FdSc in Horticulture (part-time)

The part-time Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Horticulture, validated by Ulster University.

Course Overview

This part-time course is aimed at individuals who are currently working in the horticulture industry. It is also an ideal qualification for those wishing to change career and enter the horticulture industry. The part-time Foundation Degree has been designed to provide students with the knowledge and technical skills required by the industry at trainee manager level. Throughout the course, students are encouraged to ‘learn by doing’. They learn a package of knowledge and skills which will enable them to have a successful career in horticulture. During the course, students undertake supervised projects both on and off campus. This provides them with real learning experiences and helps to develop contacts for the future.

Course content

This course is delivered over four years and will include a ten week period of professional work placement if the student is not employed in an appropriate post in the industry.


Year 1 Semester 1

  • Horticulture principles and practices
  • Academic skills

Year 1 Semester 2

  • Landscape principles and practices
  • Introduction to business

Year 2 Semester 1

  • Plant health
  • Plant and soil science

Year 2 Semester 2

  • Plant health

Plus one of either;

  • Sportsturf principles and practices or
  • Production principles and practices

Year 3/4 Semester 1

  • Improving business opportunities
  • Design project or Applied investigative management project

Plus 2 of 4 option modules*

  • Sportsturf mechanisation
  • Sustainability in horticulture
  • Amenity tree management
  • Contract documentation

*Option modules available, subject to demand

Year 3/4 Semester 2

  • Professional work placement
  • Human resource management

Plus 1 of the option modules depending on pathway followed

  • Sportsturf 3 (Development and design)
  • Urban landscape conservation
  • Development of gardens through time
  • Principles of organic production research methods

Professional work experience and prior qualifications of applicants who have worked for a minimum of three years may be taken into account to enable students to apply for Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) for individual modules.


The compulsory ten week professional work placement module allows students to develop technical and commercial expertise. The placement can be carried out locally or further afield. For those already working in horticulture the placement can be completed concurrently with other modules.

Progression opportunities and career destinations

Students may have the opportunity to progress onto relevant Honours Degree courses. There is a wide range of careers open to graduates including the important option of self-employment.

Students have worked in Local Authorities, with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, the National Trust and in large private gardens for their work placements. Those students with an interest in production have worked in hardy ornamental nurseries, cut flower nurseries or in large garden centres in the UK, Ireland or the Netherlands. Sportsturf students have completed the Professional Work Placement with golf clubs or sportsturf facilities.

All students are encouraged to develop practical and managerial skills during placement and avail of opportunities to demonstrate transferable skills in ICT, problem solving and communication.

Entry Requirements

Students should normally have 40 UCAS tariff points, plus four GCSE subjects at Grade C including English and Mathematics and preferably Double Award Science.


Students with a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Horticulture with Merit or Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma with Distinction will be considered, but must also have achieved GCSE Grade C or above in English and Mathematics or equivalent.


For other qualifications, please consult the UCAS website www.ucas.com/students/ ucas_tariff/tarifftables

Key staff

David Dowd

David Dowd

Senior Lecturer Higher Education (Horticulture) Horticulture,
Greenmount Campus