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The RHS Level 3 in the Principles of Horticulture

RHS-QUALIFICATIONS-MARK-RGBv1The RHS Level 3 in the Principles of Horticulture is studied both by those wishing a route to employment in professional horticulture and or to develop an existing career. It also provides further learning for dedicated leisure gardeners..


Key Facts

  • A nationally recognised qualification, highly regarded in the horticulture industry.
  • Provides a route to employment in professional horticulture and supports career development for those already working in the profession. 
  • Suitable for dedicated leisure gardeners who just wish to learn more.
  • Covers a range of wide range of horticultural topics and up-to-date working practices.
  • It also provides a foundation for further learning or training in the field of horticulture.
  • An 18 month, part time course.  The course runs on a Wednesday afternoon (1pm-4pm).
  • No formal entry requirements although we strongly recommend learners have completed a level 2 horticultural qualification or have equivalent experience.


Course Overview

The course is taught through lectures, demonstrations and a range of practical activities both in the classroom and in the gardens. In addition, there will be regular short homework tasks. 

Please come dressed in suitable clothing for the weather (i.e. waterproof jackets, and wear suitable shoes) as some of the sessions will be out in the gardens. Also bring pen and paper.

The Certificate is comprised of a rolling programme of eight modules which last 6 weeks. The module dates for the 2017/18 academic year are:

Start Unit
Nov 2017 Applied Plant Propagation
Jan 2018 The Root Environment, Plant Nutrition and Growing Systems.
Mar 2018 Garden Survey Techniques and Design Principles
May 2018 Selection and Use of Landscaping Elements
Sept 2018 Setting Out and Construction of Landscaping Elements
Nov 2018 Specialist Elements in the Establishment of Garden & Urban Plantings
Jan 2019 Plant Taxonomy, Structure, and Function
Feb 2018 The Management of Plant Health

You may begin at the start of any module and study them in any order.

Who is it suitable for?

18+. There are no formal entry requirements, although the course is aimed at gardeners with experience or those who have completed the RHS Level 2 Certificate in Horticulture or equivalent.

How you will be assessed

To gain the RHS Level 2 Certificate, each module is assessed by a written examination. These are held in February and June of each year at Ness. You may take as many exams as you wish in a session.

Examination dates for 2018 are available here.

As taking the exams is not a compulsory requirement, these are not included in the stated course fees below.  Exam fees currently stand at £26 per module.  Your tutor will enter you for exams when you require.

External candidates are welcome.  Please contact our Examinations Officer e. Andy Lambie e.


What does it cost?

You may pay for each module separately.  A 6 week module costs £70 (no concessions). Or pay for the entire course, the full cost is £560.

This course is eligible for funding by the Professional Gardeners Trust if you are working gardener - to find out more please visit their website (open an external link)


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