Horticulture HNC

Course code 454D

What is special about this course?

This HNC Horticulture has been designed by our subject specialists to provide you with an engaging and comprehensive introduction into the world of commercial horticulture and landscape.

The course structure enables you to learn by working on projects, as you would in real life, and the content reflects a broad range of contemporary topics. The number of assessments has been considered so that you can spend more time learning. You will be taught by experienced horticulture lecturers with real world experience: the teaching team includes specialists in conservation and the environment, as well as an award-winning garden designer.

Throughout the course you will be introduced to areas of specialism and develop an understanding of the evolving nature of horticultural science and the exciting range of career possibilities. You’ll gain practical and theoretical knowledge which will prepare you for employment at craft level in this diverse industry.

Special features

  • Developed by experienced horticulture specialists to provide a balanced and well-rounded qualification which will give you more time learning and less time being assessed
  • Exciting work placement opportunities tailored to your own career aspirations
  • Opportunity to gain essential supervisory and management skills as well as practical experience
  • Study full-time or part-time to fit in with your personal and work commitments


We offer modern student accommodation at a number of our locations.

Entry requirements

  • 1 Scottish Higher at grade C or above OR
  • 1 A level at grade D or above
  • Alternatively an NC in Horticulture (SCQF level 5 or above), or SVQ 3 in a Horticultural related subject
  • This is a Category 2 PVG course: PVG Scheme membership is required for specific optional modules/unit(s), where there is guaranteed contact with vulnerable groups in optional module/unit(s), but an alternative pathway exists to achieve target qualification. For further information visit our PVG scheme webpage PVG scheme webpage

Year 1 - HNC

Modules include:

  • Creation of gardens and green spaces
  • Ecology and environment for horticulture
  • Maintenance of gardens and green spaces
  • Plant biology
  • Production horticulture
  • Social and therapeutic horticulture

How will I study my course?

  • Full-time
  • Part-time (structured)
  • You will learn through a combination of face-to-face and video conference lectures and tutorials, as well as online study via the university's virtual learning environment (VLE), with support from your tutors
  • Face to face tuition will take place for practical elements. Your timetable may vary through the year to accommodate daylight hours for practical sessions
  • There will be scheduled time in an online or virtual classroom. You will also be able to undertake flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments
  • Please contact the location where you wish to study for more detailed information

How long will my course last?

  • Full-time: 1 year @ 30 hours per week
  • Part-time (structured): 2 years @ 15 hours per week

Number of hours per week indicates the total number of hours you should dedicate to the course, which includes time spent in lectures and your own time spent on individual study and research.

Where can I study my course?

  • Argyll
  • Inverness
  • Moray
  • North, West and Hebrides - Stornoway campus
  • Orkney
  • Perth

Start date

  • September


For students normally domiciled in Scotland, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes

  • EU nationals with settled or pre-settled status in the UK,
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with settled status in the UK
  • EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.
Higher National Awards (HNC, HND) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £1,285 £1,285
Part-time (per HN credit) £86 £86

Rest of UK students

For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) and with a term time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,110 £7,110
Part-time (per HN credit) £474 £474

Fees are payable in advance each academic year unless otherwise agreed.

There are a number of funding options available to UK students to help you pay for your studies and your cost of living while studying.

International students

For students who do not normally reside in the UK, including EU/EEA and Swiss nationals without settled or pre-settled status in the UK, with a term-time address in Scotland, the following fees apply:

This includes EEA/Swiss nationals with pre-settled status who are not self-employed or migrant workers in the UK.

Higher National Awards (HNC, HND) 2023-24 2024-25
Full-time per year £7,980 £8,775
Part-time (per HN credit) £532 £585

Part-time study is not open to international student requiring Student Route visa sponsorship to study in the UK.


UHI has a number of scholarships, bursaries, awards, and discretionary fund opportunities available to new and current students. Please use the A-Z of funds or use the filter to see which ones may be relevant to you. All students are welcome to apply.

Further information on funding your studies is also available, please see the attached link or contact the relevant UHI partner.

The Chartered Institute of Horticulture also provides information on many available horticulture scholarships and grants, please visit their site for further details.

Additional costs

Practical learning may be delivered on campus or in conjunction with a partner organisation, and may be delivered in blocks. You should be prepared to travel to the site, which will always be located within commuting distance of your local campus. 

What can I do on completion of my course?

Once you have successfully completed this course, you might like to consider careers in:

  • Retail horticulture such as garden centres etc
  • Private estates/homes eg National Trust 
  • Commercial nursery
  • Landscaping
  • Self-employment

Can I progress into further study?

You may wish to progress from HNC Horticulture to the following courses:

Is there more information available online?

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I love horticulture and wanted to study it further. I chose UHI as I could stay at home, and still study what I am interested in. The mix of delivery styles allows teaching by experts across Scotland, so the best knowledge is passed on. I was really happy with the practical teaching, something employers really want to see. The class gathering weekly allows us to enjoy the social aspects of education as well.    

I joined the UHI Green Champions Network which opened up interesting discussions on how the campuses across Scotland could be more sustainable and eco-friendly. I also got the chance to attend lectures from expert scientists and ecologists.    

It is so beautiful here, with amazing places to explore. The Highlands and Moray are filled with underappreciated sites of natural beauty. 

Gallia studied HNC Horticulture at UHI Moray.  

Apply for Horticulture HNC

I want to start in Aug/Sep 2024

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at the University of the Highlands and Islands. We operate a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of gender, age, disability, ethnicity and socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.