Natural History Studies


‘To draw is to really see and understand the uniqueness of the world of nature.’

Natural History Studies is the study of the natural world, recording in detail the unique species of life on earth. An opportunity for Art to meet Science on equal terms. Studies will make connections and be underpinned with contextual and historical referencing. You will study art techniques of scaling up, composition, colour mixing, identification, but also ecology.

This is designed for both distance learners and local learners, in equal measure. All the core modules are designed for distance self-paced online learning that you can access at a time that suits you.

We also deliver some modules face-to-face at locations across Wales, giving you an opportunity to learn with others and visit habitats and gain a greater experience of working on location. We also collaborate with Welsh field study centres and venues where you can get up close and personal to wildlife.

Find out more about the Natural History Studies Framework (PDF).

Browse our Natural History Studies courses by clicking here. You can also read more about the Higher Education Certificate, and read our Course Start Letters for more information.

If you have any questions about the programme please email Alison Pierse at For administrative queries please email the Lifelong Learning Office

Natural History Studies Higher Education Certificate

Our Natural History Studies courses can also form a Certificate of Higher Education. Click here to read more about how that works.

What skills with you develop with Natural History Studies?

  • skills in self-management and self-initiation of artwork relating to Natural History Illustration
  • an appreciation of technical quality, accuracy and detail to conduct research in a variety of modes
  • observation drawing, scaling up and professional practice within the genre
  • the ability to critically evaluate and reflect on one's own learning and develop the ability to communicate in a range of formats.
  • an understanding of the contextual and current movements within the genre of Natural History Illustration Studies
  • a sound academic background in illustration whilst giving skills to evaluative and investigative, problem-solve, show the role of criticism and an understanding of the relationship between art practice and art history
  • the opportunity to progress into full-time Higher Education through a School of Art BA or MA programme, or preparing you for freelance employment
  • an awareness of the sensitivities and health and safety issues of working with specimens

Student Profile: Thuy Bui Howarth from Vietnam

Thuy Bui Howarth from Vietnam

The reasons behind my application for the Certificate of Higher Education: Natural History Studies 

The more I learn about plants, flowers, animals, insects and ecology, the more I am shocked at how much we humans have destroyed the ecosystem and environment. I wish I can contribute a very small part to change this sad fact by spreading my illustrations as well as Botanical knowledge to the world. And the only way that I can do it is through learning. 

Being a Vietnamese person living in Europe (Switzerland), I started to grow interest in Botanical Illustration just very recently. This is a brand new profession that does not exist in Vietnam yet, in any formal academic training programme as far as I know. Therefore in near future, if possible, I would like to create a place for Vietnamese Botanical artists and Botanists to meet up, learn and discuss to profit the Vietnamese ecosystem and help people understand more about the importance of plants, flowers, animals, insects and what each and everyone of us can do to make our Earth greener.