FdSc Horticulture and Applied Plant Science

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The course 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 or progress towards management or technical positions.

The development of work related practical skills and experiences is an integral part of the Foundation Degree course at all levels with a dedicated module covering work skills and an opportunity to carry out a student-led horticultural project. Industry- 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 as well as critical thinking.

The course has three key strands – plant production, plant use and plant science.

In Year 1, modules provide you with a broad foundation knowledge, where 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.

2nd Year modules develop the themes from year one and provide the opportunity to specialise in areas you find particularly interesting by taking responsibility for your own project. Everyone studies pests, disease and weeds, management of greenspaces and the interaction between plants and the environment. You can choose two of the following three option modules research methods, agronomy/crop production or business and entrepreneurship depending on whether you wish to top up to BSc.

Course modules

Year 1

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. The module will provide the foundation for further development of individual skills through independent study in the ‘Industry Project’ 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.

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.

Year 2

Applied Plant Utilisation and Management

This module allows you to apply your knowledge of plant utilisation by the development of a selection of planting schemes, management plans and maintenance schedules for a range of landscape situations and includes specifications and contract documentation.

Business and Entrepreneurism (Option)

It is important to develop professional skills in leadership, management and business planning in order to increase your employability and potential contribution to organisations within the arboriculture industry. The module will encourage you to investigate the entrepreneurial process of developing a start-up venture. It will then consider key elements of business such as marketing, market analysis and finance to aid the production of a sustainable business plan.

Crop Physiology and Production (Option)

Plant physiology and cultural practices will be studied with an emphasis on sustainable management techniques to improve plant performance. You will be given the opportunity to apply your knowledge of agronomy to your own specialist area. For example, horticulture and agriculture students will be focused on improving crop yield and quality whereas surface performance is more important to turf students. You will set up trials and learn through experimentation in addition to theory.

Environmental Plant Physiology

This module builds upon the knowledge of plants gained in previous plant science modules. It aims to extend your understanding of how plants interact with their environment and relate this to the management practices employed in industry. It will also consider how plant physiology is influenced by changes in environmental conditions, such as those associated with climate change, and how changes in a plant’s environment lead to changes and adaptations to plant processes that allow them to survive in a range of different environments.

Industry Project

You will use the skills developed in earlier modules to identify a suitable industry related project. Through planning, executing and then reporting on the project outcomes, you will be encouraged to use the industry project to develop your own personal skills as well as professional working relationships with industry contacts. Theories and skills of project management will be developed through supporting lectures.

Pests, Diseases and Weeds

Basic diagnostic skills, pathology knowledge and an understanding of disease management are expected of professional practitioners in the areas of arboriculture, horticulture and turf grass. The module will introduce the range of organisms that can damage plants and then explore the characteristics of each category of organism in some detail. Current theories in pathology and pest management will be explored and a range of case studies, where pathological theory can be related to specific pest and disease situations will be investigated.

Research Methods (Option)

The research methods module will enable you to develop a scientific approach to problem solving, which can act as a firm foundation for appraising research throughout your careers. You will gain an understanding of appropriate and inappropriate experimental design and this will enable a critical evaluation of investigational methodology and so enable you to both conduct, and evaluate the quality of investigations in your area of study.

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 the course are diverse, including lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and workshops.

Students are expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and group presentations form an important part of the course. Students will have access to specialist IT hardware and software, an on-line learning environment and reference facility.

Assessment:

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?

There is no formal work placement on this course. The Academic and Vocational Skills and Industry Project modules will utilise both on and off site working environments to provide the opportunity for students to develop real practical and technical skills and help prepare them for employment in their chosen subject area.

Progression

Progression:

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

Careers

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)

Special requirements

Extra Costs:

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

· Waterproofs and safety boots - £80

Horticulture

Horticulture is a rapidly growing area of the economy thanks to a strong public interest in gardening, plants, sustainability and food security. According to the Royal Horticultural Society, the horticulture industry is the largest employer in the UK, supplying 18 million gardeners.

The number of garden centres continues to increase and the public demand for attractive horticultural landscapes remains strong. This means that plant growers, suppliers and managers are constantly looking for ways to improve their businesses.

Christine Walkden: Honorary Fellow

"My passion for gardening was nurtured at Myerscough College and I've been getting my hands dirty ever since." Celebrity plantswoman and horticulturalist Christine was awarded an honorary fellowship and regularly works with the College and our Horticultural department.

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.