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Thank you for your interest in the MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program®!

Starting in 2023, we will have a completely NEW process for becoming an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer - read more below

MSU Extension is no longer offering 14-week MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG) trainings the way they did in the past.  The gardening training component of the old 14-week format is no longer available and has been transitioned into an exciting new course!

In place of the old format, we are now offering a course called "Foundations of Gardening".  This is a statewide online course that runs 10 weeks and is completely online. Foundations of Gardening is a non-volunteer gardening certificate course.  Alone, it is not the MSU Extension Master Gardener (MSU EMG) training class.  However, it is one pre-requisite to becoming an MSU EMG.  Anyone, including those wanting to later apply to become an MSU EMG, can take Foundations of Gardening (FOG).

Those who take the FOG course earn a one-time certificate and do not use the MSU EMG title, nor engage in MSUE volunteer activities, hours reporting, or annual recertification.  Those who wish to move beyond a FOG certificate to earn the title of an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer are individuals who are interested in volunteering and completing additional steps to become an MSUE volunteer. 

Please note that the MSU EMG program is a "Volunteer" Program.  If you are not interested in volunteering for MSU and working with us to educate the public, the certificate from FOG may be all you do.  If you are interested in joining the MSU EMG volunteer program, we are excited to help you take the steps to do that!


  1. Enroll in Foundations of Gardening, complete the course, and receive a certificate of completion. This step must be done prior to applying to become an MSU volunteer.
  2. After completing the FOG course, apply to become an MSU EMG volunteer, which involves a Volunteer Screening Process, acceptance as a volunteer, and a local MSU Extension Onboarding Course.
  3. Engage in 40 hours of volunteer service within one year of completing the Onboarding Course on an MSU EMG approved project. 

Questions? or contact your local MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Educator.

Benefits of Becoming an Extension Master Gardener (EMG) volunteer:

  1. Engage in research-based training and instruction on horticulture topics and environmentally sound practices.
  2. Earn the title of certified MSU Extension Master Gardener (EMG).
  3. Connect with like-minded people who share a passion for gardening and teaching others. 
  4. Improve the quality of life and inspire others in Michigan through service-based horticulture activities. 
  5. Work toward additional recognition opportunities. (e.g. Advanced EMG certification and volunteer hour recognition)
  6. Enjoy access to MSU Extension Consumer Horticulture workshops and events. (e.g. Master Gardener College)

Additional qualifications to become an MSU Extension Master Gardener Volunteer:

  1. Must be 18-years old or older.
  2. Must pass the MSU Volunteer Selection Process (VSP), which includes state and national background checks, references, and interview.  PLEASE do not start this process until you are accepted until a local onboarding course.
    (A criminal record will not necessarily prevent an applicant from being an Extension Master Gardener volunteer. A criminal record will be considered as it relates to specifics of the volunteer opportunities for which the applicant may be engaged.
  3. Possess a willingness to educate others in the community about environmentally and economically sound horticulture practices.
  4. Have an enthusiasm for gardening.