Master Gardener Program

Part-time Non-credit Certificate Program

Our next certificate offering will be in the spring term in 2024 (January). For more information please email to be added to our interest list.

VIU Certificate - Master Gardener Program Guide

A collaboration between Vancouver Island University and Vancouver Island Master Gardeners Association.

Designed for the experienced home gardener, this is an intensive training program providing up-to-date information on all gardening basics. Through this program you will be able to:

  • Meet other gardeners in an atmosphere of sharing and exploration
  • Fill gaps in your gardening knowledge
  • Provide satisfying solutions to gardening problems
  • Know where to find the answers to new challenges
  • Give back to your community and share your joy of gardening.

Course Delivery

The program consists of 78 hours of classroom training, followed by 65 hours of volunteer service. The classroom training component is delivered in a workshop format (12 weeks). The program will take place in a hybrid delivery model with coursework being available online and in person. In-person sessions are on March 9, 23, and 30 in the Nanaimo region.

Program Content

Classroom component covers a full range of gardening topics such as:

  • Botany and plant identification
  • Soils
  • Pruning
  • Plant diseases, hardiness and protection
  • Specialized information about specific plant types
  • Sustainable landscape design
  • Weed management
  • Composting
  • Propagation
  • Basic entomology and integrated pest management

Volunteer Service component is where students share their gardening knowledge and passion with the community, supported by experienced Master Gardeners.

Start Date

  • January 2026

Admission Requirements

  • Experienced home gardener, prepared to share knowledge and enthusiasm with the gardening public.

How to Register

Start Date and Application Deadlines

Program Start Date Accepting Applications
Anticipated intake for someone applying today
Jan 5, 2026
Next Intake(s)

January 2026

Application Fee
Testing Required
Admissions Assistant

Name: Naomi Knodel
Phone: 250.746.3512

Area Contact

Name: PD&T Assistant
Phone: 250.746.3574

Documentation Deadline

Please email or call the Area Contact if you wish to put your name on an interest list for the next start date:


Students register can register in AMMG 023 before applying to the Master Gardener program. Once the student successfully completes AMMG 023 and documentation of volunteer hours has been confirmed, students wishing to obtain the Master Gardener Certificate need apply to the Master Gardener program and pay the current application fee.


The Master Gardener Certificate Program takes place online and at the G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre, 2324 East Wellington Road in Nanaimo. See G.R. Paine Horticultural Training Centre for more information.

The program consists of :

  • Advanced Gardener: Theory and Practice - AMMG 023 (78 hours, delivered online and in person), and is followed by
  • Master Gardener In Training Volunteer Component - AMMG 030 (65 hours over 2 years).

Students begin the program by enrolling in the Theory and Practice course. Registration information can be obtained by contacting the Area Contact.

Students who successfully complete the Theory and Practice course may continue on to the Master Gardener in Training course. In order to qualify for the Master Gardener Certificate, once documentation of volunteer hours has been confirmed, students will need to submit a VIU application for admission and pay the current application fee.