Last October (2011), in response to a general concern at the closure of a number of garden history courses, the Garden History Society called a meeting to discuss the future of garden history and conservation education in the UK. Representatives from higher education and garden history bodies attended and it was reassuring to find that the picture wasn't quite as gloomy as first thought, and, indeed, has become even brighter! Garden history remains an engaging and vibrant subject for study and a brief roundup of part-time taught courses available this Autumn follows.
Those wishing to study garden conservation at masters level might consider the successful Bath MSc Conservation of Historic Gardens and Cultural Landscapes or the new University of Cambridge (ICE) MSt Historic Environment (both suitable for those who wish to work in the heritage sector). Also new for this Autumn is an MA Garden History at the University of Buckingham, based in London (run by Tim Mowl and Katie Campbell from the recently discontinued Bristol MA). It's also worth checking out garden-history-related courses at the University of Greenwich and Writtle College, Chelmsford.
Birkbeck, London University, continues its popular module-based CHE (Certificate in Higher Education) History of Architecture and Landscapes, new last year; and Cambridge ICE (based at Madingley Hall) offers a number of Historic Environment courses at CHE level. The Oxford (ODCE) on-line course ‘English Landscape Gardens: 1650 to the present day', devised by Tim Richardson, is a ten-week course which runs each academic term. The Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, is offering a new diploma course in garden history and horticulture in association with the Garden History Society. Also new this year is a short course on garden history research skills to be held at the Institute of Historical Research (London).
If you have already completed a taught course and would like to pursue your studies at PhD level, Birkbeck and Writtle Colleges, especially, welcome applications or expressions of interest. For those wishing to attend a course without fomal assessment, the WEA and some local gardens trust often organize garden history courses. If you are interested in any of these courses do check out the relevant websites.