Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Tropical Agriculture

Admission Requirements

The minimum entry requirement for the Bachelor of Science in Tropical Agriculture program is the completion of Form 7 with a B average or better in English, Maths, Agriculture Science or other Science fields. Diploma of Agriculture graduates applying for BSc need to have a minimum GPA of 2.5.  Cross-crediting is available for Diploma students and students transferring from other universities, upon review by the Curriculum Committee of SNRAS and BSc Coordinator in the Department of Agriculture.

Course Overview

This is a four-year degree with a total of 480 credit points covered in 8 semesters and requires at least 200 hours of internship, work-based learning, or industrial attachment. The programme is student-centered, project-based with theory and application, and requires full-time on Kukum Campus (SNRAS-SINU). There are three main streams i.e. Agribusiness (AGBS), Agriculture Extension (AGEX) and Agriculture Livestock (AGRO).  Students from each stream are required to complete a set of core courses as well as specific courses which are important to their own area of specialty.  Completion of units during the first two years of this programme results in award of a Diploma in Tropical Agriculture.

Course Structure

Duration: 4 years
Core Units: 31 Units
Total Credit Points: 480
Campus: Kukum

Unit CodeUnit TitlePre-requisiteSemester OfferedCredit Points
AG501Communications & Study SkillsNIL110
In this course students work towards mastering many communication and study skills required for university studies. Classes focus on reading techniques and comprehension; writing skills, such as development of paragraphs; outlining, making citations; referencing; listening skills, study techniques, problem solving skills, research skills, thinking skills, decision making, interpersonal skills, note taking and summarizing, speeches and debates, comprehension and grammar; writing reports; memorandum letters; research essay, stress management, & time management. Given SNRAS’s focus on science students must improve English language skills and capacity with interpretation and explanation of technical material including graphs, tables and diagrams; as well as writing and simplifying scientific materials for farmers and the general public. They must prepare speeches; and improve communication and presentation skills along with adult life skills.
AG502Mathematics & Computer ApplicationsNIL110
Being functional in mathematics and basic computer applications is required in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) positions and it is important for those who seek careers as farm managers or in any agriculture related discipline. This course starts with reviewing basic arithmetic used in agriculture such as ratio and proportions (mixing feeds, farm chemicals, medicines), measurements and units (marking off farm land), basic algebra and critical thinking, applied use of exponentials, trigonometry, and basic statistics. Students explore computers as “hardware” and learn basics of “software” applications associated with Microsoft office (word, power point, excel, publisher) and practice internet searches. This unit provides a foundation for other units in agriculture and natural resources.
AG511Introduction to Plant BiologyNIL115
The course introduces the students to Plant Biology and covers the various areas of plant classification, the use of the binominal system for plant ID and naming, major cell types, including: eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells, and the basic plant life cycles. Plant cell structure and cell division will be examined, focusing on the processes of mitosis as compared to meiosis, and their roles in growth and heredity. Students will learn about intercellular and intracellular transport of water, nutrients and gasses through mass flow (bulk flow), osmosis and diffusion. Major plant hormones will be studied with respect to their regulation of growth and development of plants. Plant hormones will be examined with an emphasis on stimulus such as reactions of plants to environmental factors (e.g. tropism). Students will make observations from field trials using synthetic and commercially made chemicals to induce and initiate plant cell growth. Photosynthesis and respiration, and water and nutrient uptake will be examined, with an emphasis on acquisition mechanisms and deficiency symptoms. Plant defenses to diseases and pests will also be briefly introduced. Plant genetics and hereditary will also be introduced in this unit to prepare first year diploma students for the AG 712 course unit on Plant Genetics and Breeding.
AG521Introductory Animal BiologyNIL115
Knowledge of biology, especially animal anatomy and physiology are essential as a foundation to many aspects of animal health care. Basic biochemistry and animal cellular function are also foundational. From this knowledge evolves an appreciation of how disease and injury affect normal function, and in turn treatment can be designed to alleviate symptoms. The unit covers; classification of animals and basic chemistry, cellular biology and homeostasis, and basic anatomy and physiology of animals.
AG541Agricultural Economics INIL110
Economics underpins human societies and decision making. This unit covers: basic economic concepts including classic productivity resources (labour, capital, and land); economic principles of production and their application in agriculture; marginal analysis, law of diminishing marginal returns; production concepts, average product, optimum level of input use, product selection, competitive advantage, risk; marginal costing, variable and common costs; gross margins, net margins; net farm income; and economic concepts in agriculture marketing.
AG531Rural SociologyNIL210
Rural sociology explores the influence of physical, biological and cultural factors on people and groups considered to be rural as defined by living in the countryside as opposed to in cities and towns (i.e. urban areas). This includes the social ecology and environmental sociology of people living close to the land and natural resources. In this unit students examine the rural sociology of Pacific Islanders in an agricultural context to gain a better understanding of the social lives of farmers, how they perceive their agricultural occupations and lifestyles, challenges faced by farming families, and other factors affecting their lives in a rural setting.
AG522Pigs & Poultry ProductionNIL210
This course equips students with knowledge and experience related to commercial and small holder pig & poultry care and background to assist with further development and expansion of these industries in future. Pigs and poultry are the most common and traditional livestock kept in Pacific Islands villages and any agriculturalist should have training regarding their management. This unit covers the following topics related to farming pigs: breeds and breeding systems, different pig production systems, pig housing, nutrition, pig biology and management, pig health and disease, records. Poultry units cover: breeds and breeding systems, different poultry production systems, nutrition, egg formation, hatchery management, day old chick management, and poultry health and disease.
AG512Organic Vegetable Production OrnamentalNIL215
The course introduces the students to the principle practices of horticulture industry and covers the following instructional areas: vegetable/fruit crops origins, importance of organic vegetable production in the country, identifications of suitable early maturing fruits & vegetables in different parts of the Solomon Islands, temperature range and soil systems for fruits/vegetables productions, site selection and soil requirement for vegetables and fruit crops, principles of plant propagations, modern production systems, seed technology, land preparation and crop rotation, morphology and husbandry of important vegetable crops in the Solomon Islands and south pacific region. The course will also cover amenity horticulture – ornamental plants and landscaping concepts, intercropping fruit trees with other horticultural crops and designing a basic plant breeding programme.
AG532Food & Nutrition ScienceNIL210
This course covers nutrition from cellular to organismal level with a focus on both animal nutrition in agriculture and human nutrition in relation to food security. Topics covered include: food and its components, food utilisation, evaluation of feeds, feeding standards, feeds and feeding, ration formulation. The human nutrition topics include: Human nutritional needs, nutrition & health; food types & nutritional requirements and deficiency diseases; evaluation of nutritional status & nutritional disorders; food safety; food storage processing & cooking; food & nutrition programmes at community & national levels.
AG513Principles of Soil ScienceNIL215
Soils are the foundation of agriculture and understanding them is basic for good farm practices. The unit introduces students to the basic principles of soil science: soil types, soil textures, soil chemistry, biochemical processes in the soil environment, living organisms and their roles in soils, soil-plant nutrients interactions, and soil fertilizer evaluation and management.
AG614Crop Pathology & ProtectionAG511115
Crop Pathology and Protection introduces students to the concepts and principles of plant protection such as recognizing pests and diseases, symptoms of diseases, and managing crops to reduce harm from pests and disease. Students build confidence in the technical aspects of control measures, while considering the economic, social and biological practices of integrated pest management (IPM). Population estimations of pests and diseases through monitoring and surveying helps students to critically make judgements on what approaches to undertake. Understanding regulations and quarantine laws plays a vital role in safeguarding and prevents introduction of exotic pests into the country.
AG615Soil Fertility & ManagementAG513115
Soil fertility and management are major aspects of successful agriculture. This unit covers concepts of soil fertility and productivity, and the many factors influencing productivity including: soil texture, structure, depth, water holding capacity, porosity, density, pH, salinity, organic matter levels, total and available nutrients levels, and macro and microorganisms. Students learn more about plant nutrition including role of macro and micro elements and deficiency symptoms. Practical soil fertility evaluation is covered including soil tests, tissue tests, use of deficiency symptoms and biological tests. Students explore soil management practices including the use of fertilizers, the types and recommendations for Solomon Islands. Soil and water conservation, the roles of organic matter in improving soil are covered and demonstrated. Soil management systems are examined and compared, including: shifting cultivation, multiple cropping, agroforestry, crop rotation and composting. Finally, students address soil fertility problems in Solomon Islands, environmental pollution associated with farming, and the importance of land use planning in agricultural development at small and large scales.
AG642Farm Management PrinciplesNIL115
Farm Management looks at the decision-making processes that farm manager’s employ and covers specific knowledge and technical skills they use to make good economic decisions. The unit emphasizes the use of physical and financial records with relevant data for analysis. The unit covers the application planning, organizing, controlling the effective use of scarce farm resources and the farm management financial tools such as gross margin analysis, partial budget analysis, and sensitivity analysis as well as linear programming to improve decision making to achieve farm business goals.
AG633Extension Methods & CommunicationsAG531115
This course introduces the methods and communications in agricultural extension. It also covers the administration and supervision in agricultural extension. The unit provides sufficient background on all aspects of outreach and human resources aspects of extension preparing students to work effectively in an agricultural extension office.
AG671Statistics for Applied SciencesAG502215
This course covers all the basic statistical concepts and methods that researchers can use to do research in agriculture. The instructional areas are; handing data – types of data, sampling theory, descriptive statistics- tabular, graphical and numerical display of data, inferential statistics – hypothesis testing, estimation, statistical tests; basic design and analysis of agricultural experiments – Completely Randomized Design, Randomized Complete Block Design, Latin Square design and Split-plot design and surveys and census. The course is also designed to help students identify sampling techniques, carry out simple surveys, constructing questionnaires, piloting and implementing the questionnaire, coding of questions, data tabulation and analysis. Students who have completed this unit should be able to design and analyse agricultural experiments and surveys.
AG616Plantation Crop ProductionNIL215
This unit introduces students to varieties of crops that are classified or as plantation crops because of their characteristics or nature of their cultivation and end products. Students learn in depth, the biology, cultivation, and economic importance of coconut, cocoa, oil palm, kava and vanilla.
AG623Ruminant Animal ProductionAG521215
This course covers topics on ruminant animal production in tropical regions, including domesticated animals used for human consumption and commerce. This unit covers selected topics on: livestock production in the Pacific region, systems of production, pasture as feeds for ruminants, pasture improvement and establishment, livestock, pasture and other cropping systems integrated, beef and dairy cattle and goats and sheep farming systems. This will include aspects of animal management practices and animal health issues.
AG643Agriculture MarketingAG541215
This course provides the students with the concepts of applied economic related to agriculture and how they help explain producer behavior and what motivates consumer behavior. The unit explores the important role of marketing in any economic system. The basis of international trade is also covered including its advantages and its negative implications to developing countries such as the Solomon Islands.
AG772Research Projects I: Proposals & DesignAG671115
This course is part one of a two semester approach to provide students with understanding of theoretical and applied aspects of agricultural research methods so that they are able to choose appropriate research methods and analytical tools for managing research projects for specific types of research problems. In the first part of the course, students (individually or in a team) are required to formulate a research proposal on specific topic of their choice in any particular sub-discipline of agriculture. They are required to do a quality literature search and communicate their research proposals in reports and seminars. This course also covers research design and sampling. Students will be required to produce a proposal that includes an abstract, introduction, literature, methodology section, suggest outcomes and a plan budget.
AG781Survey and GIS ApplicationsAG671115
This course introduces students to the basic concepts of Geographical Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) and illustrate these concepts with short exercises using local data. These exercises demonstrate how GIS can help visualise, land use opportunities, limitations and planning scenarios.
AG717Field Crops, herbs & SpicesNIL115
This course is designed to provide students with basic knowledge on root crops, herbs and spices cultivated in the Solomon Islands. The unit exposes to origins and biology of root crops, herbs and spices including morphological structures, husbandry practices and their uses and function in the diet of Solomon Islanders. Postharvest practices in the field and before marketing to the public are also highlighted. Students develop a garden that features the crops they study.
AG744Agribusiness Management (AGBS)AG 643115
This course is designed for students who wish to take Agribusiness Management course as their interest. It contains a solid foundation for higher-level agribusiness courses. It provides a broad and necessary understanding of basic agribusiness management skills and a comprehensive, straightforward presentation of all key management concepts and skills needed for success.
AG734Extension Systems, Approaches & Training (AGEX)NIL115
The course introduces the student to agriculture extension systems and approaches. The training covers the following instructional areas. Basic concepts and principles of extension processes; concepts of extension systems, type of extension system of extension concept of teaching diamonds; the change process; creation of favorable condition f change; building external relations; basic principles of experimental including the general agricultural extension approach, commodity specialized approach, training and visit approach; agricultural extension participatory approach, project approach , farming system development approach, cost sharing approach, project approach, farming system development approach, cost haring approach and educational institutions approach; and government’s role in agricultural and rural extension.
AG724Paravetrinary & One Health (AGRO)NIL115
Traditional health initiatives generally tackled health issues in isolation to other disciplines as if they were not related. For example, previously in the field of animal health, human health or environmental health, there had been very little collaboration and communications between these disciplines. However, nowadays, these disciplines are no longer isolated because one affects the other, thus combining them into a one health concept. For example, animal diseases are no longer restricted to animals because more 60% of human diseases had their origins from animals (One health, Wikipedia, September 2015). Not only that but what constitutes the environment will determine the health of living being connected to that environment. As such the health of animals, human beings and the environment has to be treated and approached in a holistic manner, thus the evolution of “One health” concept.
AG773Research II: Data Management & ReportingAG772215
This course is part one of a two semester approach; the first part of this course is AG772 where students are expected to present their research proposals. This unit covers the theoretical and applied aspects of agricultural research methods so that students are able to choose the appropriate research method(s) and analytical tools for managing research projects for specific types of research projects. Students (individually or in a team) will conduct research on specific topics of their choice in any particular sub-discipline of agriculture. They will also be required to communicate their research results effectively, both orally and in good written English.
AG718Land Use & DevelopmentNIL215
This course will provide students with an understanding of Principles and Concepts of Land Use and Development and of the significance of appropriate land use planning for Development to achieve a sustainable environmental and resource(s) management. This course will also teach students how to use local and scientific knowledge, information and systems to develop and implement a sustainable and integrated approach to agricultural development when it comes to land use priorities, understanding that land is a scares resource against the growing population of Solomon Islands. Solomon Islands being recorded for its highest birth rate among countries in the region need to build skills in monitoring the success of agricultural development and in the use of culturally appropriate means to ensure compliance and its future needs.
AG746Agricultural Economics IIAG541215
This course covers the aggregate behaviour of the economy with the focus on Solomon Islands Economy. It provides an introduction to key macroeconomic variables such as output, employment, inflation, interest rates and exchange rates. The course includes measurement of macroeconomic variables, models and theories to explain the behaviour of macroeconomic variables, and the role of government policy to influence macroeconomic outcomes. The course will provide students with a framework for understanding the workings of the whole economy and the various interactions among households, business and governments.
AG747Agriculture Cooperatives (AGBS)NIL215
This course is designed to give students the knowledge and skills they need in order to form and manage agricultural cooperatives. It covers the following instructional areas; understanding cooperatives, participation and training, Communication, organizational development, cooperative management, planning and organizing cooperative activities, participatory appraisal, monitoring and evaluation and accounting. The focus is on primary agricultural cooperatives and how they can be of help to poor farmers who are not as profitable alone in the market.
AG735Extension Programme Planning (AGEX)NIL215
This course introduces agriculture extension program planning and administration in agricultural extension. This unit covers the Concept of Extension Administration, Principles of Extension Administration, Theories of Administration Related to Extension, Essential Tasks of an Extension Administrator, Strategic Tasks of an Extension, Administrator, Strategic Tasks of an Extension Administrator, Qualities and Functions of Extension Administrators, Organizing and Coordinating for Extension Work, Extension Supervision, Staff Recruitment, Placement and Discipline, Motivation in the Extension System, Extension Programme, Planning and Execution, Strategic Extension Campaign, Personnel Management and Staff Training, The Role of Public Relations in the Extension Service, Marketing Extension, Monitoring and Evaluation in Extension Programmes, Field Visits and Reporting, Introduction to extension strategy in pilot rural development, Basic strategies involved in pilot project for rural developments, and Pilot projects beneficiaries.
AG725Aquaculture Tech & Management (AGRO)NIL215
Aquaculture is a global, rapidly expanding industry transforming regional economies, removing pressure on existing fisheries and solving environmental issues using technologies. In this course, you learn about the state of the art, sustainable farming methods and business concepts in food production and value adding. You apply theoretical and practical knowledge of aquaculture to interpret trends and future predictions and explore impacts on adjoining ecosystems. You learn through laboratory sessions, field visits, and face-to-face interactions. You develop the skills in aquaculture that investigates an issue or opportunity for your future careers.
AG750Work-based Learning in Tropical Agriculture done during School BreakNIL210
Students are required to do reflective work-based learning (WBL). During semester and annual breaks associated with year 3 and until the start of semester 2 of their 4th year. Students may work on the farm helping with research projects, developing a project at home, or working with businesses to gain professional experience and confidence. Students will keep a journal and portfolio of materials related to their WBL experiences, and at the end of the evaluation period (by the start of second semester of year 4) submit a reflective 10-page report on their WBL accomplishments. Students may be required to give an oral report at a student conference organized by SNRAS academic staff. Each student will be part of a group that is mentored and supervised by an academic staff. The total time allocated to WBL must be at least 200 hours. Students are required to keep a reflective journal, records of hours, records of people who have supervised them, and a portfolio about their WBL experience. Students will compile a 10-page report describing what they have done during the 200 hours or more, and reflect on what they have learned, describing specifically how the experience will aid them in advancing personally and professionally in agriculture.
AG719Climate Change & AgricultureNIL115
Climate change in Agriculture introduces students to the range of extreme climatic conditions and its impacts on agricultural crops, livestock and range of other farming crops including, export commodities and other high valued products e.g. Cocoa, coffee etc. It also provides opportunity to learn about the vulnerability, threats to agriculture related sectors. The challenge to address issues of small island states and support from internationally recognized institutions and organizations is vital to deal with issues of agriculture and climate change.
AG736Post-Harvest Management AG717115
The course introduces the students to field of and covers the following instructional areas: harvesters including fruits, vegetables, grain cleaning and grading, grain threshing, feed mills, feed mixing and cubing, principles of crop drying including deep bed and thin layer drying, psychometric chart, vegetable and fruit processing, nut processing, environmental control of crop and livestock buildings, farm transport, and materials handling, seed production technology includes seed multiplication, agronomy aspect of seed production, protection, isolation, planting, cultivation and rouging, seed harvesting, processing, drying, cleaning and storage, seed quality control including field inspection and laboratory tests, seed certification and legislation, seed distribution, and seed production recommendations for important crops with emphasis on Solomon islands.
This course unites forestry and agriculture introducing the potential value and the agronomic considerations of establishing and managing sustainable systems of agroforestry in the region. Students develop an understanding of integrating wood production, nut tree crops, cocoa, coffee, and various tree crops with row crops in a mixed agroecological system. Students investigate aspects of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ agroforestry systems in Solomon Islands, the concepts and practices relating to the (productive and protective) role of agroforestry in the region, the scope for efficient and sustainable supply of forest products in agroforestry systems, the bases of crop and soil management practices in agroforestry systems, how best to integrate livestock into agroforestry systems in order to sustain production, understand socio-economic influence on agroforestry systems and vice versa and the nature of forestry extension
AG748Agriculture Project ManagementNIL110
The instructional areas include of this course includes the types of agricultural development projects; phases in project cycle (identification, preparation, appraisal, implementation, identification and preparation of projects); economic analysis including time-value of money, payback period, net present worth, benefit-cost ration, internal rate of return; environmental impact assessment; funding sources, feasibility test for funding and financial control system; project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
AG737Adult Teaching & Learning TheoriesNIL110
Cross-credited with the School of Education and Humanity.
AG749MAL and Government PoliciesNIL110
This course covers the various functions of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAL) and how the National Agriculture and Livestock policy guided agricultural development along the lines with the Solomon Islands Government economic development strategy. These involves the key roles, national policy context, national agricultural and rural development strategies, and key issues and constraints, goals and objectives, key activities and the key outcomes.
AG711Soil Water & ManagementAG513215
Assess the importance, quality and quantity of soil and water as natural resources for ecosystems and societies. Understand the principles of soil erosion processes and management practices to decrease erosion in urban, cropland and rangeland systems. Understand the principles of the soil water cycle to improve water use efficiency of dry-land and irrigated systems. Understand how to utilize soil resource assessment tools to make land management decisions. Examine the role of soil management in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
AG712Plant Genetics & Breeding AG511215
This course introduces students to Plant Genetics and Breeding. It covers the basics of genetics including the role of DNA, RNA and proteins, mitosis, meiosis, and compares replication, transcription and translation between prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Current sequencing technologies and advancements in technologies will be discussed. This knowledge will then be applied to plants. The different genetic stages of plants during their life cycle will be compared for common plants. The distinctive ability of plants to achieve polyploidy will also be covered. Heredity of alleles will be discussed with respect to Mendel’s findings as well as modern findings, discussing monohybrid, dihybrid, and multiple allele crosses. The unit will also discuss commonly used and modern advancements in reproduction and breeding procedures and their advantages. Examples will be used, especially examples from Solomon Islands where possible, showing how breeding has led to benefits in agriculture such as improvements in size, taste, disease resistance, drought and salt tolerance, with respect to genetics. The unit will also cover methodology and uses of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
AG726Animal Breeds & GeneticsAG521215
This course covers topics that are on animal genetics, breeding systems and types of breeds of farm animals that are raised for human consumption. The topics that relates to genetics will cover the fundamental principles of genetics that about theories of inheritance and breeding systems. It will cover topics on types of animal breeds that are used locally and overseas. This will provide knowledge and facilitate training to acquire skills to support learners’ understandings about these fields, that will enable learners to gain required skills to enhance their abilities for future advancement in animal breeding, selection and management practices in agriculture.
AG740Investment Analysis in Agriculture (AGBS)AG643210
The course covers the following instructional areas: concept and theory of investment; the types of investment and their characteristics; selection and decision making on types of investment; concept of finance: records and source documents; and financial statements that are used in assessing the financial position. The processes for land acquisition for agriculture purposes; considerations of land utilization and land suitability; and the government role in investment.
AG891Honors Project in Extension or Education (AGRO)AG772210
Honors projects are original, innovative, research-oriented efforts made by a student with limited supervision by an Honor’s Committee or Advisor. They are best practice before setting out to do a graduate degree. To complete AG 891, the student will be required to make a proposal stating his/her project topic, goals and timeline. Next the student would complete the project and provide a final report and presentation for evaluation by the committee or advisor. The final product must be completed by the end of the final exam period associated with the second semester of year 4.
AG893Honors Project in Agronomy (AGEX)AG772210
Honors projects are original, innovative, research-oriented efforts made by a student with limited supervision by an Honor’s Committee or Advisor. They are best practice before setting out to do a graduate degree. To complete AG 891, the student will be required to make a proposal stating his/her project topic, goals and timeline. Next the student would complete the project and provide a final report and presentation for evaluation by the committee or advisor. The final product must be completed by the end of the final exam period associated with the second semester of year 4.