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Duration (approx) 1000 hours
Qualification Foundation Diploma

Develop a Detailed Knowledge of Hydroponics for Professional and Career Development

  • An in-depth qualification suitable for - growers, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, consultants, teachers and writers.
  • Develop an extensive knowledge in hydroponics systems, designs, and applications.
  • Learn about the management of systems and your crops.
  • 1,000 hour course, studied by distance learning and taught with the support and guidance of our expert specialist tutors.


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Study the Foundation Diploma in Hydroponics - Gain Extensive Knowledge in Hydroponics for Professional Development.

  • An in-depth qualification suitable for - growers, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers, consultants, teachers and writers.
  • Develop your knowledge in hydroponics systems, designs, and applications.
  • Learn about the management of systems and your crops.
  • Study plant environments and nutrition.
  • Understand the methods of irrigation.
  • Learn about approaches to pest and weed control.
  • Study the processes involved with harvesting and post-harvest management of crops.
  • Select from a wide range of Elective Modules to tailor the qualification and your learning to your own specific areas of interest.
  • The course duration is 1,000 hours of self-paced study and is available to start at any time.
  • Learn with the support and guidance of our expert specialist tutors.



Course Duration: 1,000 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Course Composition: The course comprises 6 Core Modules, plus 4 Elective Modules.


The Core Modules are summarised below. Further details for each module can be found by following the link in the module title.

Hydroponics I BHT224 
This 10 lesson module provides a sound introduction to Hydroponics – growing plants in a closed system and without soil.  Over the last few decades it has seen significant take up in the commercial sector due to potential high yields and the fact that being a closed system means environmental and pest/disease controls are much easier to implement and maintain.  Added to this, Hydroponic farming offers a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way of producing crops (compared with traditional methods of horticulture).  Serving as an introduction to Hydroponics, the module is broadly based with lessons including the global industry and comparisons with traditional growing methods, the design and management of Hydroponic systems, and plant culture.  The module is completed with a special assignment where the student will plan a Hydroponic enterprise. 

Hydroponics II - Hydroponic Management BHT213 
This 11 lesson module focusses on the hydroponic management of commercial crops. Students will look at the elements which affect plant growth and understand the approaches to controlling and providing the optimum environments for plant growth and development. Students will learn about hydroponic trials and how to design and conduct a trial to evaluate the commercial viability of growing a chosen hydroponic crop. Following studies in harvest and post-harvest management, students will look in greater depth at the hydroponic production of a selection of different crops (including tomatoes, capsicums, leaf crops for salads, cucurbits, strawberries, roses, carnations, and orchids). 

Hydroponics III – Managing Systems BHT321 
This is an 8 lesson module which is concerned with the planning of a hydroponic operation, through the selection of site and crops, matching an appropriate hydroponic system with a crop, as well as considering the materials, resources, and services required. Students will look further at the management of hydroponics systems, and the management of resources (water), nutrient formulations and nutrient levels, and the control of diseases and pests. 

Irrigating Crops BHT204 
This is a 10 lesson module.  As with our other irrigation modules, this module looks at soils and different irrigation systems, but with a specific focus on practical application and the watering of crops.  The module includes lessons on all areas of water handling, including drainage.  The module is completed with the student designing and operating an irrigation system for crops. 

Aquaponics BHT319 
With this 10 lesson module, Aquaponics students will study this intensive form of farming where the two main elements - fish and plants - support each other. Crucial to understanding aquaponics, is the development of the student’s knowledge of plant and animal nutrition and growth. The module covers the essential hardware elements and by the end of the module, students will be conversant with the different options available and will be knowledgeable in the identification and rectification of problems. 

Research Project I BGN102 
Students will learn to plan and conduct research into the current status of an aspect of the industry relating to their area of study, and complete a descriptive report based on that research. 


Students are to select 4 Modules from the following. To access the page with detailed information for each module, please follow the links in the titles.

Berry Production BHT309
Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
Cut Flower Production BHT221
Growing Carnations VHT110
Herb Culture BHT114
Microbiology BSC209
Roses BHT231
Soil and Water Chemistry BSC307
Starting A Small Business VBS101
Tissue Culture BHT306

Greenhouse Management BHT257


In planning a commercial or large scale hydroponic operation choosing a suitable site is probably the most important decision to be made. Obviously climatic factors and topography will vary depending on the area under consideration but there are some factors which are relevant to all locations:

  • Choose a site which is relatively flat and preferably cleared.
  • Choose a site which is close to markets or scrutinise cost of transporting crops to markets.
  • Choose a site with good road access directly to the greenhouse and packhouse.
  • Choose a site which is not surrounded by buildings or built up residential areas.
  • Choose crops for which there is a demand.
  • Check the availability of labour.
  • Make sure there is a suitable water supply available.
  • Make sure there is power to the site.
  • Check to see if there is a local horticultural supplier of substrates, system equipment and nutrient fertilisers, if not estimate freight costs from the nearest supplier.
  • Select equipment in accordance with the local climate e.g. greenhouses for cooler regions
  • Check local regulations regarding allowable land use on the site – this includes waste management, noise, waste water and discharge regulations.

All aspects of a site should be reviewed thoroughly before deciding whether to select it or not and pressing ahead with construction. The land could provide underground bore water which could be tapped into. It could be that the land is solid rock which would be too difficult and costly to manipulate if it needs amending. Perhaps the site is prone to high winds and has little shelter, thus being a risk to a greenhouse operation.  You need to carefully assess the pros and cons of any prospective site.  

Reasonably flat sites are preferable since they preclude the need for levelling. If the only options are hilly sites then it may be possible to terrace them but you would need to weigh up that expense. It is important to also consider the impact of nearby environmental pollutants such as smoke from factories or toxins leached into water sources from nearby industry. On smaller sites it may be possible to construct a rooftop hydroponics operation to save on space however these types of set ups are often expensive and not ideal situations unless land is extremely limited.   


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


The Foundation Diploma In  Hydroponics requires approximately 1000 hours of study. It is made up of ten 100-hour modules.

To pass the course –

  1. Pass all assignments on the ten 100-hour modules. There will be an assignment at the end of each lesson to submit to your tutor for marking and feedback.
  2. Pass ten examinations – one on each module. These are usually taken at the end of the module and can be arranged at a time and location to suit you.


At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.
  • Depending upon your course, your studies may involve independent research, interviews, practical exercises, assessments, Problem Based Learning projects, and more.


"Having completed the Advanced Hydroponics Course, I have since gone on to open my own successful hydroponics retail shop, now in it's third year of trading."
Ted - Advanced Hydroponics Course


You can enrol on our courses today - simply go to the "It's easy to enrol ..." box at the top right-hand side of this page, select your payment plan and your learning method.

Or contact us -

Connect with one of our specialist Hydroponics tutors, who will be happy to answer any of your questions about our courses.

Phone us on (UK) 01384 442752 or (International) +44 (0) 1384 442752

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Towergate Insurance welcomes Professional Liability insurance applications from ACS graduates across all disciplines. Click here for more details.

Meet some of our academics

Dr Lynette Morgan (Horticulture)Lyn worked with Rivendell Mushroom Farm between 1986 and 88; and then as a research assistant and technician for a few years while undertaking university studies. In 1991 she graduated from Massey University with a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Hons) which covered broad horticultural sciences, as well as nursery vegetable and fruit production. Throughout the 90's she worked in both the nursery industry and horticultural crop production, before establishing her own business "Suntec" which has built an exceptional international reputation providing consulting services; particularly in hydroponic crop production. Dr Morgan has a broad expertise in horticulture and crop production, and a keen appreciation of the global scene. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Diana Cole (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Permaculturist, Landscaper, Environmentalist. Holds a Diploma in Horticulture, degree in geography, permaculture certificate and various other qualifications. Between 1985 and 94, Diana was a task leader with the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Since 2001 she has been chairperson of the Friends of Mellor Park (with Stockport MDC). From 2005 she has worked exclusively in horticulture as proprietor of her own garden design and consultancy business in and around Derbyshire; and at the same time as part time manager of a small garden centre. Diana has been an enthusiastic and very knowledgeable tutor with ACS since 2008.
Yvonne Sharpe (Horticulturist)Started gardening in 1966, studied a series of horticulture qualifications throughout the 1980's and 90's, culminating in an RHS Master of Horticulture. Between 89 and 1994, she worked teaching in horticultural therapy. Founded the West Herts Garden Association in 1990 and exhibited at Chelsea Flower Show in 1991. In 1994, Yvonne joined the staff at Oaklands College, and between 1996 and 2000 was coordinator for all Amenity Horticulture courses at that college. Since leaving Oakland she has been active as a horticultural consultant, retail garden centre proprietor and sessional lecturer (across many colleges in southern England). In 2000, she also completed a Diploma in Management.

Check out our eBooks

Aquaponics eBookThe Aquaponics ebook will give you a great understanding of how to start your own aquaponics production. This 65 page ebook provides you with enough information to start your own home production and even manage issues as they arise. This is a great way to become more self-sufficient and produce a sustainable food source for your own household. Aquaponic farming allows individual families to grow a much wider range of produce, in a much smaller space. They can provide the protein needed for their diet (from fish), as well as the vegetables and fruit they need. Aquaponic systems can be as small as a few cubic meters; or as large as many acres. They are an ideal way of improving productivity on a hobby farm; can be used by restaurants to produce the freshest produce on site, or established inside buildings, in big cities, for urban farming.
Commercial HydroponicsThe Commercial Hydroponics ebook is ideal for students, professional horticulturalists and those who want to build a strong foundation knowledge in hydroponics. The commercial hydroponics ebook explains how to set up a commercial hydroponics system, including growing techniques and equipment that you will need. The topics covered in this book include an introduction to hydroponics, site considerations, alternatives, plant nutrition, nutrient film technique culture, rockwool culture, aggregate culture, other techniques, hydroponics equipment, greenhouse operation, plant culture in hydroponics, Vegetable crops, berry and other fruit crops, flower crops, other crops, managing a commercial hydroponic farm and a troubleshooting guide.
HerbsLearn to identify and grow dozens of commonly grown herbs. Explore how to use them. Herbs have a rich history dating back centuries. Used by monks, apothecaries and ‘witches’ in the past, herbs are undergoing a revival in interest. They are easy to grow, scented, culinary and medicinal plants. In a formal herb garden or peppered throughout the garden, herbs rarely fail! Find out how they are used as medicines, for cooking, perfumes and more.
OrchidsA colourful guide for students, home gardeners and orchid enthusiasts. The first part deals with growing orchids, and the second covers dozens of orchid genera, and hundreds of cultivars. Explore orchids as cut flowers, container plants, indoor plants and outdoor garden plants, in both tropical and temperate climates, across the world.