Advanced Certificate in Applied Plant Science

Learn to work with plants in horticulture, environmental management, forestry or science. Understand the science that underpins modern plant based industries, as a foundation for successful employment.

Course Code: VSC004
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Learn Plant Science to Grow, Manage or Use Plants Better

 
Plants provide us with food, fuel, medicines and more of the products we use in our day to day lives than what most people realize. Without plants, most of our retail shops and supermarket shelves would be empty; not to mention, our air would be far more polluted, our nights would be much hotter and our days colder.
 
There are Commercial Opportunities at every corner, when you have a sound understanding of plants -provided you can apply that understanding (which is what this course is all about!)
  • Learn about the Science of Plant Growth, and applications to commercial situations.
  • Professional development for people working in horticulture, agronomy,forestry or environmental management
  • Starter course for people building a career in plant industries or preparing for more advanced studies in science 

Many industries offer significant employment or business opportunities for people who have a moderate understanding of plant science, provided this knowledge is accompanied with a real sense of how it can be applied for commercial benefit in the real world. Unfortunately scientific training is often either too theoretical (lacking relevance to commerce), or too strongly skills based (ie. how to perform tasks without a solid understanding of the science behind the task).

Modules

Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Applied Plant Science.
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Trees For Rehabilitation BHT205
 Professional Practice For Consultants BBS301
 
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Research Project I BGN102
 
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 7 modules.
 Biochemistry II (Plant & Animal) BSC203
 Botany II (Plant Growth and Development) BSC204
 Microbiology BSC209
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Biochemistry III (Plant Processes) BSC302
 Plant Ecology BSC305
 Tissue Culture BHT306
 

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Applied Plant Science is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.


What is a Plant?

The majority of cultivated plants are flowering plants (or angiosperms). These plants have four main parts:

  1. Roots ‑the parts which generally grow below the soil
  2. Stems ‑the framework
  3. Leaves‑required for respiration, transpiration and photosynthesis
  4. Reproductive Parts ‑ flowers and fruits.

 

STEMS

The main stem and its branches are the framework that supports the leaves, flowers and fruits. The leaves, and also green stems, manufacture food via the process known as photosynthesis, which is transported to the flowers, fruits and roots. The vascular system within the stem consists of canals, or vessels, which transfer nutrients and water upwards and downwards through the plant (i.e.: This is equivalent to the blood system in animals).

Stems may be modified for a variety of reasons. Some modifications are:

  • tendrils ‑ instead of a defined branch, the stem is modified into a climbing tendril with leaves appearing periodically along the tendril
  • thorns ‑ thorns appear along the stem. It is in fact a modified stem. eg. Bougainvillea
  • prickle ‑ sharp appendage of the epidermis of the stem i.e. it is a trichome. It is not morphologically a stem, leaf, etc. eg. Rosa spp.
  • stolon or runners ‑ above ground eg. Strawberry (Fragaria vesca)
  • rhizome ‑ below ground eg. Canna spp.
  • stem tubers ‑ large fleshy storage regions eg: potato
  • corm ‑ function as a food storage to carry the plant over till next season eg: gladioli
  • cladodes and phylloclades ‑ a cladode is a branch of a single internode which is flattened to simulate a leaf. A phylloclade is an entire shoot similarly flattened.

 

LEAVES

The primary function of leaves is photosynthesise, which is a process in which light energy is caught from the sun and stored via a chemical reaction in the form of carbohydrates such as sugars. Leaves are also the principle plant part involved in the process known as transpiration whereby water evaporating, mainly through the leaf pores (or stomata), sometimes through the leaf cuticle (or surface) as well, passes out of the leaf into a drier external environment. This evaporating water helps regulate the temperature of the plant. This process may also operate in the reverse direction whereby water vapour from a humid external environment will pass into the drier leaf. The process of water evaporating from the leaves is very important in that it creates a water gradient or potential between the upper and lower parts of the plant. As the water evaporates from the plant cells in the leaves then more water is drawn from neighbouring cells to replace the lost water. Water is then drawn into those neighbouring cells from their neighbours and from conducting vessels in the stems. This process continues, eventually drawing water into the roots from the ground until the water gradient has been sufficiently reduced. As the water moves throughout the plant it carries nutrients, hormones, enzymes etc. In effect this passage of water through the plant has a similar effect to a water pump, in this case causing water to be drawn from the ground, through the plant and eventually out into the atmosphere.

A leaf consists basically of a petiole (stalk of the leaf) and a lamina (blade of the leaf). The leaf may be simple or compound (compound leaves consist of a number of smaller leaflets).

There are many leaf modifications that may occur including :

  • stipules ‑ at the base of the petiole appearing like winged leaves eg: peas
  • leaf sheath ‑ leaf base surrounded by a sheath which encases the stem. eg. grasses and sedges.
  • ochrea ‑ a membranous sheath arising from the leaf base and surrounding the axillary bud and stem for a short distance above the node. eg. Polygonaceae family.
  • bulbs ‑ storage tissue eg: daffodil, onion
  • ligule ‑ a small membranous or ciliate appendage at the top of the leaf sheath in most grasses.
  • tendrils ‑ the leaf is modified into a tendril. Identifiable due to the bud at the base of the tendril with frequently large stipules. eg. peas.
  • leaf spines ‑ small spines either on the margins or the whole leaf. Have buds at the union with the stem which indicates a modified leaf. eg thistle and Opuntia spp.
  • phyllode ‑ characteristic of Acacias where the lamina is very small and the petiole is enlarged.
  • pulvinus ‑ swelling at the base of the leaf and leaflets, provides the ability to allow movement by turgidity eg: Mimosa pudica
  • auricle ‑ small ear like appendage on grasses
  • cataphylls ‑ reduced leaves at base of plant eg. bud and rhizome scales.
  • hypsophylls ‑ reduced leaves on apex of plant eg. bracts, floral leaves.

 

ROOTS

Soil provides the plant with the following things:

  1. Nutrients
  2. Water
  3. Air
  4. Support
Roots absorb nutrients, water and gasses transmitting these "chemicals" to feed other parts of the plant. Roots hold the plant in position and stop it from falling over or blowing away.
 
This course is designed as post secondary level studies (after secondary school).  The studies are both theoretical and practical. The learning style is "experiential", and the concept of problem based learning (originally developed for medical degrees) is used in order to help student's develop a higher capacity to solve real world problems. After Your Study An understanding of plant science underpins many important industries, including horticulture, forestry, farming and environmental management. Plants provide fibre, food, fuel, building materials, pharmaceuticals and many other things we need for our modern lifestyle. People who have a heightened knowledge of plant science, have an enhanced value for working in any of these industries. Over recent decades, there has been a decline in the range of courses and number of students studying botany; perhaps because the importance of this area of study has not been as obvious to the politicians and bureaucrats who fund education. As such, demand for plant science experts is likely to only increase as "older" experts retire, and fewer younger experts are available to replace them. After your course, you need to start building your experience working with plants. Some may find opportunities such as working in a plant nursery or laboratory.and others may start their own business.  If you have it in mind to be a botanist or plant ecologist, you may need to continue studying; but don't make the mistake of assuming that a university degree alone is any guarantee of such a career. Statistics show that many university graduates today, do not work in the disciplines they studied. This is often because despite their education; they don't have the experience and other life skills that are needed for the job. If you want a successful career in plant sciences; you are better to take a holistic approach to developing your career.. It is often better to studying a shorter learning program (such as this) while building experience, developing industry contacts, problem solving and communication skills etc. This can get you started on a career path, and you can then learn more and raise your level of expertise as you move along through your career.


Level of Study

This course is designed as post-secondary level studies (after secondary school). 

The studies are both theoretical and practical. The learning style is "experiential", and the concept of problem based learning (originally developed for medical degrees) is used in order to help student's develop a higher capacity to solve real world problems.

After Your Study

An understanding of plant science underpins many important industries, including horticulture, forestry, farming and environmental management. Plants provide fibre, food, fuel, building materials, pharmaceuticals and many other things we need for our modern lifestyle. People who have a heightened knowledge of plant science, have an enhanced value for working in any of these industries.

Over recent decades, there has been a decline in the range of courses and number of students studying botany; perhaps because the importance of this area of study has not been as obvious to the politicians and bureaucrats who fund education. As such, demand for plant science experts is likely to only increase as "older" experts retire, and fewer younger experts are available to replace them.

After your course, you need to start building your experience working with plants. Some may find opportunities such as working in a plant nursery or laboratory and others may start their own business. 
If you have it in mind to be a botanist or plant ecologist, you may need to continue studying; but don't make the mistake of assuming that a university degree alone is any guarantee of such a career. Statistics show that many university graduates today do not work in the disciplines they studied. This is often because despite their education; they don't have the experience and other life skills that are needed for the job.
If you want a successful career in plant sciences; you are better to take a holistic approach to developing your career.

It is often better to studying a shorter learning program (such as this) while building experience, developing industry contacts, problem solving and communication skills etc. This can get you started on a career path, and you can then learn more and raise your level of expertise as you move along through your career. 

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.


How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your login.training portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $55 (AUS) $50 (O/S) for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email acs@oamps.com.au.


Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.


How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.





Tutors

Meet some of the tutors that guide the students through this course.

Jade Sciascia

Former Business Coordinator, Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Administrator (Recruitment), Senior Supervisor (Youth Welfare). International Business Manager for IARC. Academic officer and writer with ACS for over 10 years, both in Australia and in the UK.

Megan Cox

Megan has completed a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Conservation) with Honours from Writtle University College, as well as a Master of Science Degree in Countryside Management from Manchester Metropolitan University.

Her experience includes working as a Botanist, Ecologist, Head Gardener, Market Gardener and a Farming and Conservation Officer.

She has worked in various roles in Horticulture, Agriculture and Ecology since 2005. Megan has worked for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Centre for Environment and Rural Affairs among other organisations in the UK, as well as in Australia and Cambodia.

Gaynor Hartley

Dip.Hort.Sc., Cert.Tiss.Cult., MAIH

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