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University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Master Gardener Volunteer Core Course

The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Core Course is offered every year. The course will be delivered entirely online for 2021, beginning in January and running through April.

This course is required training for Master Gardener volunteer certification.

Please contact us at mgweb@umn.edu for more information on how to apply to be a Master Gardener Volunteer.

Online course

Take the online course through the Canvas learning platform.

  • Course participants receive access to Canvas the first week of January and can work with course materials throughout the year.
  • All course participants must have an email address and a reliable internet connection to access the materials and complete training.
  • A digital manual is available with the option to purchase a printed copy.

New for 2021

  • Zoom sessions are not required and will be recorded for later viewing.
  • Additional Zoom sessions for interns and currently certified volunteers will be offered throughout the course for connecting with new colleagues.
  • Open office hours with the course coordinator for support working through the course and working with the online learning platform.
  • Course is self-paced.

Weekly Zoom sessions are held on Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m, beginning January 14 and ending April 15, 2021.

Course details and deadlines

  • The course fee is $295, with optional $25 for a printed copy of the manual. Fee includes background check and course.

  • Applications for the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program are due to your local Extension office by October 1. 

  • Core Course registration through the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum Education Department is due by December 1.

  • A $200 refund is available if you cancel registration by December 15. No refunds after this date.


  • Contact your local extension office for an application and selection and registration details.
  • Contact the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer State Office with questions about Core Course classes.

Want to take the class, but don't want to volunteer?

This course also is available to the general public for personal education and offers continuing education units for horticulture industry professionals. See the ProHort course page for more information and to register.

Class fee: $600 (includes class materials)

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