Study a Garden Design degree with OCA

The Garden Design degree aims to provide both a thorough grounding in the principles of garden design and offers the opportunity to gain specialist skills and knowledge in chosen topics that address up-to-date issues relating to art, society and the environment. The degree balances academic content and development of academic skills with the necessary professional skills to be qualified for a career in the subject.

Important skills which will be included within Garden Design modules include:

  • Research and Academic skills – finding materials, evaluating sources, correct citing and referencing, writing essays, critical thinking, presentation skills etc. These will be introduced in the core modules and developed each year. Later modules and the dissertation will demand a higher standard of research and critical discussion.
  • Plant Knowledge – build a palette of relevant plants and know their ecological requirements and design relevance: to be built throughout the course with tests at each stage (mainly based around design use rather than identification)
  • Technical Ability – graphical design and presentation skills and manual/computer-aided 2D and 3D drafting, integrated with the core modules and forming part of their assessment. Elective modules to be mainly delivered through parallel series of workshops and continuing to form part of module assessment.

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 3–9 years, with a maximum of three years to complete each level of the course.

Degree Aims

  • To widen access to education in garden design through open and flexible learning.
  • To provide an intellectually stimulating programme based on high quality study program and tutor support.
  • To develop students’ creative capacities and their ability to synthesise, reflect, respond, apply and simulate finding
  • Develops students’ creativity
  • Develops students understanding of the theoretical debates around design practice generally and Garden design practice specifically
  • Introduces students to historic and contemporary design practices
  • Supports student autonomy and the ability to integrate theory and practice
  • Builds 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

Foundations

£875

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£3,945

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,260

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,315

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 necessarry 120 credits to move on to Level 2 (HE5).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,630

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).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,260

For the level

OCA’s Level 3 (HE6) course units hold differing amounts of credits depending upon the given Open degree pathway, and therefore are varied in cost. For individual pricing, please see the individual course unit pages on this website.

Foundations

£1020

Per course

Level 1 (HE4)

£4,380

For the level

Level 2 (HE5)

£3,600

For the level

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

For the level

Breakdown of costs...

Level 1 (HE4)

£1,460

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).

Level 2 (HE5)

£1,800

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).

Level 3 (HE6)

£3,600

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.

More Information

  • OCA degrees are paid for on a unit-by-unit basis and are around a third of the cost of a degree at a campus university. Unit costs depend on the level of the unit, and also whether you live in the UK or rest of the world.

    If you started studying with OCA before 01 August 2017, please contact accounts@oca.ac.uk as different fees may apply.

    If you are funding your course yourself you can either pay for units in full or you can spread the cost by taking advantage of our deposit and instalment facility for which a £50 fee is included in the deposit you pay.

    All OCA courses are listed with Student Finance England, Wales, and Northern Ireland allowing eligible students to apply for a Student Loan to cover the cost of fees. You may also be able to apply for a maintenance loan and/or Disabled Students Allowance to assist you with the cost of study.

    We’ve made this helpful guide to take you through the application process, making applying for Student Finance simple and straightforward.

    Download the Student Finance guide

    The OCA Learner Support Scheme can provide partial bursaries towards course fees for students who are not eligible for funding via Student Finance, based on financial hardship.

    Other sources of funding may include employer contributions, Enhanced Learning Credits (for Armed Forces Serving Personnel and Service Leavers) and Prisoner Education Trust.

    As a student with OCA, most reading materials can be accessed through the digital library services and eBooks, or sent to you in the post.

    Other costs you may find on your degree include purchasing software (i.e. Adobe Suite) and /materials/books/texts to assist in your practice and research. These can be around £400 at Level 1, £500 at Level 2, and £550 at Level 3. Costs will vary depending on your choice of medium and whether books are bought or loaned from the library. Work is largely submitted to tutors and for assessment via email, however postal costs are expected to be around £40 per assessment for sending materials depending on quantity and weight of materials. Rates for overseas students will be higher.

  • 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. Further details on the entry requirements can be found in the Student Regulations.

  • 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.

To Join

Join a network of creatives and enhance yourself as a design professional by enrolling here!

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