevant scientific area, or extensive, equivalent industry experience and training. Students are expected to have a sound understanding of one area of agriculture. The subject is offered at postgraduate level.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to competently review information, including critically reviewing scientific papers, utilising an evidenced-based approach;
  • be able to analyse conclusions drawn from information and select the appropriate information to determine the best path forward;
  • be able to use a systems approach to decision making in primary production enterprises;
  • be able to apply critical thinking and decision making skills to agricultural examples and determine best options, even where uncertainty exists;
  • be able to design a research or field trial to test an hypothesis;
  • be able to utilise statistical theory, data analysis and interpretation to review and present data.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Applied statistical theory and techniques;
  • Scientific research and field trial design and methodology;
  • Reviewing scientific papers;
  • A systems approach to primary production;
  • Decision making in agriculture.

Residential School

This subject contains a 9 day Compulsory Residential School.

Participants will attend Residential Schools

1 Introduction and Developing Critical Thinking: 3 days
2 Critical Thinking Case studies: 3 Days
3 Applications In Critical Thinking: 3 Days

The Residential Schools are designed to bring together the students to discuss and debate the topics of this course, and to present their final assessment item. Bringing students together in a Residential setting will encourage much greater interaction than would be available via online interactions, and ensure less distractions.  Further, it will enable students to get to know each other better, to facilitate future interactions and networking.  This "total absorprtion" intensive approach is seen as an important and efficient way to ensure upskilling at the postgraduate level.


Special Resources

Students are required to attend Wagga campus on three separate occasions for 3 day workshops. This may incur travel and accomodation costs.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or ask@csu.edu.au or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.