The Master Gardener certificate program offers a wide variety of gardening and horticultural courses for all levels of ability and knowledge.

  • Participate in related activities, tours and events on campus and beyond.
  • Socialize with other gardening enthusiasts at events to learn and share knowledge.
  • Instructors are trained professionals who specialize in their teaching area.
  • Hands-on teaching methods also provide access to resources available through the University of Saskatchewan.
  • There is no time limit. You can start the program at any time and take as long as you need to complete the program requirements. The U of S Master Gardener Certificate is flexibly designed so you can take courses according to your schedule.
  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to anyone. There are no deadlines for registration or for completion of the program.
  • Courses are offered throughout the year. 


Master Gardener Certificate Requirements

  • The U of S Master Gardener Program is open to everyone age 16 and older. The only prerequisite is an interest in gardening–and enthusiasm.
  • Register anytime and take as long as you want to complete the program.
  • To receive your certificate, complete 7 core courses, a 40-hour volunteer internship and an open book exam.
    • The core courses are Garden Fundamentals, Botanical Latin, Tree and Shrub ID, Insects in Your Yard and Garden, Common Plant Diseases, Safe Use of Pesticides and Alternatives, and Communications. They are offered twice each year: weekends in the spring and again during Hort Week (second week in July). Garden Fundamentals and Botanical Latin are available through distance education. Currently, the other classes are not available through distance education.
    • Garden Fundamentals and Botanical Latin are recommended as your first courses and are prerequisites for your Tree and Shrub ID course. Beyond these recommendations, you can take the courses in any order you wish.
    • The 40 hour volunteer inservice may be completed within any year of your choosing.
    • Once you have completed your classes, you can request access to your open book, multiple choice exam.
  • The total cost of the program including registration fee, all 7 core workshops (6.5 days of class time), examination and certification is under $800. 
  • Once you become a certified University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener, you are required to put in a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer service annually and attend a minimum of six hours of course instruction every two years to keep your certification current. What type of course instruction counts? All of our programming of course, but we will also accept educational credits from other organizations on a case by case basis.

To Become a U of S Master Gardener:

  1. Anyone can take any of our classes at any time, just for personal interest. However, if you want to become certified, you need to enrol in the Certification program as well. The registration fee includes all administrative and final examination fees as well as a subscription to the U of S Master Gardener newsletter. It also includes your home study course material for reference purposes. Only this registration fee is payable up front. The core course fees are due whenever you chose to enrol in a course. On completion of the seven core courses, a take-home, open book, multiple choice exam based on material from the program text and core courses can be written. 
  2. Complete the seven core courses that are offered throughout the year and during Hort Week. 
  3. Complete your internship: 40 hours of volunteer time within one year. Sometimes people feel there aren’t any volunteer opportunities in their community but if you see a need in your community, you can fill it through your community service based internship. Some ideas include: writing articles, assisting seniors with yard work, assisting U of S researchers, planting a community garden, sitting on the board of your local hort club, planning or participating in horticulture outreach education activities like Gardenscape, growing plants for fundraising and charity, designing a therapeutic garden, advising or assisting in a schoolyard garden, etc. In addition to finding your own opportunity, you can check out our volunteer opportunities page.
  4. Email us at to request your exam.

You will be considered a University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Trainee until you have fulfilled all of the above requirements.

Workshops required for certification

Gardening Workshops

Gardening Workshops: Over 50 special interest workshops, tours or events are offered annually through with something for every level of gardening ability. Anyone can register for any of our workshops, including the core workshops. You don't need to be registered in the Master Gardener program itself in order to participate in these classes, but you do need to be registered in the program in order to certify. This means you can try a class or two, decide if it's for you, and then choose to pursue certification. While core courses may be offered throughout the year, most general workshops, tours and events are offered in the spring and again during Hort Week

Upcoming core courses



The Saskatoon Horticultural Society (SHS) provides the Butterfield Scholarship, which is an annual scholarship for funding toward the University of Saskatchewan Master Gardener Certificate. Visit their website to learn more.

Contact Us

Vanessa Young and Darcy Parenteau
Horticulture and Agriculture Lifelong Learning Programs
College of Agriculture and Bioresources
Rm 2D30 Ag Bldg - 51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8


Frequently Asked Questions

Master Gardeners volunteer their time to assist people with horticulture in their own communities. They share their knowledge and experience with fellow gardeners, friends, neighbours, youth and seniors. This sharing consists of a varied range of activities that may include:
  • helping seniors or less-able individuals garden
  • answering a garden phone-in line for your community
  • designing, planting or maintaining community gardens in public places such as hospitals, schools, parks, etc.
  • developing horticultural therapy programs
  • writing a garden column for our newsletter or for your local paper
  • teaching gardening classes for your local community colleges, associations or recreation departments
  • The list goes on...  “If you think there is a need you can fill it!”
It began in 1972 in the state of Washington. It has since grown to include about 48 states and all the Canadian provinces. There are currently over 60,000 Master Gardeners across North America. The University of Saskatchewan program began in 1989.
Quite simply, the University of Saskatchewan has earned its reputation as a high caliber agricultural university. We are not a volunteer-based program; the U of S Master Gardener Program hires trained and experienced professionals to teach all courses and workshops. Our “bug guy” Professor Cedric Gillot, PhD has written University textbooks on Insects. In addition to instructing the core insect course for several years, he also wrote the Insects in Your Yard and Garden learning materials and distance education course. Sara Williams, a well-known author and well-respected horticulturalist, helped launch this program and still teaches several courses with us each year. During our classes, students have access to sites and materials from throughout the University. For example, in our Tree and Shrub ID class, students examine specimens on campus, use materials custom created by our experts specific to our area, and may bring home samples from over 15 different key species. In Garden Fundamentals, we examine soil samples from across the province!
Each person’s timeline is unique. Some people finish the core courses of the program during Hort Week, others attend workshops or take distance education courses as their schedules allow and may take several years to complete the core courses. Throughout the educational training, students are encouraged to work on the home study portion of the course materials by reviewing the course texts. Of course, the timeline for completing the “internship” portion (40h volunteering in a horticultural capacity) is highly personal as well though it all must be in one year. For ideas on where to gain the volunteer hours, check out the Volunteering options above or look at our list of opportunities. Volunteering success is discussed during your Communications (MGCC) workshop.
Courses for our program vary depending on how long they are and what extra materials we provide, but they tend to cost about $50 for a half day course, $75 for a full day course and $150 for a two day course. The cost for each individual course is listed on the course description. In addition to taking the courses (which can happen at any time) once the student decides to certify, they will also need to register in the certification program itself. This is a $175 one time fee. The total costs for taking the program run around $700 plus GST, paid out over time only as you register for each portion. If you are employed in a horticulture capacity, please check with your supervisor if they will reimburse your tuition fees as we often have employees completing classes for professional development. The Butterfield Scholarship is also available from the Saskatoon Horticulture Society.