Defined as the culture of plants for food, comfort and beauty, horticulture is the cultivation, processing, and sale of fruits, nuts, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers as well as many additional services. Horticulture includes plant conservation, soil management, landscape restoration, garden and landscape design, construction and maintenance, and arboriculture.
The knowledge you gain on a horticulture course will allow you to grow plants and flowers for human food and non-food uses and for personal or social needs. You will learn about resistance to insects, diseases, as well as the environmental issues surrounding intensive farming processes. Horticulture is a popular subject for students who are interested in the social elements of agriculture.
Highlighted courses and degrees in horticulture
If you choose a horticulture degree course, you may have to study several science based modules. These might include plant biology, botany, plant disease diagnostics and soil science. Because horticulture also involves the production and sale of plants, you may be required to study some business modules.
The degree will be delivered in a mixture of modes. These will include classroom work, laboratory work and some experience in a practical horticulture environment. This might be either on campus, or off campus as part of a placement.
Depending on your institution, you may be able to specialise in a favoured area towards the end of your horticulture degree. Common specialisations offered by institutions are:
Some horticulture degree courses may offer a core set of modules, and all students will be expected to study all of them.
The accreditation gained from your horticulture will depend on the country you study in, as well as the institution you choose. Most of the horticulture degrees gained at UK universities will award the student with a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture, with options to study Foundation degrees, as well as Diplomas and Certificates.
Institutions in other countries may have different degree types or awards, so you should check each course for its accreditation.
If you choose to study an undergraduate degree in horticulture, it will usually last three to four years. Foundation degrees, diplomas and certificates usually take up to two years, if studied full-time.
On completion of your undergraduate degree, you can either seek employment in your chosen field, or continue your studies. Continuation of studies could be in the form of a postgraduate degree such as a masters or PhD, or a graduate diploma or certificate. When studying for a postgraduate degree, students tend to choose a more specific area of horticulture, such as entomology, agroecology or arboriculture, among many others.
Entry requirements for this course will vary from institution to institution. Some universities may require you to sit an entrance exam, and others may ask for results from previous education. Some institutions may prefer that you have good results in certain science subjects, and some may consider previous practical experience.
You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their horticulture courses.
If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.
Fees for international students are decided by each individual institution, and will therefore vary depending on where you choose to go. You should check each institution so that you can be aware of how much your course will cost you.
You may be eligible for scholarships or funding, and this may be offered by your university or another funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section.
A horticulture degree prepares graduates for a wide range of career paths. Successful completion can lead to a professional career in production, management, marketing, research, and landscape design and maintenance.
You may choose to work in horticulture in a practical sense, as a designer or contractor for landscaping for both residential and commercial projects. You may also wish to work in the business side of horticulture, for example working as an inspector who makes sure that fresh and processed fruits and vegetables are meeting government standards. There are also employment opportunities in nurseries, greenhouses, garden centres, zoos, schools, design firms and educational institutions, among others.
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