RBGE Certificate in Field Botany

Field Botany Students Image: Ann Ross

PLEASE NOTE: This course will not be running again until 2019 when the tutor is due to return from maternity leave. If you would like to receive details of the 2019 course when they become available, please email education@rbge.org.uk to be added to the mailing list.

This programme provides students with the basic skills and understanding to conduct botanical field work. It is an independent course, certified by RBGE. The practical certificate is ideal for continuing professional development for early career botanists and ecologists or for keen amateurs. It also forms a core part of the 3rd year practical content in our BSc in Horticulture with Plantsmanship and MSc in Biodiversity and Taxonomy of Plants.

RBGE can also deliver this course as an overseas development package to botanic gardens, universities or conservation groups worldwide.

Course outline

The RBGE Certificate in Field Botany consists of eight one-day modules:

  • Plant Identification (CPFB-1)
  • Preparation for Field Work (CPFB-2)
  • Information Recording (CPFB-3)
  • Habitat Surveying (CPFB-4)
  • Field Collection, Drying & Preserving (CPFB-5)
  • Applied Field Work 1 (CPFB-6)
  • Applied Field Work 2 (CPFB-7)
  • Applied Field Work 3 (CPFB-8)

The individual modules can be tailored to suit the needs of any user group, with a general botanical slant, or a focus on local floristic elements, specialist habitat types or taxonomic groups, fungi, lichens or survey techniques such as the UK National Vegetation Classification (NVC) system.


Assessment consists of two parts:

  1. Course notebook: in which students must record what they learn on the day, as written notes, sketches or diagrams.
  2. Practical exam: students are expected to carry out a significant amount of practice after the taught section of the course is completed. This involves the preparation and mounting of three herbarium specimens.

Total time to complete the course is a minimum of 60 hours, and includes eight taught sessions (c. six hours each), plus time for specimen preparation.

Student Discount

A limited number of discounts are available on the Edinburgh course for fulltime students. Please apply in writing by enclosing a letter with your completed application form and return it to us. See handbook for full details.

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The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is a charity (registration number SC007983)