Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.
The HNC in Horticulture (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as plant growth and development, plant protection and identification, and soil management.
It introduces learners to the breadth of the horticultural industry and to areas of specialism. As well as developing the practical skills required for the identification, care and maintenance of plants, learners will gain the supervisory and management skills that are sought by employers.
This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some universities. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.
Why deliver this qualification
Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry — so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.
The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.
There is a wide choice of optional Units, which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.
This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).
Who does this qualification suit
The HNC Horticulture is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:
- school leavers
- adult returners to education
- individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
- people who wish to start their own business
As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre.
No prior knowledge of Horticulture, Landscape Management or Garden Design will be necessary for entry, but relevant prior experience or qualifications would be of benefit. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:
- appropriate groupings of National Units
- an SVQ at Level 3 in a relevant area
- relevant work experience
Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.
The HNC Horticulture will introduce you to the breadth of the horticultural industry and develop an understanding of the characteristics, growth and use of plants...Find out more
Learners who achieve an HNC Horticulture can progress to the HND in Horticulture (GJ9P 16) or Horticulture with Plantsmanship (GJ9T 16).
The HNC will provide the knowledge and understanding and practical skills required to work at a junior level in the sector.
HNCs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Horticulture allows direct entry into the second year of some degree programmes.
Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example, SVQ Level 3 in Horticulture.
Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.
Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.
Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.
How to assess
Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.
Ongoing course assessment will apply.
Assessment support packs are available for this qualification from SQA's secure website.
Where can you take this course?
HNC in Horticulture
Group Award code: GJ9L 15 (96 SCQF credit points)
HNC in Horticulture at SCQF level 7 consists of 6 mandatory Units (56 SCQF credit points) and a number of optional Units (40 SCQF credit points).
For further information on the Units and Structure of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification (0.97 MB).