The Home Horticulture Certificate (HHC) is a comprehensive horticultural education program that takes participants on an educational journey through fourteen weeks of classroom instruction. Class lectures are hosted weekly on Zoom, and are taught by URI Cooperative Extension faculty and staff topic experts. Students are supported by an undergraduate teaching assistant, who provides assistance with the online learning management system and navigating “school”. Weekly “Try This” assignments and a hands-on, practical course project focused on landscape observation and analysis draws the concepts learned in class together, culminating with a project showcase and discussion session. See the 2024 course schedule for a list of weekly lecture topics and practicum sessions.

Sign up for the 2025 Course Waitlist!

The course will be held virtually on Thursday evenings for 14 weeks beginning in late January 2025. Registration opens September 1, 2024.

Join the Waitlist


Q: Who is the Home Horticulture Certificate for?
A: The Home Horticulture Certificate (HHC) was developed in 2019 as a new horticultural education offering through URI Cooperative Extension to run concurrently with URI Master Gardener Program (MGP) core training course. The HHC includes the same in-depth, science-based content offered through the MGP core training, but does not require hands-on volunteer service for completion, and does not lead to certification as a URI Master Gardener. The Home Horticulture Certificate may be right for you if you are:

  • Working in a field related to gardening and want to learn more about the science of gardening;
  • Interested in expanding your own gardening knowledge and applying it to your own projects; and/or
  • Don’t have time for or interest in volunteering.

Q: How is the Home Horticulture Certificate structured?
A: The Home Horticulture Certificate course is offered completely online, with synchronous class meetings on Zoom, and two asynchronous (e.g. “on-your-own”) weeks of instruction. Course materials are accessible to students on Brightspace Engage, and drop-in office hours are offered each week on Zoom by Kate and her teaching assistant to support students with their questions.

Q: Will this program and the learnings be relevant to me if I don’t live in the same hardiness zone?
A: Here in RI, we are zone 6 and 7, but the concepts are certainly transferable to anybody living in a different zone.

Q: Are the in-person field practicum sessions mandatory to attend, or are they optional?
A: Practicums are an add-on for an additional cost, and are optional.

Q: Are there books I need to purchase to complete the program, or are reading materials and other resources provided digitally?
A: The course handbook is provided digitally, as are all other resource materials we use. There are no texts required for purchase.

Q: What does the practical course project consist of?
A: The course project requires participants to do a site assessment of a site of their choosing (e.g. their backyard, a friends yard, a community garden), and collect information about site characteristics related to climate, the built environment and social uses of the space. It’s fun and practical.

Q: How do I apply? What is the cost?
A: Registration for the Home Horticulture Certificate begins each June, and closes on December 1st. The course fee is $525 (partial payments accepted). Stay tuned to this webpage for the 2024 course registration information.

Q: What if I’d rather become a URI Master Gardener volunteer?
A: Please visit the URI Master Gardener Program core training website for more information about joining our Extension volunteer team:

Questions? Please contact:

Professor, Sustainable Horticulture

Plant Sciences and Entomology

Woodward Hall, Room 215


Program Administrator, Extension Educator

Cooperative Extension

Kathleen M. Mallon Outreach Center, 3 East Alumni Avenue, Kingston RI 02881



“I took this course because I love gardening. I’ve wanted to become a Master Gardener, but didn’t have the time for volunteering. I have several clients that I tend gardens for, and wanted more knowledge to improve my business. I learned so many things that I had been doing wrong! I corrected these and am seeing results. I loved the program. I especially enjoyed the practicums and the enthusiasm of all the instructors.”

“I took the HHC course to gain more and deeper scientific knowledge in various aspects ofgardening. I definitely got that, and it actually made me ask more questions.”

“I learned a lot through the site assessment project, most notably, just HOW MUCH goes into understanding a landscape. Each of the assignment’s steps was an opportunity to dive into a different variable of the landscape, each with its own depth of information and unique considerations. I learned just how much more there is to learn, but at a high level, I have a strong understanding of what those different variables are, and why they are each important to understand individually and as a collective.”

“I don’t need to change a lot of what I do, but will be applying the new knowledge gained in the course to improving practices and finding better plants for a specific site when needed, learning better maintenance techniques, pruning, plant selection, and most importantly encouragement of sustainable gardens that support birds and beneficial insects and conserve water.”

“This course blew my expectations out of the water. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but the depth of knowledge, expertise, and generosity of the instructors was incredible. For an online course, I thought it was welcoming and inviting. I looked forward to class every week and even enjoyed the homework.”