HND Horticulture with Plantsmanship candidate information

HND Horticulture with PlantsmanshipThe HND Horticulture with Plantsmanship will provide you with knowledge and understanding, competencies, skills and abilities in horticulture and landscape to make you employable at the management level of the industries or able to pursue an independent career. You will also gain more specialised experience and skills in plantsmanship.

You will have the opportunity to develop your knowledge of taxonomy, ecology, distribution, conservation, cultivation and management of plants. You will be able to apply plantsmanship skills to cultural, economic, management and scientific contexts, and will develop your knowledge and understanding of the use of plants. You will explore the scientific principles of plant growth and development, and areas of specialisms and research processes.

You will be able to apply the main general practices and techniques of horticulture and landscape, drawing on advanced and specialised knowledge, and use some specialised professional skills and practices. You will act with significant autonomy in some activities, taking responsibility for the supervision of others or the management of work and resources, and will have to evaluate key aspects of your own performance.

You will develop your skills in problem solving, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, and to develop solutions, some of which will be innovative, to a variety of unpredictable problems.

Employment and progression opportunities

The Group Award will provide the knowledge and understanding and practical skills required to work at a senior level in the sector.

On achieving the HND you will have opportunities to progress to Year 3 of the BSc Horticulture with Plantsmanship jointly delivered by Scottish Agricultural College (SAC) and the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh (RBGE) and validated by Glasgow University, Year 3 of the BSc Horticulture delivered by SAC and validated by Glasgow University, or Year 2 or 3 of horticulture degrees offered at universities elsewhere in the UK.

Graduates from the Horticulture programme will be eligible for Membership of the Institute of Horticulture as follows:  

  • Associate Membership of the Institute of Horticulture is granted to those who have gained a Diploma in Horticulture.
  • Corporate Membership of the Institute of Horticulture is granted to those who have worked or studied as a Horticulturalist for at least seven years.


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 obviously be of benefit. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • HNC Horticulture
  • two Highers (Grade C or above), together with three Standard Grade passes (band 3 or above) and evidence of Numeracy and Communications Core Skills at Intermediate 2
  • an appropriate group of National Units, such as NC Rural Skills
  • appropriate vocational qualifications, eg SVQ/NVQ 3 in a relevant subject  such as Amenity Horticulture or Intensive Crop Production

Other combinations of National Qualifications, vocational qualifications, and qualifications from other awarding bodies may be acceptable.  If you have qualifications in a related field, eg HNC Garden Design, HNC Landscape Management, which have units in common, you may be able to seek credit transfer, APL or accelerated assessment for the qualifications or units you have already achieved.

If you have suitable work experience, you may be accepted for entry provided the centre is satisfied that you are able to cope with the course and are likely to benefit from the course.