FdSc in Horticulture

The Foundation Degree (FdSc) in Horticulture, validated by Ulster University, has three distinct pathways. Students must choose which pathway they wish to follow by semester two of the first year.

Course overview

The Foundation Degree in Horticulture has been designed to provide students with the knowledge and technical skills to enter 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 two years, including a ten week period of professional work placement.


Year 1 Semester 1

  • Horticulture principles and practices
  • Plant and soil science
  • Introduction to business
  • Academic skills

Year 1 Semester 2

  • Landscape principles and practices
  • Plant health

Plus one of either;

  • Sportsturf principles and practices or
  • Production principles and practices

Year 2 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

There is also an oppourtunity for students to apply to complete this semester at Michigan State Univeristy (MSU)

Year 2 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



A number of bursaries each worth £1,000 are available to full-time students studying on Higher Education courses at CAFRE. Students will be eligible to apply for bursaries when they are registered on the course.


The compulsory ten week professional work placement allows students to develop technical and commercial expertise. The placement can be carried out locally or further afield.

Progression opportunities and career destinations

Students may have the opportunity to progress onto relevant Honours Degree courses including the BSc (Hons) Degree in Business with Environmental Science at Ulster University. There is a wide range of careers open to graduates including the important option of self-employment.

Students on the Landscape Management pathway 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 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 a 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