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Membership criteria

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To be admitted to membership of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture you must be:

  • working (paid or unpaid), in horticulture or
  • studying wholly or largely horticulture, or
  • in a branch of science or arts directly linked with horticulture.

Horticulture is defined in its widest sense, to include:

  • amenity horticulture, parks, landscaping, botanic/heritage gardens, and the full range of horticulture within leisure industries
  • producing, managing, growing and marketing all edible and decorative horticultural crops
  • allied research, education and consultancy
  • associated supply industries

Note that...

  • You will be admitted to the appropriate grade of membership based on a combination of your horticultural qualifications and/or experience.
  • You do not need to have formal academic qualifications in horticulture in order to be admitted to membership of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture.
  • Your relevant voluntary experience, and/or placements you undertook while studying, may count towards the your work experience. 
  • Your application will be assessed on the basis of the information you supply.

Membership grades and the academic qualifications and experience you need for each grade

  • Student: No units required. You will be currently studying for an academic qualification that will enable you to qualify to be an Affiliate, Associate or Member.
  • Affiliate: 0 - 4 or more units from a combination of the academic and/or work experience given below
  • Associate (ACIHort): 5 - 11 units from a combination of the academic and/or work experience given below
  • Member (MCIHort): 12 or more units from a combination of the academic and/or work experience given below

Units awarded for work experience

  • You will be awarded one unit for each year of relevant work experience at appropriate level. Note that half units will be awarded for periods of six months relevant work experience at appropriate level.
  • Your work experience may be paid or voluntary.
  • Relevant placements you have undertaken while studying may also count towards your work experience.
  • Note that only one work/placement will be counted during any given period of time, i.e. if you have a paid job and are also undertaking a study-related placement at the same time, only one of these will be counted towards your work experience total.

Units awarded for academic criteria

  • These are not cumulative, i.e. only the units awarded for the highest qualification will be counted.
  • Equivalent qualifications to those stated will be accepted. The OFQUAL Register of Regulated Qualifications will be used to check equivalences.
  • The maximum number of units that will be credited for academic achievement is 10.

Relevant qualifications in a field related to horticulture, as defined above.

  • PhD: 10 units
  • Masters: 9 units
  • Bachelors Degree (Hons): 8 units
  • Bachelors Degree/Botanic Garden Diploma/RHS Masters: 7 units
  • HND/Foundation Degree: 6 units
  • HNC/Level 4: 5 units
  • Level 3 e.g. NDH, RHS Diploma/Advanced Certificate, Edexcel NCH: 4 units
  • Level 2 e.g. City & Guilds NCH/RHS Certificate: 3 units

Non-relevant qualifications in a field not related to horticulture, as defined above.

  • PhD: 5 units
  • Masters: 4 units
  • Bachelors Degree (Hons): 3.5 units
  • Bachelors Degree:  3 units
  • HND/Foundation Degree: 2.5 units
  • HNC:  2 units

Other Membership categories

  • Prizewinner: Free membership for a year is awarded to winners of Chartered Institute of Horticulture Prizes at a number of horticultural colleges, and to finalists of the Grand Final of the Institute's Young Horticulturist of the Year Competition.
  • Fellow (FCIHort): Fellowships of the Institute are awarded to individuals who have achieved a significant profile in their professional capacity, in a field of interest or expertise which contributes to the charitable objects of the Institute, following a nomination by an existing Fellow of the Institute which is approved by the Council of Trustees. Information on Fellowship nominations.
  • Group Membership: This offer extends to up to three individuals, who will each receive all correspondence from the Institute including The Horticulturist quarterly journal and the monthly e-Horticulturist.
    • Of the three individuals, a lead member is nominated by the organisation, who will be entitled to use the Institute’s appropriate designation, e.g. MCIHort. The two other individuals will each be known as a Group Member, they will have no letters designate and may attend, but not vote, at the AGM of the Institute.  
    • Each individual in the Group membership will need to complete an application form and submit this along with a CV or completed Qualifications and Experience Form.
    • Each individual in the Group membership will need to also supply a copy of the highest level qualification held (whether or not relevant to horticulture) according to the Membership Criteria of the Institute.
  • For organisations wishing to join 10 or more individuals at the outset, the Institute offers a discounted membership of 25% per subscription.
    • The organisation is asked to nominate one individual, who will be the main contact with the Institute, to coordinate the membership applications and renewals. We ask that this individual collects and submits the completed application forms to the Institute, in one batch, along with the required associated evidence for each applicant and that one payment is made by either direct debit or bank transfer.
    • The nominated contact is asked to do the same each year for additional new members.
    • At the time of renewal, on an annual basis, the Institute will check the names of those currently part of the group discount with the nominated contact, to make sure they are still employed by the organisation and are entitled to continue receiving the discount. 
  • Chartered Horticulturist (C Hort): Application to be granted the title of Chartered Horticulturist is a separate process available to existing Members and Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture. Information on applying to be granted the title of Chartered Horticulturist.

Join today! If you have any queries about the membership process or criteria, please contact us

If you are already a member of the Chartered Institute of Horticulture, information about how to upgrade your membership category can be found on the Upgrade page.


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CIH Membership Criteria (181.15KB, pdf)


Last updated: 30/09/2015 12:36