Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Diploma

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Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Diploma


Social and therapeutic horticulture is the purposeful use of horticultural activities to promote health and well being and facilitate social inclusion. This course is designed to offer people, usually with a background in horticulture or therapy, the opportunity to develop skills in social and therapeutic horticulture, and to reflect on, review and refine current practice.

It aims to provide you with the opportunity to deepen your understanding of disability and disadvantage and further your knowledge and skills of meaningful therapeutic intervention, horticulture, horticultural site analysis and drawing. You will also develop the skills necessary for effective management of a social and therapeutic horticulture unit.


social_therapeutic_horticulture_diplomaIf you have an enthusiasm for the use of horticulture as a therapeutic medium to enable and promote peoples’ health and wellbeing, a professional development diploma in social and therapeutic horticulture may be the ideal course for you.

Social and therapeutic horticulturalists are creative, empathic individuals who engage with disabled and disadvantaged people to enhance their quality of life and independence.

The professional development diploma is a one-year, part-time course providing a high quality programme which prepares you for evidence based social and therapeutic horticulture practice. Participating students will have a background in a therapeutic or horticultural area. The course provides opportunity for continuing professional development of practitioners extending their knowledge, refining skills, and evaluating their practice.


The course will facilitate your contribution to the growing body of knowledge that underpins social and therapeutic horticulture.

Students are encouraged to collaboratively share skills and expertise to create a community of learning that will be transferred to practice on completion of the course. Students attend the course from across the UK and internationally. The course is recognised by the Association of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Practitioners.

Typically, candidates will have experience of working in the field of social and therapeutic horticulture as a practitioner or volunteer and have previously attained studies in higher or other education. Each candidate application is dealt with on an individual basis.

The course content is organised so that prior learning or previous experience may be recognised and students may pursue a route through the course, subject to individual circumstances.


The course is structured around skills to develop and manage therapeutic interventions and services, embedding horticulture and horticultural design. The programme is divided in to 5 modules:

  • Social and Therapeutic Horticulture: Theory and Practice;
  • Developing a Social and Therapeutic Project;
  • Horticulture: Skills for Practice;
  • Planning and Design in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture;
  • Managing a Social and Therapeutic Project.

Teaching and learning encourages cooperation and team work and consists of a combination of face to face, workshops, online, distance and independent study. The programme is delivered across three sites and embeds an experiential practice based approach to develop oral written and digital presentation skills.

Although based at Coventry University, some modules take place at Pershore College, Worcestershire, Warwickshire College and Thrive (the national charity for social and therapeutic horticulture based in Reading).

social and therapeutic horticulture


You are assessed in a variety of ways – both in groups and individually. You will have a combination of practical, presentation and written assessment through group facilitation, conference style presentations, reflective critiques, short answer questions, drawing designs and project writing.


Teaching on this course is a combination of clustered face to face contact, guided online learning and self directed study. You usually attend for 37 days spread across the course. You will be expected to actively contribute to discussions face to face and online. Each 20 credit module expects 200 hours of study which comprises of face to face, guided and self-directed study and included tutorial time. This course has 3 x 20 credit modules and 2 x 10 credit modules so the expected study will be 800 hours.

The course offers two Taster Days throughout the year. Please contact the Course Director (Imogen Gordon) or the admissions team for the dates.

Entry Requirements

Candidates will normally have experience of working in the field of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture as a practitioner or volunteer, and have previously attained studies in higher or other education.

Applicants must provide two suitable references in support of their application.


To apply for this course and to download our full course prospectus, please see the information about the Continuing Professional Development courses run by the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.

How will this course enhance my career prospects?

Participants undertaking this course come from a variety of backgrounds. This course will enhance skills, develop current practice and may provide opportunities for employment as a social and therapeutic horticulture practitioner.

Participants who have attended our course have gained employment in a variety of health and social care services; for example within voluntary organisations, hospitals and community based services. Participants have achieved promotion within their current jobs or have been able to expand their own business. As two graduates have identified…

To be honest I don't think I would've even got an interview without this course - on the application form they asked for a qualification in occupational therapy/horticulture so this course really fitted the bill. They also wanted someone to promote STH to staff within [name of service] the wider community. I really wouldn't have had the confidence to say I could do that before.
We presented our business plan and our vision... [and] have been accepted and have become the tenants of a 70x60m plot of organic land!

Why I want to thank you guys again is that what I learned on the course has played a part at every step of this initial journey. What you guys gave me has been utterly invaluable!


You will not undertake a work placement as a requirement of the course you will be expected to have prior and ongoing contact with a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture Project. If you have no contacts at the point of application we can help you. In addition there are visits and other opportunities to network with Social and Therapeutic Horticulture projects through contact with your fellow students.


The course regularly attracts international students so the opportunity to start and develop international networks is encouraged. There may be opportunities for international volunteering.

Course code:
  • 1 year part-time

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Course type:
  • Part time
  • Blended - mix of online and classroom base


Contact Details:

Health and Social Care Unit

+44 (0) 24 7765 5388 or +44 (0) 24 7765 5958