General Horticulture - Online and Distance Education

General Horticulture


How to Apply

All available classes for the Undergraduate Certificate Program in General Horticulture are already full for the fall 2021 semester. We are no longer accepting applications for fall 2021, but we hope you will apply to join us in spring 2022.

Admissions Requirements

Student seeking the University Certificate in General Horticulture must have completed high school with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4-point scale and provide a transcript or copy of other such documentation indicating high school completion and grade point average.

How to Apply to the University Certificate in General Horticulture

Step 1: Apply for Admission to NC State as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) Student

Note: If you are a degree- or non-degree-seeking student who has been continuously enrolled, you may register for available online courses through MyPack portal. Only students admitted to NC State can take classes at the University. Anyone interested in taking courses without enrolling in a degree program at NC State must first apply as a Non-Degree Studies (NDS) student. Admission to NDS does not imply admission to an NC State degree program. NDS students are classified as non-degree-seeking. Grades earned as an NDS student will go toward the student's NC State University grade point average or may be transferred to another institution based on that institution's transfer policy.

The Post-Baccalaureate Studies (PBS) classification is assigned to those NDS students who have earned a bachelor's degree. Enrolling as a PBS student is an excellent way to explore different fields of study to fulfill your personal and career goals.

As an NDS student, you may register for a maximum course load of eight (8) hours per semester on a space-available basis. Some courses carry prerequisites or are limited to degree-seeking students, so review the course schedule to determine your eligibility. NDS students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at all times.

To register as a new Non-Degree Studies student, begin by checking your eligibility for Non-Degree Studies (NDS) status. To be eligible to apply for NDS, prospective students must be eligible to return to any previous institution(s) attended and have a high school diploma or GED less than one year and wishes to take courses during Summer Sessions

For more details on NDS enrollment eligibility, please see the NDS Enrollment Rule.

If you meet the criteria for enrolling as an NDS student, and...

  • you have never attended NC State as a degree-seeking student,
  • OR... you graduated with a degree from NC State and wish to enroll as a NDS student,
  • OR... you previously attended NC State as an NDS student, but have not enrolled in courses for a year or longer, you should complete the online application. All applications require a non-refundable $25 Application Fee.

Note: NDS applications are good for a full year. For example, if you apply for Summer I, you do not need to submit a separate application for Summer II, Fall, or Spring.

International Applicants: All prospective students in a non-immigrant status must complete the Online and Distance Education Clearance Form for International Applicants. This form should be completed and returned to the Online and Distance Education office with the appropriate documentation via fax, e-mail (as a PDF or JPEG attachment), regular mail, or in person before each semester.

If new NDS applications are not currently being accepted, you must wait to apply until after the start-of-term lock-out ends. You will not be able to take a class until next term.

The Registration & Records website provides additional information and answers to questions about Non-Degree Studies at NC State University.

Apply to the NDS Program.

Step 2: Apply to the Department of Horticultural Science

Please download the Certificate Application and mail the required items and completed form to the Undergraduate Certificate Program Coordinator.

Step 3: Pay Tuition

NDS students are required to prepay their tuition before they can register for classes. To pay your tuition:

Calculate your tuition and fees. Tuition for online classes (also called distance education, or DE) is calculated by the number of credit hours taken. To view current rates for tuition and fees, visit NC State's Graduate Online and Distance Education Tuition Rates page.

Pay your tuition and fees online via ePay, or choose one of our other payment options.

For additional information and answers to questions about tuition and fees, visit the Cashier's Office website.

Step 4: Register for Your Class

To register for classes you will need an NC State student ID number and/or NC State Unity (computer system) ID and password. These will be e-mailed to you once your NDS application has been processed and accepted.

NDS students can register for classes only after the open enrollment period begins. View upcoming open enrollment dates.

Using your NC State Unity ID and password, log-in to the MyPack portal, and select the class(es) for which you wish to register.

How to Apply to Non-credit Courses in Horticultural Science

Learn to identify and appreciate commonly used plants on your own schedule. NC State University Department of Horticultural Science is partnering with Longwood Gardens to provide a fully-online introduction to plant identification. These courses will introduce you to plants that can be grown throughout the nation. Key identifying characteristics as well as best uses in the landscape are shared through photo stories, video presentations, online fact pages, an e-book, flash-cards, vocabulary games and hundreds of beautiful images. These courses include some favorites as well as a few introductions from the research and breeding programs at Longwood Gardens and North Carolina State University. These are introductory classes and include plants widely used in consumer horticulture.

These are asynchronous, fully online, self-paced, non-credit courses.  You may participate anywhere that you have access to the internet.  You will have access to the course resources 24/7 for the entire 6 weeks of the class and for 6 months after the course ends.  There are no required presentations or any set times that you will need to meet online.

Each course counts as a 3-week elective towards Longwood Garden’s Certificate in Ornamental Horticulture and includes 4-month access to the living collection at Longwood Gardens. Bring proof of course registration for admissions and get the opportunity to view these plants in our seasonal displays and permanent collection.


  • Access to the internet
  • Access to a computer or tablet.  While it is possible to complete much of the course on a mobile device, some of the course activities use Flash applications and will require a full web browser on a computer to complete.  The course was not designed for use on a mobile phone or other device with a small screen, a tablet or computer are required for an optimal experience.
  • Access to a digital camera (smart phone is fine) to take images to submit as a part of assignments.
  • Access to PowerPoint, Word, or other software that you can use to add labels to images.

Fees per Class:

  • $195 - General Public
  • DISCOUNTED Fees (when you add the course to your cart, it goes in at full price, you add the discount later, before you enter any payment information)
    • Current Extension Master Gardener Volunteers and Extension Master Naturalist Volunteers: $98  (Get the discount code from you county extension agent) EMGVs anywhere are eligible for the discount. If your agent needs the code, have them contact Lucy Bradley.
    • Current Volunteers at JC Raulston Arboretum: $98 (Get the discount code from Kathryn Wall).
    • Discount Codes must be in ALL CAPITAL LETTERS.
    • When you add the discount code, it shows the amount of the discount to be subtracted from the Course Fee of $195, not the amount you will pay.
  • In addition to the course fee you may choose to purchase an optional print copy of the online eBook that is included with the course. Book price varies so check for each course.
  • Register now for early access to some of the course material.

Trees, Shrubs, and Conifers: Identification and Use

Explore the world of traditional woody plants including flowering trees, shrubs, and conifers by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn cultural information about these structural plantings and their use in the landscape.
This six-week online class will be offered:

  • July 8th - August 19, 2019:  REGISTER
  • September 9 - October 21, 2019:  REGISTER

Edibles, Bulbs, and Houseplants: Identification and Use

Explore the edible side of the landscape with an introduction to vegetables, fruits, and herbs by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Then extend your growing season by learning to identify and cultivate bulbs and houseplants.

This six-week online class will be offered:

  • September 9 - October 21, 2019:  REGISTER

Annuals, Perennials, Vines and Groundcovers: Identification and Use

This collection of plants will add a burst of color to your landscape with exciting textures and blooms by examining 45 plants that do well across the country. Learn to recognize and use these garden favorites to enhance your landscape.

This six-week online class  will be offered:

  • July 8th - August 19, 2019:  REGISTER

Course Instructor

Preston Montague is an artist, landscape designer, and educator working to strengthen the relationship between people and their environment in the interest of improving public health. He has a bachelor's degree in horticulture and a masters degree in landscape architecture. Preston believes distance education provides an opportunity to connect people to horticultural innovations that encourage human and environmental wellness.

Preston Montague
Extension Assistant
Department of Horticultural Science
68 Kilgore Hall, Campus Box 7609
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
Phone: (919)-515-7172


Application Deadlines

Entry SemesterApplication Deadlines and Details
FallAugust 14
SpringJanuary 2
SummerMay 11