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FdSc Arboriculture and Tree Management On Line

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire.

Arboriculture - the science and practice of establishing and maintaining trees, is a rewarding and exciting industry to enter. If you are interested in becoming an arboriculturalist or currently work in the industry and want to progress into tree survey and inspection, set up your own business or take on a supervisory role, this is the course for you. This course integrates aspects of science and technology to ensure that you are equipped with the necessary skill set for work at management level.

You will learn how to survey and inspect trees, diagnose decay and integrate tree biology and soil science into tree care and management strategies. A focus is also given to tree production and establishment practices, highlighting a range of current and innovative new techniques to help meet the challenge of planting trees in urban locations. Tree law, tree protection, safe working practices and the social, environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits of trees are also covered. A choice of option modules allows you to develop your skills in either research methods and data analysis or in business and entrepreneurship.

The development of work related practical skills and experiences is an integral part of the Foundation Degree in Arboriculture and Tree Management. A module dedicated to covering vocational skills and the opportunity to carry out an investigative project related to the arboriculture industry are key elements of the course. Many modules contain real-life scenarios for you to apply your knowledge.

Course modules

Year 1

Academic and Vocational Skills

Working in industry will require arboriculturalists 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.

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 the 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.

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.

Year 2


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

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

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 their local environment will also be used.

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 as well as 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.

Year 3

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 the arboriculture 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.

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 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 plant’s environment lead to changes and adaptations to plant processes that allow them to survive in a range of different environments.

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.

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.

Woodland and Veteran Tree Management

Woodlands provide many potential environmental, economic and social benefits and may be variously used for conservation, recreation and amenity. You will gain an insight into how woodland management practices 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 also need to be managed appropriately. The module aims to give you an understanding of the value and appropriate management of these valuable trees.

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 Environment:

Learning activities on the course will include the provision of notes, audio-visual presentations and interactive activities via an online learning environment.

Students are expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support learning materials and assessments. Group work and group presentations form an important part of the course. Students will have remote access to specialist software, and an online 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:

On-line students will be given access to talks by guest speakers via the Myerscough College virtual learning environment.

What work experience can I get?

Academic and Vocational Skills and Industry Project modules will use a relevant working environment to provide the opportunity for students to develop technical skills and help prepare them for employment. The majority of on-line students will be employed in the arboricultural industry already, so there is a great opportunity to share knowledge across the “on-line classroom”.

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 BSc (Hons), which is offered as an on-line Final Year Direct Entry course, as well as on-campus at Myerscough’s main campus


There are significant opportunities in the arboriculture industry for students with a foundation degree. A significant demand for skilled professionals is driven by planning requirements, environmental issues and the growing understanding of the value of greenspace to urban populations.

Examples of possible careers include:

• Assistant Arboricultural Consultant

• Assistant Local Authority Tree Officer

• Arboricultural Contracts Manager

• Tree Surveyor

• Climbing Arborist

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.

Special requirements

Students will need: a reliable broadband internet connection in order to access their learning materials and to communicate with their tutors and classmates.