Study an online Garden Design degree with OCA

Do you love gardens, plants and being outdoors? Do you wonder why some gardens stand out from the rest and want to know the secrets behind creating these havens?

OCA’s online garden design degree will guide you through the garden design and landscaping process, exploring the principles that underpin good design and how to apply these principles to your own ideas. You will tap into your creative side and be encouraged to experiment, unlocking your potential to create your own unique designs.

All aspects of the profession will be covered, including business development, technical knowledge such as surveying and tendering, and skills in drafting and rendering so you can create professional-quality plans and visuals. Throughout the course, you will gradually become an expert in planting design, understanding how to select the right plant for the right place. You’ll learn how to create harmonious or energising planting combinations, and how to specify and purchase plants and other materials.

This online landscape design degree will also challenge you academically, considering the development of garden styles through history and what relevance these have to design today. Current concerns around sustainability and biodiversity will be addressed, and you can choose design specialities that interest you, such as drought-tolerant planting or water management. There is also a strong social component, considering the wellbeing benefits of gardens and how these can be maximised through design.

Through model-making, drawing and self-reflection you’ll be encouraged to develop your own creative approach to garden design. The course supports you to develop the skills you need to become a confident professional, working with clients to capture spirit and essence.

Looking for gardening and landscaping degrees online? Start your journey today!

Please note we are currently only accepting enrolments for our Garden Design CertHE.

Course Structure

The degree is split into several units across three levels of study; Level 1 (HE4), Level 2 (HE5), and Level 3 (HE6). There are some core units that all students take, many more optional units, and some prerequisites for units at higher levels.

As a flexible degree, you can complete the programme in 4–9 years, with a maximum of three years to complete each level of the course.

Degree Aims

  • Widen access to education in garden design through open and flexible learning.
  • Provide an intellectually stimulating programme based on high quality study program and tutor support.
  • Develop students’ creative capacities and their ability to synthesise, reflect, respond, apply and simulate finding
  • Develop creativity
  • Develop understanding of the theoretical debates around design practice generally and garden design practice specifically
  • Introduce historic and contemporary design practices
  • Support student autonomy and the ability to integrate theory and practice
  • Build the confidence and skills necessary to sustain practice

Assessment methods

There are no examinations. Assessment is through the presentation of a portfolio of work made in response to each unit, that includes learning logs, practical projects, critical reviews, and reflections. Tutors support students by providing constructive feedback during the unit, with assessment taking place once the student has completed a unit in full, at one of three annual points. As students progress through the degree, they will be increasingly encouraged to undertake autonomous learning and self-evaluation. Additional support around the assessment process is available through OCA guidelines, Course Support Advisors, and peer support.

Assessment criteria

  • Creative and analytical thinking
  • Research and idea development
  • Visual and Technical Skills Context
  • Knowledge of Horticulture and ability to specify appropriate plants
  • Confidence in the design process – ability to develop a concept to a fully realised design

The OCA is an approved training provider of the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI), the leading trade association for the UK’s landscape professionals.

As well as an Educator Member of the Society of Garden Design.

Foundations

£915

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,080

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£4,080

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,080

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,360

Per course unit (4o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £430 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £140.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,040

Per course unit (6o credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards an Open degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £550 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £140.

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,080

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £860 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £280.

Foundations

£1,052

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,680

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£4,680

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,680

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,560

Per course unit (40 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 1 (HE4) course units are worth 40 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need three Level 1 (HE4) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Deposit is £560 followed by 7 monthly instalments of £150.

Level 2 (HE5)

£2,340

Per course unit (60 credits)

All of the OCA’s Level 2 (HE5) course units are worth 60 credits each. If you’re studying towards a degree, you’ll need two Level 2 (HE5) course units to gain the necessary 120 credits to move on to Level 3 (HE6).

Deposit is £740 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £150.

Level 3 (HE6)

£4,680

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website. Two 40 credit units are studied concurrently and the deposit for these two units is £1,120 followed by 11 monthly instalments of £300.

More Information

  • With the OCA, you can study a BA (Hons) degree in our flexible online learning model at approximately one third the cost of a degree at a traditional physical university.

    Students study and pay for the course on a unit-by-unit basis, so you only pay for the course as you enrol to each unit.

    This course is eligible for a part-time tuition fee loan from Student Finance England, Wales and Northern Ireland, or you can self-fund the course and break down costs even further through the deposit and instalment option.  Find out more about your funding options here.

  • You will require regular use of a computer or laptop and internet access. Most essential reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks.

    Students are responsible for sourcing and, where necessary, purchasing any additional software and resources specified. These can be around £400 at Level 1, £500 at Level 2, and £550 at Level 3. Where possible, open or freeware equivalents will be discussed alongside industry standard options.

    You may be eligible for any student discounts on computer equipment and software by using your student email, and you can find out more information about student discounts here.

  • Garden Design is an open access degree; this means that there are no formal qualifications or experience required to join the course. All you need is a passion for the arts, and willingness to learn.

    All OCA courses require students to be IT literate, have a good internet connection, and have a good standard of English equivalent to CEFR B2. You can review the study requirements here so you’re prepared for online study at higher education.

  • We accept enrolment for our BA (HONS) courses all year round, so you can start at a time that suits you. You don’t need to wait for a specific intake month, simply complete the online enrolment form and indicate your preferred start date.

    When applying for a Student Finance tuition fee loan, this may take 4- 6 weeks to process, so select a start date reflective of this. If you are also applying for Disabled Students Allowance (DSA) and would like this support to be in place before beginning your course, please allow 14 weeks from when you begin your application to your start date.

  • Our part-time degree courses are completed on average between 4 and 9 years. The degree is structured into three levels (instead of three years) so you’re able manage study around other commitments. Currently only Level 1 of this course is available to study.

    There are unit and level timeframes within the overall degree time frame, and you’ll need a minimum of 10 study per week to keep on track. To find out more about course duration and managing your time, click here.

  • Your course materials are accessible online through the virtual learning environment, OCA Learn, where you’ll also have access to student forums, a subject space, the student handbook and the online library. You’ll work primarily from a set text of course materials and resources, but can also sign up to webinars, workshops and study groups in addition to your core learning.

    Once you’ve completed the required assignments within a course unit and received tutor feedback, you’ll submit a portfolio of work to an assessment event. This gives you the opportunity to develop your work before you have it formally assessed to achieve credits towards your degree.

  • By studying the OCA BA (Hons) Garden Design degree, you can kick-start your career in the creative and horticultural industries by working part-time or doing an internship whilst gaining your academic qualifications at the same time.

    Achieving a degree in Garden Design prepares you for a career in a variety of fields. Through the broad practical and theoretical skills you will have acquired during your studies, you will be highly employable not just for a career specifically in the fields of Garden Design, but in a range of industries and sectors. As well as a career in as a Garden Designer, you will have careers such as teacher, lecturer, amenity horticulturist, commercial horticulturist, horticultural consultant, horticultural therapist amongst many more, open to you.

    Due to the OCA’s emphasis on practical work, you will have a substantial portfolio of work to take with you to potential employers, and if you opt to use a blog to document your learning journey throughout your studies, you will already have a rich online presence which can be a useful asset in promoting your future work to the world. For more information on the careers your OCA BA (Hons) Garden Design degree can lead to, please see the Prospects.ac.uk website.

    In 2017 the Department for Culture, Media, & Sport estimated there were some 3.12 million jobs in the UK creative economy, and 80,000 new jobs were created in 2017 alone. The creative industries are growing faster than any other sector in the UK.

  • The Academic Regulatory Framework (ARF) regulations are applicable to all taught courses offered by the Open College of the Arts
    (OCA), and leading to an undergraduate award of the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

    You can review the ARF through the link below:

    Academic Regulatory Framework