A Flagship course

The Distance Learning Course takes place over three years and follows a set time-table. Through PropaGate, the RBGE’s virtual learning environment you will work through the same learning modules as the taught course. Online tutorials are scheduled at intervals throughout the course to support work in progress, and these will typically make use of Skype.

This course requires a significant amount of home study – approx. 18 hours per week. All course content is delivered via PropaGate with online tutor support and feedback. Years 1 and 2 will cover essential techniques and skills of botanical illustration, leading to the production of a themed collection of paintings to be completed by the end of year 3.

The course tutors are botanical artists and RBGE tutors Jacqui Pestell, Lizzie Sanders, Claire Banks, Işık Güner, and Sharon Tingey, as well as visiting specialists and guests. There will also be input from RBGEs botanists and horticulturists.

How we work from online?

We do this through the PropaGate, please click here.

PropaGate Learning is RBGE’s Virtual learning environment, helping you to explore the world of plants through distance and blended learning programmes.


This course is designed by Jacqui Pestell who is the Art Director of RBGE. This course have several tutors based on their skills, also there are some visiting tutors and an external moderator.

Jacqui Pestell  – She is coordinator of the course, and the main tutor of Native Tree Module

Işık Güner  – Main tutor for Painting Fundamentals, Painting Details and Complex Composition Modules

Sharon Tingey – Main tutor for Drawing Fundamentals and Other Media Modules

Claire Banks – Main tutor for Measured Drawing Module

Jane Richardson – She is coordinating the course runs smoothly with Propagate

Weekly Classes

RBGE Distance Diploma Course is designed as a Hybrid Course. Every year, we are organising a weekly classes based in RBGE. There are quite a few number of tutors are attending these classes to cover the topic of drawing, painting, information about the modules in course, horticultural support, a library visit, and information about how to press specimens.

How to apply

You can download the Applicant’s Handbooks at RBGE website. The Applicant’s Handbook contains further information on the courses and an application form, also you can visit Propagate webpage, please click. If the information in the Handbook does not answer any questions you may have, please contact the Education office via our enquiry form (select ‘Education’) or directly at:

Education Department
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
20A Inverleith Row
Telephone: 0131 248 2937

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