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Science of Gardening

Science of Gardening is for everyone, from avid green-thumbs with a lifetime of experience to those planting their first seedling.

Sustainable living starts at home, so in this unit you’ll learn the science behind traditional and modern gardening techniques, and this will change the way you see your plants, and change the way you garden.

Important and interesting questions for gardeners include: Why are plants arranged into families, and what features do they share? What are plants made of, and how do they grow? Why does soil type and nutrient availability affect plant health? How do seeds know when to germinate, and how does the environment shape the way plants grow? What determines when plants flower and set seed?

Answers to all these questions and more when you study Science of Gardening.


100% HECS Scholarships are available for domestic students. If applicable, you will not incur a tuition fee or debt when studying Science of Gardening. This unit is offered within the Diploma of Sustainable Living.


Offered Fully Online
Science of Gardening is offered fully online as part of the entire Diploma of Sustainable Living. You can complete the entire Diploma online, from anywhere in the world!


What you will learn

On successful completion of this unit you will:


  • Be able to describe features of plants, pronounce scientific names with confidence, and identify important plant families
  • Understand the relationship between the internal structure of plants and their use of water and light to grow
  • Understand soil properties (pH, texture, structure) and soil chemistry that contribute to healthy growth of plants
  • Understand the controls of plant development: the signals for seed germination, flowering, and even senescence
  • Be able to manipulate plant growth to produce more flowers and fruit in your garden
  • Understand how vegetative propagation is possible and desirable in many garden plants
  • Understand that sexual reproduction can lead to diversity, and why an understanding of self-incompatibility and ploidy levels is essential in many cultivated plants
  • View gardening through a scientific lens.

Location: Online

Next unit start: 2 December 2019

General Enquiries:
ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au
+61 3 6226 6365

What students say...

“I am not really a ‘sciencey’ person, so to try a science course and feel like I was ‘getting it’ has been great!

I especially like that I can look back on the course material to deepen my understanding as I put my new gardening knowledge into practice. Thank you!”


– Claire from Victoria.

Fees and Scholarships

Domestic students* may receive a full HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) scholarship for the Science of Gardening unit in 2019.

The HECS scholarship is applied to your record as soon as possible after you enrol in the Science of Gardening unit within the Diploma of Sustainable Living or another College approved course. Initially, your invoice in eStudent may reflect the cost of the unit. Sometimes it may take up to a week after your enrolment is processed, but please be assured your correct invoice will appear in eStudent after this time.

You may notice in the University of Tasmania Course and Unit Handbook that the costs of units are explicitly stated. Please be assured that this cost is covered by your HECS Scholarship for the Science of Gardening unit in 2019.

Science of Gardening is one of many units available to study under the Diploma of Sustainable Living. The first four units studied as part of the Diploma of Sustainable Living will be receive a 100% HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) scholarship. The second four units you study to complete the Diploma of Sustainable Living will receive a 50% HECS scholarship, the remainder which applicable domestic students may defer under the HECS-HELP Scheme. For further information on HECS-HELP consult the Australian Tax Office (ATO) guidelines.

The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) - approximately $45.45 per unit in 2019 - is waived for the first four units studied under the Diploma of Sustainable Living. The second four units will attract this fee, which is typically applicable to all units, and is allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students.

A requirement for all students receiving a HECS Scholarship for this unit is compulsory completion of the eCAF.

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Completing the form is a requirement for all students. Instructions for how to complete the eCAF are available in this guide: eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 524KB).

Should you have any problems submitting your eCAF, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone (03) 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

*Domestic students include Australian citizens or students holding Permanent Humanitarian Visas or with Permanent Resident Status. Citizens of countries outside of Australia (excluding New Zealand), are not eligible to study this unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can apply for Science of Gardening?

The Science of Gardening unit is available to Australian citizens; and for NZ citizens, Permanent Residents and Humanitarian Visa Holders provided all studies are on-shore in Australia. You will need to have access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

What are the dates for this unit?

This unit is currently underway in Winter School (late) which runs until 15 September 2019.

The next session of the unit is in 12 Week Session December which runs from 2 December 2019 to 23 February 2020.

When do applications close for the next offering of this unit?

To ensure your application is processed in time for commencement of Science of Gardening on 24 June 2019, submit your application no later than the close of business on 14 June 2019.  

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application will be processed in time for the 24 June commencement.

Are there any pre-requisites for the unit?

There are no subject pre-requisites, although you must meet the General Entry Requirements of the University as you are enrolling in the Diploma of Sustainable Living in order to study this unit. If you require any further information, please see the Admission Requirements.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

You should expect to spend approximately 4-5 hours/week undertaking study in this unit.

On successful completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to describe features of plants, pronounce scientific names with confidence, and identify important plant families.
  • Understand the relationship between the internal structure of plants and their use of water and light to grow.
  • Understand soil properties (pH, texture, structure) and soil chemistry that contribute to healthy growth of plants.
  • Understand the controls of plant development: the signals for seed germination, flowering, and even senescence.
  • Be able to manipulate plant growth to produce more flowers and fruit in your garden.
  • Understand how vegetative propagation is possible and desirable in many garden plants.
  • Understand that sexual reproduction can lead to diversity, and why an understanding of self-incompatibility and ploidy levels is essential in many cultivated plants.
  • View gardening through a scientific lens.

I don't own a computer; can I still apply for the unit?

You will need to have access to a computer to complete this unit. If you don't have your own computer, perhaps someone in your family or a friend has one, or you could use a computer at your local library, on campus in student areas, or at the university library.

You also require a reliable internet connection. You should expect to download about 1-2 GB of data each month while studying the unit online.

Do I need to be available online at specific times?

Generally, you can complete the unit work in your own time. Please note that content is usually released on a weekly or fortnightly basis. The unit coordinators may choose to present some content in the form of a live web conference. You will be made aware of this via news items during the semester.

Are there exams or assignments?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums and/or presenting your gardening analysis. There are no exams for this unit.

Is there any face-to-face teaching?

No. The Science of Gardening unit is fully online.

Who would benefit from studying Science of Gardening?

Anyone who wants a healthy and productive garden, and is interested in sustainable living. The fundamental science knowledge in this unit will either expand what you already know about gardening, to take your patch of dirt to the next level, or give you a great foundation to build upon as you embark on your gardening journey.

What is the Diploma of Sustainable Living?

The Diploma of Sustainable Living brings together a wide range of topics from across the University, all structured around the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The Diploma aims to provide students with a range of exciting options to link their lived experiences as individuals, consumers, and citizens with sustainability oriented learning.

it is a flexible, interdisciplinary course that allows students to design their own pathway by choosing a combination of units within four specialisations based upon personal preference, experiences, and passions. Graduates of the Diploma of Sustainable Living will be able to practically apply their knowledge to their homes and in the community, or use it as a foundation for exciting initiatives a core in sustainability.

The Diploma is a potential pathway to further study at Bachelor’s level in a range of science, humanities and health related disciplines. The Science of Gardening is a unit that can be studied in the diploma.

How do I find out more about Science of Gardening units on offer?

Please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Why is the University offering these units with concession tuition fees?

From time to time the University of Tasmania offers some units with concession tuition fees. These are generally online units which help increase community awareness and skills in areas such as healthy living and social engagement.

For many potential students, the cost of university study is a significant barrier; and those who haven't studied for some time appreciate the opportunity to develop confidence in their ability to succeed at university without the pressure of tuition fees. In addition, we believe that the development of skills in these units is critical to community advancement and social cohesion – and these concessions are part of meeting our university's broad community obligation.

What do I need to do to enrol?

Students must apply for the Diploma of Sustainable Living to enrol in the Science of Gardening unit.   

Scroll down to the 'Applying' section for instructions on the full process.

Is it a requirement that I complete a full course at the University of Tasmania?

We hope that you will be encouraged by the quality and flexibility of Science of Gardening, and the academic support available, to continue with further study and complete the Diploma of Sustainable Living. We are aware of the need to manage work-life balance, and we offer flexible learning plans that can help tailor a program to suit individual circumstances. We work closely with our students to support their progression through these learning opportunities.

The Diploma of Sustainable Living has been designed to be completed step by step as you build your enthusiasm for sustainability oriented learning. We realise that students' circumstances change due to financial and family commitments and there is no formal obligation to complete a course if your circumstances make that difficult. We are here to help you come up with a study plan based on your personal circumstances.

It is possible to have a break from study and return at a later date and to change course, if your interests change.

How do I apply for the Science of Gardening?

The Science of Gardening is a unit within Diploma of Sustainable Living (Z1K).  

We recommend you download the Z1K Enrolment Guide (1.9MB) which will take you through each of the steps in detail.  The steps are also outlined below.

Step one: Apply for Diploma of Sustainable Living:

  • Apply online via eApplication for the Diploma of Sustainable Living (Z1K), Winter School (late). 
  • This page steps you through the process of how to apply.
  • To ensure your application is processed in time for commencement of the Science of Gardening on 24 June 2019, please submit your application no later than the close of business on 14 June 2019.

Step two: Receive your application outcome by email

  • You will be notified of the outcome of your application by email, which may take up to 10 working days.
  • If your application is successful, your email will prompt you to log back in to eApplication and accept your offer.
  • After you accept your offer, you will receive your Student ID number, username and password.

Step three: Enrol in the Science of Gardening (KPZ001) unit

  • Use your University username and password to log in to eStudent.
  • Once you have logged in to eStudent, you will need to follow the steps to accept the terms and conditions, complete your eCAF and answer the survey question on your parents’ education level before enrolling in the Science of Gardening (KPZ001) unit.
  • eStudent has a link to the enrolment guide, or you can find more information here.

Step four: You are now ready to learn the Science of Gardening!

  • The unit starts on June 24 - use your username and password to access the content through MyLO

For assistance with any of the process, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form

What supporting documents do I need to apply?

If you are required to provide Citizenship documentation (if you have changed citizenship and are now an Australian citizen) or Permanent residency documentation (if you are not an Australian citizen but living under a permanent residency visa in Australia) you can scan and email them to us at ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au.

What is the cost of this unit?

This unit is offered as part of the Diploma of Sustainable Living, which is designed to be accessible to a wide audience. To help enable this, we offer generous scholarships for domestic students to help you to pursue your passion for sustainability.

The first four units you study as part of the Diploma of Sustainable Living will be receive a 100% HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme) scholarship. This means the entire cost of the first four units is covered by a scholarship. The second four units you study to complete the Diploma of Sustainable Living will receive a 50% HECS scholarship.

You may notice in the University of Tasmania Course and Unit Handbook entry for this unit, that the costs of units are explicitly stated. Please be assured that this is a cost covered by your HECS Scholarship for Science of Gardening unit when studied under the Diploma of Sustainable Living.

Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF)

The Student Services and Amenities Fee (SSAF) - approximately $45.45 per unit in 2019 - is waived for the first four units studied under the Diploma of Sustainable Living. The second four units will attract this fee, which is typically applicable to all units, and is allocated to the improvement of services and amenities for students of the University for both on-campus and online students

What is a HECS Scholarship?

The cost of university education is usually shared between the Australian Government and the student, with the student contributing a proportion of the cost and payable to the university. This tuition fee is commonly known as HECS (Higher Education Contribution Scheme). The University of Tasmania has offered to forgo all or part (depending on the number of units a student has studied in the Diploma) of the student contribution via a HECS Scholarship to all students studying the Science of Gardening unit within the Diploma of Sustainable Living.

The HECS Scholarship is automatically applied when you enrol in the Science of Gardening unit however may not show on your invoice until a later date.

When do applications close?

To ensure your application is processed in time for commencement of Science of Gardening on 24 June 2019,  submit your application no later than the close of business on 14 June 2019.  

If you apply after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application will be processed in time for the 24 June commencement.

How will I know if my application is successful?

Once your application has been assessed, if you have been successful you will receive an email from the University with details on how to respond to your offer in eApplication.  If you accept your offer, you will receive details about your new University of Tasmania student username, email address and password. You will use your username and password to access eStudent to complete your enrolment, and to access the course content through the MyLO online learning platform.

Please allow 10 working days for us to process your application.  If you have not received a response after 10 working days, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form so that we check your application.

What happens if my application is not successful? Will someone contact me?

All applicants will be advised about the outcome of their application.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Science of Gardening unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form, to discuss starting the unit late.

How do I get started?

Once you have accepted your offer, you need to enrol in the Science of Gardening unit in eStudent. You can access eStudent using your University of Tasmania username and password.  We recommend you download the Z1K Enrolment Guide (1.9MB) which will step you through the process.  

If you have any questions or need support with the process, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

I have received a login and password but I can't access MyLO, UTAS email or eStudent, what do I do?

Please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am - 6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am - 1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

I am a previous student and haven't received a username and password, what do I do?

If you have studied with UTAS before, your login details will be the same as they were previously.

If your password has expired, you can change this through the MyPassword Service.

If you have forgotten your login details, please contact please contact the UTAS IT Service Desk for assistance: Ph +61 3 6226 1818 (8:30am - 6:00pm weekdays and 10:00am - 1:00pm weekends and Tasmanian state wide public holidays) or 1300 304 903 (local call charge within Tasmania) or Email: service.desk@utas.edu.au.

What is an eCAF?

The eCAF (electronic Commonwealth Assistance Form) is a government form that is available online through eStudent. Even though there is no cost to a student undertaking the Science of Gardening unit, completing the form is a mandatory requirement for all Commonwealth supported students.  Instructions for how to complete the eCAF are available in this guide: eCAF Instruction Guide (PDF 524KB).

What is Census date?

Every unit offered by a university has a published census date. Census date is the last day a student can withdraw from a unit without receiving a financial penalty. The census date for the current offering of this unit in Winter School (late) is 12 July 2019.  The census date for the next offering of this unit in 12 Week Session Dec is 19 December 2019.

As a full HECS scholarship is being applied to all students studying Science of Gardening in 2018-19, students may withdraw after this date without receiving a financial penalty - but academic penalty may be applied. For withdrawal enquiries after census date, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

How do I pass the unit without having final exams?

There will be ongoing assessments throughout the semester. Assessments could include such items as online quizzes composed of multiple-choice and short answer questions (some of which may be time-limited), online discussion forums and/or presenting your work.

What does online learning look like?

Online learning may involve combining online lectures, tutorials, workshops, group work, problem-based learning or practical exercises with other approaches such as:

  • Video-conferencing
  • Resource-based learning (for example using print, video and audio)
  • Independent/group projects
  • Discussion forums

Flexible teaching and learning approaches are:

  • Learner-centred
  • About good teaching and learning practices for all students
  • Less time- and place-dependent than more traditional forms of teaching
  • Ones that increase the learner's responsibility for his or her own learning

Learning modules will be scheduled for release across the semester (often weekly or fortnightly).

When do I receive my unit outline?

Unit outlines will be available on the student unit website (MyLO) when study commences.

What will I be required to do when studying in this unit?

You should expect to spend approximately 4-5 hours/week undertaking study in this unit. On successful completion of this unit you will:

  • Be able to describe features of plants, pronounce scientific names with confidence, and identify important plant families.
  • Understand the relationship between the internal structure of plants and their use of water and light to grow.
  • Understand soil properties (pH, texture, structure) and soil chemistry that contribute to healthy growth of plants.
  • Understand the controls of plant development: the signals for seed germination, flowering, and even senescence.
  • Be able to manipulate plant growth to produce more flowers and fruit in your garden.
  • Understand how vegetative propagation is possible and desirable in many garden plants.
  • Understand that sexual reproduction can lead to diversity, and why an understanding of self-incompatibility and ploidy levels is essential in many cultivated plants.
  • View gardening through a scientific lens.

I have started studying this unit and I am struggling to keep up. Where can I get help?

Please contact your lecturer in the first instance.

Alternatively, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form and we will be able to assist you with other options.

What happens if I begin the unit after the official start date?

The Science of Gardening unit is delivered fully online. For this reason, you can study flexibly to make up for any time that you may have missed. Please note however that there will be assessment tasks due on certain dates, so please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form, to discuss starting the unit late.

I have completed my unit. How do I obtain my results?

The official release of results will occur on the date specified in the UTAS calendar. These results will be accessible from 9am on the specified date and are accessible via eStudent.

Can I use my Science of Gardening unit result as credit towards a degree?

The Science of Gardening unit is part of the formal requirements for the Diploma of Sustainable Living.

I wish to enrol in another unit at UTAS. How do I go about this?

To enrol in another unit, you will need to contact the College Office. For further assistance, please contact us by email ASC.Contact@utas.edu.au, phone +61 3 6226 6365, or the Contact Us online form.

Can I get a copy of my results?

You can access your eStudent account to obtain an informal statement of your results. Further information on academic records and transcripts may be found at Examinations & Results.