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FAQs - RHS Level 2 Distance

Do I have to have Level 1 before I can take the Level 2 Certificate?

No, there are no pre-requisites. The RHS Level 1 is a practical certificate which we do not cover here at RBGE. Level 2 is the more theory-based branch of the RHS qualifications and is provided as a stand-alone option, giving you an excellent grounding in the principles which will underpin your developing knowledge of horticulture and garden planning. If you are also looking for a practical component to complement this course you may be interested in our RBGE Certificate in Practical Horticulture, which is a hands-on course based here at the Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. Many of our local students opt to take both courses and find they work together very well. If you wish to continue further you will find that the RHS Level 2 certificate is an excellent introduction to some of our other certificated courses such as our RBGE Diplomas in Garden Design and Garden History, or for the RHS Level 3 theory-based certificates which we also provide here at RBGE. For more information on the RHS course structure see the RHS website.

What hardware/software do I need?

  1. You will need a computer with reliable online access. You will need a connection capable of streaming videos and downloading documents. Most resources will be compatible with a tablet.
  2. An up-to-date browser is the main piece of software you will need. Microsoft Powerpoint, a PowerPoint Viewer and/or Adobe Reader will be required for viewing the presentations.

What is the course structure?

The course consists of 2 smaller certificates, which together make up the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture. Certificate 1 is called "Principles of Plant Growth, Propagation and Development" and Certificate 2 is called "Principles of Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance".
For distance learners only, there is the option to study these individually as a stand-alone certificate.

When does the course start?

This depends on whether you are taking the distance or attended version. You can apply for the online course (including optional attended study weekends) until 31st May and then from the beginning of September each year. The intake for the attended course is in August and the application deadline is mid July, please see the RBGE website for current deadlines.

How much does it cost?

This depends on whether you are studying for both parts of the Level 2 qualification or just one. The whole 'Level 2' qualification is split into the 2 smaller certificates - 'Plant Growth, Propagation and Development' and 'Garden Planning, Establishment and Maintenance'. For the full online distance course (both certificates) it costs £400, which gives you 18 months of tutor support and access to the course materials. To do one of the certificates on its own the cost is £250, which gives you 9 months of tutor support and access to the course materials. If you are interested in the attended course starting in August, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page or see the the RBGE website.

How, where and when can I take the exams?

As a distance learning student you can take the examinations here at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, or at any of the RHS registered examination centres across the UK. The cost of the exams is £14 per unit. If you want to take them elsewhere in the UK you will have to pay an extra administration fee and arrange to sit the exams yourself, although we will be happy to offer advice. See the list of approved RHS Examination centres here. If you are unable to take your exams in the UK you can arrange to take them in other countries by contacting RHS directly.

If I take the distance learning option, do I have to attend the study weekends?

No, these are completely optional and are designed to give you the chance to visit the gardens, meet course staff and some of your fellow students, and take advantage of some of the excellent resources we have here, including our living collection. The cost of the study weekends is not included in the basic course fee. If you would like to find out more about the study weekends, including dates and cost, please contact us using the form at the bottom of the page.

If I take the distance learning option, what support will I get with my learning?

As well as having access to a variety of study materials on PropaGate Learning, including course notes, forums, presentations, revision quizzes, videos and more, you will also be able to contact your tutors directly with any questions and issues. As the course progresses, the forums provide a valuable way to discuss topics with other students and ask your tutors questions. Technical support and support with improving your digital skills is also easily available.

Do I have to do a lot of assignments/homework? How much time will I need to commit per week?

For this course we do not set compulsory hand-ins, although you are recommended to take advantage of the quizzes and activities provided. Although we offer support, resources and a structured approach to help you get the most out of the course and prepare you for the examinations, you will ultimately be self-directed in terms of the time and effort you put in to your learning. As such we do not state a set amount of hours-per-week that you will need to study. As a rough guideline you might want to allow between 3 and 5 hours a week, across about 40 weeks, to make sure you have covered all the topics well.

Can I see an example of course materials?

Yes, just click on the link in the green panel to the right to view our sample course.

Will I have to submit work through the post?

No, any activities you undertake as part of your studies will be online through PropaGate Learning.

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Find out more - RHS2

Any questions about the RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture course or application procedure? Submit your query here.

Please read through the Applicant's Handbook to find out more information.

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