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University of Minnesota Extension

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. It is available both online and in-person.  

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

The online version of the core course uses the University of Minnesota Canvas online learning platform.

Course participants receive access to Canvas the first week of January and can work through the 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.

In-person course

The in-person course covers the same topics as those available in the online training.

In-person sessions for the Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Core Course take place at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Certified Master Gardener volunteers are welcome to join any session for continuing education hours.

Classes are held on Fridays and Saturdays, 9:15 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

2020 dates

  • January 10 & 11

  • January 17 & 18
  • January 24 & 25
  • January 31 & February 1
  • February 7

Course details and deadlines

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

  • Applications for the 2019 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 state 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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