Flowers in garden

    Become a Better Gardener!

    The Master Gardener Course instructors are UVM faculty and staff and Vermont horticulture professionals.The course curriculum 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 three course tracks!

    Please see the drop downs below for more information.


    Track 1: Master Gardener Volunteer Certification

    Track 1 (master gardener volunteer certification)

    The full 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 
    • Not interested in a professional qualification or title. 

    Track 1 Requirements:

    • Complete the online 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
    • Learn from other Master Gardeners 
    • Give back to your community
    • A membership network that includes thousands of Vermonters, and give you access to a number of special offers, discounts and educational opportunities 

    Track 2: Home Horticulture Certificate of Completion

    Track 2 (home horticulture certificate of completion)

    Access to the online course with a weekly schedule, assignments and due dates. There is no volunteer requirement and no master gardener volunteer certification. Passing students receive a home horticulture certificate of completion.

    Track 2 may be right for you if you are:

    • Not a Vermont resident
    • Working full time or don't have time to volunteer
    • Working in a field related to gardening and want to learn more about the science of gardening.
    • Interested in gardening for your own knowledge 
    • You are 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
    • Students enrolled in this course must be self-motivated
    • 3-5 hours each week to complete assignments, quizzes, watching lectures and participating in Q&A sessions using a video conferencing system.

    Track 2 Benefits:

    • 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, however it may be used for marketing purposes and on your resume.

    Track 3: Self-Paced Course Only

    Track 3 (self paced course only)

    Access to the online course, (readings, lectures, etc) but with no assignments or due dates. Students in this track are not eligible for volunteer certification or a home horticulture certificate of completion.

    Track 3 may be right for you if you are:

    • Not a Vermont resident
    • Don't have time to turn in assignments or follow a schedule
    • Are interested in gardening for your own knowledge 

    Track 3 Requirements:

    • No requirements, no assignments or due dates

    Track 3 Benefits:

    • No schedule, no assignments, no hassle! 
    • Access the materials for your own learning whenever you want

    Course Content, Materials & Syllabus


    Please download and read the course syllabus carefully prior to enrolling and for more detailed information and for the full course schedule. Please note the syllabus is subject to change before the beginning of the course.

    Course Content

    Each of the online course modules will require students to:

    • read assigned chapters from the course manual
    • watch a pre-recorded 1-3 hour lecture
    • post 1 discussion question
    • take a 5-10 question quiz

    Other Info & Materials

    • Attendance in the live online Q&A sessions is optional. The sessions are Thursdays from 6-pm
    • You may choose to watch the recorded sessions, but for full engagement in the course being present on Thursdays is recommended.
    •  Q&A sessions are held using online video conferencing. These sessions will allow students to interact with on-screen faculty to ask questions
    • The online courses are offered statewide through the eXtenion campus website.
    • The text for this course is the Penn State Master Gardener Manual from the University of Pennsylvania. This text costs $75, and must be purchased directly through Penn State Extension prior to beginning the course. This training manual is currently used throughout Northeastern Extension programs to train Master Gardener students. It reflects the national goals of the Master Gardener program. 

    Course Outline:

    1. Volunteering, (Track 1 Students Only) Beret Halverson, and Cindy Heath, UVM Extension Master Gardener Program and Volunteer Coordinators 
    2. Course Introduction, Beret Halverson, UVM Extension
    3. Basic Botany, Amy Ivy, Cornell University 
    4. Soil Health, Dr.Wendy Sue Harper, Consultant and former UVM Lecturer
    5. Herbaceous Plants, Amy Ivy, Cornell University
    6. Basic Entomology, Victor Izzo, UVM Instructor
    7. Entomology IPM, Victor Izzo, UVM Instructor
    8. Small Fruits, Vern Grubinger, UVM Extension - Vegetable & Berry Specialist
    9. Vegetable Gardening, Rebecca (Becky) Madden - UVM Extension - Vegetable Nutrient Management
    10. Vegetable Garden Planning, Dr. Wendy Sue Harper, Consultant and former UVM Lecturer
    11. Plant Pathology, Ann Hazelrigg, UVM Lecturer & Extension Instructor
    12. Fruit Trees and Pruning, Terry Bradshaw, UVM Research Associate
    13. Garden Pollinator Habitat, Jane Sorensen, UVM Adjunct Faculty Lecturer
    14. Sustainable Landscape Design & Garden Wildlife, Judith Irven, Private Landscape Designer, Outdoor Spaces
    15. Trees and Shrubs, Joanne Garton,UVM Extension-VT Urban & Community Forestry – Technical Assistance Coordinator
    16. Final Assignments, Beret Halverson UVM Extension


    Is An Online Course Right for You?

    Scholarship Opportunities

    Learn more about scholarship opportunities.

    Refunds & Accommodations

    Dropping the course/Refund Policy

    Full refund up until the course starts. The last drop date is March 1. 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-Dropping the course/Refunds section for more information.


    Anyone requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Beret Halverson @ or 802-656-1777 prior to December 20, 2020.



    • Lisa Chouinard (802) 656-9562 or

    Course Information & Scholarships:

    • Beret Halverson (802) 656-1777 or


    • Cindy Heath, 603-543-1307 or




    OPEN NOW! Click here

    Registration Ends for Track 1: January 8, @4:30pm
    Registration Ends for Track 2: January 15, @4:30pm
    Registration Ends for Track 3: Remains open course materials access ends on July 31, 2021

    To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, please register by December 20

    Next Course:

    Course opens for Track 1: Friday, January 8, @5:00 pm

    Course opens for Tracks 2 & 3: Friday January 15, @ 5:00 pm

    Deadline to Switch Tracks: Friday, January 29, @ 5:00 pm

    Final Date to Drop Course for Partial Refund: March 1 @4:30pm (Office closed at this time)

    Course Fee:

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

    In-State: $400 

    Out of State: $550 

    Scholarships are avaliable for in-state students! See dropdown


    Feedback from previous participants:

    "I am pleased with what I have learned and am glad to have been able to do the course work on my own schedule." (Track 3 student)

    "This course was extremely informative and helpful. I look forward to applying a lot of my new knowledge to my home gardening, professional life at a plant/seed company," (Track 2 student)

    I enjoyed the class immensely, thought it was very well organized & increased my knowledge of gardening greatly. I particularly enjoyed the ease of taking the course on-line, and look forward to volunteering." (Track 1 student)