Master Gardener Core Training-Fall 2019

  • Date: Aug. 1, 2019 - Jan. 1, 2020
  • Format: online
The Master Gardener program provides in depth horticulture training to individuals who then volunteer their time applying what they have learned to help others in their communities to learn about gardening and environmental stewardship. Master Gardener core training is the first step in becoming a certified Master Gardener. This course is 15 weeks in duration and covers topics such as basic plant growth, plant propagation, soil fertility and plant nutrition, vegetables, fruits, both woody and herbaceous ornamentals, turf, landscape design, insects and diseases, and pesticide safety.

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Master Gardener Online Core Training


Thank you for enrolling in Master Gardener Core Training offered by University of Missouri Extension distance education. Everyone who assisted in the development of this course hope your learning experience will be meaningful and enlightening. Please review the following introduction to the course before beginning chapter one.

Course Objectives:

  1. To understand the mission of the Missouri Master Gardener Program and how it functions.
  2. To acquire a working knowledge of the fundamental principles of plant growth and development.
  3. To apply concepts of plant growth and development to everyday situations and uses in horticulture.
  4. To learn basic terminology associated with the art and science of horticulture.
  5. To gain an appreciation of horticulture as a life-long pursuit.


Semester Offerings

Master Gardener online core training is a semester-long course organized in learning modules.  The scheduling of the course coincides with the University of Missouri’s fall and spring semesters.  The course is offered by the Extension Division of the University of Missouri and does not carry official University course credit. 

Course Calendar

Weekly Activities

Each week, you will explore one chapter of the Master Gardener Core Manual, which you should have received upon enrolling in this course.  These chapters have been organized into educational modules to facilitate learning.  Each chapter includes:     

  • Online presentations - (Each video is close-captioned with an audio transcript available for download, located at the bottom of the video player screen.)
  • Web resources
  • A full-length mp3 of each module
  • An online discussion
  • A quiz

Different instructors, each with expertise in the area of their presentation, will present the material in the form of narrated PowerPoint presentations. 

The course calendar includes the schedule for the entire course. Basically, one chapter will be covered each week over a 15 week period. A week starts on Sunday morning at 12:01 a.m. and ends the following Saturday night at 12:00 p.m.  Please try to stay on schedule. This will make the class material and the online forum more meaningful for you.

There are two types of students taking this class:

Master Gardener Trainees. 

These are individuals educating themselves to volunteer as University of Missouri Extension Master Gardeners.   The requirements for Master Gardener are to complete the activities in each chapter including answering quiz questions at the conclusion of each chapter. Additional information about quizzes is outlined below under “Features of the Class”.  Each chapter also includes discussion questions that each student should post a response to.  Take time to view other student responses and provide feedback or ask questions to facilitate further discussion.

A cumulative score of 70 percent (98 out of 140 possible points) over all chapter quizzes is required in order to pass this course. Additionally, Master Gardener Trainees must complete the required number of volunteer hours (outlined in Chapter One) in order to become a Certified Master Gardener. Upon registration, your name and contact information will be given to the Extension Specialist responsible for Master Gardener programming in your area.  That individual will help you to identify volunteer opportunities and show you how to report those hours on the University’s Master Gardener web page.

  1. After completing both the online training course and the required volunteer hours you will be issued a certificate designating you as a Certified Master Gardener as well as a Master Gardener name badge.

Private individuals

Additionally, there are private individuals and/or industry professionals taking this course who simply wish to advance their knowledge of horticulture without becoming Certified Master Gardeners. These students must complete the activities in each chapter including taking the quiz at the end of each chapter. Each chapter also includes discussion questions that each student should post a response to.  Take time to view other student responses and provide feedback or ask questions to facilitate further discussion.  Upon completing the course with an average quiz score of 70 percent overall, these individuals will receive a certificate of completion. Volunteer hours are not required for these individuals since they have no intent to become Certified Master Gardeners.


Each of the 14 chapters of the core manual has been divided into learning modules. Modules contain narrated, pre-recorded presentations delivered by qualified, experienced specialists. Brief biographies of the presenters can be found under the link, "Meet the Specialists”. It should be your goal as a student to complete one chapter every week for a total of 14 weeks. While you may go back at any time to review a chapter, you will not be able to work in advance of the current week of the course. This will help make the online chats more meaningful for everyone.

Latest News

This is a special instructor-led Forum that functions like an Announcements section. Only the instructor can post here and everyone is subscribed by default. Watch your email inbox for announcements about course activities or other horticultural related events of interest.


As previously mentioned, there is a quiz that is to be taken upon completing the learning modules of each chapter. Each quiz is worth ten points, "open book” and may be taken twice if your first attempt does not result in a satisfactory score. You are encouraged to use the presentations, your core manual, the internet, and any other resource (other than a person) as you take the quizzes. A combined average of 70 percent (98 out of 140 possible points) over all 14 chapters is needed to pass the course. Individuals failing to achieve 70 percent must re-enroll in the course, preferably the next time it is offered.


You may view your grade progress at any time throughout the course. Select Grades from the course navigation menu.  A page will open showing a Course total and two grading categories. The first category is the Volunteer agreement form only and is marked as "Unsubmitted" or "Form received". It has no scoring value but is required in order to complete the course.

The second category aggregates your quiz scores over all 14 quizzes. It displays an ongoing score that changes as you complete each chapter's quiz. You must average 70% over all 14 quizzes before successfully completing the scored category of the course. 

Online Discussions

An online forum will be available to students enrolled in this class. The forum will provide a venue for students to ask questions about class material, discuss questions posed by the instructor, and get to know fellow students better. Since the content of the forum continually changes, it would be good to check it on a regular basis.  On occasion, the instructor might decide to hold an online "chat”. The forum will serve as a means of informing students about upcoming chats.  The first discussion is the icebreaker.  The purpose of this discussion is to get to know each other. 

Technical Requirements

For the best user experience, we recommend using  Google Chrome (63/64) as your browser.

Canvas works well with many mobile devices. See Getting Started with Canvas (insert link to page) for short tutorial videos and app download instructions.

You can find more information on technical requirements on the Canvas website.

For technical questions or issues, please contact  Customer Support.


If you need special accommodations because of a disability, or if you need materials in an alternative format, please contact Customer Support.