Master of Urban Horticulture
- CRICOS Code: 061121G
What will I study?
Students with an undergraduate degree in horticulture or plant science will complete the 150-point program.
Students without an undergraduate degree in horticulture or plant science will complete the 200-point program.
The program is made up of:
- Compulsory core subjects (50 points for the 150-point program; 100 points for the 200-point program)
- Discipline elective subjects (maximum of 75 points), which can include an optional research project
- Professional skills subjects (minimum of 12.5 points).
You are encouraged to undertake a horticulture industry internship, either 12.5 or 25 points, where you’ll spend at least 80 or 160 hours with a host institution, applying what you’ve learned in a workplace, building networks and gaining practical experience.
You also have the option of a research project, either 25 or 50 points, carried out over two semesters. One of our expert researchers will provide supervision and direction.
You can choose to exit after the first year of full-time study (100 points) with a Graduate Diploma in Urban Horticulture, but with an opportunity to come back later to complete the Masters.
Sample course plan
View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this degree.
- Semester 1 50 pts
- Semester 2 37.5 pts
- November 12.5 pts
- June/July 25 pts
- February 12.5 pts
- Semester 1 37.5 pts
- Semester 2 25 pts
professional skills subjectScience and Technology InternshipSCIE90017
Explore this course
Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this degree.
- 12.5 pts
Green infrastructure is the network of natural and designed vegetation elements within our cities and towns, in both public and private domains. Green infrastructure includes traditional green elements such as urban parks, gardens and trees, as well as newer green roofs, green walls and rain garden technologies. Green infrastructure provides a number of significant economic, social and environmental benefits and is an effective means of helping to adapt our buildings, communities and cities to future climate change conditions. In this subject students will gain insights into aspects of planning, design and management of green-infrastructure . The use of green infrastructure as ‘living architecture’ and the design considerations involved will be discussed. At the building scale, this will include an understanding of the improved energy efficiencies provided by green infrastructure and their role in building star energy rating systems. At the neighbourhood and landscape scale, the role and function of different green infrastructure technologies and systems will be discussed, including roles in ameliorating urban climates, improving urban water retention, use and quality providing more liveable urban communities for people and wildlife.
- 12.5 pts
This subject considers the evolution of plants, their structure and function, how they reproduce, cell physiology, energy transformations, metabolism, photosynthesis, water and nutrient uptake and transport, plant nutrition and whole plant physiology.
Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to demonstrate their understanding of the structure of plant cells and tissues, the basic processes involved in the growth of plants and the integration of these processes in the physiology of plant growth.
- 12.5 pts
This subject will discuss how urban landscapes are managed. Students will study policy, planning and process issues; landscape and park typology and classification, community consultation; structures, systems, classifications and contractual relationships in urban landscapes; landscape documentation, project planning and implementation; management of urban vegetation; sustainability concepts and benchmarks and case-studies/examples of urban landscape management practice. Guest industry speakers will provide real world examples and experiences relevant to urban landscape management
- 12.5 pts
This subject assesses and evaluates plant pests and diseases, which are the key biological factors impacting on plant health in urban landscapes. Students will learn how to assess and identify common pest and disease species; be able to describe the symptoms; and learn how and when to control and manage them in various settings. Maintaining the health of plants will also be approached from different perspectives such as various Integrated Pest Management methodologies. Students will explore industry-specific plant health issues relevant to trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Safe and effective practices when using chemicals will be discussed, including the relevant legislation relating to chemicals, pests and diseases. The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six-day intensive workshop and a subsequent 10-12 week period of on-line subject delivery and assessment.
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides an overview of the horticultural industry from plant production to installation and establishment of plants in the landscape. It introduces plant propagation techniques and plant growing systems; site analysis, with specific reference to the properties of urban soils and related issues affecting plant performance; plant quality; planting techniques; plant establishment; water delivery and management issues; and the plant maintenance activities during production and at planting that are required for designed landscapes to succeed.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores the identification, selection and design use of plants in urban landscapes. The content includes an introduction to botanical nomenclature, plant selection, sources of information, planting design, planting plans, the design use of major plant groups, and recognition and identification of representative plants. Case studies of plant use and management in urban landscapes and relevant site visits are also discussed.
- 12.5 pts
21st century urban greenspace management requires an integrated multi-disciplinary approach. This subject, undertaken in the final semester of the Masters of Urban Horticulture, provides a basis for students to integrate and apply the knowledge they have gained throughout the course to solve a real world problem.
Guided by academic staff and industry representatives, students will research current local, national or international cases using a problem based approach to develop planning, design, management, data acquisition and synthesis, and communication skills. The subject will be structured around a project in which students will work in teams of 4-5 people to assess, plan and document appropriate solutions for problems associated with an urban landscape.
- 12.5 pts
Urban soils can present distinct and unique challenges to the land manager, landscape architect or horticulturist responsible for developing, maintaining or improving urban landscapes. Often compacted, contaminated, or otherwise unsuitable for plant growth, urban soils require assessment, solutions and practical methods to ensure successful outcomes. This applications-oriented subject covers several fundamental soil science issues with direct relevance to urban landscape impacts, uses and requirements. Topics covered include compaction, nutrition, contamination, water supply, drainage and structural soils.
- 12.5 pts
Understanding of social process and action is critical to effective land and environment management and social research skills are therefore valued by resource management agencies. This subject aims to equip students with knowledge and skills to design social research, which can be used to improve management of environments, agricultural and food systems. The subject presents a framework for understanding diverse approaches to social research; the relationship between theory and method is given particular emphasis.
The research process is considered step by step including scoping research issues, the evolution of research questions, and selection of appropriate methods. A number of research strategies are considered in more detail including survey research, case studies and action research. Social research ethics, quality in social research and advances in social research methods are examined.
- 12.5 pts
This subject provides students with an introduction to quantitative techniques and strategies used in research in a range of life science disciplines, including agriculture and food science, biological sciences, and ecosystem sciences. The subject will focus on the design of research projects, investigation and interpretation of data, and the application of scientific computing to research problems. Teaching and learning will be centered on hands-on sessions in which students work with real-life data. There is a particular emphasis on developing scientific reasoning, statistical intuition, and experience in the practical application of common quantitative methods.
The subject is designed for students with little or no background in statistics or mathematics.
- An introduction to sampling techniques and experimental design
- Description and exploration of data
- Visualization using univariate and bivariate plotting
- Introduction to elementary probability
- Linear models as analytical tools for univariate problems
- Statistical inference using linear models and related techniques
- Interpretation and presentation of the results of statistical models
- Logistic regression models for binary outcomes
- Practical skills working with data in the R software environment
- 12.5 pts
This subject will provide an overview of landscape design and the broader landscape industry; discuss landscape design principles and their application to practice; explore garden history and prominent garden designers; describe the residential landscape design process and planting and materials design. Guest speakers from industry will contribute to the subject.
- 12.5 pts
This subject will cover the application of design principles and design critique, landscape materials and graphic techniques required to produce professional landscape plans, graphic communication of design intent and basic landscape elements (paving, pergolas, edging, walls, fences), verbal presentation and graphic rendering, basic surveying and levels for site development, and planting design and documentation.
- 12.5 pts
In this subject you will study research, applications and practice of therapeutic landscapes across social, community, horticultural and education settings. The content includes methods and approaches used in therapeutic horticulture, horticultural therapy programs, planning, design and construction of therapeutic landscapes, models and examples of successful practice in school, childrens and community gardens. Field visits and practical activities form part of the content.
- 12.5 pts
This subject explores the design, specification and management of green roofs and walls. The content will include guidelines and policies supporting green roofs and walls, relevant typologies and categories of use, requirements for successful design, construction and maintenance, development of specifications and project management and local and international case studies. Students will gain a thorough understanding of green roof and wall design and function, the benefits provided to cities and people and gain hands on experience through practical activities and visits to local project sites.
- 12.5 pts
In this subject you will learn about the history of urban agriculture in countries around the world and explore the various roles of urban agriculture in modern-day cities. Given the nature of the subject, a wide diversity of topics will be covered including but not limited to: plant growth requirements, agricultural inputs (such as water and nutrients), soil contamination, pests and diseases, urban-specific production methods, design and management of community gardens and edible landscapes, mainstream and alternative crops (fruit and vegetables), agro-ecology principles and practices ; and the economic value of residential food gardens. You will be required to implement and maintain an allocated crop plot in the Burnley Field Station throughout semester. Field visits will also form part of this subject.
- 12.5 pts
Environmental stresses such as drought, extreme heat and severe wind events are increasing in their severity in urban environments. This subject aims to help students understand how and why urban trees are vulnerable to such stresses. Urban tree biology and function is constantly compromised through human intervention. This subject aims to help student to understand the structure and function that underpins tree biology and its importance for urban tree managers. Tree stress adaption mechanisms will be investigated from a cellular to a whole tree level. This subject will be delivered through participation in a six-day intensive on-line workshop delivered over a two-week period including lectures, tutorials and do-at-home “kitchen-bench” or computer-based practical activities and a subsequent 9-week period of on-line subject delivery and assessment.
- 12.5 pts
This subject aims to provide students with the tools to critically evaluate methods used to manage trees in the urban forest. The content will include critically evaluating tree assessment, evaluation and tree protection methods. It will include the study of planning and management issues and the role of community participation in urban forest management. It includes examples of methods used to map and survey trees in the urban forest. The subject will be delivered through attendance at a six day intensive workshop, followed by a 10 week period of on-line tutorials and assessment.
- 12.5 pts
There is increasing recognition around the world of the threats facing urban environments and their water resources. In many cities water demand is approaching or exceeding limits of sustainability, leading to increasing interest in alternative water sources, such as stormwater harvesting, wastewater recycling and desalination. At the same time, receiving environments such as urban streams and bays are threatened by pollution and erosion from stormwater runoff, or eutrophication due to discharge of poorly-treated wastewater. There is also increasing recognition of the importance of water in the urban landscape, and of its role in the welfare and health of humans.
The concept of “water sensitive urban design” (WSUD), also known as Integrated Urban Water Management (IUWM) has developed in response to these changes. It aims to better integrate water into the urban landscape, improving the sustainability and liveability of cities (for example through the sustaining of health urban vegetation), while securing adequate resources for growing cities.
This subject reflects the integration inherent in WSUD. The course will teach you about the individual urban water cycle components (water supply, wastewater, stormwater, groundwater), but will primary focus on their interactions and integration, and particularly their interaction with the built and natural environment.
The subject includes a mix of lectures and project-based learning, including a major project (broken up into stages throughout the semester), a full-day excursion and workshops involving leading WSUD experts from public and private industry. The subject will cover:
- An introduction to WSUD (its principles, objectives, context within other urban planning and sustainability policy & practice) in developed and developing countries
- Water in the urban landscape, the urban water cycle and its component characteristics
- Social, environmental and economic impacts of urban water management
- Structural tools and techniques (conceptual design, operation, maintenance)
- Non-structural tools and techniques
- Choice of scales
- Analysis methods (water balance calculations, water end-use analysis)
- Lifecycle cost analysis and multi-criteria evaluation frameworks
- Design tools and software (e.g. MUSIC, Urban Developer, House Water Expert)
- Institutional and implementation issues
- Integration between water and other urban design elements
- 12.5 pts
This subject enables students to conduct an original research topic, under supervision approved by the subject coordinator. The work commitment will be equivalent to lecture and practical based subjects worth 25 points. The content and extent of the project will be determined by a project supervisor in consultation with the student and subject coordinator. Students are strongly encouraged to initiate project ideas within existing networks or to identify a project topic of keen interest, through discussion with subject coordinator, prior to subject commencement. The project represents a capstone subject and comprises a review of a body of relevant literature, together with a critical evaluation of research or experimental protocols, a modest original experiment, or limited exploration of a scientific problem, or an investigation into a problem using an approved methodology. Following an initial workshop to establish subject expectations, deliverables and skill base requirements, projects may involve regular one hour meetings with their supervisor where students report on progress, difficulties and research plans. Other workshops will deliver skill development in oral and written report presentation.
Please note that students should enrol into both the Semester 1 and Semester 2 availabilities of this 12.5 subject to achieve the combined 25 point credit total.
- 25 pts
The Research Project develops a student’s ability to design and undertake a substantial body of work, to find solutions to an issue, and to report on this in written and verbal form. The project topic is developed in close collaboration between student and academic supervisors. Project definition is completed shortly after commencement of the semester of enrolment in the subject, and requires approval from the subject coordination committee. Logistic assistance for projects is coordinated on a case-by-case basis. Each student prepares a short oral presentation on their project proposal, which is peer-reviewed, as well as a written proposal (5-8 pages) to be assessed by the subject coordination committee. A more detailed oral presentation is presented on the final results of the project to an audience of Faculty staff.
- 12.5 pts
Ecological Restoration examines the principles and practices needed to restore terrestrial ecosystems in a range of modified landscapes from settled to agricultural to forested. The subject’s focus is ecological, although consideration is also given to socio-economic factors that influence restoration programs. Lectures and field trips explore ecological principles and projects from site to landscape scales, encompassing biodiversity values and ecosystem services. The subject is delivered via a compressed-semester model including a one-week intensive in the mid-semester break, which will aim to include field trips within the Melbourne region
- 12.5 pts
The interactions between spatial context and ecosystem composition and structure can have a significant influence on the management of our natural environment. Spatial and temporal patterning of ecosystems can influence ecosystem functioning which in turn can affect resource availability for flora and fauna, dynamics of plant communities, and lead to the alteration of disturbance regimes. Humans play a critical role in shaping the spatial context on ecosystems within landscapes, both creating and affecting these relationships. This subject will cover the principles of landscape ecology with a focus on understanding how spatial heterogeneity, spatial extent, agents of change (i.e. fire, climate) and the role of humans (i.e. forest management, urbanisation) influence ecosystem patterns and in turn ecological processes (i.e. plant migration, meta-population dynamics, provisioning of ecosystem services). Case studies will be drawn from international and domestic examples from urban, agricultural, and forested landscapes.
This subject will involve lectures, pracs and a 3 day field trip.
- 12.5 pts
The course covers the fundamentals of spatial analysis for ecosystem management and conservation problems. Students will develop skills in the application of remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for landscape analysis of data. Methodologies for collecting, analysing and interpreting spatial data will be considered through theoretical and practical approaches. These will include data collected by drones through to satellite derived measures at a continental to global scale. Students will learn the spatial skills essential to environmental management by applying industry standard tools and methods. Finally, students will develop an understanding of the emerging technologies in data collection and analysis.
- 12.5 pts
This subject is designed for students wishing to take a summer course, and who are interested in the biology of native plants and plant communities and environments in Victoria. It is suited to students studying environmental science or environmental studies.
Topics covered include:
- biogeographic regions of Victoria: climate, landforms, geology, soils and vegetation types;
- biology of Victorian plants: intraspecific variation and adaptation to local conditions, ecotypes and clines, mallee plants, coastal plants, alpine plants;
- conservation and threats to the Victorian flora: weeds, diseases, pests, fire, extinctions.
- 12.5 pts
Sustainable Landscapes combines social and ecological disciplines to consider the management of urban and rural/regional landscapes for sustainable futures. Subject teaching includes weekly lectures and a 1x weekend field trip to observe and discuss management of landscapes for sustainable outcomes. Australian and overseas case studies are drawn upon to cover the following topics:
- the meaning and significance of sustainability in the context of urban, urban fringe, rural, and regional landscapes and their futures;
- rural and urban land use, and drivers of current and future landscape change, including fragmentation, social change and transformation, biodiversity loss, industrialisation, intensification, pollution, sovereignty, and security;
- assumptions around land ownership, ethics and economics that influence issues of environmental security, commons and sustainable regional futures; · the utilisation, degradation, and management of rural and urban biophysical resources for sustainable futures, including maintenance of ecosystem services and processes;
- the involvement of different stakeholders in decision making for regional, service, rural, fringe and urban areas, including the role of relationships and social features such as politics, memory, and values; and
- the role of governance, including institutions, deliberative democracy, empowerment; and community based natural resource management in navigating landscape change.
The content and the issues raised will draw upon and integrate theory, knowledge and practices from different disciplines familiarising students with systems theory and how it is integral to framing an understanding of landscape management. Theories of complex adaptive systems, social ecological systems, uncertainty, resilience and complexity will also frame the investigation of these issues. Landscape ecology sciences, social sciences (including cultural geographies) and policy frameworks will be drawn upon in analysing and evaluating landscapes and their futures, with a strong focus on community-based knowledge systems. Students will engage deeply with the literature that informs these ideas and will develop a critical understanding of their value and limitations.
- 12.5 pts
In this subject, ideas and theories from the social sciences are applied to people’s involvement in social-ecological systems. Subject teaching includes lectures, group exercises and case studies, including at least one full day field trip. The subject covers the following areas:
- Philosophy and approaches in participation and community management in social-ecological systems in Australia and other countries;
- Participation by landowners, volunteer groups, indigenous people and others in planning or management of forests, waterways, fisheries, conservation areas, revegetation projects and other ecosystems;
- Communities and stakeholders, including their values, knowledge, networks and practices in relation to ecosystems;
- Interactions between community members and governments, businesses and non-government organisations, including issues such as level of engagement, power, knowledge, policy environments, institutions and social licence;
- Processes and techniques for relationship building, engagement planning, group facilitation, conflict management, evaluation and reflective practice;
- 25 pts
This subject involves the definition and development of an internship placement in collaboration with the host institution. It has at its core a workplace project that will allow students to develop skills in project management, problem solving, multi-disciplinary workplace practice, institutional policy and strategy mapping, project reporting and communication.
This internship subject aims to provide students with a high-level employment experience with government, industry or non-government organisation (NGO). Students will develop a good understanding of potential employer expectations of Masters graduates and the skills required to function and excel in a workplace involved in the application of scientific research, technology, policy, planning or management.
With assistance from the subject coordinator, students will be required to source both a host-institution and an academic supervisor. The student and academic supervisor then define and coordinate the internship placement and develop a workplace project in consultation with (a) representative(s) from the host institution. More information is available on the subject webpage here: https://science.unimelb.edu.au/students/internship-subjects/ecosystem-internship. If you have problems finding a placement you should contact the Careers and Industry team in the Faculty of Science (contact details can be found under the specific study period on the Dates and Times page).
This project may relate to an applied science, technological, economic, social or management topic. Each student will prepare an ‘Internship Plan’ which includes relevant information about the project’s aims, context in relation to the institution, approaches to be used, relevant background knowledge and potential outputs to the host-institution. Students will then spend a period of 4-5 weeks (full-time equivalent; ca. 200 hours) working within their host institution i) gaining experience, ii) shadowing institution mentors and iii) working on their internship project. At completion of the internship placement, students will be required to present their findings to an audience, including members of the host-institution, in form of an ‘Internship Seminar’, and submit a ‘Main Report’ on their internship project.
- 12.5 pts
This subject involves completion of an 80-100 hour science or technology work placement integrating academic learning in science areas of study, employability skills and attributes and an improved knowledge of science and technology organisations, workplace culture and career pathways. The placement is supplemented by pre- and post-placement classes designed to develop an understanding of science and technology professions, introduce skills for developing, identifying and articulating employability skills and attributes and linking them to employer requirements in the science and technology domains. Work conducted during the placement will be suitable for a graduate level of expertise and experience. While immersed in a work environment, students will be expected to challenge themselves by accepting roles and responsibilities that stretch their existing capabilities. They will interrogate the requirements of specific careers and continually monitor their own progress towards developing the necessary knowledge, skills and attributes to thrive in these roles.
Students will be responsible for identifying a suitable work placement prior to the semester, with support of the Subject Coordinator. In the semester prior to your placement you should attend Careers & Employment (C&E) employment preparation seminars and workshops as well as accessing other C&E resources to assist you in identifying potential host organisations http://careers.unimelb.edu.au . You should commence your approaches to organisations at least 4 weeks before the placement. More information is available on the subject webpage here: https://science.unimelb.edu.au/students/internship-subjects/Science-Technology-Internship-Masters. If you have problems finding a placement you should contact the Careers and Industry team in the Faculty of Science (contact details can be found under the specific study period on the Dates and Times page).
On completion of the subject, students will have completed and reported on a course-related project in a science or technology workplace. They will also have enhanced employability skills including communication, interpersonal, analytical and problem-solving, organisational and time-management, and an understanding of career planning and professional development.
- 12.5 pts
Why is it essential that scientists learn to communicate effectively to a variety of audiences? What makes for engaging communication when it comes to science? How does the style of communication need to change for different audiences? What are the nuts and bolts of good science writing? What are the characteristics of effective public speaking?
Weekly seminars and tutorials will consider the important role science and technology plays in twenty-first century society and explore why it is vital that scientists learn to articulate their ideas to a variety of audiences in an effective and engaging manner. These audiences may include school students, agencies that fund research, the media, government, industry, and the broader public. Other topics include the philosophy of science communication, talking about science on the radio, effective public speaking, writing press releases and science feature articles, science performance, communicating science on the web and how science is reported in the media.
Students will develop skills in evaluating examples of science and technology communication to identify those that are most effective and engaging. Students will also be given multiple opportunities to receive feedback and improve their own written and oral communication skills.
Students will work in small teams on team projects to further the communication skills developed during the seminar programme. These projects will focus on communicating a given scientific topic to a particular audience using spoken, visual, written or web-based communication.