Flowers in garden

The next UVM Extension Master Gardener course will be offered in winter/spring 2023. 

To be placed on the 2023 course mailing list, please email .


Become a Better Gardener!

The Extension Master Gardener Course is taught by University of Vermont faculty and staff and horticulture professionals.The course covers the fundamentals of home gardening focused on plant and soil sciences. Topics include soil fertility, plant pests and diseases, fruit and vegetable production and planning, entomology, garden pollinator habitat, native plants, annuals and perennials, shrubs and trees, landscape design, and dealing with garden wildlife. Content is specific to the Vermont environment. 

The course is offered online with a flexible schedule option!

We are now offering two course tracks!

Please see the drop downs below for more information.


Track 1: Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Certification

Track 1 (Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Certification)

The full Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Certification Program including access to the online course with a weekly schedule, assignments and due dates. Passing students commit to a 40-hour volunteer requirement over a 2-year period after the course.

Track 1 may be right for you if you are:

  • Eager to improve your community and share your knowledge as a community educator.
  • Interested in environmental stewardship.
  • Willing to promote and educate the public about research-based home horticulture practices.
  • Willing to serve as a Master Gardener volunteer year to year, and maintain your certification and annual membership fee, ($25).
  • Able to complete the 40 hours of volunteer service within 2 years of taking the course .
  • Interested in a professional qualification or title. 

Track 1 Requirements:

  • Complete the online course.
  • Complete a Volunteer Application.
  • Complete a background check (if you have lived in Vermont for more than a year) or fingerprinting process (if you have lived in Vermont for less than a year). At least one of these is required regardless of whether you volunteer with youth or not.
  • Complete a Mintor Protection Training course.
  • 3-5 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, watching lectures and participating in Q&A sessions using a video conferencing system.
  •  Complete a 40-hour volunteer internship during the 2 years after the course.

Track 1 Benefits:

  • Course completion letter and intern badge. 
  • Certified Vermont Master Gardener badge and certificate (upon completion of 40 volunteer hours). 
  • Access to UVM faculty and staff expertise and other professionals.
  • Learn from other Extension Master Gardeners.
  • Give back to your community.
  • A membership network that includes thousands of Vermonters.
  • Access to a number of special offers, discounts and educational opportunities.

Track 2: Home Horticulture Certificate (Self-Paced)

Track 2 (Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion)

Access to the online course with no weekly schedule, assignments and due dates. There is no volunteer requirement and no Extension Master Gardener volunteer certification. Passing students receive a Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion that may be used on a resume.

Track 2 may be right for you if you are:

  • Not a Vermont resident.
  • Don't have time to volunteer.
  • Are self-motivated.
  • Don't have time to turn in assignments or follow a schedule.
  • Are interested in gardening for your own knowledge.
  • Working in a field related to gardening and want to learn more about the science of gardening.
  • Interested in a professional qualification (The Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion can be used as a professional qualification on a resume).

Track 2 Requirements:

  • Complete the online course.
  • 3-5 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, and watch pre-recorded lectures 

Track 2 Benefits:

  • No schedule, no assignments, no hassle.
  • Access the materials for your own learning as your leisure.
  • Receive the Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion.
  • The Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion does not imply that the holder is representing the University of Vermont Extension system as a Master Gardener volunteer.


Course Content and Outline

Course Content

Each of the online course modules require Track 1 and Track 2 students to:

  • Read assigned chapters from course manual each week.
  • Watch a pre-recorded 1-3 hour lecture for each unit.
  • Take a 5-10 question quiz and get 80% or better to pass
  • Take a 20 question final exam and get 70% or better to pass

Additionally Track 1 Students are required to:

  • Turn in all assignments and quizzes on time.
  • Post 1 discussion question each week prior to the Thursday night Q&A session.
  • Post on a weekly student discussion forum.
  • Participate in a weekly live-online Q&A session on Thursday evenings with instructors.

Other Info & Materials

  • Q&A sessions are held using online video conferencing. These sessions allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions.
  • The online courses are offered statewide through the eXtension campus  website.
  • The text for this course is the Penn State Master Gardener Manual  from Penn State University. This text costs $75, and must be purchased directly from Penn State prior to beginning the course. This training manual is currently used throughout Northeast Extension programs to train Master Gardener students. It reflects the national goals of the Master Gardener program. 

Course Outline:

The course covers the following topics. See a sample syllabus from the 2021 course here . (NOTE: Dates & times subject to change)

  • Course Introduction
  • Volunteering, (Track 1 Students Only) 
  • Basic Botany
  • Soil Health
  • Herbaceous Plants
  • Basic Entomology
  • Entomology Integrated Pest Management
  • Small Fruits
  • Vegetable Gardening
  • Vegetable Garden Planning
  • Plant Pathology
  • Fruit Trees and Pruning
  • Garden Pollinator Habitat
  • Sustainable Landscape Design & Garden Wildlife
  • Trees and Shrubs
  • Final Thoughts


Is An Online Course Right for You?

Learn more about what taking an online course entails.

Scholarship Opportunities

Learn more about scholarship opportunities.

Refunds & Accommodations

Dropping the course/Refund Policy

Full refund up until the course starts.  Unfortunately, we cannot provide refunds for the course modules that you have already been given access to on the website. Refer to the course syllabus for more information.


Disability-related accommodations are addressed upon request. 


To receive a notification about the 2023 course, please contact



Next Course: Jan-May, 2023

Please email: to be placed on the 2023 course mailing list.

Course Fee:

(Does not include materials. Book $75.00 - Ordered independently through Penn State)

In-State: $400 

Out of State: $550 

Scholarships are avaliable for in-state students! See dropdown

Feedback from 2021 participants:

"I learned more in this course then I thought I was going to. Having majored in environmental studies and minoring in biology, I already had most of the basic knowledge. However, this course allowed me to dive deeper into topics that I am passionate about and provided new knowledge that I know will continue to be useful in my job."

"I enjoyed the course immensely and it was a privilege to learn and hear the expert lectures. I found the resources provided extremely helpful in researching and understanding the materials."

"The UVM Extension Master Gardener Course provided so much information in a way that was fun to learn and easily applicable. I recommend the course for anyone who wants to learn more about gardening, regardless of experience!"

"I came in with a strong desire to learn more specifically about vegetable gardening. However, I found that I've gained a whole new appreciation for the entire landscape and find myself looking for new projects to take on and expand my knowledge of gardening. The instructors were all exceptional, providing detailed lectures on their topics. I found the Q&A sessions to be especially helpful in clarifying any missed topics, and the assignments challenged me to apply the knowledge learned each week. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to other prospective gardeners."