HNC Horticulture candidate information

HNC HorticultureThe HNC Horticulture will introduce you to the breadth of the horticultural industry and develop an understanding of the characteristics, growth and use of plants. You will develop the basic practical skills required for the care and maintenance of plants.

You will study in a student-centred learning environment which will stimulate you to reach your full potential. You will develop the communication, supervisory and management skills that are required in horticulture, and will gain generic knowledge and understanding, competences, skills and abilities in horticulture and landscape that will make you employable at the craft level of the industry.

You will also gain a broad knowledge of horticulture and landscape and an appreciation of the employment sectors within the industries, including becoming familiar the main theoretical concepts and terminology. You will get an outline knowledge of areas of specialism, and a growing appreciation of the evolving nature of knowledge and understanding of horticultural science and practices.

You will be introduced to research processes, and gain a clear understanding of the social relevance of horticulture and landscape. 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 HNC will provide the knowledge and understanding and practical skills required to work at a junior level in the sector.

Achieving the HNC Horticulture, you will have opportunities to progress to the HND Horticulture or the HND Horticulture with Plantsmanship.


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:

  • 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 in related areas such as the NPA in Rural Skills
  • appropriate vocational qualifications might include an SVQ/NVQ at level 2 in a relevant subject, for example, 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 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.