Year 1: Introduction to Organics

This BHU - Lincoln University programme offers trainingio at one of Australasia’s oldest organic farms. During the 41 week’s tuition you can achieve the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 3).

Year 2: Applied Organics

This BHU-Lincioln University programme offeaors training at one of Australasia's oldest organic farms. During the 43 week's tuition (including holiday breaks) you can achieve the National Certificate in Horticulture (Level 4).

Stepping Stone Programme

sfmThe Stepping Stone Programme (SSP) offers BHU graduates the opportunity to gain the confidence they need to start their own businesses in a low-risk environment. This is a non-assessed programme which gives students the following benefits:

  • The use of land, machinery and facilities on the BHU farm.
  • Enough certified land to run a semi-commercial operation.
  • Students can grow and market their own certified organic produce under the BHU's organic certification.
  • Students can also contribute to a weekly produce on the Lincoln University campus.

Organic Distance Programme

doThe BHU offers a distance (correspondence) programme in organics.

Certificate in Organic Horticulture Knowledge (Level 3)

Course Length

One year from date of enrolment, part-time study


40 credits


Telford certificate in Organic Horticulture Knowledge (Level 3)

Course Fee

NZ Student fees: $251
International student fees

Entry Requirements

Competent in written English. Enrol at any time, students must be 16 years or over. English language proficiency is required. International students require IELTS of 5.5 or a TOEFL of 500 plus TWE 4.5

Download the enrolment form here or contact the distance co-coordinator for further information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Textbooks Required

None - handbooks are supplied for each course

Practical component

The programme includes a five day block course held at the Biological Husbandry Unit, Lincoln University. Block courses are held twice a year in April and November. 

The next block course will be held on the following weeks:

  • 3rd - 7th April 2017.
  • November 2017 (date TBA)

Course content

Please choose 40 credits form the list of subjects below. This link will take you to the course selection form: Programme Elective Form (PDF)

Organic Horticulture – Introduction

  • 552101 Foundations of organic horticulture
  • 552102 Permaculture in organic horticulture
  • 552103 Polyculture in organic horticulture

Birds and Bees and Plants and Trees

  • 24637 Demonstrate knowledge of the modification of plant processes to optimise plant production
  • 10087 Plan plantings for insect and bird retention
  • 19893 Bees in organic horticulture

Soils in Organics

  • 552202 Composting principles
  • 22175 Soils in organic horticulture

Weather Management

  • 522302 Natural shelter
  • 19138 Monitor and interpret weather information

Outdoor Safety

  • 19145 Well being of workers
  • 23540 Hazards and hazard control

Diploma in Organic Agri-Food Production


Qualification Description

The new Diploma in Organic Agri-Food Production is a full-time programme delivered over two semesters. The programme provides foundational, transferable knowledge and experience with the theory and practice that make up contemporary organic agri-food production. This study is undertaken in a context of Tikanga together with the academic skills necessary for successful study in a university context.

Follow this link on the Lincoln University website for programme and enrolment information:

The Tikanga components are delivered through two courses, Mahinga Kai and Introduction to Maori Culture and Society.

Graduate Profile

Graduates of the diploma will be well placed to seek employment or to work entrepreneurially in urban and rural settings for organic agri-food production. Graduates will be able to seek employment in organic primary production or other sectors related to organics, particularly education and hospitality. Graduates moving into organic primary production will tend to be involved in smaller-scale operations such as supplying farmers’ markets and restaurants. Graduates moving into or returning to the education sector will be able to embed the principles and practices of organics and sustainability in educational delivery. Hospitality sector graduates can involve themselves in smaller niche ventures such as food stalls, catering, cafes and farmers’ markets.

It is envisaged that the Tikanga and Mahinga Kai components appeal to people seeking employment as, or currently employed as, Commissioners, Council members (city & regional), and existing advisors to farming entities.

The programme also provides a pathway to further undergraduate study for graduates.

Practical Work

The programme includes a requirement for students to complete twelve weeks’ practical work in two different enterprise types, with at least four weeks on one enterprise (to be administered by the University’s Practical Work office)


The courses for the Diploma in Organic Agri-Food Production are:

  • LUAC 010 Academic Communication and Study Skills
  • LUAC 014 Te Tu-a-Uri: Introduction to Maori Culture and Society
  • SCIE 024 Introduction to Organics
  • BIOS 023 Plant and Animal Health for Organics
  • SOSC 022 Soils and Soil Management for Organics
  • MAST 120 Mahinga Kai
  • MGMT 028 Organics Management


  • Another Level 5 course with the permission of the Academic Coordinator.

SCIE 024 Introduction to Organics

An introduction to the principles, development and practice of organics in the context of modern primary production. In this course students will learn about the principles of organics and their development over time. They will apply this knowledge in a contemporary context in relation to weeds, composting, permaculture and to a project.

BIOS 023 Plant and Animal Health for Organics

An introduction to the biology and control of insects, plant diseases and weeds and to disease prevention and animal health of farmed livestock, in the context of organic primary production. This introductory course develops students’ understanding of the interaction between biology and control of insect pests, plant diseases and weeds of selected crops, the principles of disease prevention and control in animals, and the important factors that affect the health and welfare of farmed livestock. These factors are considered in the context of primary production for organics.

SOSC 022 Soils and Soil Management for Organics

An introduction to the nature and properties of soils, their fertility and soil-plant-animal relationships, in the context of organic primary production. This course introduces students to the nature and properties of soils, how soil properties affect plant growth, and sustainable management of soils for organic primary production.

MAST 120 Mahinga Kai

A cultural, horticultural and regulatory overview of traditional and contemporary Mahinga Kai in the Ngai Tahu context. This introductory course develops students’ understanding of Mahinga Kai and its historical and contemporary context in te ao Maori. Horticultural, practical, regulatory and innovative elements will be examined.

MGMT 028 Organics Management

A practical and theoretical introduction to crop management, marketing and certification in the context of organic primary production.

In this course, students learn about effective organics management in the context of case studies, a crop production survey and a growing project on an organic farm. This course supports and enhances the practical work required for the Diploma in Organic Primary Production.

LUAC 010 Academic Communication and Study Skills

In this course, students learn about Language, research and writing skills for successful study, in the context of practical study skills for academic success and lifelong learning.

LUAC 014 Introduction to Maori Culture and society

This course is an overview of Maori culture and its expression in contemporary Aotearoa/new Zealand society, together with an introduction to the Treaty of Waitangi


  • Another Level 5 course with the permission of the Academic Coordinator, for example...

MGMT026 Horticulture Management System A

An introduction to the principles of commercial management, production economics and enterprise budgeting. An introduction to a range of horticultural enterprise systems. Identification of the major components in different horticultural enterprise systems and the relationships between them. A series of field case studies.

MAST106 Nga Tikanga Maori (Maori Cultural Studies)

An introduction to Maori culture and society.

Entry Requirements

One of the following:

  • NCEA Level 2, a minimum of 40 credits over four subjects recognised by Lincoln University as suitable for entry (see the 'attachments' box further down for more information) to this diploma. The literacy and numeracy requirements for university entrance are also required. The list of subjects is reviewed periodically and applicants who have taken subjects other than those listed will be considered on a case-by-case basis. A maximum of 24 credits in any one subject will be counted towards the total.
  • A National Certificate in Horticulture at Level 4 or higher obtained through an approved polytechnic institution.
  • Special Admission
  • Other Pathways 


$6,800 for domestic students. International enrolment are subject to international fees. 

Teaching/tutorial/laboratory hours per week

The number will vary between the first and second semester and will also depend on the students’ choice of elective.

How will the programme be delivered?

Teaching and learning opportunities will be available through a mixture of face-to-face and structured self-directed learning as part of the course requirements. The range of teaching and assessment methods will range from traditional classroom-based methods to self-directed learning and peer assessment and will include teaching, learning and assessment consistent with tikanga Maori.

Intake Date

There are two intakes annually, at the start of Semester 1 (Feb) and Semester 2 (July) annually.

Online resources news and events