Sustainable Horticulture

MSc Sustainable Horticulture at Aberystwyth University is a distance learning programme designed for work-based horticulture practitioners who wish to develop their skills and knowledge in scientific horticulture, innovation, conservation and sustainability. It is also suitable for those aspiring to start or change to a career in horticulture, who wish to increase their employability by gaining a postgraduate qualification, or those with a more general interest in the subject.

Typical Entry Requirements

Entry Requirements 2:2 Bachelors (Honours) degree in a relevant subject area, or equivalent. Non-graduates will be considered individually based on relevant work experience.

English Language Requirements IELTS 6.5 with minimum 5.5 in each component, or equivalent

Other Requirements Applicants are encouraged to submit an up-to-date CV as part of their application.

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Course Overview

MSc Sustainable Horticulture at Aberystwyth University is offered in collaboration with the National Botanic Garden of Wales (NBGW) and the Centre For Alternative Technology (CAT) Graduate School for the Environment. Students will benefit from Aberystwyth University’s long tradition of innovative plant science research, NBGW’s expertise in plant cultivation, propagation and conservation and CAT’s globally respected approach to sustainability. Each institution has a world-leading reputation in their respective areas of expertise. This collaborative approach will equip tomorrow’s horticulturalists to play their part in creating a more sustainable horticulture sector.

This course can be taken entirely by distance learning with the option of incorporating residential modules at CAT’s environmental education centre in Wales.

About this course

This is an online distance learning programme, which can be completed in 2-5 years, with entry points in September, January and May.

Modules delivered by the Centre For Alternative Technology may be taken as either distance learning modules or interactive residential modules.

Modules can be taken for your own continuing professional development or interest, or they can be built towards a variety of postgraduate qualifications. To complete the full MSc, you must complete the following core modules:

  • Introduction to Sustainability and Adaptation,
  • Sustainability and Adaptation Concepts and Practice,
  • Horticultural Science
  • Conservation Horticulture

As well as Research Methods, and the compulsory Dissertation, along with your choice from a selection of available optional modules:

  • The Science of Sustainable Food Production
  • Food Production and Consumption
  • Restoration Ecology
  • Ecological Assessment
  • Plant Breeding
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture
  • Life Cycle Assessment and Beyond
  • Sustainable Supply Systems


Careers in horticulture encompass the production of fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants, along with plant conservation and the design, establishment, and maintenance of green open spaces such as parks, gardens, leisure and sports grounds. The need to develop more sustainable methods of producing and transporting food, conserving biodiversity and managing our green spaces requires horticultural researchers, technologists, marketing experts and managers in addition to innovative growers and landscapers, who have a keen appreciation of the environmental impacts of their industry.

Teaching & Learning

You will take a total of 85 credits of core modules and 35 credits of optional modules from a broad selection available, covering topics such as horticultural science and conservation, sustainability, plant breeding, food production, ecology and life cycle assessment. Research for your 60-credit dissertation may be conducted at Aberystwyth University, the National Botanic Garden of Wales or the Centre For Alternative Technology, depending on your chosen specialism.

A typical Masters student is expected to study for 200 hours when taking a 20 credit module. You should anticipate spending at least 2-3 hours a week on online lectures, presentations and podcasts, and the remaining time on readings and assignments. The more time and effort you can put in, the more you will benefit from studying the module and the better your grades are likely to be.

Interactive residential study at CAT will typically take place over a week, with distance learning students encouraged to participate in live streamed lectures and seminars online or watch them at a time that is convenient to meet your other commitments.


There are no exams within this programme. Taught modules are assessed via coursework, such as reports, essays, interactive tasks (including presentations), case studies and business plans.