RHS Level 2: Frequently asked questions

What is the RHS Level 2?

The Royal Horticultural Society’s Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture is an internationally recognised qualification. It is a theory based qualification which assesses the knowledge of the scientific principles underpinning horticultural practices. 

Whether you are starting a career in horticulture, or just want to take your love of plants and gardening further, this course gives you a broad-based understanding of horticulture, garden design and how plants work. On successful completion of the examination candidates may choose to continue their studies leading to the Level 2 Diploma in Horticulture. 

An attractive feature of this course is that it is purely horticultural and students are not required to study non-horticultural subjects as is the case on many other courses on offer.

Here's further information about the RHS Level 2 course.

Who enrols on this course?

People from different backgrounds, from those who have never studied horticulture and/or gardening, to the more experienced gardeners of all ages. The RHS Level 2 Certificate in the Principles of Horticulture is ideally suited to interested amateurs, to anyone considering embarking on a career in horticulture or to those who are already working in the horticulture/gardening sector who wish to learn more and obtain a recognised qualification.

When and where are the exams?

The exams are normally held each year in February and June.  An exam fee is payable to the Royal Horticultural Society. You'll need to locate a centre that accepts external candidates, more information and a short list of centres are available on the RHS web site.

For a full list of the 2021 Exam dates please visit:

If you would like to sit the exam outside of the UK, you'll need to contact RHS Qualifications and complete an application to sit the exam under exceptional supervision. Your application will then need to be approved by RHS Qualifications.

You can find more information about how the RHS manage qualifications on the RHS web site.

Online exams

RHS Level 2 distance learning students can now take their RHS Level 2 exam online. This opportunity is limited to external candidates and those attending distance learning programmes, so Learning with Experts RHS Level 2 course students will be able to sit remote exams. Find out more

If you have any further questions about sitting exams, or gaining the final qualification, please contact the RHS directly by email at qualifications@rhs.org.uk, by phoning +44 1483 226500 or by post to RHS Qualifications, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB.

What written information is provided as part of the course content?

You will be provided with printable magazine style course notes to accompany the lessons. If you are looking for supplementary reading, Tom Cole has put together a list of the best four books for RHS Level 2.

Is it possible to study this qualification alongside school or another job?

Yes. You can watch the videos at your own pace - you will have access to the classroom for life.

Do the assignments have to be done in the week following the lesson?

This is up to you. You can choose to do all of your assignments at once, or you can spread them over a longer period of time.

Can I extend my course time if I’m struggling to finish?

Yes, you can contact your tutor who will extend your course.

Do I need materials for this course?


How do you talk to your fellow students and tutor?

You can both chat to other students and your tutor live within the online classroom. We would encourage you to discuss any ideas with your classmates and comment on each others assignments. You can also contact your tutor through a private messaging system.

What are the resources like for the course aside from the videos and online classroom forum?

You get really detailed notes with the course that are like magazines - you can print these out and can study them like a book. You can also download free past papers, directly from the RHS.

What can I expect from the videos?

The videos are essentially like having a lecture with your tutor talking you through all the content. 

What can I expect from the classroom?

The classroom is where you discuss with your peers, get feedback on your assignments and ask your tutor questions.

How many different RHS course levels are there?

RHS offer Level 1 (practical only), Level 2 & Level 3 which both comprise of a theory and a practical qualification. You can currently study the level 2 theory with Learning with Experts.

Can the course collection fee be paid in instalments at all?

You may purchase the individual units in your own time, or if you sign up for Paypal credit you can pay in instalments.

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