Getting started with...Botany

Online short course

Frequently asked questions

What does the course cover?


The topics covered are plant diversity, seeds, plant processes, roots and stems, leaves, plant reproduction (flowers & fruits) and botanical classification. The course also covers tips on plant identification and an introduction to the investigative skills a botanist requires. Please be aware that much of the content of this course is covered in Unit 1 of RHS Level 2, "Plant classification, structure, and function". This botany course has more practical activities compared with the more theoretical RHS Level 2 course, however there is a lot of crossover. Please be aware of this if you are thinking of going on to study the RHS level 2 course.

When can I start?


You can apply for this course anytime. Your enrolment will begin on the Wednesday after your payment has been processed.

What is the format of the course?


The course consists of a welcome activity and 9 topics which you can work through at your own pace. We recommend about 20 hours to complete this course e.g. 2 hrs per week for 10 weeks. Alongside online resources and activities, there will be interesting practical tasks to complete. You will have access to the course for 6 months so you will have plenty of time to refer back to the course if you wish to. There is the opportunity to receive a Statement of Participation on passing a quiz at the end of the course.

Do I need any prior knowledge?


No, this is a beginners' course! Enthusiasm and motivation is all that is required!

How much does the course cost?


This course costs £80 (6 months access).

What support will I get for the online course?


Online technical and tutor support will be available via the discussion forums in the course.

What will I need?


We recommend that you purchase a hand lens and wildflower key (we recommend Pocket Guide to Wildflower Families by Faith Anstey) if you don't already have one. You will also need seeds to dissect and sow. A good selection would be broad bean, French bean or pea, sweetcorn, onion.

You will need a computer with reliable online access with a connection capable of streaming videos and downloading documents. Most resources will be compatible with a tablet. An up-to-date browser is the main piece of software you will need along with a PDF viewer e.g. Adobe Reader will be required for viewing notes.

To brush up on any computer skills please use the Digital Skills Check. This will help you to make the most of your online course.

This course will involve navigating around web-pages, viewing resources, viewing videos, participating in online forums and uploading photographs. Help is always at hand from our PropaGate Learning Team and from your tutor!

At the moment, due to the COVID 19 virus, you may find it more difficult to find some of the items we suggest. Don't let this put you off. Enjoy the parts of the course you can do now, and come back to the rest later.

How do I apply?


You will be sent a payment link once your application has been received. Your log-in details will then be sent to you.

Some people are having problems submitting this form in Google Chrome so you may want to try an alternative browser until we solve this issue.

Apply here (opens in a new tab or window)

What our students say

  • " I have really enjoyed the course. The content, presentations, PropaGate learning platform and tutor feedback has been fantastic and pitched at the right level. Being able to do it at your on pace really helped. It has been one positive of the pandemic - if I hadn't been furloughed for these few weeks I may never have got round to doing the course! It has inspired me to keep on learning and am considering going on to do the RHS Level 2 course."

    " I have absolutely loved this course. It’s taught me so much about my garden and how to look after my plants. I’ve been so much more aware of the plant life around me and I’ve been really enjoying being an amateur botanist! The platform ‘PropaGate’ works really well and is so easy to navigate. The resources are great and the teaching is clear and just the right balance of complicated science! I will be looking out for more courses in Botany and, in the meantime, practicing my skills! Thank you so much, I’m just sad it’s over! "

    " What a fantastic bit of teaching and set of tools, made so accessible, a great price and all able to do at home. I have really brushed up on my botanical knowledge all round, and I have thoroughly enjoyed every part of this course. Thank you so much to Emily and Greg for their time putting together such well thought through presentations and resource books, and thank you to Emily for keeping up with discussion forum posts, and encouraging further thinking! It feels like a lovely environment within the forums, and I have really enjoyed seeing what other people all around the world have been sharing, and the plant life around them! "

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