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International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education

The International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education, developed jointly by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), provides an opportunity for botanic garden educators to develop programmes within the context of international conservation and sustainability legislation and to try out a wide range of environmental education activities.
Botanic Garden Education students taking part in an arts activity
Botanic Garden Education students taking part in an arts activity

Course details

As concern grows for the detrimental effects that human activity is having on the environment, the need for botanic gardens to become more involved in education has never been so critical. To support botanic gardens in running environmental education programmes and working towards the implementation of Target 14 of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC), BGCI and Kew have developed an international diploma course in education for botanic garden staff. The aim of the course is to equip participants with the necessary education skills and strategies to communicate effectively to their varied audiences.

The emphasis of the course is on interactive learning and the application of skills to the participants’ working context.

Duration: Five weeks.

Grants are available from a variety of bodies and help in locating these can be provided by Kew and BGCI. However, it is the responsibility of each participant to secure their own funding and to inform the course organisers. Funding is currently being sought to try to establish some bursaries for this course.

Who is the course designed for?

The course is designed specifically for those staff responsible for education in a botanic garden and allied disciplines. Candidates may be working in, or planning to work in, the field of biodiversity, botanic garden or environmental education or education for sustainable development.

Candidates must have good conversational and written English, and a knowledge of the appropriate technical terms.

Whilst aimed primarily aimed at colleagues from developing countries, participants from other countries are encouraged to apply. 

Course objectives

  • To explore the key issues relating to environmental education.
  • To enhance participant skills and understanding so that they can effectively design and implement educational programmes for appropriate audiences.
  • To facilitate the development of educational strategies related to each participant’s institutional context.
  • To develop contacts and communication channels with other professionals working in environmental education and education for sustainable development.

Course content

By the end of the course, participants will have an understanding of all the elements involved in creating educational strategies for their sites. To facilitate this, the course includes the following topics:

  • an overview of teaching and learning in botanic gardens
  • an exploration of the history and development of education for sustainable development, including environmental education.
  • identification of target groups, including informal and formal audiences
  • interpretation – principles and practice
  • life-long learning strategies – working with teachers, school children, adults and communities
  • marketing
  • intellectual and physical access to sites
  • fundraising
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • networking, partnerships and collaboration
  • strategic planning
  • project management
  • individual project work

This course consists of a four-week taught module, followed by a one-week project-based module. All participants will be expected to complete and submit a project within four months of completing the course. The project provides a practical focus for the taught element and acts as a basis for the application of skills and knowledge obtained from the course.

Course teaching

Through a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars, practical activities and field visits, this course enables participants to develop their skills in a range of botanic garden education strategies.

Lecturers include recognised authorities in their fields, with staff from a range of disciplines at Kew, BGCI and other international institutions and organisations and UK universities.

Course notes will be produced to accompany the course. All course notes and lectures will be in English. Participants should therefore have a good command of English, including knowledge of the appropriate technical terms.

The course is intense and participants will be expected to undertake study and prepare pieces of work outside course hours. 

Course assessment

For the award of the International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education, participants will be assessed by:

  • a written project
  • a written examination with short answer and multiple choice questions
  • a written reflective journal, produced during the course

All assessments are moderated by an external examiner.

Successful candidates will receive the International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education. Candidates who complete the course but do not achieve a pass standard will receive a certificate of attendance. 

How to apply:International Diploma courses application form using the Application guidance notes 


If you are unable to print out an application form, please contact the Course Co-ordinator for an application form and further details.

Course Co-ordinator:
International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Surrey, TW9 3AB
Tel: 020 8332 5625/5634
Fax: 020 8332 5278

Education Department
BGCI Descanso House
199 Kew Road
Tel: 020 8332 5954
Fax: 020 8332 5956

Print out a International Diploma in Botanic Garden Education leaflet