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BSc (Hons) Arboriculture and Urban Forestry (1)

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The course is focused on delivering contemporary approaches to tree management informed by the latest academic research. It will equip you with the ability to effectively gather information, solve problems, make decisions and communicate your opinions - essential skills within the professional tree care industry.

You will learn how to integrate a knowledge of tree biology, plant pathology and soil science for effective tree management. Tree identification, surveys and the inspection of individual trees are key elements of the course. You will also learn how to think strategically about the management of the urban forest. You will be introduced to tree law, tree protection, safe working practices and the social, environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits of trees. This will give you the knowledge necessary to manage tree populations from individual trees to woodland communities, and to understand the underlying principles behind the management practices.

The Arboriculture and Urban Forestry programme covers a wide range of current arboriculture issues, including tree production and establishment in an urban environment, epidemic outbreaks of disease affecting trees, international developments in urban forestry, detection of decay in trees and the use of biotechnology in developing disease detection technologies and stress resistant cultivars. Issues of environmental sustainability are emphasised throughout the course. An integral and exciting part of this course is the opportunity for students to conduct their own piece of original research in an area of arboriculture that interests them. This not only allows a real area of expertise to be developed but gives Myerscough students further recognition as they progress to employment.

Applicants wishing to top-up from a Foundation Degree or HND into the final year of the BSc (Honours) course will need to demonstrate skills in research methods and plant science at Level 5 to enable them to progress onto the programme. Those applicants whose previous programme of study has not covered research skills or plant science at the appropriate level will be asked to complete a bridging module in the relevant subject. These bridging modules may be taken on-line during the summer prior to entry onto the course.

Course modules

Year 1

Applied Tree Biology

High quality tree care and management is dependent on a good understanding of tree biology. Applied tree biology will develop fundamental biological knowledge of trees and examine how this relates to the management of tree crowns and root systems. This will be achieved by exploring tree anatomy and morphology of trees as well as the relationship they have with their environment.

Arboricultural Practices

Sustainable practice within the arboricultural industry are promoted by providing you with a comprehensive understanding of current techniques and equipment used in a range of arboricultural operations. You will also be introduced to methods statements and work specifications, and the use of standards and best practice. Tree survey data will be collected and analysed using the most up to date methods including GIS/GPS technology.


This module aims to provide you with the necessary botanical skills to be able to identify a mixture of trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants and fungi of significance in arboriculture. The module will explore the history of plant taxonomy and current developments in this area, including the study of plant introductions, botanical gardens and arboreta. The qualities and character of particular tree species, including their ecology, form, function and cultural associations will be studied in detail.

Essential Plant and Soil Science

Plants and soils have a very close relationship. This module will look at the biochemistry and physiology of plants and how these are affected by the plants environment. In particular it will consider the characteristics of the soil environment and how these impact on plant growth and land use. The mechanisms by which plants can express the genetic information coded in their DNA and pass this on to the next generation will also be explained.

Tree Production, Establishment and Biosecurity

The successful production and establishment of trees is of critical importance in forestry and arboriculture. This module provides a comprehensive introduction to current industry standards in the production and planting of trees, tree planting techniques, and workable solutions to the problems faced when planting and establishing trees in challenging locations. Pests and diseases will be discussed along with an overview of biosecurity issues including the nature of the threats posed by alien species, how to reduce infection and minimise the spread of tree pathogens.


This module provides an introduction to a range of key concepts in ecology, enabling you to gain an understanding of ecological issues that you can then relate to the study of trees, woodlands and urban forestry. You will study the concepts of ecology at a range of scales from ecosystems to individuals and look at issues of biodiversity and conservation.

Year 2

Research Methods

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 career. You will gain an understanding of appropriate and inappropriate experimental design and this will enable a critical evaluation of investigational methodology and so enable the you to both conduct, and evaluate the quality of investigations in your area of study.

Tree Management and the Law

An appreciation of the law and the legal framework as it relates to trees and the wider environment is important to anybody working in arboriculture. This is especially the case when conducting tree inspections for the purposes of a tree health assessment, doing risk assessments, carrying out development site surveys and considering tree protection. The module will introduce methodology for the assessment of tree condition and the interpretation of biological, structural, environmental and historical data. Techniques for preventing or mitigating arboricultural impacts will be evaluated and their merits debated. Emphasis will be placed on the development of reasoned argument to support tree management decisions. Current mapping technologies to accurately represent trees in relation to your local environment will also be used.

Trees in the Landscape

Trees are important culturally and environmentally. The history of trees in landscape and how they relate to our landscape character will be discussed in this module. You will also evaluate the design of landscapes from forestry plantations to urban infrastructure. Landscape planning policy will be appraised and you will develop your site planning, design and interpretation skills by synthesising tree planting schemes in a range of situations.

Woodland and Veteran Tree Management

Woodlands provide many potential environmental, economic and social benefits and may be variously used for conservation, recreation and amenity. In this module you will gain an insight into how woodland management practices will vary according to the objectives of management, and draw up your own woodland management plan to suit a defined set of management objectives. The veteran trees that enhance both our rural and urban landscapes will also need to be managed appropriately. The module aims to give you an understanding of the value and appropriate management of these valuable trees.

Environmental Plant Physiology

This module builds upon the knowledge of plants gained in previous plant science modules. It aims to extend your understanding of how plants interact with their environment and relate this to the management practices employed in your particular industry. It will also consider how plant physiology is influenced by changes in environmental conditions, such as those associated with climate change, and how changes in a plants environment lead to changes and adaptations to plant processes that allow them to survive in a range of different environments.

Pests, Diseases and Weeds

This module aims to deliver the basic diagnostic skills, pathology knowledge and understanding of disease management expected of professional practitioners in the areas of arboriculture, horticulture or turf grass. The module will introduce the range of organisms that can damage plants and then explore the characteristics of each category of organism in some detail. Current theories in pathology and pest management will be explored and a range of case studies, where pathological theory can be related to specific pest and disease situations will be investigated.

Year 3

Applied Plant Science and Biotechnology

The study of plants is an increasingly technical field and advances in biotechnology are providing important tools for those involved in plant related industries. This module will review recent advances in plant breeding, including plant tissue culture and molecular techniques, and allow students to consider their application within their specialist field of study.

Greenspace Professional Practice

It is very important for professionals to have an appreciation of ethical and sustainable business operation concepts and be able to apply them. In this module you will build upon the principals of strategic planning and corporate social responsibilities to address business auditing tasks, such as re-branding and re-modelling, incorporating company policies; planning; project management; communication and negotiation with clients. You will also critically analyse a range of contemporary issues within arboriculture and associated green industries.

Management of Tree Risk

This module aims to give you the skills necessary to manage risk from storm damage or structural failure in populations of trees. You will learn how to apply the principles of tree biomechanics, zoning and hazard abatement to aid management decisions. Emphasis will be placed on the development of reasoned argument to support a tree management decisions.

Research Project (Double module)

This double module will provide you with an opportunity to carry out a piece of independent research into a topic that interests you. You will start by clearly defining a problem to be solved, and then design and undertake an original investigation, developing skills in project management. The reporting of your study will develop skills in critical analysis and in communicating in a coherent and critical style.

Urban Forest and Greenspace Management

The trees and greenspaces in our towns and cities that make up our urban forests play a big role in enhancing the lives of those who live or visit them. This module will consider the development of our current urban forests and consider ways that they can be further developed to increase the benefits supplied to future generations. The involvement of all stakeholders in the urban forest will be considered from the role of central and local government in strategic planning, to the importance of community involvement and the role of private and voluntary sectors in partnership working.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

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

Plus 104 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

• 3 A-levels (A2) at C or above

• BTEC/C&G Level 3

• 4 Scottish Highers at C or above

• 4 Irish Highers at C or above

• International Baccalaureate at 24 points

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 Environment:

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.


This course is designed to ensure a wide variety of assessment types are undertaken, many of which directly reflect industry-related documentation and practices. These assessment methods will include technical reports, portfolios, exams, individual presentations, laboratory/practical reports, research posters and extended project work.

Additional Information:

Many modules will include guest speakers of standing within the industry. Off-site day visits to facilities such as arboretums, scientific laboratories, trade fairs and areas of environmental significance.

What work experience can I get?

There is no formal industry placement on this course but there may be opportunities at the end of the course, for students to undertake work experience or internships with employers throughout the UK and overseas.


On successful completion of the course, students may apply for the MSc/PGDip Arboriculture and Urban Forestry course, and other post-graduate courses.


This course programme provides the arboricultural knowledge and decision-making skills that enable graduates to secure management and consultancy posts. Such posts may be within private consultancy practices, management roles within tree care companies or working as part of a larger institution or governmental body. Professionalism, independent thinking and innovation are emphasised throughout the course to prepare students for the demands of these positions. Students may also gain the opportunity to progress into scientific research positions.

Examples of possible careers include:

Arboricultural consultant

Arboricultural contracts manager

Local authority tree officer

Environmental advisor


Professional accreditations

Arboriculture degree courses at Myerscough College have been fully accredited by the Institute of Chartered Foresters and on completion of the course the student is eligible to apply for Professional Membership of the ICF.