The University of Newcastle, Australia
Fast facts


Start dates
  • Trimester 1 - 28 Jan 2020
Mode of delivery



1 year part-time up to 3 years maximum.

UON program code: 40144

Study Co-operatives Management and Organisation

The Graduate Certificate in Co-operatives Management and Organisation is the only program of its kind in Australia. Co-operatives, mutuals and member owned businesses (CMEs) have unique legal and economic characteristics that are much needed but have been neglected in the mainstream business and law curriculum.

A qualification in this field will provide you with an advantage if you are interested in pursuing a career in the member-owned (co-operatives and mutuals) and ‘for purpose’ (co-operatives and social enterprise) sectors.

Why study with us?

  • Lead the way - co-operatives are leading the way in the promotion of sustainable and ethical business practices, the provision of public services and building stronger communities.
  • One of a kind program - the University of Newcastle offers a specialised program in the management of co-operative mutual and social enterprise business models not offered by any other University or program in Australia.
  • Study anywhere, anytime - the Graduate Certificate comprises four online courses, making it an ideal program for those who require flexible and part time study options.
  • Online delivery - the online delivery is particularly relevant for supporting rural co-ops due to their dispersed locations. The online delivery seeks through innovation to create networks of collaborating co-operatives.
  • AACSB Accreditation - the Newcastle Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), earned by fewer than five percent of the world's business programs.
World top 200 ? for business and economics
Top 10 in Australia ? for business administration
World top 150 ? for business administration

What you will study

The program will help you to understand the origins, principles and values, strengths and weaknesses of the co-operative business model. You will explore how this business model fits in relation to the sharing economy, and how it offers innovative solutions to solving economic, social and environmental challenges. You will:

  • Learn about co-operative law in Australia and some of the legal and regulatory barriers faced by co-operative businesses and recent steps taken to remove those barriers.
  • Build an in-depth understanding of social enterprises and new approaches to measure social impact.
  • Develop an understanding of organisational and technological innovation in the co-operative sector, such as platform co-operativism, seeking to use digital platforms to distribute rather than extract value from their members.

Each course is designed to provide you with the tools and resources you need to gain a theoretical and practical understanding of how alternative business models operate and how they differ from investor owned business. The courses make use of international and Australian case studies as well as open access tools to guide you through the process of starting up and managing member-owned and ‘for purpose’ enterprises. You will learn to understand the significance of these alternative models in the expanding sharing economy and how they provide sustainable outcomes by focusing on members, community and the environment.

Non-award admission

For all courses in the Graduate Certificate in Co-operatives Management and Organisation, you can apply for non-award admission. You can study one or more of these courses without advancing to an award, such as a degree or graduate certificate. You can apply for non-award admission as preliminary work for a higher degree, for professional requirements, or because of an interest in the area. Read more information on non-award admission, and see the non-award application form to apply online.

Career opportunities

The co-operative, mutual and member-owned enterprises (CME) sector is much larger than you might think and it continues to grow both in Australia and worldwide. There are almost 3 million co-ops worldwide with more than 1.2 billion members, employing near 10% of the world’s population. The largest memberships are currently in India (242 million), China (160 million) and the USA (120 million), however co-operatives and mutuals have a long history throughout Europe. Australia, has more than 2,135 CMEs, with 85% of Australian adults being a CME member.

Cooperatives and mutuals have shown strong resilience in the recent global financial crisis, and even under the current tight Australian economy the latest National Mutual Economy Report (BCCM 2017) report that Australia’s top 100 CMEs increased their annual turnover by 6.6%, and annual growth in assets were up 10.5%.

Want to learn more? The 2017 National Mutual Economy report gives a video overview of the performance of the Co-operatives and Mutual Enterprises sector in Australia.

If you are looking to pursue a career in a sector that cares more about people than profit, the Graduate Certificate in Co-operatives Management and Organisation will give you the competitive edge you need. Perhaps you are interested in helping others to understand that there are alternative ways of doing business. In both instances, you will be better equipped to do so when you graduate with a deeper understanding of co-operative principles and values new and innovative co-operative solutions with relevance in a rapidly evolving global sharing economy.

This program will enable you to leverage your existing professional experience with enhanced skills to boost your career. The knowledge you acquire will increase your business value and equip you for a managerial role within a co-operative or other social enterprise or as a specialist adviser to this sector in a mainstream accounting, financial or legal organisation. It is truly exciting to be a co-operator in the sharing economy.

Assocation to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business

The Newcastle Business School is accredited with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), earned by fewer than 5% of the world's business programs. AACSB is the premier, and longest-standing, international accrediting body for business programs and is the international benchmark for excellence in business education.