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FdSc Animals and Horticulture as Therapy

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. Key characteristics required when working with animals and horticulture or plants within a therapy setting will be covered. Horticultural techniques, therapeutic skills and how to work with people and animals will be key elements of the course. The programme is suitable for anyone relatively new to this field of work or for those currently working in a caring role who want to expand their knowledge or progress towards management positions.

The development and application of work-related skills and experiences is an integral part of the Foundation Degree course at all levels with a dedicated module covering work skills and an opportunity to carry out student-led case studies and an applied project. Industry relevant visits allow the opportunity to engage with professional groups and gain insight into industry working practices. Throughout the course you will develop academic skills in written and verbal communication as well as critical thinking.

The course has three key strands:

  • Strategies to manage and support Mental Health and wellbeing
  • Plant Utilisation and Management
  • Human-Animal Relationships.

In Year One, modules provide you with a broad foundation knowledge, where you can build upon skills on mental health and support strategies, appreciate the essentials of plants as a therapeutic tool and the importance and impact of Human-Animal Relationships.

Second Year modules further develop the themes from Year one and provide the opportunity to specialise in areas you find particularly interesting by taking responsibility for your own project. Everyone studies a set of set core modules however you can choose one of the following option modules: Research Methods or Business and Entrepreneurship depending on whether you wish to top up to BSc.

Course modules

Year 1

Academic and Vocational Skills

Working in industry will require you to develop a range of practical and professional skills. This module provides you with first-hand work-related experience of a range of practical and technical skills as well as developing your ability to present information in a suitable academic and professional style. You will be encouraged to evaluate and reflect on your own personal development throughout the module. The module will provide the foundation for further development of individual skills through independent study in the ‘Industry Project’ module.

Introduction to Anthrozoology

This module aims to explore key features of relationships between humans and animals and assess the significance of human/animal interactions. The evidence suggesting that companion animals exert an influence on cognitive, social and moral development, on ageing populations and on therapeutic programmes will be discussed. The module will examine the importance of counselling skills with regards to the grieving process in relation to animal end-of -life care and loss.

Fundamental Professional Interface Skills

Using animals and horticulture as therapy involves a complex range of skills. This module aims to help learners identify the needs of a range of different learners and discuss the methods that will be beneficial to participants. The module will include the opportunity to work alongside experienced practitioners and to observe the horticulture and animal based therapeutic techniques used.

Introduction to Mental Health

This module aims to explore what is Mental Health and how does it enable individuals to function and contribute positively to their community. It aims to raise awareness of the contributing factors leading to Mental Health problems as well as looking at commonly occurring problems affecting individuals of all ages, gender and social contexts. The module will discuss the range of services and organisations available and the support of professionals in the field of human health care.

Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture

Working in horticultural therapy requires a knowledge of plants and horticultural skills. This module aims to give learners the basic skills that they will need along with an understanding or their role and uses in therapeutic horticulture. The history and evidence for the benefits horticultural therapy will be discussed.

Preparation for Education and Training

This module is designed as an initial ‘toolkit’ for trainees wishing to commence a teaching career within the Further Education & Skills and Higher Education Sectors. All teaching strategies will aim to develop a confidence in trainees to undertake the role of teaching and develop informed reflection that will help to shape their own actions. Personal research and collection of data around teaching and learning is introduced through the observation of practitioners away from the classroom setting and production of observation reports. The keeping of a professional journal to capture critical learning moments and learning while on the module is an important part of the module process. Trainees’ prior knowledge and experience of teaching will be assessed in order to provide differentiated activities to promote learning for all.

Year 2

Industry Project

You will use the skills developed in earlier modules to identify a suitable industry related project. Through planning, executing and then reporting on the project outcomes, you will be encouraged to use the industry project to develop your own personal skills as well as professional working relationships with industry contacts. Theories and skills of project management will be developed through supporting lectures.

Animal-Assisted Interventions

Animal-Assisted Interventions, whereby a handler and a specifically selected animal work in collaboration with human healthcare professionals to promote physical, emotional and social wellbeing are becoming increasingly employed within social prescribing. With given objectives these are intended to assist individuals in the support of various mental health disorders, promotion of positive mental health, to help increase social interaction, to build self-esteem and encourage interaction with the community. This module will explore animal-assisted programmes and their effectiveness alongside ethical, legal and professional considerations.

Research Methods (Option)

The research methods module will enable you to develop a scientific approach to problem solving, which can act as a firm foundation for appraising research throughout your careers. You will gain an understanding of appropriate and inappropriate experimental design and this will enable a critical evaluation of investigational methodology and so enable you to both conduct, and evaluate the quality of investigations in your area of study.

Advanced Professional Interface Skills

This module aims to build upon the knowledge and skills gained in the introductory module in this subject. Learners will identify specific learning needs, physical and mental capacities and work with practitioners to develop learning programmes for individuals and groups that will develop and enhance their existing skills.

Applied Plant Utilisation and Management

This module allows you to apply your knowledge of plant utilisation by the development of a selection of planting schemes, management plans and maintenance schedules for a range of landscape situations and includes specifications and contract documentation.

Sector Legislation

Working with animals, plants and people requires a knowledge of the relevant legal requirements. This module aims to raise learners’ awareness of the range of legislation relating to the therapeutic sector and provide a working knowledge of the essential processes used to ensure that animals, people and plants are managed safely.

Business and Entrepreneurism (Option)

It is important to develop professional skills in leadership, management and business planning in order to increase your employability and potential contribution to organisations within your industry. The module will encourage you to investigate the entrepreneurial process of developing a start-up venture. It will then consider key elements of business such as marketing, market analysis and finance to aid the production of a sustainable business plan.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C (4) or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 48 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

  • 2 A-levels (A2), at least one at C or above
  • BTEC/C&G Level 3
  • 2 Scottish Highers at C or above
  • 3 Irish Highers at C or above
  • International Baccalaureate at 24 points
  • NVQ Level 3 in a relevant discipline

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 6.0 (with no component score lower than 5.5) or equivalent.

All offers may be subject to successful interview

Learning and assessment

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops.

Students are expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and group presentations form an important part of the course. Students will have access to specialist IT hardware and software, an on-line learning environment and reference facility.

Students will face a variety of assessments such as technical reports, literature reviews, written examinations, group and individual presentations, laboratory/practical reports, practical tests (e.g. plant identification), work-based reports, case studies and personal development planner portfolio.

Many modules may include guest speakers of standing within the industry. Off-site day visits may be arranged to facilities such as animal collections and centres, horticultural facilities, gardens, growers and trade fairs.

There is no formal work placement on this course. The Academic and Vocational Skills and Industry Project modules will utilise both on and off site working environments to provide the opportunity for students to develop real practical and technical skills and help prepare them for employment in their chosen subject area.


On successful completion of the course, students may apply for the BSc (Hons) top-up degree by undertaking one further year of study.


Following successful completion of the course, you will be able to work in a range of different therapeutic settings:

  • hospitals and rehabilitation centres
  • day, adult and social education centres
  • specialist colleges for those who are physically disabled or hard of hearing
  • residential homes and centres run by social services
  • health authorities
  • charities and voluntary organisations
  • prisons
  • schools and specialist nurseries and colleges
  • parks
  • demonstration or community gardens and city farms

Professional accreditations

All students are encouraged to pursue membership of the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour (ASAB) and British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) as well as pursuing scholarships and travel awards with other professional animal organisations. The College also works with The Institute of Horticulture (IOH), International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS), British Pot Plant and Ornamental Association (BPOA).

Special requirements

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course include:

Waterproof clothing for field and farm work and outdoor visits. A black warehouse coat is essential for working on the Animal Centre and can be purchased from the on-line Myerscough Shop. Dark coloured combat trousers are also recommended.

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course:

  • Black Warehouse Coat - £15
  • Waterproofs and Steel-toe Capped Boots - £80