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Foundation Certificate Horticulture (Part Time)

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The Foundation Certificate in Horticulture covers key aspects of modern horticulture. The course is suitable for anyone relatively new to horticulture, who wants a career in this challenging and exciting industry or for those currently working in horticulture who wants to expand their knowledge.

The course has three key strands – plant production, plant use and plant science, giving you a broad foundation knowledge. You can build skills in plant identification and interpretation, appreciate the essentials of plant and soil science, undertake plant production and explore plant use within the amenity environment.

The delivery is flexible accommodating the needs of those who wish to study part-time. The development of work related practical skills and experiences is an integral part of the Foundation certificate course at all levels with a dedicated module covering work skills including relevant visits allow the opportunity to engage with professional horticulturalists and gain insight into industry working practices. Throughout the course you will develop academic skills in written and verbal communication.

Course modules

Year 1

Plant Utilisation

Plants and greenspaces are increasingly important in terms of the ecosystem services they provide and other benefits for society. This module introduces you to the selection of plants for suitable for specific situations, the effective use of plant characteristics for horticultural impact and appropriate management and cultivation techniques.

Academic and Vocational Skills

Working in industry will require horticulturalists 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.

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 plant’s environment. You 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.

Plant Knowledge

Developing fundamental plant knowledge and learning to “read” plants are the key elements of this module. You will study plant taxonomy/nomenclature, plant identification and recognition of horticulturally significant characteristics.

Plant Production (Double module)

You will be responsible for a producing and selling a horticultural crop within the context of a small horticultural enterprise. Associated theory and skills covered by the module include plant propagation, plant production and environmental management. Business aspects studied will include marketing and costings. You will also be guided through a small scale scientific trial.

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 this course include lectures, seminars, workshops and practical sessions. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support taught sessions. Group work and group presentations will form an important part of the course. Students will also have access to data from specialist IT hardware and software. In addition, students will have access to Myerscough College’s virtual learning environment.


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.

Additional Information:

Many modules will include guest speakers of standing within the industry. Off-site day visits to facilities such as gardens, growers and trade fairs.

What work experience can I get?

The Work Skills Development and Work Project modules will use a relevant working environment to provide the opportunity for students to develop technical skills and help prepare them for employment.

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


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


Students have gained employment in a wide range of situations such as garden centres, commercial nurseries, technical consultants, horticultural research, landscape companies, plant breeding, local authority parks management, and botanical and private gardens.

Professional accreditations

Representatives of the local industry have been actively involved in a technical advisory capacity. The College works with The Institute of Horticulture (IOH), International Plant Propagators Society (IPPS), British Pot Plant and Ornamental Association (BPOA) guidance please!

Special requirements

Specialist Clothing and Equipment: a pair of secateurs and a horticultural knife. Sensible outdoor clothing, steel toe-capped boots.

Extra Costs:

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

· Waterproofs and safety boots - £80