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International Diploma in Botanic Garden Management

Today's botanic gardens perform a variety of roles from conservation and research to education and amenity. The International Diploma in Botanic Garden Management covers the diverse skills that botanic garden managers need to help their gardens operate effectively in the framework of international conservation conventions.

Photo of a group of people in a glasshouse

Botanic Garden Management students visit Kew's Conservation Collections

Course details

This intensive eight-week course in botanic garden management explores the diverse roles of botanic gardens in conservation, display and amenity, education and research, within the context of international biodiversity legislation and strategies.

As well as management of living collections, the course covers strategic planning and team management, education and visitor services, plant diversity and communication skills. It enables participants to gain the confidence and expertise to develop the resources within their own botanic gardens as integral components of national and local environmental strategies. The course is run by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in association with Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI).

Dates of next course: 6 July - 28 August 2015 

Length of course: Eight weeks. 

Course venue: The course is based in the Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives building at Kew.

Course fee: £2,900
The fee covers the cost of tuition, all course notes and organised field trips. It does not include accommodation, subsistence or transport to RBG Kew from participants’ home countries.

Who is the course designed for?

People who are actively involved in the management of a botanic garden or arboretum, with some operational and strategic responsibilities as well as supervising horticultural activities. Candidates should hold a horticultural degree or diploma or equivalent. All candidates must have good conversational and written English and a knowledge of the appropriate technical terms.

Whilst aimed primarily at colleagues from tropical developing countries, participants from other regions of the world are encouraged to apply.

The course is not intended for administrative staff or horticultural staff with no management responsibilities. 

Course objectives

  • To evaluate the different roles of contemporary botanic gardens, explore the key issues they face and prioritise these in relation to each participant’s own institutional strategy.
  • To enhance each participant’s skills and understanding to become a more effective manager of living plant collections.
  • To facilitate individual, more specialised studies related to each participant’s own institutional context.
  • To develop a network of contacts with other professionals working in botanic garden management.

Course content

The management of living collections

  • history, role and development of botanic gardens
  • curation policy
  • international legislation (CBD, GSPC, CITES, Agenda 21)
  • accessions, plant records and mapping
  • role of horticulture
  • nursery management (including integrated pest management)

Management skills

  • strategic planning
  • fundraising
  • management techniques – this module has been designed and is run in association with Cedar Associates

Education and visitor services

  • education
  • Friends’ organisations
  • interpretation
  • marketing

Plant diversity

  • biodiversity and conservation
  • role of living collections
  • role of seed banks
  • role of the herbarium

Communication tools

  • computer training
  • presentation techniques
  • networking

Research project

  • an individually tailored and tutored project relevant to your home institution.

Course teaching

Through a combination of lectures, workshops, seminars, tutorials, practical activities and field visits, this course enables participants to develop and extend their skills in the diverse field of botanic garden management.

Staff from Kew and BGCI provide the major input to the course programme, together with visiting practitioners from botanic gardens, universities and consultancies.

Field visits to a wide range of botanic gardens and related institutions enable participants to gain a wider overview of good practice.

All the sessions are taught in English. 

Course assessment

On completion of the course, participants will be assessed by:

  • written assignments
  • an oral presentation
  • an interview with an external examiner

All assessments are moderated by an external examiner.

Successful candidates will be awarded the International Diploma in Botanic Garden Management at the end of the course. Candidates who complete the course, but do not achieve a pass standard, will receive a certificate of attendance. 

How to apply

Please complete an Application form using the Application guidance notes.

For further details contact the Course Coordinator:

Course Coordinator
International Diploma in Botanic Garden Management
Specialist Training Team
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Surrey, TW9 3AB
Tel: 020 8332 5625/5634
Fax: 020 8332 5278

Print out a Botanic Garden Management course leaflet.

Please note the final date for receipt of completed application forms is 6 April 2015. Candidates should also supply evidence of full funding by this date, before any offer of a place on the course can be finally confirmed. 

If insufficient fully-funded, suitable candidates apply, Kew reserves the right to cancel the course, no later than 6 April 2015.