Become a Master Gardener


Master Gardeners in Training (MGiTs) must successfully complete an educational component and also complete the required annual volunteer hours before they become certified as Master Gardeners.

There are three paths toward completing the educational component for certification as a Master Gardener in Ontario.  When you have chosen your path, register your decision with the  coordinator of your local group .  Whichever path you choose, you will have three years to complete your training. Your training time will start when you join the group.

University of Guelph Courses

You may take the 3 online courses specified below from the University of Guelph.  You must register on your own and the fee for each course is $549.  Not all courses are offered in all semesters, so you should check with the university or on the website for availability of courses.  They are in high demand so you should register early.  More information about the courses is available on the university website at Guelph Horticulture Certificates.

The University of Guelph courses required for certification are:
· Cultural Practice for Plants
· Introduction to Plant Identification
· Growing Plants

You may take them in any order.   Your transcript will be proof of your completion and should be forwarded to your coordinator who will inform the administrative office of Master Gardeners of Ontario, Inc. (MGOI) in order to establish your qualifications for certification.
Dalhousie University  Master Gardener Program

Another path towards certification as a Master Gardener in Ontario is to complete the 4 courses in the Master Gardener Program from Dalhousie University.  Each course is $360. These courses are taken online and all materials are available online.

For information about the Master Gardener courses:


This program is comprised of 4 courses which may be taken in any order:
· The Science of Gardening,
· Maintaining the Garden,
· Plant Identification and Use
· The Art of Gardening
Note:  There is no requirement at this time for Ontario Master Gardeners to complete a Summer Course in Nova Scotia.
Your transcript from Dalhousie University  showing your successful completion of these four courses should be forwarded to your coordinator who will inform the administrative office of Master Gardeners of Ontario, Inc. (MGOI) in order to establish your qualifications for certification.

Certification Exam/ Self Study Option

If you have recently completed a diploma or degree in horticulture or comparable education, have experience in the industry or extensive horticultural knowledge, you may choose to write the Certification Exam.  Candidates who pass this exam will be exempted from taking courses but must still complete the two years of volunteer commitment as an MGiT.
An MGiT who wishes to prepare for the Certification exam by undertaking a program of self-directed study may do so. The MGiT will have three years to complete this study and write and pass the Certification exam. The coordinator of the group can provide a list of the knowledge required to any MGiT choosing to follow this path.

Details of Exam

The Certification exam is an open-book exam that is to be completed in 2.5 hours under the supervision of an invigilator chosen by your local coordinator. The cost of the exam is $100. You are required to pass the exam with a mark of 70% or more.

A candidate who is unsuccessful on his/her first attempt at a Certification exam may write a second time provided there is still time within the three year period allowed. The rewrite exam will be a different version from the first and may not be written any earlier than 6 months after the first exam was written.

A candidate who is unsuccessful on the second attempt at the Certification exam must enroll in one of the two course options if he/she wishes to remain in the Master Gardener program.

The Certification Exam may be written within a week of these dates: March 1, June 1, September 1 and December 1 each year.

For further questions and further information, contact June Streadwick, the Education Coordinator @

Prior Learning

New volunteers who have completed either the required Dalhousie or Guelph courses within the last 5 years may be accepted into the group and exempted from taking courses or writing the Certification Exam.  They must provide documentation for the courses taken and the date completed.

They will be known as Master Gardeners in Training for two years while they fulfill the required volunteer hours.

Master Gardeners who transfer to an Ontario group from out-of-province are required to pass the Certification exam, unless the courses taken to meet the educational requirements of their original jurisdiction are the same as those required by MGOI.
They will have MG status as soon as they pass the exam provided they had already achieved that status.