Trading up your career

Is your career going in the right direction? Are you progressing in those areas of your role that you enjoy rather than those you don’t?

The RHS Master of Horticulture (MHort) Award introduces those that choose to study to a diverse range of sectors within the horticultural industry, pushing candidates outside their comfort zone to consider new possibilities and grow knowledge of the macro issues facing the horticultural industry on a global scale.

Plant centerThe degree-level equivalent MHort has been offered for over 100 years, and is highly regarded in the industry worldwide. It is designed for professional horticulturists, with at least four years industry experience at supervisory level, looking to advance their knowledge and grow further in their careers.

Completed over three years, the award offers an affordable and high-quality research experience with exposure to different sectors of the horticultural industry, and provides improved business and managerial skills, both sought after and highly transferable. In the third year, candidates get to write a dissertation linked directly to their own organisation or area of interest.

Jack Shilley, a horticultural retailer working in and managing garden centres, researched different options before choosing the RHS MHort. He said, “The MHort appealed to me as it was a well-known, internationally recognised award for those that are wanting to be the best in their field. I also liked that fact that it had a well-rounded look at horticulture, with options to specialise in areas that were more relevant to you, making it the perfect accompaniment to working while studying as it can then directly be used to benefit your day-to-day work too. 

The Units were perfectly suited to developing my skills and allowing me to progress further in my horticultural career, and gave a real opportunity to deep dive into management theory, production and waste control, staffing, financial forecasting and budgets, and more all while being specifically tailored to horticultural settings – something that you just can’t get on other business or management courses.

I use what I learnt in these Units almost on a daily basis. The ability to apply management models, forecasting and other skills learnt to solve problems that genuinely benefit the business is invaluable and something that I am so pleased to have in my toolkit now. 

An unexpected element of completing the RHS MHort is the ability to self-direct study, and organise my time appropriately in order to research and complete the assignments on time. This has greatly helped my self-discipline and again in terms of my daily work, ensures I am better at prioritising, working though deadlines and getting tasks done when they are needed to be completed. 

My dissertation was around how successful garden centres could be when operated as a social enterprise/not for profit. I was at the time working for a not-for-profit garden centre, so the dissertation provided an amazing way for me to develop key action points for the charity, and how we might apply the learnings from my dissertation to the store itself. It was massively important to me to choose something that was relevant to my profession and career, and while I have moved on to a new business since then, the project has still helped me view business and models applied in a very different way and I continue to use what I researched in my current business now. I know that the learning from this dissertation continue to be implemented in my previous business and I am so thrilled that not only did this benefit me and my studies, but genuinely also made an impact too. 

I would thoroughly recommend the MHort to anyone already in the industry that wants to progress into senior and upper management positions or wishes to use this as a gateway to further education in the future. The ability to complete it while working is fantastic.

RHS Visitors CentreThe skills, connections and discipline that I gained throughout the award are invaluable and continue to prove their worth every day. The feeling of accomplishment at the end, wearing your cap and gown, and celebrating is the best feeling in the world – and one that I will keep with me for the rest of my life.

Just go for it – you won’t regret it and your career will be so much better for it!”

Mainly completed online, the programme is flexible, allowing candidates to study and expand their career alongside work or other commitments. At under £6k the MHort costs considerably less than degrees, and the RHS have introduced a range of easy payment options, including monthly, to help spread the cost.

By the end of the award, successful candidates have developed a better understanding of business and operational strategies, management planning, and awareness of scientific, economic and social issues within the horticultural industry on a global context. Alongside this, they will have developed improved research, analytical, communication and decision-making skills that will provide a better understanding of horticultural challenges and appropriate management strategies. 

Open to candidates from around the world, with graduates from the USA, Hong Kong, China, Australia, Singapore, Europe, and the UK, the award links candidates to a range of professional networks and provides a great opportunity to increase global connections.  

Holders of the award may use the designation MHort (RHS) after their name.

Annual applications open on 29 April 2022 for an October start.



Twitter: @RHSEducation