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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

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The University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Core Course takes place every year in January and February. The course is going entirely online for 2021.  

This course is required training for Master Gardener volunteer certification.

Please contact your local program for more information on how to apply to be a Master Gardener Volunteer.

Online course

Take the online course through the Canvas online learning platform.

  • Course participants receive access to Canvas the first week of January and can work with online 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 p.m.-8:30 p.m, beginning Jan. 14 and ending April 15.

Course details and deadlines

  • Cost is $320 for new volunteers ($290 for course and materials; $30 for background check).

  • 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 application, 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: $590 (includes class materials).

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