Design A Course

 DESIGN YOUR OWN COURSE

The Australian Correspondence Schools offers around 400 short courses or modules (most are approximately 100 hours in duration). Around 200 of these are in areas related to horticulture.

These modules can be taken as stand alone courses, or they can be combined to create a learning bundle that meets your own very specific needs or interests.

HOW TO DESIGN A COURSE

You can create a certificate by selecting six (6) modules that meet your needs and together add up to 600 nominal hours of study. You should then submit your selection to a member of our academic staff (via email or phone) for approval. As long as your selection is sensible, it will then be approved, at which point you can enrol. The standard certificate fees apply.

Any duration can be self designed into a customised study program with approval from the school. Discounts are available for bundling multiple courses.

This system offers our students some distinct advantages over courses offered elsewhere:

  • If you already work in industry, you can pick and choose what you study to create a study program that is more relevant and useful to your needs.
  • You can create a unique combination of subjects, which helps distinguish you from other job applicants throughout your career.
  • You can prepare yourself better for setting up and running a specialist business

Example:

There are very few opportunities anywhere for a course to be designed that focuses on just one type of plant; but with this system you could for example decide to focus on preparing to run a cottage garden plant nursery, in which case your certificate may be built to encompass:

  • Cottage Garden Design
  • Perennials
  • Bulbs
  • Herb Culture
  • Wholesale Nursery Management 
  • Propagation I

If you were wanting to operate a landscape business specialising in Natural Gardens you might choose a combination such as:

  • Natural Garden Design
  • Water Gardens
  • Landscape Construction
  • Australian Natives I
  • Australian Natives II
  • Workshop I (focusing on Natural Garden design projects)

STUDY PROGRAMS AVAILABLE

Specialist Award (Spec.Awd.)
A specialist award is a specialist program, for people who already have a “foundation” knowledge of a subject; but who wish to undertake limited specialist study in that field. This award allows you to attain a formal award without needing to make as much of a commitment as a full certificate.

Requires: 3 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 300 hours).
Plus 200 hours of work experience or industry meetings.

Prerequisites: Over 18 years of age; a reputable certificate or higher qualification; or significant industry experience which demonstrates a foundation knowledge in the subject; or equivalent (contact school for more information).

Certificate (Cert.)
Trade level study program.
Requires: 6 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 600 hours)
Prerequisites: Year 10; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 9; or over 18 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information).

Advanced Certificate (Adv.Cert.)
This would normally be considered to be equivalent to a supervisory study program.

Requires: 8 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 800 hours)
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Year 11; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 10; or a reputable certificate; or over 18 years of age; or equivalent (contact school for more information)

1500 hours Learning Bundle
This would normally be considered appropriate training for lower levels of management or technician training.

Requires: 14 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 1400 hours)
Normally including Research Project I
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Over 18 years of age

2100 hours Learning Bundle
This would normally be considered a management or professional level study program

Requires: 20 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 2000 hours)
Normally including Research Project I and II
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Over 18 years of age

2500 hours Learning Bundle
An extensive study program considered a management or professional level.

Requires: 24 modules (combined nominal duration of at least 2400 hours)
Normally including Research Projects I, II and III
Plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings

Prerequisites: Over 18 years of age

SUMMARY OF DESIGN YOUR OWN STUDY PROGRAM


Specialist Award Certificate Advanced Certificate 1500 hour Learning Bundle 2100 hour Learning Bundle 2500 hour Learning Bundle
Duration 500 hours 600-700 hours 700-900 hours 1500 hours 2100 hours 2500 hours
Requirements 3 modules; plus 200 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 6 modules. 8 modules; plus 100 hours of industry meetings. 14 modules, normally including Research Project I; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 20 modules, normally including Research Project I and II; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings. 24 modules, normally including Research Projects I, II and III; plus 100 hours of work experience or industry meetings.
Pre-requisites A reputable certificate or higher qualification; or significant industry experience which demonstrates a foundation knowledge in the subject; or over 18 years of age; or equivalent. Year 10; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 9; or over 18 years of age; or equivalent. Year 11; or 1 year of relevant full time work following year 10; or a reputable certificate; or over 18 years of age; or equivalent. Over 18 years of age Over 18 years of age Over 18 years of age
Fee Code PA CT AC AS DI AD

ASSESSMENT

Standard Modules (100 hrs duration) have assignments (normally one per lesson), and one exam on completion of all assignment. All assignments, plus the exam must be satisfactorily completed, in order to gain a module credit (or pass). Special circumstances including overall interaction with tutors throughout the course are always taken into account for borderline cases. People who fail are given opportunity to reapply and sit a supplementary exam. Exam fees are additional to course fees.

Project and Research Work: Non Standard Modules such as Research Projects, Workplace Projects, Workshops and Industry meetings do not have an exam, but adequate and academically sound proof of completion of required work must be produced in order to achieve a pass in such modules

Non Standard Certificates Courses: A few courses have different requirements; for example a Certificate in Garden Design involves a set 30 lessons, rather than 6 modules. This certificate has only 4 exams for the entire certificate rather than the usual six.

EXAMS

Exams are compulsory for Specialist Awards, Certificates and Advanced Certificates. Student enrolling in single modules may elect to sit an exam or not. To read more about exams please view our exam information page under enrolment.

SUBJECTS/MODULES AND WORK EXPERIENCE AVAILABLE

Standard A.C.S Modules
Almost any short course of 100 hrs duration offered by ACS can be included in any of the above study bundles. Exceptions are courses designated specifically as “hobby courses”, or as not being relevant to a commercial situation. These include: Landscaping Home Gardens, Home Garden Expert Course, Home Vegetable Growing, Home Fruit Growing, Herbs (basic Course), Efficient Writing, Hobby Photography.

Industry Meetings
To meet this requirement, the student must attend meetings such as conferences, seminars, trade shows, exhibitions, study tours, committee meetings, or any other industry events which might be considered as contributing toward their awareness and education of industry. Proof must be shown of attendance. This may be in the form of references or letters from the organisers of the event, by supplying a written report and photographs; or by any other reasonable method.

Work Experience
This must be shown to be both relevant to the study program; and a valuable learning experience. Work that is menial or unchallenging may not be approved. A reference from an employer, client or colleague must be supplied, describing both the nature and duration of the work.

Research Projects
Research Projects I, II and III are generic100 hour modules. Each module involves some formal studies to learn about research methods and techniques, followed by conducting some real research into a subject relevant to the discipline being studied.

APPROVAL CRITERIA
Your selection of modules must satisfy the following broad criteria:

  • The structured course must be seen to be teaching new knowledge and skills. Modules will not be approved where the student has undertaken similar studies in the same subject area elsewhere in the recent past (within 5 years). ACS does have a program whereby we will recognise your previous studies for credit towards a study package (see below), but obviously studying the same material again is of little help to the student.
  • Modules selected must not cover the same topics excessively (eg. Introduction to Computers and Computer Studies I are both introductory computing courses. Both would not be allowed; Agricultural and Horticultural Soil Management are too close to each other).
  • For Advanced Certificates and lower courses, all modules must bear a relationship to the title of the study program.
  • The selected combination must make sense, and have purpose.

EXEMPTIONS
A.C.S has a program whereby students can apply for credit towards our learning programs based upon previous studies or relevant experience. Credit may be granted on the basis of:

  • Past studies in a similar subject area. We will not grant more than 33% of a study program on the basis of studies which have been used to gain credit in this or another institution
  • Work experience, which can be proven to be significant and accurate, in it’s learning value. This proof may be verified through reputable references; or alternatively through sitting an examination, for which a fee, double that of the normal exam fee, will apply.
  • Not more than 66% of any A.C.S study program will be granted by exemptions (ie: both study and work experience) should ever be credited this way; and rarely more than 50% if the case is exceptional.

ENROLMENT APPLICATION PROCEDURE
Enrol in the same way that you would enrol for any other course, writing "Self-Designed" where you are asked what to enrol in. Attach an explanatory letter to your enrolment form (or email us a letter as soon as you send the enrolment form). The letter should list the combination of modules, which you seek approval to study. Your combination needs to be approved by a tutor, before the enrolment is accepted. If one or more subjects are not acceptable, the tutor will suggest other options. If you are applying for exemptions based on prior work experience and/or study, then you will need to request an application for Recognition of Prior Learning from the School. This RPL form will need to be processed before your course program is approved. The enrolment will not be processed until you consider and accept any proposed options.

FEES

  • Fees are in line with our standard fee code (eg. A self designed certificate has exactly the same fee as a standard certificate -ie. CT)
  • Exam Fees are an extra charge (usually one exam for each module/subject).
  • When exemptions are granted, Fees may be reduced, and a reduced price quoted prior to enrolment.
  • See a snapshot of fees here.