Horticulture NC

What is special about this course?

Whether you simply want to improve your skills in the garden or are considering a career in horticulture, this highly practical course will equip you with all the essentials you need to succeed.  

Starting with the basics, this course will give you a broad introduction to horticulture and landscaping. You will build confidence in your gardening abilities. You’ll learn from the very best, with some of our lecturers renowned for their achievements, such as winning medals at Gardening Scotland and The RHS Chelsea Flower Show! 

As part of the course you’ll undertake practical work one day a week. We work closely with Mount Stuart gardens on the Isle of Bute and Hermitage Park in Helensburgh.  You will need to  to make your own arrangements for travel and accommodation (if required) when attending practical days. 


Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course however we recommend that you have a passion for working in the great outdoors and don’t mind getting your hands dirty!  


Subject 1 – Soils and Horticultural Machinery 

Units: Soils and Growing Media in Horticulture and Horticultural Machinery: Operation and Maintenance 

Subject 2 – Botany and Plant Protection 

Units: Basic Botany, Plant Nutrition and Plant Husbandry: Common Disorders 


Subject 1 – Garden Design and Heritage Gardening 

Units: Garden Design and Heritage Gardening 

Subject 2 – Workplace Skills 

Units: Skills for Customer Care: An Introduction and Work Placement 


Subject 1 – Propagation and Production of Ornamental Crops 

Units: Vegetative Propagation, Bedding Plant Production, Protected Crop Production: Crop Plants 

Subject 2 – Propagation and Production of Vegetable Crops 

Units: Home and Allotment Gardening, Plant Production from Seed 


Subject 1 – Planting Design and Plant Identification 

Units: Plantsmanship, Soft Landscaping: An Introduction and Plant Identification 

Subject 2 – Garden Maintenance and Enterprise for Business Start-Up 

Units: Planting and Maintenance and Enterprise Activity 

**NB Students MUST attend practical days (each Wednesday in 2022-23) in either Helensburgh or Rothesay.


Your bursary (for full time students) will cover the costs of personal protective clothing and secateurs which will be supplied at the start of the course.  

Other equipment will be provided as required though the year. 

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time
  • Part Time

Your course will generally be a mix of scheduled connected learning time, and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.   

This practical course will be taught in four seasonal blocks. There will be a mix of in-person tuition for practical elements and scheduled time in an online classroom.   

Your classes will be scheduled for 3 days per week. Your timetable will fluctuate during the course to take advantage of daylight hours for practical sessions. 

You will be assisted in finding a short work placement for the practical aspect of this course. This could be with a local nursery, garden centre, landscaper, designer, botanic garden, conservation, charity or any other area of the industry that you are interested in. 

Part time students can choose to study any subject area from any seasonal block/s. 

Find out more about how you will learn with us.

How long will my course last?

9 Months



Part Time: 2 academic years 

Where can I study my course?

    • Helensburgh Learning Centre
    • Oban Learning Centre
    • Rothesay Learning Centre

Start date

Late August


Most full-time students will automatically have their course fees paid for this course.   

If you have recently moved to, or do not normally live in Scotland, you may need to pay £5,970 in course fees, these can be paid in instalments. Families of Armed Services personnel are subject to different fees regulations and may also have to pay course fees. If you think this may apply to you, please contact us and we can advise you. 

This course is not available to students who require a Tier 4 Home Office visa to study in Scotland (international or EU). 

Part-time FE students who are on low incomes or in receipt of certain benefits may also have their course fees paid for them. Please refer to page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide to see if you are eligible.  

Each single SQA unit costs £90. You may be able to apply for an Individual Training Account (ITA) to cover up to £200 of part time fees. 


Bursary for Living Costs 

If you are 18 years of age or over on the start date of your course, and will be studying full-time you may be eligible for bursary funding, depending on your household income. Our bursary fund is finite and is allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis so it’s important to make your application for bursary as soon as the application process opens in July. You will need to have accepted our offer before you apply. 

If you are under 18 you may be eligible for EMA. EMA is paid at a rate of £30 per week dependent on your total household income.  

Please see page 2 of our Fees and Funding Guide for full details of Bursary and EMA.  

You may also be eligible for assistance with travel and childcare, and we have discretionary funds for those students in need. You can find all the information you need in our funding pages

What can I do on completion of my course?

When you’ve successfully completed this course, you can move on to study at a higher level with courses such as: 

  • HNC Horticulture 
  • HND Horticulture  

Employment options in this sector could include:  

  • Gardener  
  • Landscaper  
  • Production Horticulture Assistant Garden Centre Assistant  
  • Conservation and Environmental Work  
  • Design  
  • Food production  
  • Education  
  • Horticultural Therapy/Care 

Is there more information available online?

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It is such a pleasure to deliver the NC in Horticulture to students who have a shared passion for plants, gardens and the outdoors. Our tutors in each centre share this passion and bring a wealth of industry experience and knowledge to our teaching team.

Amber Crowley, Curriculum Lead

Apply for Horticulture NC

We are no longer accepting applications for 2022/23

I want to start in 2023/24

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Argyll. UHI Argyll operates 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 age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.